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Roman Empire

Ruler: Trajan
Reigned: 98 - 117 A.D.
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 104 A.D.
Obverse: Laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder. "IMP. TRAIANO AVG. GER. DAC. P. M. TR. P. COS. V. P. P."
Reverse: Trajan standing facing front, in military dress, holding spear and parazonium, being crowned by Victory facing left, standing on the right. "S. P. Q. R. OPTIMO PRINCIPI"
Reference: RSC 514a, RCVM 3167, RIC II 212
Weight: 3.3 gms
Diameter: 17.3 mm

TRAJAN (Marcus Ulpius Trajanus)

  • Marcus Ulpius Trajanus was born on 18 September 53 AD, at Italica near Seville.
  • His father, another Marcus Ulpius Traianus, had commanded the Tenth Legion 'Fretensis' during the Jewish War in AD 67-68, and became governor of Syria.
  • Trajan served as military tribune under his father in Syria in the 70s and rose to become commander of the Seventh Legion 'Gemina' based at Legio (modern Leon) in northern Spain by the late 80s.
  • In January AD 89 he assisted the emperor Domitian in suppressing the rebellion of Saturninus, governor of Upper Germany.
  • The Emperor Nerva was childless and elderly and needed support and a strong successor, He therefore adopted Trajan for this role. The formal adoption took place in October 97 AD.
  • Nerva died of a fever on 28th January 98 AD.
  • Trajan did not immediately return to Rome, but proceeded to inspect his German provinces
  • He eventually arrived in Rome in the late summer of 99 AD to great rejoicing.
  • Trajan was a good ruler, if addicted to wars.
  • He fought Two wars against Dacia, a kingdom lying north of the Danube frontier in modern Romania, 85-89 AD and 101-106 AD. These are comemorated on the famous Trajan's column in Rome.
  • After the Dacian, Trajan mounted huge public games, where 10,000 gladiators fought and 11,000 animals were killed.
  • He built a new harbour at Ostia, the port of Rome, and the constructed of his own Forum in Rome.
  • In 114 AD he renewed his wars, this time against the Parthians who ruled in the east.
  • In 115 AD he succeeded in conquering the whole of Mesopotamia, including the Parthian capital at Ctesiphon near modern Baghdad.
  • In 117 AD the Jewish population in Cyrenaica rose in revolt, and the unrest soon spread to Egypt and Cyprus. More trouble threatened in the north and Trajan returned to Rome.
  • In Rome he suffered a stroke which left him partially paralysed. He died on 9th August 117 AD.

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