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Search results - "Italica"
tiberius_italica_res_1.jpg
(03) TIBERIUS22 views14 - 37 AD
AE DUPONDIUS 29 mm 13.22. g
O: [IMP TI CAE]SAR AVGVSTVS PON MA[X], Bust right
R: PERM DIVI AVG [MVNI]C [ITALIC] around altar inscrbed in 3 lines [P]ROVIDE[N]TIAE [A]VGVSTI
ITALICA, SPAIN
laney
tiberius_italica_2_res.jpg
(03) TIBERIUS22 views14 - 37 AD
AE DUPONDIUS 29 mm 12.13 g
O: [IM]P TI CAESAR AVGVST[VS PO[N MAX], Bust right
R: PERM DIVI AVG []NIC ITALIC around altar inscribed in 3 lines [P]ROVIDE/NTIAE /AVGVSTI
ITALICA, SPAIN
laney
RPC_65_AS_ITALICA_Tiberio.jpg
04-40 - Cnia. Itálica - TIBERIO (14 - 37 D.C.)18 viewsAE AS 27/29 mm 13.85 gr.

Anv: "TI CAESAR AVGVSTVS PONT MAX IMP" (Leyenda anti-horaria), Cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "MVNIC ITALIC PERM DIVI AVG" (Leyenda anti-horaria), Altar en el que se inscribe en tres líneas "PROVIDE / NTIAE / AVGVSTI".

Acuñada 14 - 37 D.C.
Ceca: Cnia. Municipium Itálica, Hispania (Hoy Saltipontes, Sevilla, España)

Referencias: RPC #65, SNG Cop #417, ACIP #3333, Vives Pl.CLXVIII #9, ABH #1593, Burgos #1250, Chaves #115-263, GMI #A1049-1051, FAB #1683 P.205, Sear GICV #253 P.24, Cohen I #89 P.197, Heiss #8 P.380, Mionnet Vol.I #131 P.17/18
mdelvalle
RPC_71_Semis_Druso_ITALICA.jpg
05 - 40 - Cnia. Itálica - DRUSO (20 - 23 D.C.)28 viewsAE Semis 23 mm 4.95 gr.

Anv: "DRVSVS CAESAR TI AVG F" (Leyenda anti-horaria), Cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: Aquila (Águila Legionaria) y Vexillum (Estandarte) entre dos Signa (Insignias militares), "MUNIC ITALIC" (Leyenda anti-horaria), "PE-R / AV-G" en campo centro.

Acuñada 20 - 23 D.C.
Ceca: Cnia. Municipium Itálica, Hispania (Hoy Saltiponce, Sevilla, España)

Referencias: RPC #71, SNG Cop #419, ACIP #3340, Vives Pl.CLXVIII #12, ABH #1596, FAB #1685 P.205, Sear GICV #338 P.31, RAH #2012-20 Pag. 259/60 - DC y P #3 Pag.215, Cohen I #9 Pag.218, Heiss #10 Pag.380
mdelvalle
hadrian_RIC306d.jpg
117-138 AD - HADRIAN AR denarius - struck 134-138 AD54 viewsobv: HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P (laureate head right)
rev: HISPANIA (Hispania reclining left, resting on rock, holding branch, rabbit at her feet)
ref: RIC II 306d, RSC 837 (5frcs)
mint: Rome
2.53gms, 18mm
Scarce
A scarce denarius - part of the famous 'travel series'. Hadrian visited to Hispania at the end of 122 AD, spent the winter at Tarraco (today Tarragona), and here he restored at his own expense the temple of Augustus. He was also in Gades (Cadiz) and Italica (Sevilla), where was the birthplace of emperor Trajan. Hadrian was generous to his settled town, which he made a colonia; he added temples, including a Trajaneum venerating Trajan, and rebuilt several public buildings.
berserker
pertinax den-.jpg
193 AD - PERTINAX AR denarius - struck January-March 193 AD83 viewsobv: IMP.CAES.P.HELV.PERTIN.AVG (laureate head right)
rev:OPI.DIVIN.TR.P.COS.II (Ops seated left, holding two corn ears, left hand on top of throne)
ref: RIC IVi 8 (R2), C.33 (60frcs)
2.43gms
Very rare

This coin is ugly, worn and holed, but... it's a Pertinax.

Publius Helvius Pertinax was commander of an equestrian unit in Moesia Superior (or Pannonia Inferior), on the Middle Danube in 167 AD, and fight against the Yaziges. He was also the commander of the First legion Adiutrix, stationed at Brigetio (modern Szöny) between 171-174 AD. Pertinax played an important role during the campaigns against the Marcomanni. It is very likely that I Adiutrix and the two newly founded legions II Italica and III Italica were grouped together in a single task-force. According to the historian Herodian, Pertinax freed the provinces of Noricum and Raetia completely, and took part in the attacks on the Quadi and Sarmatians north of the Danube.
2 commentsberserker
TrajanSestCeres~0.jpg
1bc Trajan48 views98-117

Sestertius
Laureate head, right, IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V PP
Roma and kneeling Dacian, SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI SC

RIC 485

Eutropius enthused: To [Nerva] succeeded ULPIUS CRINITUS TRAJANUS, born at Italica in Spain, of a family rather ancient than eminent for his father was the first consul in it. He was chosen emperor at Agrippina, a city of Gaul. He exercised the government in such a manner, that he is deservedly preferred to all the other emperors. He was a man of extraordinary skill in managing affairs of state, and of remarkable courage. The limits of the Roman empire, which, since the reign of Augustus, had been rather defended than honourably enlarged, he extended far and wide. He rebuilt some cities in Germany; he subdued Dacia by the overthrow of Decebalus, and formed a province beyond the Danube, in that territory which the Thaiphali, Victoali, and Theruingi now occupy. This province was a thousand miles in circumference.

He recovered Armenia, which the Parthians had seized, putting to death Parthamasires who held the government of it. He gave a king to the Albani. He received into alliance the king of the Iberians, Sarmatians, Bosporani, Arabians, Osdroeni, and Colchians. He obtained the mastery over the Cordueni and Marcomedi, as well as over Anthemusia, an extensive region of Persia. He conquered and kept possession of Seleucia, Ctesiphon, Babylon, and the country of the Messenii. He advanced as far as the boundaries of India, and the Red Sea, where he formed three provinces, Armenia, Assyria, and Mesopotamia, including the tribes which border on Madena. He afterwards, too, reduced Arabia into the form of a province. He also fitted out a fleet for the Red Sea, that he might use it to lay waste the coasts of India.

Yet he went beyond his glory in war, in ability and judgment as a ruler, conducting himself as an equal towards all, going often to his friends as a visitor, either when they were ill, or when they were celebrating feast days, and entertaining them in his turn at banquets where there was no distinction of rank, and sitting frequently with them in their chariots; doing nothing unjust towards any of the senators, nor being guilty of any dishonesty to fill his treasury; exercising liberality to all, enriching with offices of trust, publicly and privately, every body whom he had known even with the least familiarity; building towns throughout the world, granting many immunities to states, and doing every thing with gentleness and kindness; so that during his whole reign, there was but one senator condemned, and he was sentenced by the senate without Trajan's knowledge. Hence, being regarded throughout the world as next to a god, he deservedly obtained the highest veneration both living and dead. . . .

After having gained the greatest glory both in the field and at home, he was cut off, as he was returning from Persia, by a diarrhoea, at Seleucia in Isauria. He died in the sixty-third year, ninth month, and fourth day of his age, and in the nineteenth year, sixth month, and fifteenth day of his reign. He was enrolled among the gods, and was the only one of all the emperors that was buried within the city. His bones, contained in a golden urn, lie in the forum which he himself built, under a pillar whose height is a hundred and forty-four feet. So much respect has been paid to his memory, that, even to our own times, they shout in acclamations to the emperors, "More fortunate than Augustus, better than Trajan!"
Blindado
HadrianSestFortuna.jpg
1be Hadrian44 views117-138

Sestertius
Laureate head, right, HADRIANVUS AVG COS III PP
Fortuna standing left with rudder on globe and cornucopia, FORTVNA AVG

RIC 759

According to the Historia Augusta, "Bereft of his father at the age of ten, he became the ward of Ulpius Trajanus, his cousin, then of praetorian rank, but afterwards emperor, and of Caelius Attianus, a knight. He then grew rather deeply devoted to Greek studies, to which his natural tastes inclined so much that some called him 'Greekling. . . .' In the 105-106 second Dacian war, Trajan appointed him to the command of the First Legion, the Minervia, and took him with him to the war; and in this campaign his many remarkable deeds won great renown. . . . On taking possession of the imperial power
Hadrian at once resumed the policy of the early emperors and devoted his attention to maintaining peace throughout the world. . . . [I]n this letter to the Senate he apologized because he had not left it the right to decide regarding his accession, explaining that the unseemly haste of the troops in acclaiming him emperor was due to the belief that the state could not be without an emperor. . . . He was, in the same person, austere and genial, dignified and playful, dilatory and quick to act, niggardly and generous, deceitful and straightforward, cruel and merciful, and always in all things changeable. . . . Hadrian's memory was vast and his ability was unlimited ; for instance, he personally dictated his speeches and gave opinions on all questions. He was also very witty. . . ."

After this Hadrian departed for Baiae, leaving Antoninus at Rome to carry on the government. But he received no benefit there, and he thereupon
sent for Antoninus, and in his presence he died there at Baiae on the sixth day before the Ides of July.

