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Roman Empire

Ruler: Domitian Caesar under Vespasian
Reigned: Caesar 69 -79 AD: Augustus 81 - 96 AD
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 77 - 78 AD
Obverse: Bust laureate, right. Legend anti-clockwise, outwardly from low right, "CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS"
Reverse: Horseman galloping right, right hand raised behind. In exergue, "COS V"
Reference: RIC II(1) Vespasian 957, RSC 49a, RCVM 2638
Weight: 3.4 gms
Diameter: 17.9 mm

DOMITIAN (Titus Flavius Domitianus)

  • Domitian was the second son of the Emperor Vespasian and the brother of the Emperor Titus, and was born at Rome, on 24 October 51 AD.
  • When Vespasian was proclaimed Emperor, while in Judea with Titus, supressing the Jewish revolt, Domitian acted as his representative until Vespasian reached Rome in October 70 AD.
  • After Vespasian, Titus reigned and on the latter's death in 81 AD, Domtitian quickly proclaimed himself Emperor and was installed by the Senate, on 14th September.
  • Initially, Domitian was a good ruler and bought the support of the army with big pay increases.
  • In 85 the Dacians (from the area of modern Romania) crossed the river and murdered the local Roman governor. It took until 88 for the Romans to restore order, with victory at Tapae in 88. There was also fighting against the Quadi, Marcomanni and Sarmatians on the Danube frontier.
  • Because of these problems, Domitian halted expansion into Scotland, initiated by Agricola.
  • Domitian became more and more insecure and paranoid. He instigated a reign of terror from 93 onwards, executing or banishing friend and foe alike.
  • In 96 there was a conspiracy to assassinate him. The conspirators were his personal attendants, Stephanus and Parthenius, the imperial chamberlain. Hiding a dagger in a bandages on his arm, Stephanus stabbed him (18th September).
  • The Senate (but not the army) were overjoyed and elected one of their number, the elderly Nerva, as the new Emperor.

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