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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ TrajanView Options:  |  |  |   

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


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The double sestertius, easily distinguished by its radiate crown, was also issued by Gallienus and especially by Postumus. This rare denomination, equal in value to the obsolete silver quinarius, was introduced with this issue. The c. 4g brass "semis" introduced at the same time, may well have been a "reduced as" half of the c. 8.5 gram dupondius, one quarter of the c. 17 g sestertius, and one eighth of this coin. Completing the sub-antoninianus denominations, a rare, small, silver coin of c. 1.6 g was a denarius.
SH82658. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC IV 115c & pl. 12, 16 (R); Cohen V 40 (30 fr.); Hunter III 46 & pl. 78; SRCV III 9395, gVF, attractively centered on a full flan, green and brown surfaces, minor roughness, small areas of light smoothing , closed flan crack at obv. 7:00, weight 37.403 g, maximum diameter 37.0 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 3rd emission, 250 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS SAECVLI (age of good fortune), Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, long caduceus grounded and vertical in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C flanking across field; ex CNG e-auction 410 (29 Nov 2017), lot 379; $1440.00 (€1224.00)
 


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

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From 114 to 117 A.D. the Jews of Cyprus revolted and massacred gentiles in great numbers. After the uprising was put down, every known Jew in Cyprus was killed and a law was passed forbidding any Jew, even from a shipwreck, to set foot on the island. Nevertheless Jewish residents remained on the island and in 610 A.D. they were sufficiently numerous to participate in an insurrection against Heraclius. In 646, and again in 1154, Cyprus was devastated by Arabs.
RB86780. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 534v, RIC II 672, BMCRE III 1023, Hunter II 375, Cohen II 352, Banti 106, SRCV II 3192, BnF IV -, Choice VF, well centered and struck, nice portrait, brown tone, nice surfaces, minor bump on cheek, weight 24.276 g, maximum diameter 34.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, winter 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 slightly left, head left, caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $700.00 (€595.00)
 


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

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $650.00 (€552.50)
 


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A gilded 2nd century B.C. slightly over-lifesize bronze statue, Hercules of the Forum Boarium, has Hercules in a similar pose. This statue is probably the one mentioned by Pliny, which originally stood in the Temple of Hercules Victor, by the Tiber. It lacks the lion skin. Perhaps a actual lion skin was once draped on it. The sculpture is now in the Musei Capitolini, Rome. Another similar sculpture, from the 2nd Century A.D., the Hercules of the Theatre of Pompey, was discovered in 1864, carefully buried under protective tiles. It was incised FCS (fulgor conditum summanium), indicating that it had been struck by lightning, and had been carefully interred on the spot. The figure lightly supports himself on his grounded vertical club, the skin of the Nemean Lion is draped over his left forearm. This sculpture is now in the round room area of Museo Pio-Clementino, in the Vatican.Hercules_Sculptures
RS86635. Silver denarius, Woytek 100a, RIC II 49, RSC II 234, BMCRE III 86, BnF IV 108, Hunter II 41, Strack I 40, SRCV II -, Choice VF, well centered, toned, light marks, weight 3.393 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 101 - Oct 102 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P COS IIII P P, statue of Hercules standing facing on low base, nude except for lion skin draped over head, shoulders and left arm, club downward in right hand, apples of Hesperides in his left hand; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


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

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This type is from a series of semisses and quadrantes struck in Rome for use in the closed imperial mine communities of the Balkan region. Some types name the mines in the reverse legends: METALLI VLPIANI DELM (for Dalmatia), METALLI VLPIANI PANN (for Pannonia) and DARDANICI (for Dardania, Moesia).
RB86484. Bronze quadrans, Woytek 611b, Simic-Vasic 11, BMCRE III - (p. 234 note & pl. 45, 13), RIC II 704 (R2) var., BnF IV 973 var., SRCV II 3252 (all var. obv. leg.), F, nice portrait, corrosion/porosity, part of reverse legend unstruck, weight 2.813 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 235o, Rome mint, c. 107 - 109 A.D.(?); obverse IMP CAES TRAIAN AVG GER DAC, laureate bust right, drapery on far shoulder; reverse METALLI VLPIANI, Aequitas (or Moneta?) standing half left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; very rare; $220.00 (€187.00)
 


