Roman Empire

Domitian, Emperor AD 81-96

RIC 442; The World of Money, 42 (this coin); BN -; BMC 94; Calicó 877, Superb Mint State

Rome, AD 86. IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V, laureate head of Domitian right. Reverse: IMP XII COS XII CENS P P P, Germania seated right on shield in attitude of mourning, broken spear below.

Ex Millenia Collection (Goldberg 46, 26 May 2008), 101

Vespasian and Titus had been content to rule in Rome maintaining the same veneer of republican tradition that had been expected since the age of Augustus. Domitian, their respective younger son and brother, had other plans. He made the Senate all but irrelevant by moving the center of administration to the imperial court and took great effort to manage the empire directly through officials that he chose for their ability rather than their elite ancestry. Despite his successful management of the frontiers and economy as well as a robust building program, Domitian’s autocratic style of government with no respect for the Senate caused him to be considered a tyrant by the Roman elite. Of course, this characterization was not helped by his tendency to execute senatorial opponents in the latter part of his reign. At last, in AD 96, a conspiracy of several members of the imperial court orchestrated the assassination of Domitian. The terrorized Senate immediately rejoiced and imposed a damnatio memoriae on his reign: All images of the hated emperor were to be destroyed and his name stricken from decrees and monuments. Sometimes it is better to forget.