(87) Domitian - AV aureus, A.D. 90-91, 7.56 g. (inv. 91.153).
Obverse: Laureate head of Domitian r.; DOMITIANVS AVGVSTVS: Domitianus Augustus.
Reverse: Defeated, partly nude female (Germania?) seated r. on shield, l. raised to head in attitude of mourning; broken spear below; GERMANICVS CO(N)S(VL) XV: Germanicus, consul for the fifteenth time.
Provenance: Harlan Berk, 1989.
Bibliography: H. Mattingly and E.A. Sydenham, The Roman Imperial Coinage II: Vespasian to Hadrian (London 1926) 164.
Domitian made much of his military career, the highlight of which was his victory over the Chatti in Germany, a campaign that he led himself and that extended the western frontier beyond the Rhine. For these victories he received the name Germanicus, "conqueror of the Germans," in A.D. 83/84 and a triumph that included the construction of a triumphal arch. The victory was also celebrated very explicitly on coins for a number of years after the event, perhaps because he continued to deal successfully with other tribes in the area in this period; the date of this coin is set by Domitian's fifteenth consulship. The reverse of this aureus depicts a female figure, her nudity suggesting that she is a personification of Germany, sitting dejectedly on a shield, with a broken spear at her feet. The prominence of the name Germanicus in the legend identifies the defeated.
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