Coins 269 Vespasian (69-79 AD). AE Sestertius, 71 AD. D/ IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG PM T PPP COS III. Laureate bust right, wearing aegis; globe below neck. R/ SC. Tetrastyle temple of Isis with semi-circular pediment. RIC 453. AE. g. 26.15 mm. 35.50 RR. Of the greatest rarity. Reverse in very good state of preservation, among only about a dozen recorded specimens of this extraordinary architectural type. Traces of smoothing and minor area of roughness on obverse, otherwise VF/Good VF. Extremely rare type, known only from this single sestertius reverse die. Kraay found this reverse die coupled with (a) three obverse dies of Vespasian's first sestertius issue of 71 (legend with VESPASIANVS, six specimens), and (b) one obverse die of his second sestertius issue of the year (with VESPASIAN, four specimens). A composite bust of Isis had appeared on the Republican denarius Crawford 409/1, but Egyptian religions at Rome were suppressed by Augustus and Tiberius, and this is the first type celebrating an Egyptian deity to appear in the Roman imperial coinage. Why the type was chosen, however, is uncertain. The traditional explanation, that the type commemorates Vespasian's spending of the night before his Jewish triumph of June 71 in the Temple of Isis on the Campus Martius at Rome, has been refuted by Kraay's analysis of the sestertius coinage of 71, which showed that this type must have been struck c. March-April 71, at the end of the year's first and the beginning of the year's second issue of sestertii, so several months before Vespasian celebrated his triumph (Gemini X, 560 note).

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