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Roman Empire

Ruler: Trajan Decius
Reigned: 249 - 251 AD
Denomination: AR Antoninianus
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 250-251 AD
Obverse: Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right. "IMP . C . M . Q . TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG."
Reverse: Dacia standing left holding standard topped by an ass's head. "DACIA"
Reference: RCVM 9368, RSC 16, RIC 12b
Weight: 3.9 gms
Diameter: 22.1 mm
Comment: "Ass's head" may be Dacian battle standard decorated with wolf's head and tail of a dragon.

TRAJAN DECIUS (Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius)

  • Gaius Messius Quintus Valerinus was born at Budalia, near Sirmium, in around 190.
  • Senator, consul in 232, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis 235-8, and urban prefect at Rome early in the reign of Philip I.
  • In 249 Philip I sent Decius to be governor of the provinces of Moesia and Pannonia.
  • After achieving military successes, Decius persuaded his troops to accept him as emperor.
  • He marched on Rome with his legions and met Philip in battle in September or October 249 near Verona. Philip was defeated and killed in the battle.
  • Continuing to Rome to consolidate his power, he took the surname "Traianus".
  • He initiated a number of building works in Rome, including the Thermae Decianae or Baths of Decius on the Aventine.
  • Decius earned the disapprobation of the later Christian Church by obliging all citizens of the empire to make pagan sacrifice for the emperor's wellbeing.
  • In 250 he raised his elder son, Quintus Herennius Etruscus Messius Decius (Herennius Etruscus), to the rank of Caesar.
  • In 250 the he embarked on a campaign against the Goths, who had crossed the Danube and were ravaging Thrace.
  • There were attempted usurpations by the governor of Thrace, Titus Julius Priscus, and Iulius Valens Licinianus, at Rome.
  • In June 251, at Abrittus, on the Lower Danube, the Goths led his army into a trap and Decius was killed along with his elder son.
  • The defeated army chose Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus as the new emperor. He adopted Decius's younger son, Gaius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus as Caesar.

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