According to Eutropius: After the death of Trajan, AELIUS HADRIAN was made emperor, not from any wish to that effect having been expressed by Trajan himself, but through the influence of Plotina, Trajan's wife; for Trajan in his life-time had refused to adopt him, though he was the son of his cousin. He also was born at Italica in Spain. Envying Trajan's glory, he immediately gave up three of the provinces which Trajan had added to the empire, withdrawing the armies from Assyria, Mesopotamia, and Armenia, and deciding that the Euphrates should be the boundary of the empire. When he was proceeding, to act similarly with regard to Dacia, his friends dissuaded him, lest many Roman citizens should be left in the hands of the barbarians, because Trajan, after he had subdued Dacia, had transplanted thither an infinite number of men from the whole Roman world, to people the country and the cities; as the land had been exhausted of inhabitants in the long war maintained by Decebalus.

He enjoyed peace, however, through the whole course of his reign; the only war that he had, he committed to the conduct of a governor of a province. He went about through the Roman empire, and founded many edifices. He spoke with great eloquence in the Latin language, and was very learned in the Greek. He had no great reputation for clemency, but was very attentive to the state of the treasury and the discipline of the soldiers. He died in Campania, more than sixty years old, in the twenty-first year, tenth month, and twenty-ninth day of his reign. The senate was unwilling to allow him divine honours; but his successor Titus Aurelius Fulvius Antonius, earnestly insisting on it, carried his point, though all the senators were openly opposed to him.
1 commentsBlindado
regensburg_castra_regina_01.JPG
2009-Germany - Regensburg18 viewsIn 179 the Roman fort Castra Regina ("fortress by the river Regen") was built for Legio III Italica during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Porta Praetoria was the north gate of the Roman fortress „Castra Regina“.berserker
Augustus_Italica_Roma_AE27_10.8g_RPCI_61.jpg
Augustus, Italica, Roma, AE2772 viewsAE27, 10.8g
obv: bare head right
rev: Roma standing left holding spear, shield behind
RPC I 61

ex CNG EA 188, Lot: 467
2 commentsareich
litra_Italica_hemi.jpg
BCC LW137 viewsLead Weight with Greek Inscription in Six Lines
87x43mm. 153.5gm.
1st to 3rd century CE.
ΙΤΑ/ΛΙΚ/ΗΗ/ΜΙΛ/ΙΤΡ/Α, (ιταλικη ημι λιτρα, half an Italian litra).

An identical specimen, from the same mold, was found near Caesarea Maritima in 1949, and is listed in the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, Vol. II, Ameling, Cotton, Eck, et.al. on page 621. According to the authors, the term “litra”, derived from the Roman word “Libra”, came to indicate local weight standards between the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Therefore when the Roman standard was intended the word ιταλικη was added to distinguish them. The weight of 153.5, when multiplied by 2, is about 19 grams short of the Roman libra, however the object may have had a handle at the top and the original weight must have been fairly close to the standard. Around the end of the 3rd century CE the local standards were replaced by the Roman system and the descriptive word ιταλικη was no longer required.
v-drome
1292_Germanicus_Italica.JPG
Germanicus - Italica9 viewsAE semis
15 BC - 19 AD
bare head left
GERMANICVS CAESAR TI AVG F
Aquila between two standards
MVNIC__ITALIC
PE_R / AV_G
RPC I 70; ACIP 3339
5,4g 24-22mm
ex Aurea
Johny SYSEL
RPC_Italica_Tiberius.JPG
Italica (Hispanica). Tiberius (14-37 A.D.)13 viewsRPC I 65; SNG Copenhagen 417, Burgos 1250.

AE 27 mm, die orientation 90°.

Obv: [TI] CAESAR • AVGVSTVS [PON MAX IMP], bare head right (counterclockwise legend).

Rev: [DIVI •] AVG • MVNIC • [ITALIC] PER[M •], square quare altar inscribed [PROVIDE]/NTI[AE]/[A]VGVS[TI•] (counterclockwise legend).
Stkp
Drusus Italica.jpg
Italica (Spain) - Drusus Jr.23 views[DRVSV]S CAESAR TI. [AVG. F.] , bare head of Drusus right.
[MVNIC.] ITALIC. / PER. AVG. , Legionary eagle with vexillum between 2 standards.
Ginolerhino
leg%20III.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS Legio III Italica 18 viewsSEPTIMIUS SEVERUS. 193-211 AD. Legionary Denarius (17mm, 2.88 g, 12h). Struck 193 AD. Rome mint. Laureate head right / LEG III IT-AL, TR P COS in exergue, legionary eagle on low perch left between two standards. RIC IV 7; RSC 262; BMCRE W10. VF, light toningNico
Severus_legion.jpg
Septimus Severus, Legionary Denarius83 viewsObverse: IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG Laureate head right
Reverse: TR P COS LEG XI C-L, legionary aquila between two standards
Date : 193 AD
Reference : RIC IV12; RSC 268
Grade : VF
Weight : 3.56 g
Denom: Denarius
Metal : Silver

Comment: PERT on the obverse is for avenger of Pertinax. Legion XI Claudia was stationed on the lower Danube in Moesia. Reverse is without small Capricorns. When the governor of Pannonia Superior, Lucius Septimius Severus, was proclaimed emperor in April 193, the Eleventh immediately joined his cause. In a lightning campaign he marched on Rome, but XI did not take part, because Durostorum, Moesia Inferior where the legion was garrisoned was too far from Italy. However, it played a role in Severus' next campaign, against his eastern rival Pescennius Niger. The soldiers of I Italica and XI Claudia besieged Byzantium, forced the Cilician gate, and fought at Issus. It is likely that they also took part in Severus' campaigns against the Parthian.
Bolayi
s-l1600_(62)~0.jpg
Spain - Itálica, Santiponce - (Sevilla) AE As. 19 viewsSpain - Itálica, Santiponce - (Sevilla) AE As. 28 mm / 11,76 gr.

Tiberius AE28 of Italica, Spain. TI CAESAR AVGVSTVS PONT MAX IMP, bare head right / MVNIC ITALIC PERM DIVI AVG, altar inscribed PROVIDE-NTIAE-AVGVSTI in three lines.
RPC 65; ACIP 3333; Burgos 1250: RPC 65
Antonivs Protti
tiberius.jpg
Spain, Italica. Tiberius AE29. Inscribed altar33 viewsTiberius AE29 of Italica, Spain. TI CAESAR AVGVSTVS PONT MAX IMP, bare head right / MVNIC ITALIC PERM DIVI AVG, altar inscribed PROIDENTIAE AVGVSTI.ancientone
FC22.jpg
SPAIN, Italica. Tiberius. AD 14-37. Æ “As” 31 viewsSPAIN, Italica. Tiberius. AD 14-37. Æ “As” (29mm, 12.61 g, 9h). Bare head right / Square altar inscribed in three lines. RPC I 65; Burgos 1250; SNG Copenhagen 417. Joe Geranio Collection.Joe Geranio
amphi4.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica, Amphitheatre from outside33 viewsjmuona
amphi2.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica, amphitheatre.33 viewsView from the areana. jmuona
amphi1.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica, amphitheatre.32 viewsView from higher up. Originally it seated 25.000 people and was the 3rd largest in the Empire. May, 2002.jmuona
entrance.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica, entrance to amphitheatre34 viewsMay, 2002.jmuona
gladiator2.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.37 viewsTABULA GLADIATORIA made easier to read - if you know your Latin. May, 2002.jmuona
gladiator1.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.43 viewsTABULA GLADIATORIA. The original one on the wall of the gladiator's tunnel to the theatre. May, 2002.jmuona
statue2.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.32 viewsThe copy of the statue of Venus is placed close to the entrance. The original, now in the Archelogical Museum in Sevilla, was found in Italica.jmuona
view2.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.35 viewsMay, 2002. Large areas were still unstudied at the time.jmuona
view1.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.33 viewsPartially opened site. May, 2002.jmuona
amphi3~0.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.33 viewsThe corridor gladiators used to enter the theatre. May, 2002.jmuona
statue1.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.35 viewsCopies of statues found at the site have been placed around the ruins. May, 2002.jmuona
neptunusfloor.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.33 viewsItalica is famous for its Mosaic floors. This is from the house of Neptunus. Who knows, perhaps Trajanus was born at this very Place? May, 2002.jmuona
neptunus.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.35 viewsDetail showing Neptunus himself. Floor of the house of Neptunus. May, 2002.jmuona
croco.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.66 viewsCrocodile and the playful youngster... Detail of the floor of the house of Neptunus. May, 2002.jmuona
seven.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.41 viewsDetail of the floor of the house of Planetarium. May, 2002.jmuona
CasadelosPajeros5.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.42 viewsSection of the floor of the house of Birds. May, 2002.jmuona
CasadelosPajeros1.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.41 viewsFloor map of the house of Birds. May, 2002.jmuona
CasadelosPajeros3.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.47 viewsDetail of the floor of house of Birds. Cannot figure out the species... May, 2002.jmuona
CasadelosPajeros2.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.44 viewsDetail of the floor of the house of Birds. Athene noctua - the typical Minerva owl. May, 2002.jmuona
trajanus.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.44 viewsBust of Trajanus, copy at the ticket booth in Italica, original in Archelogical Museum, Sevilla.
Trajanus was born in this city. May, 2002.
jmuona
wall.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.65 viewsFragments of old painted wall. very little is left of this type of structures.
The largest floor mosaics are in the Archelogical Museum in Sevilla but many fine ones were at the orginal site in May, 2002.
jmuona
00tibprov.jpg
TIBERIUS79 viewsAE 28. Italica. 14-37 AD. 14.45 g. Bare head of Tiberius right. TI CAESAR AVGVSTVS PON MAX IMP. / Altar inscribed PROVIDE/NTIAE/ AVGVSTI in three lines. MVNIC ITALIC PERM DIVI AVG around. RPC I 65; Vives 168/9; Chaves 115-263. Mottled red-brown and green-brown patina.
CNG.The coin shop 153806.
benito
Tiberius.jpg
Tiberius179 viewsTI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS P M
bare head of Tiberius left

C I I A M IVLIVS SETTAL L SESTI CELER II VIR
altar, marked SAL AVG, C I I A around.

