Roman Empire Domitian Denarius 81 - 96 AD

Obv: Laureated head r "IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM PM TRP XII?"

Rev: Minerva fighting holding shield and brandishing javelin "IMP XXII COS XVI CENS PPP"

. Metal: Silver 3.4 grams, 19 mm diameter. Condition: VF+

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History of Domitian

Domitian was born in 51 AD and did not have the privileged palace childhood of his older brother "Titus". When Vespasian was declared emperor in 69 AD, Domitian was in Rome, which put him in an insecure postion. In December 69 AD Domitian and his uncle "Sabinus" were attacked by unruly soldiers and withstood a siege in the temple of Capitoline Jupiter. His uncle was captured and executed, but Domitian donned a disquise and fled to safety as the inviolable temple was burning. Within two days, Vespasian was recognized as emperor by the senate and Domitian was out of danger. In October 70 AD, Domitian was given junior command in the campaign against the revolt of Julius Civilis in Gaul and Germany. The war was a quick success and Domitian returned to Rome. Not much is known of Domitian's life during the reign of his father and brother.

Upon Titus' death Domitian had the Pretorian Guard hail him as emperor and on the next day, 14 September 81 AD, he was confirmed by the senate.

Domitian had many of the talents of his father and brother and is said to have been able to shoot an arrow between the spread fingers of a hand without error. He was a hard worker with a sense of responsibility and he used his talents to better the government. However, he was not as good at finance as his father and had to resort to heavy taxation, confiscations and debasement of the coinage to support his enterprises. A big drain on the empire was his raising of the annual pay of a legionnaire from 300 to 400 denarii per year. His reign was relatively peaceful, but he did lead campaigns against invasions along the Rhine and Danube and was the first emperor since Claudius to lead the army in person.

In 88/89 AD Saturninus revolted, although he was defeated Domitian became paranoid and the remainder of his reign became despotic and few if any noblemen or senators felt secure in their person or their possessions. He executed at least a dozen ex-consuls and in 95 AD he executed his second-cousin "Flavius Clemens", so now even his family did not feel secure. A coup was organized and Domitian was set upon by the chamberlain who stabbed him in the groin. A fierce struggle broke out, but other conspirators burst into the room and hacked Domitian to death. The senate was overjoyed and Domitian was damned by decree of the senate.