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Home>Catalog>RomanCoins>TheAdoptiveEmperors>Trajan

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a brilliant general and administrator was adopted and proclaimed emperor by the aging Nerva in 98 A.D. Regarded as one of Rome's greatest emperors, Trajan was responsible for the annexation of Dacia, the invasion of Arabia and an extensive and lavish building program across the empire. Under Trajan, Rome reached its greatest extent. Shortly after the annexation of Mesopotamia and Armenia, Trajan was forced to withdraw from most of the new Arabian provinces. While returning to Rome to direct operations against the new threats, Trajan died at Selinus in Cilicia.Roman Dominions in the Time of Trajan


Click for a larger photo Dacia defeated! After his defeat in 101 A.D., King Decebalus complied with Rome for a time, but then incited the tribes to pillage Roman colonies across the Danube. Trajan marched into Dacia in 105 A.D. After defeating the surrounding mountain fortresses, in 106 A.D. Trajan besieged Sarmizegetusa, the Dacian capital. With the aid of a Dacian traitor, the Romans found and destroyed water pipes supplying the city. Running out of water and food the city fell and was burned to the ground. Decebalus fled but, followed by the Roman cavalry, committed suicide rather than face capture. The Romans found Decebalus' treasure, estimated at 165,500 kg of gold and 331,000 kg of silver, in the river of Sargesia.
SH72484. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 326b, RIC II 564, BMCRE III 785, BnF IV 1042, Cohen II 534, Strack 396, SRCV II 3196, Nice aVF, handsome portrait, well centered, weight 27.190 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 105 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Dacian mourning, seated left on pile of shields, wearing peaked cap, resting head on right hand which is propped on drawn up right knee, left hand on knee, trophy of captured arms on left before her, S C in exergue; $360.00 (€313.20)

Click for a larger photo Personification of the siege of Sarmizegetusa! In 106 A.D., Trajan besieged Sarmizegetusa, the Dacian capital. With the aid of a Dacian traitor, the Romans found and destroyed water pipes supplying the city. Running out of water and food the city fell and was burned to the ground. Decebalus fled but, followed by the Roman cavalry, committed suicide rather than face capture. The river-god on the reverse is usually described as Tiber, however, the reverse likely personifies the impact of the Roman destruction of the Dacian's water supply. Dacia's own water supply has betrayed her, knocked her to the ground, and is choking her.
SH63939. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 556, BMCRE III 793 note, Cohen II 526, aF, weight 20.524 g, maximum diameter 32.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 103 - 111 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI S C, River-god, cloak billowing behind, leaning left with right knee on supine Dacia, forcing her to the ground, choking her with his right hand, reeds in left; very scarce; $270.00 (€234.90)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Ptolemais, Galilee
Click for a larger photo Ptolemais was a maritime city of Galilee (Acts 21:7). It was originally Accho (or Akko), but was renamed Ptolemais under the rule of Ptolemy Soter.
RP72128. Bronze AE 24, BMC Phoenicia p. 132, 19; Hendin 818; Kadman 97; Rosenberger 47; SNG Cop -, gF, weight 10.659 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 0o, Ptolemais mint, obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPT AVG GERM, laureate, undraped bust right; reverse COL POTL, Tyche seated right on rock, wearing veil and kalathos on head, holding stalks of grain downward in right, river god swimming right below; $200.00 (€174.00)

Click for a larger photo In the first century A.D., the Roman satirist Juvenal observed that his countrymen were made content with two things: bread and circus games. Games were part of religious celebrations and holidays. At one time, across the Empire, Romans celebrated more than forty different games each year. Glory was the main reward for athletes. The actual prize was usually a simple palm frond, wreath, ribbon, or basket.
RB59932. Copper quadrans, BMCRE III 1068, RIC II 687, Cohen II 349, VF, weight 2.363 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 98 - 102 AD; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG, laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse S C, prize urn containing palm frond beside wreath, both on a three-quarter view table; $180.00 (€156.60)

Click for a larger photo In the first century A.D., the Roman satirist Juvenal observed that his countrymen were made content with two things: bread and circus games. Games were part of religious celebrations and holidays. At one time, across the Empire, Romans celebrated more than forty different games each year. Glory was the main reward for athletes. The actual prize was usually a simple palm frond, wreath, ribbon, or basket.
SH65286. Orichalcum semis, RIC II 687, BMCRE III 1069, Cohen II 349 var (no drapery), cf. SRCV II 3247 (quadrans), gVF, nice green patina, weight 3.285 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 107 - 109 AD; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG, laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse view of table from the front and right, on the table stands game prizes: an urn containing a palm frond (on left) and a wreath (on right), S C in exergue; scarce; $180.00 (€156.60)

