Domitian, a hated emperor

One coin at a time is Brett Telford’s blog about coins. He has a marvelous photo of a silver Tetradrachm showing the image of Domitian. It was struck in Tarsus about A.D. 93-95. Please take a look.

Telford says,

The portrait reveals an emperor weary from insecurity and suspicion of conspiracy in the later years of his reign. His gaze bears witness to the demons that incited his paranoia. Domitian’s reign of terror began at around AD 93 and lasted until his death in AD 96… about the same time that this coin was struck.

After an interesting discussion of Ethelbert Stauffer’s theory that the titles of Domitian equal 666, Telford comments on the coincidence that this coin was minted at Tarsus, home of the apostle Paul.

This coin isn’t without its own Biblical reference. Tarsus, the city in which this coin was minted, was the birthplace of the Apostle Paul. Isn’t it ironic then, that a coin of the purported Biblical “Beast” was struck in the very city that brought us the most notable of early Christian missionaries.

Previously I have called attention to my books on Revelation. I failed to mention another brief publication about Domitian. Several years back Arthur M. Ogden and I wrote a series of exchanges. This publication, Did Domitian Persecute Christian? is available free in PDF at BibleWorld.

I have seen various inscriptions on which the name of Domitian has been scratched off. It means that he was a person of damnable memory. Recently on our trip to Jerash in Jordan we saw two inscription discovered when the theater was being restored. Here is a photo of one of them.

The inscription, which dates to the year A.D. 90/91, bears the title of the Emperor Domitian, but his name has been erased. The emperor is said to be the son of “divine (theou) Vespasian.” At the moment I can’t put my hands on it, but I recall that a translation of both inscriptions is included in the Newsletter of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Oct., 1974. Inscriptions like this definitely need to be in a controlled environment rather than outside in the weather.

On our upcoming Steps of Paul and John tour the name of Domitian will be used often.

HT: Georg S. Adamsen, Revelation Resources.

One response to “Domitian, a hated emperor

  1. Pingback: Revelation, the beast, 666, and Emperor Domitian « Ben Byerly’s Blog

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