Coins of Trajan

Roman Emperor (AD 98-117)

Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus, commonly called Trajan, was governor in Germany when he heard the news that he had been adopted by the emperor Nerva as his successor. Upon Nerva’s death in AD 98, Trajan assumed the position of emperor. He was well liked in Rome, but spent most of his time on the frontiers maintaining and expanding the borders of the Empire. He was known as a natural leader who did not abuse his powers and insisted on traditional ways of governing the empire. He ensured that the alimenta relief program initiated by Nerva was carried out. He instigated an extensive program of public works, which included road construction, new baths, the Aqua Traiana (Trajan Aquaduct), and the Forum of Trajan. He carefully chose those who would govern the provinces and relieved some of the financial burdens placed on people there as well as making more provincials members of the Senate.

Yet Trajan was a military leader at heart and spent much of his time campaigning and curbing revolts on the frontiers of the Roman Empire. He was given the names Dacius, Parthicus and Optimus in honor of his victories. Eventually, Trajan left his military affairs to his generals and decided to go back to Rome. However, he died en route, in Selinus, in August of 117. His ashes were placed in the base of his column in his Forum and he was thereafter deified.

(See also: Trajan.)

AR Denarius, Rome
AD 103-111

Obverse:
Bust of Trajan laureate. [IMP] TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TRP

Reverse:
Arabia draped, standing l. holding branch in r. hand over a camel walking l., in l. hand a bundle of canes. COS V PP SPQR OPTIMO PRINC

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AR Denarius, Rome
AD 103-111

Obverse:
Head of Trajan, laureate r.; encircled by IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P

Reverse:
Dacian seated l. on pile of arms, head resting on r. arm; inscribed on l. upwards COS V P P, on r. downwards <S P Q R OPTIMO> PRINC; in exergue DAC CAP

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AR Denarius, Rome
AD 103-111

Obverse:
Head of Trajan facing r. IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP

Reverse:
Dacian in peaked hat and long sleeved shirt and breeches seated r. on oblong shield, resting head on l. hand with elbow on knee, l. leg crossed over r. Below, curved sword. SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI