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Spectacular DIVI TITI FILIA's Peacock in Splendor
Lot # 513 - Julia Titi, daughter of Titus (Augusta 79-91 AD). AR Denarius, Rome mint. Obv. IVLIA AVGVSTA. Diademed and draped bust right, hair in long plait down back. Rev. DIVI TITI FILIA. Peacock standing facing, tail ‘in splendor’. RIC II-p. 1 (2nd ed.) (Domit.) 683 (Aureus) and note 72 ; RIC II (Domit.) 218 ; Mazzini 7 (Domitian). AR. 3.05 g. 20.00 mm. RRR. Extremely rare. Brilliant and superb, with underlying luster and golden highlights. Insignificant minor area of soft striking on obverse, otherwise. EF. This issue is well known as aurei, but the denarii have had a mixed history. At the time of the first edition of RIC II in 1926, the type was cataloged alongside the aurei, without question. By the time the second edition of BMCRE appeared in 1976, though, there apparently were doubts about the authenticity of the denarii, as the footnote referencing them simply stated, “authority?” Nonetheless, the issue was revisited in the second edition of RIC II in 2007, in which the authors state: “Such denarii were previously doubted (modern forgeries of this issue exist, e.g. Becker, also ancient plated copies) though the presence of a denarius for the parallel Domitia issue suggests denarii of this type may be possible.”Though Julia was an Augusta, she was secondary in importance to Domitia, the wife of her uncle Domitian, who was then the reigning emperor. None the less, the future was brimming with hope for Julia, a woman who has come down to us in the historical tradition as less than scrupulous. She was young enough to hope for an elevation from her position of honor to one of actual authority, especially since she was having a secret affair with her uncle Domitian, who was childless and in a difficult marriage. In 83 Julia’s prospects brightened considerably: Domitian exiled his wife and Julia could pursue her affair with Domitian more completely by living with him in the palace. This did not bode well for Julia’s unfortunate husband, her second cousin Flavius Sabinus, who Domitian soon executed on an invented charge. The incestuous couple shared their lives until 90 or 91, when Julia died of a failed abortion attempt. (NAC 33, 461 note).