Italica Spain

RPC 196
12.8g 29mm

ex-Indalo colecciones
Jay GT4
Tiberio_Italica.jpg
Tiberius - Spain - Italica, Santiponce (Sevilla), Ae As15 viewsTiberius AE28 of Italica, Spain. TI CAESAR AVGVSTVS PONT MAX IMP, bare head right / MVNIC ITALIC PERM DIVI AVG, altar inscribed PROVIDE-NTIAE-AVGVSTI in three lines.
RPC 65; ACIP 3333; Burgos 1250: RPC 65
28 mm / 12.89 gr.
Antonivs Protti
Tiberio_Italica.JPG
Tiberius Provincial AE As, Italica, Spain8 viewsTiberius (14 – 37 AD)

AE As, Italica (Santiponce, Spain)

Obv: TI CAESAR AVGVSTVS PONT MAX IMP, bare bust rigth
Rev: MVNIC ITALIC PERM DIVI AVG, altar inscribed with PROVIDENTIAE AVGVSTI.
RPC 65

Weight: 16.7g.
Diameter: 29mm
Jose Polanco
Tiberio_Italica.jpg
Tiberius Provinvial AE29 Italica, Spain22 viewsTiberius Provincial AE29 of Italica, Spain.

Obv: TI CAESAR AVGVSTVS PONT MAX IMP, bare head right
Rev: MVNIC ITALIC PERM DIVI AVG, altar inscribed PROIDENTIAE AVGVSTI.

Ref: Burgos 1250. RPC 65

16,7g, 27mm
Sergio Orata
Tiberius_Italica_CornucopiaAndGlobe_AE19_3.45g_RPCI_72.jpg
Tiberius, Italica, cornucopia and globe, AE1934 viewsAE19, 3.45g
Æ Quadrans
obv: PERM AVG; bare head left
rev: ITALIC MVNIC; cornucopia and globe
RPC I 72
ex CNG EA 188, Lot: 467
areich
21.jpg
Trajan Denarius - Trajan's Father (RIC II 252)51 viewsAR Denarius
Rome 112-117AD
3.26g

Obv: Laureate bust of Trajan (R), draped far shoulder.
IMP TRAIANUS AUG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP

Rev: TRAJAN'S FATHER seated (L) holding patera and sceptre. Commemorates the death of the emperor's father circa 100 AD.

Traianus Senior was born in Italica in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica. Traianus married a Roman woman called Marcia. They had two children, a daughter called Ulpia Marciana and a son, the future Roman Emperor Trajan.

Traianus was the first member of his family to enter the Roman Senate. Due to his successes, Vespasian awarded Traianus with the governorship of an unknown Roman province and a consulship in 70. In later years, he served as a Roman Governor of Hispania Baetica, Syria, in 79 or 80 governed an unknown African province and then western Anatolia.


RIC II 139 RSC 94
Kained but Able
DSCN0535.JPG
Tyre, Lebanon, Grave Stelle of Signifer21 viewsFor Cavtronivs Basvs of Capua, Signifer (standard bearer) of the Cohort Italica.otlichnik
GratusCountermark.jpg
Valerius Gratus Prutah With Countermark of Cohors II Italica 56 viewsJUDAEA, Roman Administration. Tiberius. AD 14-37. Æ Prutah (14mm, 1.72 g). Struck under Valerius Gratus, praefectus Iudaeae. Dated RY 5 (18/9 CE).
O: Unstruck [TIB/ KAI/CAP within wreath] Round countermark, palm branch flanked by the letters C and Π.
R: Upright palm branch; IOY ΛIA (Julia) and L Є (date, year 5 = 18/19 AD) across field.
- Meshorer 328 var.; Hendin 1339; RPC I 4965.

These countermarks are always applied to the edges of the coins.

According to Lönnqvist, (New Vistas on the Countermarked Coins of the Roman Prefects of Judaea) the countermarked coins of Gratus were probably struck in Jerusalem, 36/7 CE, to endorse them as pay for the Roman soldiers. (Meshorer notes that perhaps the countermarked coins became tokens for special purposes, e.g., receipt of equipment or for services in a Roman army camp.)

Lönnqvist also convincingly argues that the C and Π on the countermark stand for the word σπεîρα, referring to the cohort of soldiers that were apparently in Judea.

He notes, “An interesting account in the New Testament has remained until now unverified, since the passage has not been supported by any other sources. The Act of the Apostles 10:1 mention an officer and a cohort, ‘Cornelius, a centurion of a cohort being called Italian…’.

This unit, thus, was comprised of Roman citizens. The passage suggests that the unit was the cohors Italica civium Romanorum, probably a detachment of one of the imperial legions stationed nearby, perhaps in Syria… I may suggest that the Italian cohort recorded in Acts is, in fact, the cohors II Italica, which, consequently, had been the detachment which applied the countermarks on the coins of the Roman prefects of Judaea… This new evidence… lends strong support to the credibility of the New Testament on this point."
1 commentsNemonater
TrajSepphorisGalilee.jpg
[18H907] Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Sepphoris, Galilee220 viewsBronze AE 23, Hendin 907, BMC 5, Fair, 7.41g, 23.1mm, 0o, Sepphoris mint, 98 - 117 A.D.; obverse TPAIANOS AYTO]-KPA[TWP EDWKEN, laureate head right; reverse SEPFW/RHNWN, eight-branched palm bearing two bunches of dates.

At the crossroads of the Via Maris and the Acre-Tiberias roads, Sepphoris was the capital of Galilee and Herod Antipas' first capital. Damaged by a riot, Antipas ordered Sepphoris be rebuilt. Flavius Josephus described the rebuilt Sepphoris as the "ornament of all Galilee." Since Sepphoris was only five miles north of Nazareth, Jesus and Joseph may have found work in Antipas' rebuilding projects. Sepphoris was built on a hill and visible for miles. This may be the city that Jesus spoke of when He said, "A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."

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.
See: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/indexfrm.asp?vpar=55&pos=0.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Trajan (A.D. 98-117)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth."

This is perhaps the most important and best known of all Edward Gibbon's famous dicta about his vast subject, and particularly that period which he admired the most. It was a concatenation of chance and events which brought to the first position of the principate five men, each very different from the others, who each, in his own way, brought integrity and a sense of public duty to his tasks. Nerva's tenure was brief, as many no doubt had expected and hoped it would be, and perhaps his greatest achievement was to choose Trajan as his adoptive son and intended successor. It was a splendid choice. Trajan was one of Rome's most admirable figures, a man who merited the renown which he enjoyed in his lifetime and in subsequent generations.

The sources for the man and his principate are disappointingly skimpy. There is no contemporaneous historian who can illuminate the period. Tacitus speaks only occasionally of Trajan, there is no biography by Suetonius, nor even one by the author of the late and largely fraudulent Historia Augusta. (However, a modern version of what such a life might have been like has been composed by A. Birley, entirely based upon ancient evidence. It is very useful.) Pliny the Younger tells us the most, in his Panegyricus, his long address of thanks to the emperor upon assuming the consulship in late 100, and in his letters. Pliny was a wordy and congenial man, who reveals a great deal about his senatorial peers and their relations with the emperor, above all, of course, his own. The most important part is the tenth book of his Epistulae, which contains the correspondence between him, while serving in Bithynia, and the emperor, to whom he referred all manner of problems, important as well as trivial. Best known are the pair (96,97) dealing with the Christians and what was to be done with them. These would be extraordinarily valuable if we could be sure that the imperial replies stemmed directly from Trajan, but that is more than one can claim. The imperial chancellery had developed greatly in previous decades and might pen these communications after only the most general directions from the emperor. The letters are nonetheless unique in the insight they offer into the emperor's mind.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, wrote a long imperial history which has survived only in abbreviated form in book LXVIII for the Trajanic period. The rhetorician Dio of Prusa, a contemporary of the emperor, offers little of value. Fourth-century epitomators, Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, offer some useful material. Inscriptions, coins, papyri, and legal texts are of major importance. Since Trajan was a builder of many significant projects, archaeology contributes mightily to our understanding of the man.

Early Life and Career
The patria of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish Baetica , where their ancestors had settled late in the third century B.C. This indicates that the Italian origin was paramount, yet it has recently been cogently argued that the family's ancestry was local, with Trajan senior actually a Traius who was adopted into the family of the Ulpii. Trajan's father was the first member of the family to pursue a senatorial career; it proved to be a very successful one. Born probably about the year 30, he perhaps commanded a legion under Corbulo in the early sixties and then was legate of legio X Fretensis under Vespasian, governor of Judaea. Success in the Jewish War was rewarded by the governorship of an unknown province and then a consulate in 70. He was thereafter adlected by the emperor in patricios and sent to govern Baetica. Then followed the governorship of one of the major military provinces, Syria, where he prevented a Parthian threat of invasion, and in 79/80 he was proconsul of Asia, one of the two provinces (the other was Africa) which capped a senatorial career. His public service now effectively over, he lived on in honor and distinction, in all likelihood seeing his son emperor. He probably died before 100. He was deified in 113 and his titulature read divus Traianus pater. Since his son was also the adoptive son of Nerva, the emperor had officially two fathers, a unique circumstance.

