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Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Trajan

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.

Date:

114-115, issued by Trajan

Artist:

Roman; minted in Rome

About this artwork

Obverse: Bust of Trajan right, laureate, wearing cuirass and paludamentum
Reverse: Trajan, seated on sella castrensis on raised dais, hand resting on parazonium, with two officers standing behind him, establishes three client kings dressed in trousers

The Roman Empire, which flourished from 27 B.C. to A.D. 410, was ruled by a variety of emperors, some who inherited the throne and some who seized it. As rulers came and went, it was important to announce the transition of power quickly. Since the Mint regularly struck coins to pay the armies stationed throughout the empire, it was easy to change the portrait, revise names in the inscription, and publish the news.
During the reign of the emperor Trajan, Rome reached the apogee of its power and territory. Wars of expansion extended the empire from Scotland in the north to Egypt and Gibraltar in the south and east to the Euphrates River. This rare coin was minted during his conquest of Parthia and Armenia. Instead of victory, however, the newly pacified territories soon rose in revolt, ending in Rome’s retreat and Trajan’s death.

On View

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium, Gallery 153

Culture

Ancient Roman

Title

Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Trajan

Origin

Rome

Date

114 CE–115 CE

Medium

Gold

Inscriptions

Obverse: IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC Reverse: REGNA.ADSIGNATA

Dimensions

Diam. 2 cm; 7.36 g

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number

1922.4871

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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