Domitian was the younger son of the emperor Vespasian.
Although his older brother Titus occupied the throne from
A.D. 79 to 81, while Domitian was growing up, he was not
given any real political power. Because of this, Domitian
always felt a certain amount of resentment towards his
elder brother, spurring the rumors that Domitian poisoned
Titus, although these are generally believed to be false.
Like Tiberius and Caligula before him, Domitian sought to
be absolute ruler. He scandalized the Senate and the rest
of the Roman aristocracy by having statues of himself
erected and by insisting that people refer to him as "Lord
and God.” The Senate grew to loathe and fear Domitian,
hatching numerous plots against his life, and he, in turn,
became increasingly suspicious towards them. In the last
three or four years of Domitian’s reign, the senators lived
in fear of their lives, reaping the fruit of their conspiracies.
In the end, it would be this backstabbing and mistrust on
both sides that would doom Domitian. In 95, he eliminated
his two praetorian prefects. The two men who replaced
them, Petronius Secundus and Norbanus, fearing that they
too would soon be eliminated, decided to form a
successful conspiracy to assassinate Domitian.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or
purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its
journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets
to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who
might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin
will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money,
coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a
specific time and location, whether active currencies in the
age we live or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This
stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of
craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often
lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This
coin commemorates Rome’s victory against the Jewish
rebellion. While Rome’s occupation of the Holy Land was
short-lived, artifacts like this coin live one: concrete
remnants of ancient empires passed from the hands of
civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.