The son was born in Italica on September 18, 53; his mother was Marcia, who had given birth to a daughter, Ulpia Marciana, five years before the birth of the son. In the mid seventies, he was a legionary legate under his father in Syria. He then married a lady from Nemausus (Nimes) in Gallia Narbonensis, Pompeia Plotina, was quaestor about 78 and praetor about 84. In 86, he became one of the child Hadrian's guardians. He was then appointed legate of legio VII Gemina in Hispania Tarraconensis, from which he marched at Domitian's orders in 89 to crush the uprising of Antonius Saturninus along the Rhine. He next fought in Domitian's war against the Germans along Rhine and Danube and was rewarded with an ordinary consulship in 91. Soon followed the governorship of Moesia inferior and then that of Germania superior, with his headquarters at Moguntiacum (Mainz), whither Hadrian brought him the news in autumn 97 that he had been adopted by the emperor Nerva, as co-ruler and intended successor. Already recipient of the title imperator and possessor of the tribunician power, when Nerva died on January 27, 98, Trajan became emperor in a smooth transition of power which marked the next three quarters of a century.

Early Years through the Dacian Wars
Trajan did not return immediately to Rome. He chose to stay in his German province and settle affairs on that frontier. He showed that he approved Domitian's arrangements, with the establishment of two provinces, their large military garrisons, and the beginnings of the limes. Those who might have wished for a renewed war of conquest against the Germans were disappointed. The historian Tacitus may well have been one of these.

Trajan then visited the crucial Danube provinces of Pannonia and Moesia, where the Dacian king Decebalus had caused much difficulty for the Romans and had inflicted a heavy defeat upon a Roman army about a decade before. Domitian had established a modus vivendi with Decebalus, essentially buying his good behavior, but the latter had then continued his activities hostile to Rome. Trajan clearly thought that this corner of empire would require his personal attention and a lasting and satisfactory solution.

Trajan spent the year 100 in Rome, seeing to the honors and deification of his predecessor, establishing good and sensitive relations with the senate, in sharp contrast with Domitian's "war against the senate." Yet his policies essentially continued Domitian's; he was no less master of the state and the ultimate authority over individuals, but his good nature and respect for those who had until recently been his peers if not his superiors won him great favor. He was called optimus by the people and that word began to appear among his titulature, although it had not been decreed by the senate. Yet his thoughts were ever on the Danube. Preparations for a great campaign were under way, particularly with transfers of legions and their attendant auxiliaries from Germany and Britain and other provinces and the establishment of two new ones, II Traiana and XXX Ulpia, which brought the total muster to 30, the highest number yet reached in the empire's history.

In 101 the emperor took the field. The war was one which required all his military abilities and all the engineering and discipline for which the Roman army was renowned. Trajan was fortunate to have Apollodorus of Damascus in his service, who built a roadway through the Iron Gates by cantilevering it from the sheer face of the rock so that the army seemingly marched on water. He was also to build a great bridge across the Danube, with 60 stone piers (traces of this bridge still survive). When Trajan was ready to move he moved with great speed, probably driving into the heart of Dacian territory with two columns, until, in 102, Decebalus chose to capitulate. He prostrated himself before Trajan and swore obedience; he was to become a client king. Trajan returned to Rome and added the title Dacicus to his titulature.

Decebalus, however, once left to his own devices, undertook to challenge Rome again, by raids across the Danube into Roman territory and by attempting to stir up some of the tribes north of the river against her. Trajan took the field again in 106, intending this time to finish the job of Decebalus' subjugation. It was a brutal struggle, with some of the characteristics of a war of extirpation, until the Dacian king, driven from his capital of Sarmizegethusa and hunted like an animal, chose to commit suicide rather than to be paraded in a Roman triumph and then be put to death.

The war was over. It had taxed Roman resources, with 11 legions involved, but the rewards were great. Trajan celebrated a great triumph, which lasted 123 days and entertained the populace with a vast display of gladiators and animals. The land was established as a province, the first on the north side of the Danube. Much of the native population which had survived warfare was killed or enslaved, their place taken by immigrants from other parts of the empire. The vast wealth of Dacian mines came to Rome as war booty, enabling Trajan to support an extensive building program almost everywhere, but above all in Italy and in Rome. In the capital, Apollodorus designed and built in the huge forum already under construction a sculpted column, precisely 100 Roman feet high, with 23 spiral bands filled with 2500 figures, which depicted, like a scroll being unwound, the history of both Dacian wars. It was, and still is, one of the great achievements of imperial "propaganda." In southern Dacia, at Adamklissi, a large tropaeum was built on a hill, visible from a great distance, as a tangible statement of Rome's domination. Its effect was similar to that of Augustus' monument at La Turbie above Monaco; both were constant reminders for the inhabitants who gazed at it that they had once been free and were now subjects of a greater power.

Administration and Social Policy
The chief feature of Trajan's administration was his good relations with the senate, which allowed him to accomplish whatever he wished without general opposition. His auctoritas was more important than his imperium. At the very beginning of Trajan's reign, the historian Tacitus, in the biography of his father-in-law Agricola, spoke of the newly won compatibility of one-man rule and individual liberty established by Nerva and expanded by Trajan (Agr. 3.1, primo statim beatissimi saeculi ortu Nerva Caesar res olim dissociabiles miscuerit, principatum ac libertatem, augeatque cotidie felicitatem temporum Nerva Traianus,….) [13] At the end of the work, Tacitus comments, when speaking of Agricola's death, that he had forecast the principate of Trajan but had died too soon to see it (Agr. 44.5, ei non licuit durare in hanc beatissimi saeculi lucem ac principem Traianum videre, quod augurio votisque apud nostras aures ominabatur,….) Whether one believes that principate and liberty had truly been made compatible or not, this evidently was the belief of the aristocracy of Rome. Trajan, by character and actions, contributed to this belief, and he undertook to reward his associates with high office and significant promotions. During his principate, he himself held only 6 consulates, while arranging for third consulates for several of his friends. Vespasian had been consul 9 times, Titus 8, Domitian 17! In the history of the empire there were only 12 or 13 private who reached the eminence of third consulates. Agrippa had been the first, L. Vitellius the second. Under Trajan there were 3: Sex. Iulius Frontinus (100), T. Vestricius Spurinna (100), and L. Licinius Sura (107). There were also 10 who held second consulships: L. Iulius Ursus Servianus (102), M.' Laberius Maximus (103), Q. Glitius Atilius Agricola (103), P. Metilius Sabinus Nepos (103?), Sex. Attius Suburanus Aemilianus (104), Ti. Iulius Candidus Marius Celsus (105), C. Antius A. Iulius Quadratus (105), Q. Sosius Senecio (107), A. Cornelius Palma Frontonianus (109), and L. Publilius Celsus (113). These men were essentially his close associates from pre-imperial days and his prime military commanders in the Dacian wars.

One major administrative innovation can be credited to Trajan. This was the introduction of curators who, as representatives of the central government, assumed financial control of local communities, both in Italy and the provinces. Pliny in Bithynia is the best known of these imperial officials. The inexorable shift from freedmen to equestrians in the imperial ministries continued, to culminate under Hadrian, and he devoted much attention and considerable state resources to the expansion of the alimentary system, which purposed to support orphans throughout Italy. The splendid arch at Beneventum represents Trajan as a civilian emperor, with scenes of ordinary life and numerous children depicted, which underscored the prosperity of Italy.

The satirist Juvenal, a contemporary of the emperor, in one of his best known judgments, laments that the citizen of Rome, once master of the world, is now content only with "bread and circuses."

Nam qui dabat olim / imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se / continet, atque duas tantum res anxius optat, / panem et circenses. (X 78-81)

Trajan certainly took advantage of that mood, indeed exacerbated it, by improving the reliabilty of the grain supply (the harbor at Ostia and the distribution system as exemplified in the Mercati in Rome). Fronto did not entirely approve, if indeed he approved at all. The plebs esteemed the emperor for the glory he had brought Rome, for the great wealth he had won which he turned to public uses, and for his personality and manner. Though emperor, he prided himself upon being civilis, a term which indicated comportment suitable for a Roman citizen.

There was only one major addition to the Rome's empire other than Dacia in the first decade and a half of Trajan's reign. This was the province of Arabia, which followed upon the absorption of the Nabataean kingdom (105-106).

Building Projects
Trajan had significant effect upon the infrastructure of both Rome and Italy. His greatest monument in the city, if the single word "monument" can effectively describe the complex, was the forum which bore his name, much the largest, and the last, of the series known as the "imperial fora." Excavation for a new forum had already begun under Domitian, but it was Apollodorus who designed and built the whole. Enormous in its extent, the Basilica Ulpia was the centerpiece, the largest wood roofed building in the Roman world. In the open courtyard before it was an equestrian statue of Trajan, behind it was the column; there were libraries, one for Latin scrolls, the other for Greek, on each side. A significant omission was a temple; this circumstance was later rectified by Hadrian, who built a large temple to the deified Trajan and Plotina.

