ROMAN EMPIRE Trajan 98-117 AD denarius


ROMAN EMPIRE, Trajan, 98-117 AD, denarius, 107 AD, Rome mint, Obverse: laureate head R, IMP TRAIANVS AVG GER DAC PM TR P, Reverse: Victory standing L holding wreath and cornucopia, COS V SPQR OPTIMO PRIN, silver, 19mm, 2.77g, SR3129, scratch reverse, F

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Trajan was declared Optimo Principi (Best Ruler) by the Senate. Successful in war, generous in peace, did a lot of building and philanthropy. He used Republican ideology (in the Roman sense) as a fa├žade to cover his autocratic rule. “Best Ruler,” in that sense, meant he did as he pleased, good thing his instincts were generous.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.