Time to Pretend

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    My latest addition is another 'grail coin'. I don't know why it took so long for me to acquire this iconic Flavian type!

    Æ Sestertius, 26.19g
    Rome mint, 85 AD
    RIC 397 (R2). BMC 361.
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM XI CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, r., with aegis
    Rev: GERMANIA CAPTA; S C in exergue; Trophy; to r., German captive stg. r., hands bound, head l.; to l., Germania std. l.; around arms
    Acquired from Incitatus Coins, August 2019.

    In 85 Domitian struck a fairly impressive issue of sestertii, M. Grant hyperbolically called it the most 'ambitious' of any one reign or year. The series is the first major aes issue of Domitian's reign and is dominated by panoramic types commemorating his military victory over the Germanic tribe the Chatti. The details of the war are unclear, but the overall impression is that the conflict was a minor affair that was blown out of proportion by an emperor eager for military glory. Consequently, Domitian's Germanic triumph of 83 received a certain amount of ridicule from ancient writers who thought the whole thing was a sham (Dio goes so far as to say Domitian raided the palace's furniture stores for his fake spoils!), no doubt the numismatic propaganda for the victory was likely viewed in the same manner by contemporary senatorial elites. Germania Capta types were first struck in silver in 84 and in bronze in 85. This iconic Germania Capta sestertius strongly echoes Vespasian's Judaea Capta types - but instead of a trophy we see a palm tree and a bound captive replaces the triumphal emperor. H. Mattingly writes in BMCRE 'the type is closely modelled on the Judaea Capta of Vespasian, but the German element is indicated by the heavy angular cloak worn by the man and by the oblong shields.' Comparing the two triumphs, the Josephian scholar Steve mason wrote - 'The same people who produced Flavian Triumph I: Judaea were on hand for Flavian Triumph II: Germania, and sequels are rarely as good as the originals.'

    The Germania Capta sestertii were produced for only a few short years between 85-88. The present example from the third issue of 85 is a rare variant with an obverse legend struck just after Domitian had become censor for life (CENS PER).

    I couldn't help but think of this song while researching the coin.

    And just for comparison, my corresponding GERMANIA CAPTA type in silver.

    D331sm.jpg Domitian
    AR Denarius, 3.20g
    Rome mint, 85 AD
    RIC 331 (R2). BMC 82. RSC 181.
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
    Rev: IMP VIIII COS XI CENS POTES P P; Germania seated r. on shield; below, broken spear
    Ex Roma Auction V, 23 March 2013, lot 728.

    Feel free to post your 'CAPTA' types, deserved or not!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
    randygeki, Nemo, Hispanicus and 25 others like this.
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  3. paddyman98

    paddyman98 Let me burst your bubble! Supporter

    Great.. Now I'm going to have some bad dreams :hilarious:
  4. dadams

    dadams Supporter! Supporter

    I enjoyed the informative write up and like the ‘CAPTA’ style coins but have none to share at the moment. Congrats on the new bronze acquisition and that is quite a beautiful silver too.
    David Atherton likes this.
  5. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Great coin David, I like that type.

    Here is a rare Titus. RIC 103. Not in the RIC plates.

    Titus ric 103 Gorny und Mosch.JPG

    Titus RIC 1.
    Titus RIC 1 new.jpg

    Marcus Aurelius. A german captive. RIC 280.
    M Aurelius ric 280.jpg
  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ...nice coins...that denarius reverse reminds me of the dying Gaul...
    David Atherton likes this.
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting story behind that coin! Thanks for the informative write-up, @David Atherton ! Here's a couple from my collection featuring captives being humiliated.


    Aurelian AD 270-275.
    Roman silvered billon Antoninianus, 3.60 gm, 21.7 mm, 6 h.
    Rome mint, officina 9, issue 11, early – September AD 275.
    Obv: IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate, cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: ORIE-N-S AVG, Sol walking r., holding olive branch in r. hand and bow in l. hand, l. foot resting on a captive in oriental dress kneeling on the ground to r., head turned l., r. hand raised; * in left field, XXIR in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 64; MER/RIC temp 1834; RCV 11569; Hunter 23; Cohen 159; La Venera 1321-32.

    Licinius I:

    Licinius I, AD 308-324
    Roman billon follis
    Antioch, AD 321-323
    Obv: IMP C VAL LICIN LICINIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right
    Rev: IOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter standing left, holding Victory on globe and eagle-tipped scepter, another eagle to feet to left, captive seated on ground to right; X/IIΓ in field, right; SMANTS in exergue.
    Refs: RIC vii, p. 682, 35; Cohen 74; RCV 15225.
  8. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Nice addition! This Trajan Sestertius refers to a really won war. He did his best a little more and committed something in Dacia that we would now call genocide. However, old authors did not pay attention to that. It just proves how selective antique historiography is.


    Trajan 98-117
    laureate head right, slight drapery on left shoulder

    SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI, S-C across fields,
    Dacia seated left on a pile of arms, trophy to left,
    oval and angular shields around her.

    AE Sestertius
    Struck 104-107 in Rome
    22,15g/ 32mm
    Ric 564
    Ex Marti Classical Numismatics
  9. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Admittedly, it's a fairly trippy video - a Lord of the Flies meets Timothy Leary vibe.
    paddyman98 likes this.
  10. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter


    RI Saloninus 259 BI Ant Stndg Globe Spear Mall Captive at feet
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