Click for a larger photo In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa, marking the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion. Trajan removed Osroes I as king of Parthia, and appointed his son Parthamaspates in his place. Parthamaspates Romanized his name to Parthicus.
RB90458. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 534v2, RIC II 672, BMCRE III 1023, Cohen II 352, Banti 106, aVF, light and dark green patina, some corrosion, weight 25.757 g, maximum diameter 35.2 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 114 - early 116 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate and draped bust right; reverse SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS, Felicitas standing left, caduceus in right, cornucopia in left, S - C flanking across field; ex Heritage Auction 231419, lot 61111; $160.00 (€139.20)

Click for a larger photo Felicitas was the goddess or personification of good luck and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire, and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RS72046. Silver denarius, SRCV II 3124, RIC II 121, RSC II 81, BMCRE III 301, gVF, flan crack, light scratches and corrosion, weight 3.083 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 108 A.D.; obverse IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS V P P S P Q R OPTIMO PRINC, Felicitas standing left, caduceus downward in right, cornucopia in left; $150.00 (€130.50)

Roman Empire, Anonymous, Domitian to Antoninus Pius, c. 81 - 161 A.D.
Click for a larger photo RIC identifies this type as common but it appears to be rare with the dove facing left.

Quadrantes, like quinarii, were issued only occasionally, perhaps exclusively for imperial distributions. Suetonius reported that, from the roof of the Basilica Julia "Caligula threw coins among the people." Perhaps this small coin was thrown to the crowd by the emperor himself at a similar event.
RB63623. Bronze quadrans, RIC II p. 218, 25, VF, weight 1.847 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 81 - 161 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Venus right; reverse dove standing left, S C in ex; rare; $145.00 (€126.15)

Click for a larger photo 109 A.D. was a banner year for construction in Rome. On 24 June, the Aqua Traiana was inaugurated by Trajan; the aqueduct channeled water from Lake Bracciano, 40 kilometers (25 mi) north-west of Rome. The Via Traiana, connecting Benevento with Brundisium, was constructed at Trajan's personal expense and the Baths of Trajan, built by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, were dedicated.
RS70176. Silver denarius, RIC II 116, RSC II 69, BMCRE III 276, BnF IV 440. Woytek 281b, Hill UCR 484, SRCV II 3221, VF, weight 3.595 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 108 - 109 A.D.; obverse IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS V P P S P Q R OPTIMO PRINC, Roma seated left, Victory in extended right, inverted spear vertical behind in left; ex Triton XVII, part of lot 1600; $145.00 (€126.15)

Click for a larger photo Trajan was a brilliant soldier and administrator. He restored the Senate to its full status, started a welfare program to feed and care for poor children, directed an extensive building program across the empire, annexed Dacia and invaded Arabia. Under Trajan, Rome reached its greatest extent. And he managed to do all this without a deficit or increasing taxes.
RB63728. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 658, BMCRE III 1019, Cohen II 178, aF, weight 23.403 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 115 - 116 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate and draped bust right; reverse IMPERATOR VIIII / S C in exergue, Trajan seated right on platform, placed on left, accompanied by two officers and addressing five soldiers; rare; $140.00 (€121.80)

Click for a larger photo In 100 A.D. Pliny the Younger advanced to the consulship, giving his panegyric on Trajan in the process. On 24 August 79, he along with his uncle, Pliny the Elder, witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius, during which his uncle died. Pliny rose through the cursus honorum, a series of Imperial civil and military offices. He wrote hundreds of letters, many of which still survive, that are of great historical value for the time period. Some are addressed to reigning emperors or to notables such as the historian Tacitus. His letters to Trajan provide one of the few surviving records of the relationship between the imperial office and provincial governors.
RS70147. Silver denarius, Woytek 68a, RSC II 227a, BnF III 77, RIC II 33 var (double cornucopia), BMCRE IV 64 var (same), Strack 29 var (same), SRCV II -, gF, centered, toned, weight 3.254 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 100 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P COS III P P, Concordia seated left, patera over lit altar in right hand, cornucopia in left; $120.00 (€104.40)

