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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 1, Lot: 147. Estimate CHF10000. 
Closing Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009. 
Sold For CHF11000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Trajan. 98-117. Sestertius (Orichalcum, 25.79 g 5), Rome, 107. IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P Laureate bust of Trajan to right, slight drapery on far shoulder Rev. S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI / S C Fortuna standing left, holding rudder and cornucopiae. BMC 797. Cohen 477. Hill 360. RIC 500. A lovely coin with a refined portrait and an excellent, olive-green patina. Extremely fine.

From the collection of Ph. S., ex The Numismatic Auction 2, 12 December 1983, 300.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus was one of the greatest of all Roman emperors and came from a family that had long been settled in Italica, Spain. His father had a distinguished senatorial career, becoming consul in 70 and proconsul of Asia in 79/80. His son was born in Italica on 18 September 53 and followed a military career, rising to high rank under Domitian. After Domitian’s assassination the elderly emperor Nerva realized his position was insecure and adopted Trajan as his successor in Fall 97 to preclude any military moves against him. When Nerva died on 27 January 98, Trajan became emperor without any opposition (interestingly enough, thanks to his adoption and the ultimate deification of both his actual father and his adoptive one, Trajan was the only Roman emperor to officially have two fathers). One of the greatest challenges to Roman rule in the Balkans came from the Dacian kingdom ruled by Decebalus - Domitian had paid him off but Trajan decided to end the threat. Roman troops invaded in 101 and by 102 Decebalus sued for peace. After the Roman withdrawal, Decebalus once again began raiding Roman territory and in 106 Trajan moved in with eleven legions and virtually wiped out or enslaved all the Dacians. The booty gained by Rome from this conquest was enormous, allowing the emperor to embark on vast building projects all over the empire (perhaps the most famous monument being Trajan’s column in Rome with its astounding sculptural frieze). In has last years he was tempted to emulate Alexander by attacking the Parthians: he was successful in regulating affairs in Armenia and taking Mesopotamia, but these conquests were given up by his successor Hadrian, being too difficult to control. The Romans themselves remembered Trajan as a paragon of civil and military virtue.