Domitian, 81-96

Domitian, 81-96

Domitian (born October 24th, 51 in Rome, † September 18th 96 ibid) was from 14th September 81 to 18th September 96 Roman Emperor. After the sudden death of his brother Titus, he encountered no problems with the succession. He pursued the political principles of his two predecessors: Maintaining a good relationship with the Senate and the people, fiscal austerity without excessive stinginess and monumental construction projects in Rome itself.

During his reign he relied less and less on the Senate and strengthened the role of his informal Privy Council. In 85, he achieved the censor's office for life, entitling him to appoint and release Senators from their duties. This situation sat very unwell with the Senate aristocracy, because it now had to worry even more about their already dwindling influence.

From 83 there were several disturbances on the northern borders of the empire. Above all, the campaigns against the Dacians under their ruler Decebalus aroused the displeasure of the Senate: Domitian decided after the war entry of several smaller tribes on the side of the Dacians to hold peace negotiations. The result was considered by many to be ignominious because it did not adequately avenge Rome: Decebalus submitted to Rome and was appointed puppet ruler. He received civilian and military support to consolidate his rule.

Despite the animosity between him and the Senate Domitian's end would be sealed by a conspiracy at court: On 18th September 96 he was stabbed in his private chambers.

Domitian proved a keen financial politician: One of his first measures was to increase the silver purity of the denarii from 90% to 98%. By a rigorous tax policy, he was able to hold this level for least 11 years. His coin types were traditionally aligned with those of his predecessors, but he showed a preference for Minerva. He saw the goddess as his personal patron and glorified her on a variety of coins.