martedì 24 marzo 2015

Titus, Eleventh of the Twelve Caesars

Titus, Sestertius, high style

Titus was born Titus Flavius Vespasianus in 39 AD, the eldest son of Vespasian and Flavia Domitilla.  He began his military career early, and served as a tribune and a quaestor.  He served in both Britain and Germany.  In his father's service, he led legions in Judea, and captured the cities of Gamala and Taricheae.  In 69, Titus was charged with the mission of suppressing the Jewish revolt, which he did in four months' time.  He captured Jerusalem and struck at the heart of Jewish identity by destroying the Temple.  His treatment of his captured foes was merciless.  For this successful conquest, he was awarded a triumph by the senate.

Vespasian envisioned a Flavian dynasty to rule Rome, and due to Titus' military successes and his loyalty to his father, he was named both Caesar and Designatus Imperator on Vespasian's coinage.  Many in the senate viewed a dynastic rule as a threat to their power, and conspired against Titus out of fear.

Upon accession to the throne, Titus sought to suppress some of the negative feelings held by his opponents by appearing to be more lenient and merciful.  He abolished the use of the charge of high treason and internal spying was discouraged, which relieved much paranoia and fear in the halls of the senate.  Despite his harsh treatment of the Jews previous to becoming emperor, his reign was a rather peaceful one, marked by
Sestertius, Pax Augusti

One of the most enduring symbols of Rome found completion during the reign of Titus.  The Flavian Amphitheater, known by most as the Colosseum, was completed and brought into use at this point.  Also during his reign, three great disasters took place.  First, and of historic proportions, was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, destroying several towns, most notably Pompeii.  Second, a huge fire burned in Rome for three days, destroying many important buildings.  And thirdly, there was a severe outbreak of the plague.  Titus' responses with help to those affected by these disasters did much to bolster his image and reputation among his subjects.

Titus' short reign ended on 13 September 81 at the Aquae Cutilae after an unknown illness took its' course.  Rumors that he was poisoned by his brother, Domition, abounded, but the likelihood is that he died a natural death.
Sestertius, Mars advancing

Denarius, eagle standing on memorial

As, Victoria Navalis

The coinage of Titus showed the beginnings of a decline in artistic merit.  Portraiture, while in many cases remained superb, overall consistency in the grade of workmanship varied quite a bit.  Reverses were quite varied in topic and content, but tended on the whole to be more simple and thematic than those of previous emperors, such as Nero, whose Port of Ostia coinage ranks among the masterpieces of Roman numismatic art.  Reverses often depicted scenes representing peace, and in a typically Roman spirit, Victory and military prowess.

mercoledì 4 marzo 2015

Nuove aste numismatiche: 21 e 22 Marzo.

Sono online le nostre prossime aste numismatiche!

Siamo sempre alla ricerca di importanti monete per le nostre prossime aste in sala!Prossima asta battuta: Primavera 2015.

lunedì 2 marzo 2015

Vespasian, Tenth of the Twelve Caesars

Vespasian, aureus

Titus Flavius Vespasianus was born north of Rome in Reate in 9 AD into a family of equestrian rank.  His father, Flavius Sabinus was a tax collector.  Both Vespasian and his brother rose to the office of senator.  His military career gained him much recognition.  He earned the insignia of a Triumph for his work in the army of Claudius during the invasion of Britain.  He held a consulship, two priesthoods and was proconsul of Africa.  Under Nero, he was appointed governor of Judea.  His task was to put down the First Jewish Revolt.  In about one year, he had succeeded in suppressing unrest in the state, Jerusalem being the main exception.

Upon the death of Nero, Vespasian gave his support to Galba in his quest to be emperor.  With the murder of Galba, and the suicide of Otho, Vitellius and his supporters saw and opportunity to grasp for power.  In July of 69 the legions of Egypt, Judea and Syria swore oaths of allegiance to Vespasian.  Vitellius had been named emperor, but was seen by Vespasian's supporters as a good target for a coup.  By August, the Danubian legions were also firm backers of Vespasian.  They were the first to reach Italy, and defeated the armies of Vitellius in the Second Battle of Bedriacum.  One of Vespasian's commanders, Marcus Antonius Primus marched on Rome.  Primus' troops captured Vitellius and murdered him in the Forum.  Vespasian was then quickly acclaimed emperor by the senate.
Sestertius, Judea Capta
Denarius, Judea Capta
Sestertius, Pax Augusti

The key theme of Vespasian's reign was one of peace through tactful management.  He sent his son, Titus to subdue the revolt in Jerusalem.  He also restructured his armies in a manner as to eliminate any powerful threats to his power.  Legions were split up, regrouped and made smaller to eliminate any generals from being strong enough to pose a threat to the throne.  He treated his soldiers firmly, but let them (and the senate) know that his power as emperor flowed from his military support.  He also employed a management strategy that responded to the needs of the empire and its' provinces rather than just being responsive to just the needs of Rome and Italy.
Sestertius, high style.

Two of the great public works projects that occurred during Vespasian's administration include the Temple of Peace and the Flavian Colosseum.
As, Victory advancing

Throughout his reign, Vespasian lived a vigorous life in good health.  He died a natural death from a fever on 24 June 79 AD.  He had gone to great lengths to establish a Flavian dynasty to succeed him upon his demise.  His elder son, Titus became emperor at Vespasian's death, fulfilling his wish, despite stirrings in the senate by those who did not want dynastic rule.