Domitian, 81-96. Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 7.61 g, 7 h), Rome, 87. IMP CAES DOMIT AVG•GER•M P M•TR•P•VI Laureate head of Domitian to right. Rev. IMP•XIIII COS XIII•CENS•P•P•P Germania, bare-chested and draped from the waist, seated to right on decorated hexagonal Germanic shield, placing her head on her left hand in attitude of mourning; below, broken spear. BMC -. Calicó 882 (same reverse die). Cohen -. RIC 513. Very rare. A splendid example with an elegant portrait and an exceptionally detailed reverse. Some traces of mounting and with a few faint marks, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
Contemporary and modern historians have long cast doubts on the proclaimed successes of Domitian in Germany, which Tacitus commented with a dismissive 'in recent times we have celebrated triumphs rather than won conquests over them [the Germans]' (Tac. Germ. 37.5). It is true that Domitian's campaigns of 83-85 against the Chatti led to a massive output of triumphal coins, which clearly follow the example set by Vespasian's Iudaea Capta-issues and certainly pursued propagandistic goals. On the other hand, we have to take into account the notorious hostility of the senatorial historiography towards the last Flavian emperor, which resulted in the downplay of most of his achievements. The fact that the upper Rhine region and the agri decumates saw no serious barbarian invasions in the century after his reign indicates that Domitian's campaigns and measures must have been quite successful, and they actually permitted his successors to relocate considerable forces to the Danube and Syrian frontiers.