IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XII CENSPER P P, Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, right, with aegis
FIDEI PVBLICAE, Fides, draped, standing right, holding corn-ears and poppy downwards in right hand and dish of fruits balanced on left: S-C, left and right in field
29.80mm, 10.1g, 6h
Choice gVF, boldly struck, reverse slightly off centre, pleasant cabinet toning, edge cracks, light scrapes on reverse
ex Triskeles Auction 21 (29 September 2017), Lot 397
An exceptional As of Domitian with strikingly clear legends.
Domitianus (Domitian) was the son and heir of the Roman Emperor Vespasian. His 15 year reign (the longest since Tiberius) came to an abrupt end when he was assassinated by court officials. Fides, on the reverse of this coin, was the Roman goddess of good faith and honesty. Her purpose was to oversee the moral integrity of the Roman people. Later she became known as Fides Publica ("Public Faith", as described on the reverse of this coin) and her function evolved to becoming the guardian of treaties and other state documents which were stored in her temple. H. Mattingly theorises that the appearance of Fides on the coinage of Domitian is closely linked to the role of the Emperor as censor (BMCRE II, p. xci). The CENSPER PP in the obverse legend represents Domitian making himself censor for life ("censer perpentuus"). In the year in which this coin was struck, the following events occur: Decebalus of Dacia attacks Moesia; Domitian with Cornelius Fuscus takes the field; the 'agon Capitolinus' instituted; and the revolt of the Nasamones in Africa (BMCRE II, p. lxxx).