The column was both a history in stone and the intended mausoleum for the emperor, whose ashes were indeed placed in the column base. An inscription over the doorway, somewhat cryptic because part of the text has disappeared, reads as follows:

Senatus populusque Romanus imp. Caesari divi Nervae f. Nervae Traiano Aug. Germ. Dacico pontif. Maximo trib. pot. XVII imp. VI p.p. ad declarandum quantae altitudinis mons et locus tant[is oper]ibus sit egestus (Smallwood 378)

On the north side of the forum, built into the slopes of the Quirinal hill, were the Markets of Trajan, which served as a shopping mall and the headquarters of the annona, the agency responsible for the receipt and distribution of grain.

On the Esquiline hill was constructed the first of the huge imperial baths, using a large part of Nero's Domus Aurea as its foundations. On the other side of the river a new aqueduct was constructed, which drew its water from Lake Bracciano and ran some 60 kilometers to the heights of the Janiculum Hill. It was dedicated in 109. A section of its channel survives in the basement of the American Academy in Rome.

The arch in Beneventum is the most significant monument elsewhere in Italy. It was dedicated in 114, to mark the beginning of the new Via Traiana, which offered an easier route to Brundisium than that of the ancient Via Appia.

Trajan devoted much attention to the construction and improvement of harbors. His new hexagonal harbor at Ostia at last made that port the most significant in Italy, supplanting Puteoli, so that henceforth the grain ships docked there and their cargo was shipped by barge up the Tiber to Rome. Terracina benefited as well from harbor improvements, and the Via Appia now ran directly through the city along a new route, with some 130 Roman feet of sheer cliff being cut away so that the highway could bend along the coast. Ancona on the Adriatic Sea became the major harbor on that coast for central Italy in 114-115, and Trajan's activity was commemorated by an arch. The inscription reports that the senate and people dedicated it to the []iprovidentissimo principi quod accessum Italiae hoc etiam addito ex pecunia sua portu tutiorem navigantibus reddiderit (Smallwood 387). Centumcellae, the modern Civitavecchia, also profited from a new harbor. The emperor enjoyed staying there, and on at least one occasion summoned his consilium there.

Elsewhere in the empire the great bridge at Alcantara in Spain, spanning the Tagus River, still in use, testifies to the significant attention the emperor gave to the improvement of communication throughout his entire domain.

Family Relations; the Women
After the death of his father, Trajan had no close male relatives. His life was as closely linked with his wife and female relations as that of any of his predecessors; these women played enormously important roles in the empire's public life, and received honors perhaps unparalleled. His wife, Pompeia Plotina, is reported to have said, when she entered the imperial palace in Rome for the first time, that she hoped she would leave it the same person she was when she entered. She received the title Augusta no later than 105. She survived Trajan, dying probably in 121, and was honored by Hadrian with a temple, which she shared with her husband, in the great forum which the latter had built.

His sister Marciana, five years his elder, and he shared a close affection. She received the title Augusta, along with Plotina, in 105 and was deified in 112 upon her death. Her daughter Matidia became Augusta upon her mother's death, and in her turn was deified in 119. Both women received substantial monuments in the Campus Martius, there being basilicas of each and a temple of divae Matidiae. Hadrian was responsible for these buildings, which were located near the later temple of the deified Hadrian, not far from the column of Marcus Aurelius.

Matidia's daughter, Sabina, was married to Hadrian in the year 100. The union survived almost to the end of Hadrian's subsequent principate, in spite of the mutual loathing that they had for each other. Sabina was Trajan's great niece, and thereby furnished Hadrian a crucial link to Trajan.

The women played public roles as significant as any of their predecessors. They traveled with the emperor on public business and were involved in major decisions. They were honored throughout the empire, on monuments as well as in inscriptions. Plotina, Marciana, and Matidia, for example, were all honored on the arch at Ancona along with Trajan.

The Parthian War
In 113, Trajan began preparations for a decisive war against Parthia. He had been a "civilian" emperor for seven years, since his victory over the Dacians, and may well have yearned for a last, great military achievement, which would rival that of Alexander the Great. Yet there was a significant cause for war in the Realpolitik of Roman-Parthian relations, since the Parthians had placed a candidate of their choice upon the throne of Armenia without consultation and approval of Rome. When Trajan departed Rome for Antioch, in a leisurely tour of the eastern empire while his army was being mustered, he probably intended to destroy at last Parthia's capabilities to rival Rome's power and to reduce her to the status of a province (or provinces). It was a great enterprise, marked by initial success but ultimate disappointment and failure.

In 114 he attacked the enemy through Armenia and then, over three more years, turned east and south, passing through Mesopotamia and taking Babylon and the capital of Ctesiphon. He then is said to have reached the Persian Gulf and to have lamented that he was too old to go further in Alexander's footsteps. In early 116 he received the title Parthicus.

The territories, however, which had been handily won, were much more difficult to hold. Uprisings among the conquered peoples, and particularly among the Jews in Palestine and the Diaspora, caused him to gradually resign Roman rule over these newly-established provinces as he returned westward. The revolts were brutally suppressed. In mid 117, Trajan, now a sick man, was slowly returning to Italy, having left Hadrian in command in the east, when he died in Selinus of Cilicia on August 9, having designated Hadrian as his successor while on his death bed. Rumor had it that Plotina and Matidia were responsible for the choice, made when the emperor was already dead. Be that as it may, there was no realistic rival to Hadrian, linked by blood and marriage to Trajan and now in command of the empire's largest military forces. Hadrian received notification of his designation on August 11, and that day marked his dies imperii. Among Hadrian's first acts was to give up all of Trajan's eastern conquests.

Trajan's honors and reputation
Hadrian saw to it that Trajan received all customary honors: the late emperor was declared a divus, his victories were commemorated in a great triumph, and his ashes were placed in the base of his column. Trajan's reputation remained unimpaired, in spite of the ultimate failure of his last campaigns. Early in his principate, he had unofficially been honored with the title optimus, "the best," which long described him even before it became, in 114, part of his official titulature. His correspondence with Pliny enables posterity to gain an intimate sense of the emperor in action. His concern for justice and the well-being of his subjects is underscored by his comment to Pliny, when faced with the question of the Christians, that they were not to be sought out, "nor is it appropriate to our age." At the onset of his principate, Tacitus called Trajan's accession the beginning of a beatissimum saeculum, and so it remained in the public mind. Admired by the people, respected by the senatorial aristocracy, he faced no internal difficulties, with no rival nor opposition. His powers were as extensive as Domitian's had been, but his use and display of these powers were very different from those of his predecessor, who had claimed to be deus et dominus. Not claiming to be a god, he was recognized in the official iconography of sculpture as Jupiter's viceregent on earth, so depicted on the attic reliefs of the Beneventan arch. The passage of time increased Trajan's aura rather than diminished it. In the late fourth century, when the Roman Empire had dramatically changed in character from what it had been in Trajan's time, each new emperor was hailed with the prayer, felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, "may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan." That reputation has essentially survived into the present day.

Copyright (C) 2000, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
TrajanDupondiusTrajansColumn.jpg
[902a] Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.104 viewsTRAJAN AE dupondius. Cohen 563, RCV 3323. 29mm, 14.1g. Struck circa 115 AD. Obverse: IMP CAESAR NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, radiate, draped bust right; Reverse: SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS, S-C, Trajan's column, eagles at base. This type is noticeably scarcer than the SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI type. Ex. Incitatus Coins. Photo courtesy of Incitatus Coins.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Trajan (A.D. 98-117)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth."

This is perhaps the most important and best known of all Edward Gibbon's famous dicta about his vast subject, and particularly that period which he admired the most. It was a concatenation of chance and events which brought to the first position of the principate five men, each very different from the others, who each, in his own way, brought integrity and a sense of public duty to his tasks. Nerva's tenure was brief, as many no doubt had expected and hoped it would be, and perhaps his greatest achievement was to choose Trajan as his adoptive son and intended successor. It was a splendid choice. Trajan was one of Rome's most admirable figures, a man who merited the renown which he enjoyed in his lifetime and in subsequent generations.

The sources for the man and his principate are disappointingly skimpy. There is no contemporaneous historian who can illuminate the period. Tacitus speaks only occasionally of Trajan, there is no biography by Suetonius, nor even one by the author of the late and largely fraudulent Historia Augusta. (However, a modern version of what such a life might have been like has been composed by A. Birley, entirely based upon ancient evidence. It is very useful.) Pliny the Younger tells us the most, in his Panegyricus, his long address of thanks to the emperor upon assuming the consulship in late 100, and in his letters. Pliny was a wordy and congenial man, who reveals a great deal about his senatorial peers and their relations with the emperor, above all, of course, his own. The most important part is the tenth book of his Epistulae, which contains the correspondence between him, while serving in Bithynia, and the emperor, to whom he referred all manner of problems, important as well as trivial. Best known are the pair (96,97) dealing with the Christians and what was to be done with them. These would be extraordinarily valuable if we could be sure that the imperial replies stemmed directly from Trajan, but that is more than one can claim. The imperial chancellery had developed greatly in previous decades and might pen these communications after only the most general directions from the emperor. The letters are nonetheless unique in the insight they offer into the emperor's mind.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, wrote a long imperial history which has survived only in abbreviated form in book LXVIII for the Trajanic period. The rhetorician Dio of Prusa, a contemporary of the emperor, offers little of value. Fourth-century epitomators, Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, offer some useful material. Inscriptions, coins, papyri, and legal texts are of major importance. Since Trajan was a builder of many significant projects, archaeology contributes mightily to our understanding of the man.

