Vespasian's Victoria Navalis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I was quite thrilled to receive this most recent arrival (thanks Victor!).

    V1160.jpg Vespasian
    Æ Dupondius, 11.14g
    Lyon mint, 71 AD
    RIC 1160 (R2). BMC 809.
    Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
    Rev: VICTORIA NAVALIS; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
    Acquired from Victor's Imperial Coins, September 2018.

    The Victory on prow type is traditionally attributed to the lone naval victory Vespasian won on Lake Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee) during the Jewish War. By any definition it is a most bizarre 'naval' battle indeed. Near the close of the Galilean campaign, Vespasian and Titus marched to Lake Gennesaret in order to secure the cities along its coastline. Tiberias fell without much resistance, but the neighbouring city of Taricheae was a slightly tougher nut to crack. Home to many of the rebels who fled Tiberias, the city put up a small fight on the plain outside the city. They were quickly defeated by Titus' troops who then stormed the city and began slaughtering the inhabitants. Many of the rebels took flight to waiting boats they had previously commandeered on the lake. These boats were likely local fishing or ferry vessels not intended for use in war. Vespasian ordered the legionaries to construct large rafts in order to pursue the rebel's makeshift flotilla. With the coastline guarded by Roman horsemen the legionaries launched their rafts and sailed out in a large line toward the enemy. The Jewish boats were no match for the heavily armoured Roman rafts. The legionaries easily picked off the Jewish rebels who had no means of escape. The slaughter was intense, so much so that Josephus claims 6,500 Jews were killed. Several years later during Vespasian and Titus' Jewish War Triumph in Rome, ships were displayed to commemorate the battle. Were the Victoria Navalis coins struck with the same event in mind? As unlikely as it seems, the impromptu 'naval' battle at Lake Gennesaret is the best candidate for Vespasian striking this Actium-lite reverse type. The connection to Augustus would not have been lost on his contemporaries. Flavian propaganda at its most exaggerated.

    It should be noted that Mattingly in BMCRE II attributes the reverse as a general 'Our Lady Victory of the Fleet' naval type. Perhaps that is closer to the truth?

    This Victoria Navalis dupondius struck at Lugdunum (Lyon) is much rarer than the Rome mint variants, which are more commonly seen on the As issues. The 'severe' portrait along with the globe at the base of the neck distinguishes them from their Rome mint counterparts.

    The coin came in a slab. Needless to say, it no longer is entombed.


    Feel free to post your 'Victory at Sea' types!
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  3. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    That's a very nice coin. The closest I have to a naval victory would be this one, though I don't believe it's tied to any battle.
    Demetrios II, SECOND REIGN
    Mint: Sidon
    Year 186, 127/126 BC
    Obvs: Diademed and draped bust of Demetrios II right beardless within dotted border, B behind.
    Revs: ΣIΔΩNOΣ ΘEAΣ in two lines to left, Phoenician script to right "of the Sidonians". Astarte on prow left holding asphlaston and naval trophy. ζΠΡ to right.
    AE 18x19mm, 4.60g
    Ref: SNG Spaer 2215; SC 2189.8; HGC 10, 1137(R2)
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  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Ooh, that's a nice one, David. You're really cutting a swath through these bronzes. :)

    I have a 'Victory at sea' denarius.

    Vespasian - Denarius Vic 1097.jpg
    AR Denarius. 3.12g, 19.5mm, Rome mint, AD 75. RIC II 777 (C2). O: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right. R: PON MAX TR P COS VI, Victory standing left on prow, holding wreath up in right hand and palm upright in left.
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  5. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    That is a nice example of a scarce type, David.

    I agree that the description of this as being issued to commemorate the naval victory at the Sea of Galilee does sound a bit unusual, but who knows?

    This is the example in my collection, struck in the name of Titus:

    Titus, as Caesar, 69-79. As, Rome, 72. T CAESAR VESPASIAN IMP PONT TR POT COS II Laureate head of Titus to right. Rev. VICTORIA NAVALIS / S - C Victory standing right on prow, holding wreath in right hand, palm over left shoulder. BMC -. Cohen -. RIC² 471

    Titus As Victoria Navalis OBV1 N  - 1.jpg Titus As Victoria Navalis REV1 N  - 1.jpg
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  6. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great pick up David, such a rare coin in good condition, they are my favorite bronze Flavian types as well.
    Titus as Caesar under Vespasian, Rome mint struck 72-73 AD, 11.08gm 26mm RIC 644. Rare.[​IMG]And this one of Vespasian, Victoria Avgvst, Victory standing on a prow, with wreath in palm, Rome mint 76 AD, 11.25gm, 26-27mm RIC 897 (R).[​IMG]
  7. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Nice purchase. Are you sure that it is laureate? It looks radiate to my eyes. Similar to an example I used to own below.


    Keep your eyes open for this variant too, which I used to own.

    Obv:– IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III, Radiate head right, globe on neck
    Rev:– VICTORIA NAVALIS S - C, Victory standing right on prow, holding wreath and palm
    Minted in Lugdunum. A.D. 70-71

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  8. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..good eye maridnmvm....:)..very nice Dupondius David:)
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  9. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Yes, it's a radiate crown. I owe the mistake to 15 years of dealing exclusively with silver and having my attributions on autopilot. lol

    I certainly will keep an eye out for that rare variant. Gosh, that's a mighty handsome coin!
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  10. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Very nice acquisition David, congrats.
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  11. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Well-Known Member

    Great coin and essay, David! Naval events of the period are always interesting!

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  12. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great addition!
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  13. ro1974

    ro1974 Well-Known Member

    i have a titus _DSC1dd44.jpg IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII,
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  14. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    The flip side of the coin, so to speak. Wonderful presentation!
  15. ruud1301

    ruud1301 Well-Known Member

  16. ruud1301

    ruud1301 Well-Known Member

    Here's my Vespasian victory as advancing left.above..picture,below Titus victoria navalis as,both fleemarket finds in France.
  17. Nemo

    Nemo Well-Known Member

    That's a beautiful coin David. Here's one of mine.

    TITUS, as Caesar. 79-81 AD. Æ As 28mm 8.6 gm. Struck 74 AD. O: T CAES IMP PON TR P COS III CENS, laureate head left R: VICTORIA AVGVST, S C across field, Victory standing right on prow, holding wreath and palm. RIC 755 (Vespasian); BMCRE 711A (Vespasian) note var. (head right); cf. Cohen 363.

    This obverse legend with PON TR P added and CAESAR abbreviated to CAES is only known on one coin paired with this reverse type (BMCRE 711A note), but that coin's obverse has Titus facing right. The references mentioned are from the only other example I could find online. I believe this is the third known left facing example.

    Attached Files:

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  18. ruud1301

    ruud1301 Well-Known Member

    This is a very nice coin Nemo..nice patina.
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