Click for a larger photo Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta her flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins.
RS70235. Silver denarius, Woytek 81f, RSC II 214b, RIC II 40a var. (bust), BMCRE III 60 ff. var (same), BnF IV 80 var. (same), Strack 35 var. (same), F, uneven toning, weight 3.206 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 100 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse P M TR P COS III P P, Vesta seated left, veiled, patera in right, torch in left; scarce bust variation; $120.00 (€104.40)

Click for a larger photo In 107 A.D. Trajan received an ambassador from India.
RB59845. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC II 676, BMCRE III 1052, Cohen II 356, aVF, nice green patina, weight 11.67 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC PARTHICO P M TR P COS VI P P, radiate and draped bust right; reverse SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS S C, Trajan advancing right, between two trophies; $120.00 (€104.40)

Click for a larger photo Felicitas was the goddess or personification of good luck and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire, and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RS72483. Silver denarius, Woytek 519v, BnF IV 821, RIC II 343, BMCRE III 541, RSC II 278, SRCV II 3150, aVF, weight 3.084 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, winter 114 - beginning 116 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC, laureate and draped bust right, from the side; reverse P M TR P COS VI P P S P Q R, Felicitas standing left, caduceus in right, cornucopia in left; $115.00 (€100.05)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Click for a larger photo The sistrum was a type of timbrel, or rattle, made of brass. It was oval, and its circumference perforated with several holes opposite each other, through which were inserted horizontally small metallic rods. Shaken in cadence it emitted a harsh sound. Isis is sometimes depicted holding a sistrum and it was carried by her priests.
RX58096. Bronze dichalkon, Dattari 1114, Kampmann-Ganschow 27.308, SRCV II 3319, Emmett 720, Geissen -, Milne -, SNG Cop -, BMC Alexandria -, SNG Milan -, SNG Hunterian -, VF, weight 1.576 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 109 - 28 Aug 110 A.D.; obverse no legend, laureate head right; reverse sistrum, L - IΓ (year 13) flanking in lower fields; very rare (Emmett R5); $85.00 (€73.95)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Gabala, Seleucis & Pieria, Syria
Click for a larger photo This year is unpublished for the types in references held by Forum, but several examples have been sold at auction and are on Coin Archives. The most recent is the references CNG auction in 2011.

The local civic era began in 47 B.C. The Actian Era began in autumn 31 B.C. The dual dates on this coin only overlap for some months in autumn - winter 112 A.D.
RP69627. Bronze AE 23, CNG e-auction 261, lot 220; cf. BMC Galatia p. 244, 4 - 5 (obv legend, dated BNP, etc.); SNG Cop -, aF, weight 6.241 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Gabala (Jableh, Syria) mint, c. autumn - winter 112 A.D.; obverse AYT NEP KAI TPAIA CEB ΓEPM, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse ΓABAΛEΩN, Astarte seated left, kalathos on head, stalks of grain and poppy in right hand, scepter vertical behind in left, sphinx seated left on far side of chair, HNP (year 158 of the civic era) left, ΓMP (year 143 of Actian Era) inner right; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; very rare date; $85.00 (€73.95)

