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.
- Ancient Roman
- Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Trajan
- 114 CE–115 CE
- Obverse: IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC Reverse: REGNA.ADSIGNATA
- Diam. 2 cm; 7.36 g
- Gift of Martin A. Ryerson