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"Trajan, having crossed the Ister by means of the bridge, conducted the war with safe prudence rather than with haste, and eventually, after a hard struggle, vanquished the Dacians. In the course of the campaign he himself performed many deeds of good generalship and bravery, and his troops ran many risks and displayed great prowess on his behalf. It was here that a certain horseman, after being carried, badly wounded, from the battle in the hope that he could be healed, when he found that he could not recover, rushed from his tent (for his injury had not yet reached his heart) and, taking his place once more in the line, perished after displaying great feats of valor." -- Roman History by Cassius Dio
RB77285. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 203o, BnF IV 564, RIC II 535 (S), Strack 360, Banti 215, BMCRE III -, Cayón -, aF, well centered, corrosion, pitting, weight 21.572 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 104 - 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust left; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Trajan on horseback galloping right, in military dress, brandishing spear at Dacian warrior who is falling on his left knee, looking back at Trajan, raising both hands, and being trampled by horse's fore-hooves, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Sebastian Sondermann (Sep 2008); very rare bust left; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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

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In 107 A.D., Trajan received an ambassador from India. In 108 A.D., "doctor's offices" opened in Rome replacing "house calls.
RS82713. Silver denarius, Woytek 270b, RIC II 128, RSC II 74, BMCRE III 328, Strack I 128, SRCV II 3129, Choice aVF, excellent portrait, wonderful iridescent toning, weight 3.350 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 107 - 108 A.D.; obverse IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse COS V P P S P Q R OPTIMO PRINC, Victory standing slightly left, naked to hips, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand; $175.00 (€148.75)
 


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

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In 110, the Forum of Trajan was constructed in Rome by the Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus.
RX79999. Bronze drachm, Milne 621; Geissen 551; Dattari 765; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.316; BMC Alexandria p. 61, 510; Emmett 462, Fair, weight 21.827 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 215o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 110 - 28 Aug 111 A.D.; obverse AYT TPAIAN CEB ΓEPM ∆AKIK, laureate head right; reverse Trajan in slow quadriga of elephants right, laurel-branch in right hand, standard in left, L I∆ (year 14) above; ex Forum (2012); $145.00 (€123.25)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Struck at Rome for Use in Syria

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In 115 A.D., while Trajan was in Antioch, during his war against Parthia, the city was convulsed by a huge earthquake. The emperor was forced to take shelter in the circus for several days. Trajan and his successor restored the city, but the population was reduced to less than 400,000 inhabitants and many sections of the city were abandoned.
RY85366. Bronze chalkous, half-quadrans, RPC online III 3682; McAlee 527; Woytek 939f; BMCRE III 1075A corr. (no cuirass), Choice VF, highlighting desert patina, weight 1.098 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 116 A.D.; obverse no legend, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse large S C in wreath; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 35, lot 470; very rare; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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

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Amphipolis was home to an imperial cult, worshiping the living emperor, and to a cult dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. The obverse depicts Trajan as a military victor and probably copies an imperial statue. The reverse may depict a local statue of Artemis Tauropolos.
GB90707. Bronze AE 20, Lindgren II 978 (same dies), Varbanov 7179 (R7), AMNG III 79, Hunterian I 37, Moushmov 6068, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tub -, BMC Macedonia -, F, weight 6.620 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse KAICAP TPAIANOC, emperor on horseback galloping right, brandishing spear to strike a prostrate foe below; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Artemis Tauropolos standing left, kalathos on head, long torch before her in right hand, small branch in left hand downward at side, grounded shield behind; rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
 




  



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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. Bibliothèque Nationale, Catalogue des Monnaies de l'Empire Romain, IV Trajan (98-117 après J.-C.). (Paris, 2008).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Hill, P. The Dating and Arrangement of the Undated Coins of Rome, A.D. 98-148. (London, 1970).
Mattingly, H. & R. 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. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Simic, V. & M. Vasic. "La monaie des mines romaines de I'llyrie" in RN 1977.
Strack, P. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil 1: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Traian. (Stuttgart, 1931).
Toynbee, J. 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 Friday, July 20, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Trajan