Early Life and Career
The patria of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish Baetica , where their ancestors had settled late in the third century B.C. This indicates that the Italian origin was paramount, yet it has recently been cogently argued that the family's ancestry was local, with Trajan senior actually a Traius who was adopted into the family of the Ulpii. Trajan's father was the first member of the family to pursue a senatorial career; it proved to be a very successful one. Born probably about the year 30, he perhaps commanded a legion under Corbulo in the early sixties and then was legate of legio X Fretensis under Vespasian, governor of Judaea. Success in the Jewish War was rewarded by the governorship of an unknown province and then a consulate in 70. He was thereafter adlected by the emperor in patricios and sent to govern Baetica. Then followed the governorship of one of the major military provinces, Syria, where he prevented a Parthian threat of invasion, and in 79/80 he was proconsul of Asia, one of the two provinces (the other was Africa) which capped a senatorial career. His public service now effectively over, he lived on in honor and distinction, in all likelihood seeing his son emperor. He probably died before 100. He was deified in 113 and his titulature read divus Traianus pater. Since his son was also the adoptive son of Nerva, the emperor had officially two fathers, a unique circumstance.

The son was born in Italica on September 18, 53; his mother was Marcia, who had given birth to a daughter, Ulpia Marciana, five years before the birth of the son. In the mid seventies, he was a legionary legate under his father in Syria. He then married a lady from Nemausus (Nimes) in Gallia Narbonensis, Pompeia Plotina, was quaestor about 78 and praetor about 84. In 86, he became one of the child Hadrian's guardians. He was then appointed legate of legio VII Gemina in Hispania Tarraconensis, from which he marched at Domitian's orders in 89 to crush the uprising of Antonius Saturninus along the Rhine. He next fought in Domitian's war against the Germans along Rhine and Danube and was rewarded with an ordinary consulship in 91. Soon followed the governorship of Moesia inferior and then that of Germania superior, with his headquarters at Moguntiacum (Mainz), whither Hadrian brought him the news in autumn 97 that he had been adopted by the emperor Nerva, as co-ruler and intended successor. Already recipient of the title imperator and possessor of the tribunician power, when Nerva died on January 27, 98, Trajan became emperor in a smooth transition of power which marked the next three quarters of a century.

(For a detailed and interesting discussion of the Emperor Trajan please see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/trajan.htm)

Trajan's honors and reputation
Hadrian saw to it that Trajan received all customary honors: the late emperor was declared a divus, his victories were commemorated in a great triumph, and his ashes were placed in the base of his column. Trajan's reputation remained unimpaired, in spite of the ultimate failure of his last campaigns. Early in his principate, he had unofficially been honored with the title optimus, "the best," which long described him even before it became, in 114, part of his official titulature. His correspondence with Pliny enables posterity to gain an intimate sense of the emperor in action. His concern for justice and the well-being of his subjects is underscored by his comment to Pliny, when faced with the question of the Christians, that they were not to be sought out, "nor is it appropriate to our age." At the onset of his principate, Tacitus called Trajan's accession the beginning of a beatissimum saeculum, and so it remained in the public mind. Admired by the people, respected by the senatorial aristocracy, he faced no internal difficulties, with no rival nor opposition. His powers were as extensive as Domitian's had been, but his use and display of these powers were very different from those of his predecessor, who had claimed to be deus et dominus. Not claiming to be a god, he was recognized in the official iconography of sculpture as Jupiter's viceregent on earth, so depicted on the attic reliefs of the Beneventan arch. The passage of time increased Trajan's aura rather than diminished it. In the late fourth century, when the Roman Empire had dramatically changed in character from what it had been in Trajan's time, each new emperor was hailed with the prayer, felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, "may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan." That reputation has essentially survived into the present day.

Copyright (C) 2000, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
HadrianAequitasAR_denarius.jpg
[903a] Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.93 viewsSilver denarius, RIC II 228 var (bust type), gVF, Rome, 2.849g, 17.8mm, 180o, 134 A.D.; Obverse: HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, head right; Reverse: AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing left, scales in right, scepter in left; excellent portrait; scarce. Ex FORVM. Photo courtesy of FORVM.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Hadrian (A.D. 117-138)
Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth."

So Edward Gibbon concluded the first paragraph of his massive The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, referring to a period which he also styled the happiest of mankind's history. Hadrian was the central figure of these "five good emperors," the one most responsible for changing the character and nature of the empire. He was also one of the most remarkable and talented individuals Rome ever produced.

The sources for a study of Hadrian are varied. There is no major historian for his reign, such as Tacitus or Livy. The chief literary sources are the biography in the Historia Augusta, the first surviving life in a series intended to continue Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars. Debate about this collection of imperial biographies has been heated and contentious for more than a century. The most convincing view is that which sees the whole as the work of a single author writing in the last years of the fourth century. The information offered ranges from the precisely accurate to the most wildly imaginative.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, produced a long history of the empire which has survived, for the Hadrianic period, only in an abbreviated version. Fourth century historians, such as Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, occasionally furnish bits of information. Contemporaries or near-contemporaries of Hadrian, such as Arrian, Fronto, Pausanias, and Plutarch, are also useful. Papyri, inscriptions, coins, and legal writings are extremely important. Archaeology in all its aspects contributes mightily to any attempt to probe the character of a man and emperor whose personality and thoughts defy close analysis and understanding.

Early Life and Career
Hadrian was born on January 24, 76. Where he saw the light of day was, even in antiquity, matter for debate. Italica, in Hispania Baetica, was the birthplace of Trajan and was also considered that of Hadrian. But the HA reports that he was born in Rome, and that seems the more likely choice, since it is the more unexpected. The actual place of one's birth was, however, unimportant, since it was one's patria which was crucial. Hadrian's ancestors had come to Spain generations before, from the town of Hadria in Picenum, at the end of the Second Punic War. Italica's tribus, to which Hadrian belonged, was the Sergia. His father, P. Aelius Afer, had reached the praetorship by the time of his death in 85/86, his mother, Domitia Paulina, came from a distinguished family of Gades, one of the wealthiest cities in the empire. His sister Paulina married Servianus, who played a significant role in Hadrian's career. Trajan was the father's cousin; when Afer died, Trajan and P. Acilius Attianus, likewise of Italica, became Hadrian's guardians.

At the age of about ten, Hadrian went to Italica for the first time (or returned, if he had been there earlier in his childhood), where he remained for only a brief time. He then returned to the capital and soon began a rapid rise through the cursus honorum; he was a military tribune of three different legions in consecutive years, a series of appointments which clearly marked him for a military career, and reached the consulate as a suffect at the age of 32, the earliest possible under the principate. At Trajan's death, he was legate of the province of Syria, with responsibility for the security of the east in the aftermath of Trajan's Parthian War.

(For a detailed and interesting discussion of Hadrian's reign please see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/hadrian.htm])

Literary and artistic achievements
Hadrian was a man of extraordinary talents, certainly one of the most gifted that Rome ever produced. He became a fine public speaker, he was a student of philosophy and other subjects, who could hold his own with the luminaries in their fields, he wrote both an autobiography and poetry, and he was a superb architect. It was in this last area that he left his greatest mark, with several of the empire's most extraordinary buildings and complexes stemming from his fertile mind. The anonymous author of the Historia Augusta described Hadrian as Fuit enim poematum et litterarum nimium studiosissimus. Arithmeticae, geometriae, picturae peritissimus.

He rebuilt Agrippa's Pantheon into the remarkable building that survives today, reconstructing the accustomed temple facade, with columns and pediment, but attaching it to a drum which was surmounted by a coffered dome. The latter was pierced by an oculus nine meters in diameter, which was the main source of illumination. Height and diameter were identical, 43.3 meters. The dome remained the largest in the world until the twentieth century. As was his custom, he replaced the original inscription of Agrippa on the architrave; seldom did he put his own name on a monument.

He also left his mark on almost every city and province to which he came. He paid particular attention to Athens, where he completed the great temple of Olympian Zeus, some six centuries after construction had begun, and made it the centerpiece of a new district of the city.

Hadrian's relationship with philosophers and other scholars was generally fractious. He often scorned their achievements while showing his own superiority. An anecdote about an argument which he had with the eminent philosopher and sophist Favorinus revealed the inequity of such disagreement. Although Favorinus was correct, he gave way to Hadrian, and when rebuked by friends, replied, "You advise me badly, friends, since you do not permit me to believe that he who commands thirty legions is the most learned of all."

Hadrian's literary taste inclined toward the archaic and the odd. He preferred Cato to Cicero, Ennius to Vergil, Coelius Antipater to Sallust, and disapproved of Homer and Plato as well. Indeed, the epic writer Antimachus of Colophon supplanted Homer in Hadrian's estimation. The biographer Suetonius held office under Hadrian but was discharged in 122 for disrespect to the empress. The historian Tacitus, who may have lived into Hadrian's reign, seems to have found no favor with the emperor.

His best known literary work is the short poem which he is said to have composed shortly before his death. These five lines have caused commentators much interpretative woe.

animula vagula blandula
hospes comesque corporis
quae nunc abibis in loca
pallidula rigida nudula
nec ut soles dabis iocos! (25.9)

"Little soul, wandering and pale, guest and companion of my body, you who will now go off to places pale, stiff, and barren, nor will you make jokes as has been your wont."
. . .

