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Finally! Domitian At Last!

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 11 / Views: 558Next Topic  
Valued Member
United States
193 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  1:06 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
When I posted a dupondius of Titus wayyy back in February, I mentioned that my next focus was an acquisition of a Domitian. I already had a Vespasian to go with the Titus. So my search began in order to complete the Flavian dynasty. As usual, my narrow focus on the realism of the portrait presented a major challenge. Especially with Domitian. His fifteen-year reign produced a tremendous amount of coinage and a wide variety of depictions. I found most portraits to be a bit...glorified. Some tended to be caricatured. Still others, overtly stylized. What I wanted was...obvious, realistic Flavian features. I've learned from experience to look for early issues. The earlier the better. I'm pleased to say, after nine months of steady searching...I believe I've found my Domitian.

Issued by his brother Titus in 80 CE, this rugged As has everything I'm looking for: good size, historical roughness, nice patina, and a sharply realistic portrait. Obverse depicts Domitian as Caesar, facing right wearing laurel. Reverse: Victory facing right, advancing on a prora (prow). 10.31 grams. Victory indeed!
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United States
596 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  1:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Hondo Boguss to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fantastic acquisition and congratulations, circusmax! It's a beauty, and so satisfying to capture the elusive quarry.
What's next?
Inordinately fascinated by bits of metal with strange markings and figures
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Sweden
1270 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  1:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A very nice, vivid portrait indeed. Congrats!
Valued Member
United States
193 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  2:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you both! Truly gratifying to be able to steward this beauty. The Flavian features of this portrait are, I believe, an indication of the honesty of the depiction. No flattery. No glorification (yet). Perhaps speaking to a bit of sibling rivalry. Titus giving a subtle message to Domitian: "Stay humble, my brother!"

I'm not sure where my focus will be next, erafjel. Tiberius perhaps. Germanicus? Toughies both. We will see how inspiration strikes!
Edited by circusmax120
11/30/2022 2:05 pm
Bedrock of the Community
United States
48388 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  2:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice example.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 6.5 +/- Million Cents Since 1971
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Valued Member
United States
193 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  5:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, John and jbuck. It was a good find that was a long time coming. Here's the rest of the family for comparison.

Dear old dad...

And dear brother

Quite the resemblance. It's all in the Flavian chin!
Edited by circusmax120
11/30/2022 5:06 pm
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United States
120433 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  5:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Here's the rest of the family for comparison.
Good looking set!
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United Kingdom
863 Posts
 Posted 11/30/2022  6:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Congratulations on the acquisition of the Domitian, Mike. Super portrait.

It's nice to see Dad and the two brothers together showing the family resemblance, especially the chin.
Valued Member
United States
193 Posts
 Posted 12/01/2022  2:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, Jim. I feel a great deal of humble honor whenever I manage to acquire a new ancient. *shaking head* Now there's an oxymoron if ever there was one.

The portrait is strikingly realistic for a man who really put the spin on his depictions once he attained the emperorship. Bending toward heroic flattery and a touch of glorification. Domitian seemed to stray from the family tradition of playing-up the self-deprecating, self-made, homespun reputation of his predecessors. The two features that remain consistent throughout the majority of his images: 1. the overhanging upper lip, and 2. the Flavian chin.
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Spain
2681 Posts
 Posted 12/02/2022  07:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wonderful trio Mike!
The Domitian portrait a polaroid of the emperor.You do have a good eye...

Here's an early portrait in silver (minted around a year after yours) showing just how the bronzes always seem to catch the realistic features better...Maybe to do with the size of the dies allowing a more detailed portrayal?


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United States
193 Posts
 Posted 12/02/2022  11:08 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I definitely agree with your read, Paul. The larger flan allows more room to include details that lend itself to a more realistic depiction in the portrait. Your much smaller silver is restrictive. So the approach of the engraver is to simplify. The focus would be towards caricature, where certain features and traits are played-up in order to capture the subject. As you can clearly see in the image of your fine denarius, Paul: overhanging upper lip...and prominent chin.

Your denarius is truly nice, Paul. The portrait, though leaning into caricature (ever so slightly), still bears the elements of a realistic portrayal of the man. The toning is quite nice! The portraits on BOTH coins are really quite similar. It seems the earlier the portrait...the truer, more honest the depiction.

I would say that you also have "a good eye".
Edited by circusmax120
12/02/2022 11:09 am
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