Vespasian AR Denarius 75 CE

Vespasian AR Denarius 75 CE

Rome Mint


Rev: Victory stg left on Cista Mystica flanked by snakes; PON MAX TR P COS VI

RIC 776 (R) RSC 369, BMC 169

Private purchase July 29, 2019

The reverse of this coin is the reason I wanted it. Though it is rough if you look closely you can see most of the main elements. Victory is standing on a Cista Mystica. A Cista Mystica was a box that housed snakes and that was used in religious ceremonies. Snakes were associated with dieties. On either side of the box on the reverse you can see snakes. Vespasian was not the first emperor to use this type of reverse. In fact, the first emperor Augustus used this on a silver quinarius.

I wish the reverse were little clearer but perhaps I will pick up a better example some day. In the meantime, I will be happy with this one. Sometimes I buy a coin because it is interesting and this one falls into this category.