Reputation
Hadrian died invisus omnibus, according to the author of the Vita. But his deification placed him in the list of "good" emperors, a worthy successor to the optimus princes Trajan. Hadrian played a significant role both in developing the foreign policies of the empire and in its continuing centralization in administration. Few would disagree that he was one of the most remarkable men Rome ever produced, and that the empire was fortunate to have him as its head. When Aelius Aristides delivered his oration To Rome in 143, he had Hadrian's empire in mind when he said,

"But there is that which very decidedly deserves as much attention and admiration now as all the rest together. I mean your magnificent citizenship with its grand conception, because there is nothing like it in the records of all mankind. Dividing into two groups all those in your empire - and with this word I have indicated the entire civilized world - you have everywhere appointed to your citizenship, or even to kinship with you, the better part of the world's talent, courage, and leadership, while the rest you recognized as a league under your hegemony. Neither sea nor intervening continent are bars to citizenship, nor are Asia and Europe divided in their treatment here. In your empire all paths are open to all. No one worthy of rule or trust remains an alien, but a civil community of the World has been established as a Free Republic under one, the best, ruler and teacher of order; and all come together as into a common civic center, in order to receive each man his due.”

Scholarly work on the emperor, above all biographies, has been varied in quality. Much the best, as the most recent, is by A.R. Birley, who presents all that is known but underscores how much is conjecture, nay even guesswork. We still do not really know the man. An enigma he was to many while alive, and so he remains for us. Semper in omnibus varius; omnium curiositatum explorator; varius multiplex multiformis: these are descriptions of him from antiquity. They are still valid more than 1900 years after the emperor's death.

Copyright (C) 2000, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
2 commentsCleisthenes
MarcusAureliusLiberalitas_sestertius.jpg
[905a] Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.137 viewsMARCUS AURELIUS AE [b[Sestertius. RIC 1222. 30mm, 24.5g. Struck at Rome, 177 AD. Obverse: M ANTONINUS AVG GERM SARM TR P XXXI, laureate head right; Reverse: LIBERALITAS AVG VII IMP VIIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing left holding coin counter & cornucopia, SC in fields. Nice portrait. Ex Incitatus. Photo courtesy of Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University


Introduction and Sources
The Vita of the emperor in the collection known as the Historia Augusta identifies him in its heading as Marcus Antoninus Philosophus, "Marcus Antoninus the Philosopher." Toward the end of the work, the following is reported about him, sententia Platonis semper in ore illius fuit, florere civitates si aut philosophi imperarent aut imperantes philosopharentur (27.7), "Plato's judgment was always on his lips, that states flourished if philosophers ruled or rulers were philosophers." It is this quality of Marcus' character which has made him a unique figure in Roman history, since he was the first emperor whose life was molded by, and devoted to, philosophy (Julian was the second and last). His reign was long and troubled, and in some ways showed the weaknesses of empire which ultimately led to the "Decline and Fall," yet his personal reputation, indeed his sanctity, have never failed of admirers. Contributing to his fame and reputation is a slender volume of Stoic philosophy which served as a kind of diary while he was involved in military campaigns, the Meditations, a book which can be described as an aureus libellus, a little golden book.

The sources for understanding Marcus and his reign are varied but generally disappointing. There is no major historian. The chief literary sources are the biography in the Historia Augusta, as well as those of Hadrian, Antoninus, Verus, and Avidius Cassius. Debate about this collection of imperial biographies has been heated and contentious for more than a century. In all likelihood, it is the work of a single author writing in the last years of the fourth-century. The information offered ranges from the precisely accurate to the wildly imaginative.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, produced a long history of the empire which has survived, for our period, only in an abbreviated version. Fourth century historians, such as Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, occasionally furnish bits of information. Marcus' teacher, Fronto, a distinguished orator and rhetorician, is extremely useful. Papyri, inscriptions, coins, legal writings, and some of the church writers, such as Tertullian, Eusebius, and Orosius, are very important. Archaeology and art history, with their interpretation of monuments, make the history of Marcus' principate literally visible and offer important clues for understanding the context of his actions.

Early Life
He was born M. Annius Verus on April 26, 121, the scion of a distinguished family of Spanish origin (PIR2 A697). His father was Annius Verus (PIR2 A696), his mother Domitia Lucilla (PIR2 D183). His grandfather held his second consulate in that year and went on to reach a third in 126, a rare distinction in the entire history of the principate, and also served Hadrian as city prefect. The youth's education embraced both rhetoric and philosophy; his manner was serious, his intellectual pursuits deep and devoted, so that the emperor Hadrian took an interest in him and called him "Verissimus," "Most truthful," by punning on his name. He received public honors from an early age and seems to have long been in Hadrian's mind as a potential successor. When Hadrian's first choice as successor, L. Ceionius Commodus, died before his adoptive father, the second choice proved more fruitful. The distinguished senator T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus, from Cisalpine Gaul, did succeed Hadrian, whose arrangements for the succession planned for the next generation as well. He required Antoninus to adopt the young Verus, now to be known as M. Aelius Aurelius Verus, as well as Commodus' son, henceforth known as L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus (PIR2 C606). The former was a bit more than seventeen years old, the latter was eight.

Career under Antoninus Pius
The long tenure of Antoninus Pius proved one of the most peaceful and prosperous in Roman history. The emperor himself was disinclined to military undertakings and never left Italy during his reign. Disturbances to the pax Romana occurred on the fringes of empire. Responses were decisive and successful, with legates in charge in the provinces. As a consequence, neither Caesar gained military experience nor was shown to the armies, a failing which later could have proved decisive and disastrous. Marcus rose steadily through the cursus honorum, holding consulates in 140 and 145, combining magistracies with priesthoods. He received the tribunicia potestas in 147, and perhaps also imperium proconsulare. Yet he never neglected the artes liberals. His closest contacts were with Fronto (c.95-c.160), the distinguished rhetorician and orator. His acquaintance included many other distinguished thinkers, such as Herodes Atticus (c.95-177), the Athenian millionaire and sophist, and Aelius Aristides (117-c.181), two of whose great speeches have survived and which reveal much of the mood and beliefs of the age. Yet it was Epictetus (c.50-c.120) who had the greatest philosophical impact and made him a firm Stoic. In the year 161 Marcus celebrated his fortieth birthday, a figure of noble appearance and unblemished character. He was leading a life which gave him as much honor and glory as he could have desired, probably much more than his private nature enjoyed, yet his life, and that of the empire, was soon to change. The emperor died on March 7, but not before clearly indicating to magistrates and senate alike his desire that Marcus succeed him by having the statue of Fortuna, which had been in his bedroom, transferred to Marcus. There was no opposition, no contrary voice, to his succession. He immediately chose his brother as co-emperor, as Hadrian had planned. From the beginning of the year they were joint consuls and held office for the entire year. Their official titulature was now Imperator Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus and Imperator Caesar L. Aurelius Verus Augustus. The military qualities adumbrated by the word Imperator were soon much in demand, for the empire was under pressure in the year 161 in Britain, in Raetia, and in the east, where Parthia once again posed a significant danger.

The Parthian War (161-166)
The incursion in northern Britain and the difficulties along the Danube were soon satisfactorily managed by legates. The danger in the East was of a different magnitude. Tensions between Rome and Parthia had intensified in the last years of Antoninus' reign over control of Armenia, the vast buffer state which had often aroused enmity between the two powers, since each wished to be able to impose a king favorable to its interests. With Antoninus' death and the uncertainty attendant upon a new emperor (in this case two, a dyarchy, for the first time in Rome's history), the Parthian monarch, Vologaeses III, struck rapidly, placed his own candidate upon the Armenian throne, and inflicted severe setbacks upon the Roman forces sent to oppose him. Marcus decided to send his colleague Lucius Verus, whose imperial prestige would underscore the seriousness of the empire's response. Verus lacked military experience and was sorely lacking in the attributes of leadership and command; further, he was notorious for being chiefly interested in amusements and luxury. But Marcus surrounded him with several of the best generals at the empire's disposal, chief among them Avidius Cassius (c.130-175) (PIR2 A1402). From 162 on, Rome's successes and conquests were extensive and decisive. Most of Parthia's significant cities and strongholds, such as Seleucia and Ctesiphon, were stormed and destroyed, and the army's movements eastward recalled the movements of Alexander the Great some five centuries earlier. By 166, Parthia had capitulated and a Roman nominee sat on the Armenian throne. The victory appeared to be the most decisive since Trajan's conquest of Dacia, but, when Verus returned to Italy with his triumphant army, there came also a devastating plague, which had enormous effect on all provinces.
As is the case with all ancient diseases, it is almost impossible to identify this one. In all likelihood, however, it was smallpox; how severe the toll was is debated. Clearly, it cast a pall over the triumph celebrated by the two emperors, who were honored with the titles Armeniacus and Parthicus. The last years of this decade were dominated by efforts to overcome the plague and provide succour to its victims. But already in 166, the German tribes smashed the Danubian limes, threatening the empire's stability and even existence, more than Parthia had ever done. The first campaigns were punctuated by the death of Verus in 169, leaving Marcus as sole emperor. And so began the most difficult period of his life.

The German Wars
Early in 169, the Marcomanni and Quadi crossed the Danube, penetrated the intervening provinces, and entered Italy. The culmination of their onslaught was a siege of Aquileia. The effect upon the inhabitants of the peninsula was frightful. This was the first invasion of Italy since the late second century B.C., when the Cimbri and Teutones had been separately crushed by Marius. Perhaps more vivid in the collective imagination was the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 387, when the city was saved only by the payment of ransom.
The two emperors hastened north, after a rapid mobilization of forces, which included the drafting of slaves, since the manpower potential of the empire had been so impaired by the consequences of the plague and the losses and troop commitments in the East. Verus died while in the north; Marcus returned to Rome with the body and gave his brother full honors. He then turned north again and began his counterattacks against the barbarians. He did not know it at the time, but he was destined to spend most of his remaining years on the northern frontier. The only interlude was caused by revolt in the east.

