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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis & Decline| ▸ |Trajan Decius||View Options:  |  |  | 

Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.

Trajan Decius, a general under Philip I, successfully crushed the revolt of Pacatian. His troops forced him to assume the imperial dignity and although he still protested his loyalty, Philip advanced against him. Decius was victorious and Philip was killed. The Senate then recognized Decius as Emperor, giving him the attribute Traianus as a reference to that good emperor. As the Byzantine historian Zosimus later noted: "Decius was therefore clothed in purple and forced to undertake the government, despite his reluctance and unwillingness." Decius spent the rest of his short reign combating barbarians. Sometime in the first two weeks of June 251, Trajan Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus became the first Roman emperors to die in battle against a foreign enemy. Herennius died at his father's side, struck by an arrow. Decius survived the initial confrontation, only to be slain with the rest of the army before the end of the day.

Herennia Etruscilla, Augusta July 249 - April/August 253(?) A.D.

|Herennia| |Etruscilla|, |Herennia| |Etruscilla,| |Augusta| |July| |249| |-| |April/August| |253(?)| |A.D.||antoninianus|NEW
Pudicitia, modesty and chastity, was the finest quality that a Roman woman could possess. Romans gave their highest praise to women, such as Julia Domna, who had only one husband in their lifetimes. Few women obtained this distinction in Roman society, where girls married young, husbands often died while their wives were still young, and divorce was easy to obtain and common.
SL113477. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 58b, RSC IV 17, Hunter III 4, SRCV III 9494, NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (2412811-030), weight 4.15 g, maximum diameter 22 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 249 - 251 A.D.; obverse HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, draped bust right, crescent behind shoulders, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait looped at the back of neck; reverse PVDICITIA AVG (virtue of the Empress), Pudicitia standing left, drawing veil from face with right hand, transverse scepter in left hand; from a Virginia Collector; ex Holgate Numismatics (Andrea Main, Fairlawn, VA, 27 Nov 2014); NGC| Lookup; $200.00 (188.00)


|Trajan| |Decius|, |Trajan| |Decius,| |September| |249| |-| |June| |or| |July| |251| |A.D.||sestertius|NEW
His troops forced Decius to assume the imperial dignity and although he still protested his loyalty, Philip advanced against him. Decius was victorious and Philip was killed. The Senate then recognized Decius as Emperor, giving him the attribute Traianus as a reference to that good emperor. As the Byzantine historian Zosimus later noted: "Decius was therefore clothed in purple and forced to undertake the government, despite his reluctance and unwillingness."
RB111989. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV p. 136, 126d (S), Cohen V p. 197, 117; Hunter p. 242, 40; SRCV III p. 204, 9410, VF, centered, rough green patina, obv. double struck, flan split/crack, weight 15.959 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Rome mint, 2nd-3rd emissions, late AD 249-mid 250; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG, Victory advancing left, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, S - C across fields; ex CNG e-auction 522 (24 Aug 2022), lot 526; scarce; $110.00 (103.40)


The Coinage of Trajan Decius (A.D. 249 - 251)

|Roman| |Coin| |Books|, |The| |Coinage| |of| |Trajan| |Decius| |(A.D.| |249| |-| |251)|
Ask for a free copy in the checkout comments with the purchase of any Trajan Decius coin.
BL43194. The Coinage of Trajan Decius (AD 249 - 251) by Augustus Brown, published by the author c. 1960, 8vo, paperback, 20 pages plus one plate, priced below FORVM's $5 cost!; $3.00 (2.82)


|Trajan| |Decius|, |Trajan| |Decius,| |September| |249| |-| |June| |or| |July| |251| |A.D.||double| |sestertius|
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, seen 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 (senatus consulto) flanking across field; ex CNG e-auction 410 (29 Nov 2017), lot 379; SOLD


|Trajan| |Decius|, |Trajan| |Decius,| |September| |249| |-| |June| |or| |July| |251| |A.D.||double| |sestertius|
This issue introduced the "double sestertius" in 249, was about twice the weight of a standard sestertius (39 vs. 18 gms). The doubles were differentiated not only by their weight, but also by bust type and size. The busts were radiate for Decius and on a crescent for his wife Herennia Etruscilla. Their diameter was 30-35 mms as opposed to the standard 25-30 mms. Nothing is known of the reasons for the issuance of the double sestertii, although Decius was extremely conscious of Roman traditions and perhaps he intended to magnify the grandeur of Rome through large and impressive coins. Normally the coins are in fine artistic style.
SH94035. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC IV 115(a) (R), Hunter III 42, Cohen V 39, SRCV III 9395, NGC XF, strike 5/5, surface 2/5 (3762223-007), removed from NGC holder, flaws on obverse, edge crack, weight 34.843 g, maximum diameter 35.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 249 - 251 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder (as normal for similar busts, not described in references except in Hunter); reverse FELICITAS SAECVLI (era of good fortune), Felicitas standing slightly left, head left, grounded long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at center; ex Pegasi sale 154 (21 Aug 2018), lot 425 ($2950 on tag, $2500 estimate, unsold), big 35 mm DOUBLE Sestertius!; NGC| Lookup; rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPCAESCMESSQDECIOTRAIAVG
IMPCAESCMESSTRAIQDECIOAVG
IMPCAESQTRAIANVSDECIVS
IMPCAETRADECAVG
IMPCAETRADECIVSAVG
IMPCDECIVSAVG
IMPCMQTRAIANVSDECIVSAVG
IMPTRAIANVSAVGDECIVS
IMPTRAIANVSDECIVSAVG


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. Two: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

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