Click for a larger photo Herakles' fourth labor was to capture the giant fear-inspiring Erymanthian Boar that lived on Mount Erymanthos in the primitive highlands of Arcadia. The centaur Chiron advised Herakles to drive the boar into thick snow. Herakles caught the boar and carried it back to Eurystheus, who was frightened, hid and begged Herakles to get rid of the beast. Three days later, Eurystheus, still trembling with fear, sent Herakles to clean the Augean stables.
RB65623. Copper quadrans, RIC II 702 var, BMCRE III 1062 var, Cohen II 341 var, SRCV II 3248 var (all refs Hercules is diademed, not laureate), VF, green patina with some edge flaking, weight 1.454 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 101 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate bust Hercules right, Nemean lion skin tied around his neck; reverse Erymanthian Boar walking right, S C in exergue; scarce; $80.00 (€69.60)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
Click for a larger photo Under Trajan, Antioch's imperial mint introduced the use of a Greek obverse legend with the Latin S C on the reverse. Greek rather than Latin obverse legends persisted on the S C types until the end of the series in the third century.
RP72497. Bronze as, McAlee 496(c); Hunter III 169; BMC Galatia -; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 14.676 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 116 - 117 A.D.; obverse AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANOC APICT CEB ΓEPM ∆AK ΠAPΘ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse large S C, I below, all within laurel wreath of eight bunches of leaves tied at the bottom; ; rare; $60.00 (€52.20)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Click for a larger photo This crown is sometimes erroneously identified in dealer listings as a hemhem crown, an entirely different Egyptian crown.
RX66496. Bronze dichalkon, Emmett 710 (R4), otherwise apparently unpublished for year 17; cf. Dattari 1097 (year 16), VF, obverse off center, nice patina with earthen highlighting, weight 0.986 g, maximum diameter 12.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 113 - 28 Aug 114 A.D.; obverse no legend, laureate head right; reverse no legend, headdress of Isis (feathers, disk and horns), LI - Z (year 17) flanking feathers; very rare; $45.00 (€39.15)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Attaea, Mysia
Click for a larger photo Attaea appears to be known only from its coinage. Its site is unknown but presumed to be in Mysia based on coin finds.
GB69778. Bronze AE 18, SNG Cop 32; Von Fritze AMNG IV 372; BMC Mysia p. 15, 5; SNGvA 1073; SNG BnF -, F, weight 2.792 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 45o, Attaea mint, obverse AY NEPBAC TPAIANOC, laureate head right; reverse ATTAIATΩN, draped, youthful bust of the Senate right, wearing taenia; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $40.00 (€34.80)


ITEMS PER PAGE 13510203050



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

BONEVENTLIBO
DIVOTRAIANO
DIVOTRAIANOPARTHAVGPATRI
DIVVSTRAIANVSPATERAVGVSTVS
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOOPTIMOAVGGERDAC
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOPTIMAVGGERDACPARTHICOPMTRPCOSVIPP
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOPTIMAVGGERDACPMTRPCOSVIPP
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOPTIMAVGGERMDAC
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOPTIMAVGPMTRPCOSVI
IMPCAESNERVAETRAIANOAVGGERDACPMTRPCOSVPP
IMPCAESNERVAETRAIANOAVGGERDACPMTRPCOSVIPP
IMPCAESNERVATRAIANAVGGERM
IMPCAESNERVATRAIANAVGGERMDACICVSPM
IMPCAESNERVATRAIANAVGGERMPM
IMPCAESNERVATRAIANAVGGERMPMTRPPP
IMPCAESNERVATRAIANOGERM
IMPCAESNERTRAIANAVG
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOOPTIMOAVGGERDAC
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOOPTIMOAVGGERDACPARTHICOPMTRPCOSVIPP
IMPCAESNERTRAIANOOPTIMOAVGGERM
IMPCAESTRAIANAVGGERDACPPREST
IMPCAESTRAIANAVGGERM
IMPNERVATRAIANAVGGERMPM
IMPNERVACAESTRAIANAVGGERMPM
IMPNERVACAESTRAIANAVGGERMPMTRPPP
IMPNERVATRAIANVSAVGGERDACICVS
IMPTRAIANOAVGGERDACPMTRP
IMPTRAIANOAVGGERDACPARTHICO
IMPTRAIANOAVGGERDACPMTRPCOSVPP
IMPTRAIANOAVGGERDACPMTRPCOSVDESVI
IMPTRAIANOAVGGERDACPMTRPCOSVIPP
IMPTRAIANOPTIMAVGGERMDAC
IMPTRAIANOOPTIMOAVGGERDACPMTRP
IMPTRAIANOPIOFELAVGPP
IMPTRAIANVSAVGGERDACPMTRPCOSVIPP
IMPTRAIANVSAVGGERMDACICVS


REFERENCES

Besombes, P-A. Bibliothèque Nationale, Catalogue des Monnaies de l’Empire Romain, IV Trajan (98-117 après J.-C.). (Paris, 2008).
Banti, A. and L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l’Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Hill, P.V. The Dating and Arrangement of the Undated Coins of Rome, A.D. 98-148. (London, 1970).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 3: Nerva to Hadrian. (London, 1936).
Mattingly H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II: Vespasian to Hadrian. (London, 1926).
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Robinson, A.S. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P.L. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil 1: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Traian. (Stuttgart, 1931).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Woytek, B. Die Reichsprägung des kaisers Traianus (98-117). MIR 14. (Vienna, 2010).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, March 03, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Trajan