We have no record of Marcus' ultimate intentions in these campaigns, yet the various stages were clear. First and foremost, the enemy had to be driven out of Italy and then into their own territory beyond the Danube. He strove to isolate the tribes and then defeat them individually, so that the ultimate manpower superiority of the empire and its greater skill in warfare and logistics could more easily be brought to bear. It was a successful strategy, as one tribe after another suffered defeat and reestablished ties with Rome. But it was a time-consuming and expensive operation, requiring the recruitment of two new legions, II Italica and III Italica, the construction of many new camps, such as the legionary fortress at Regensburg, with success accruing year by year. He intended to create two new provinces, Marcomannia and Sarmatia, thereby eliminating the Hungarian Plain and the headwaters of the Elbe as staging areas for invasion.

This steady, slow progress was interrupted in 175 by the action of the distinguished general Avidius Cassius, governor of Syria, who claimed the empire for himself. Whether he responded to a rumor of Marcus' death or, as gossip had it, conspired with Marcus' wife, the emperor's response was quick and decisive. Leaving the northern wars, he traveled to the East, but Avidius was killed before Marcus arrived in the region. After spending time settling affairs and showing himself to some of the provinces, with particular attention shown to Athens, where he was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, as Hadrian and Verus had been. He returned to Italy and soon answered the call to duty once more on the northern frontier. He took with him as colleague his son Commodus, now merely sixteen years old but already long since marked out as his father's intended successor. The military campaigns proved successful, but in the spring of 180, when Marcus died, at least one more year of warfare was necessary for the attainment of the grand enterprise. Marcus recommended to Commodus continuation of the war, but the new emperor was eager to return to Rome and the ease and luxury of the imperial court and entered into a peace agreement. Never again was Rome to hold the upper hand in its dealings with the Germanic tribes beyond the now reestablished borders of the empire.

Administrative and Religious Policy
Marcus was a conscientious and careful administrator who devoted much attention to judicial matters. His appointments to major administrative positions were for the most part admirable. Difficult tasks were put in the charge of the most capable men; he was not afraid of comparison with his subordinates. Social mobility continued as it had been under his predecessors, with men from the provinces advancing into the upper echelons of the Roman aristocracy. Those of humble birth could make a good career; such a one was Pertinax (126-193), a gifted general, who in early 193 became emperor for a space of less than three months.

The judicial administration of Italy was put in the hands of iuridici, who represented the emperor and thus spoke with his authority. This was a practice which had been established by Hadrian but had been allowed to lapse by Antoninus. The centralization of government continued apace. The imperial finances were sorely stretched by the almost continuous wars. Trajan had brought great wealth, Decebalus' treasure, into the empire after his conquest of Dacia. No such profit awaited Marcus. When preparing for the northern wars, he auctioned off much of the imperial palace's valuables. In spite of the enormous expenses of war, Commodus found ample funds upon his accession as sole emperor for his expenditures and amusements.

Although Marcus was a devoted thinker and philosopher, he was deeply religious, at least outwardly. The state cult received full honor, and he recognized the validity of other people's beliefs, so that the variety of religions in the vast extent of the empire caused no difficulties for inhabitants or government, with one significant exception. The Christians were not hampered by any official policy; indeed the impact of the church spread enormously in the second century. Yet their availability as scapegoats for local crises made them subject to abuse or worse. There was violence against them in 167, and perhaps the worst stain on Marcus' principate stemmed from the pogrom of Christians in Lugdunum in southern France in 177. He did not cause it, nor, on the other hand, did he or his officials move to stop it. Indeed, Tertullian called him a friend of Christianity. Yet the events were a precursor of what would come in the century and a quarter which followed.

Building Programs and Monuments
Many of Marcus' predecessors transformed the face of the capital with their building programs, either by the vast range of their undertaking or by the extraordinary significance of individual monuments. Others did very little to leave a tangible mark. Marcus fell into the latter group. There is record of very few monuments for which he and his brother were responsible. Very early in their reign they honored the deceased Antoninus with a column in the Campus Martius, no longer in situ but largely surviving. The shaft, which seems not to have been sculpted, was used for the restoration of Augustus' obelisk, now in Piazza Montecitorio, in the eighteenth century. The base, which was sculpted on all four sides, is now on display in the Vatican Museum. The chief feature is the apotheosis of the emperor and his long deceased wife, the elder Faustina, as they are borne to heaven. Also presented on this relief are two eagles and personifications of the goddess Roma and of the Campus Martius, represented as a young male figure.

There were three arches which commemorated the military achievements of the two emperors. No trace has been found of an early monument to Verus. Two arches later honored Marcus, both of which have disappeared but have left significant sculptural remains. The eight rectangular reliefs preserved on the Arch of Constantine came from one arch. Similarly, the three reliefs displayed in the stairwell of the Conservatori Museum on the Capitoline Hill came from another. One relief has disappeared from the latter monument.

Certainly the best known monument of Marcus' principate is the column, which rises from Piazza Colonna. It is twin to Trajan's column in height and design, although the artistic craftsmanship of the reliefs which envelop the shaft is much inferior. The subject is Marcus' campaigns against the Marcomanni and Sarmati in the years 172-75. The most interesting panel represents the famous rainstorm, when the army, overwhelmed by drought, was suddenly saved by the divine intervention of rain. Although begun in the latter part of the decade, the column was not completed until 193, when Septimius Severus had become emperor.

The famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which survived the centuries near San Giovanni in Laterano because the rider was identified as Constantine, no longer greets the visitor to the Capitoline, where Michelangelo had placed it in the sixteenth century. It was removed in the 1980s because pollution was destroying it. After careful treatment and restoration, it is now displayed within the museum, with a replica placed in the center of the piazza.

Although outside Rome, mention should be made of the monumental frieze commemorating Lucius Verus' victory over the Parthians in 165. It was an ornament of the city of Ephesus; the extensive sculptural remains are now in the Ephesus Museum in Vienna.

Family
As part of Hadrian's plans for his succession, when Ceionius Commodus was his choice, Marcus was betrothed to the latter's daughter. But when Ceionius died and Antoninus became Hadrian's successor, that arrangement was nullified and Marcus was chosen for the Emperor's daughter, the younger Faustina (PIR2 A716). She had been born in 129, was hence eight years younger than he. They were married in 145; the marriage endured for thirty years. She bore him thirteen children, of whom several died young; the most important were a daughter, Lucilla, and a son Commodus. Lucilla was deployed for political purposes, married first to Lucius Verus in 164, when she was seventeen, and then, after his death, to Claudius Pompeianus Quintianus of Antioch, a much older man who was an important associate of her father /ii]PIR2 C973). Commodus became joint-emperor with his father in 177 and three years later ruled alone.

Faustina's reputation suffered much abuse. She was accused of employing poison and of murdering people, as well as being free with her favors with gladiators, sailors, and also men of rank, particularly Avidius Cassius. Yet Marcus trusted her implicitly and defended her vigorously. She accompanied him on several campaigns and was honored with the title mater castrorum. She was with him in camp at Halala in southern Cappadocia in the winter of 175 when she died in an accident. Marcus dedicated a temple to her honor and had the name of the city changed to Faustinopolis.

Death and Succession
In early 180, while Marcus and Commodus were fighting in the north, Marcus became ill. Which disease carried him off we do not know, but for some days Marcus took no food or drink, being now eager to die. He died on March 17, in the city of Vindobona, although one source reports that it was in Sirmium. His ashes were brought to Rome and placed in Hadrian's mausoleum. Commodus succeeded to all power without opposition, and soon withdrew from the war, thereby stymieing his father's designs and ambitions. It was a change of rulers that proved disastrous for people and empire. Dio called the succession a change from a golden kingdom to one of iron and rust.

Reputation
Gibbon called Marcus "that philosophic monarch," a combination of adjective and noun which sets Marcus apart from all other Roman emperors. His renown has, in subsequent centuries, suffered little, although he was by no means a "perfect" person. He was perhaps too tolerant of other people's failings, he himself used opium. The abundance of children whom his wife bore him included, alas, a male who was to prove one of Rome's worst rulers. How much better it would have been if Marcus had had no son and had chosen a successor by adoption, so that the line of the five good emperors, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, Marcus, could have been extended. It was not to be, and for that Marcus must accept some responsibility.

Yet he was a man of ability and a sense of duty who sacrificed his own delights and interests to the well-being of the state. He was capax imperii, he did his best, and history has been kind to him. As Hamlet said to Horatio, when awaiting the appearance of the ghost of his father,

"He was a man! Take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." (I 2, 187-88)

His memory remains vivid and tactile because of the famous column, the equestrian statue, and his slender volume of thoughts, written in Greek, the Meditations, from which I choose two quotations with which to conclude:

"If mind is common to us, then also the reason, whereby we are reasoning beings, is common. If this be so, then also the reason which enjoins what is to be done or left undone is common. If this be so, law also is common; if this be so, we are citizens; if this be so, we are partakers in one constitution; if this be so, the Universe is a kind of Commonwealth." (4.4)

"At dawn of day, when you dislike being called, have this thought ready: 'I am called to man's labour; why then do I make a difficulty if I am going out to do what I was born to do and what I was brought into the world for?'" (5.1; both in Farquharson's translation)

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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