lunedì 9 novembre 2015

Trajan, Second of the Adoptive Emperors

Aureus of Trajan.

Marcus Ulpius Trajanus was born in 53 BC to Marcus Ulpius Trajanus and his wife, Marcia.  His father was governor of both Asia and Syria, and was also a senator and consul.  As was typical of many emperors, Trajan's career started in the military.  He served as a military tribune, and eventually commanded his own legion, which he headed while he participated in a rebellion against Domitian.

Trajan's rise to the throne was prompted by his adoption by the emperor Nerva, a year before Nerva's death.  Trajan was the governor of Upper Germany at the time of his adoption.  By this time, Trajan had also served as consul, so he had both military and governmental administrative experience to his credit.  He was keenly aware of historical Roman usurpation of power, so to consolidate his authority, he expanded intelligence and spying operations, and also multiplied the forces serving as his personal security force.
Sestertius, Parthian king paying tribute to Trajan

Trajan was a Roman emperor in the classic sense.  His vision was expansionist, and Roman glory and domination were his goals.  Through two successive campaigns, his armies overtook Dacia by 106 AD, and made it into a Roman province.  Later, in 114 AD, he invaded Parthia and captured its' capital, Ctesiphon. The Parthians, however, did not give up their struggle with Roman occupation.  They would continue to revolt throughout Trajan's reign.
Sestertius, extolling the senate.

Managing and administrating a vast empire fit well with Trajan's managerial skills.  He was, for a Roman emperor, a humane administrator.  He did not actively persecute those in the provinces, and tolerated Christians, seeking only to punish those that committed crimes.  He worked with, and promoted the authority of, the senate, and had wide support.  He expanded social programs, even in the provinces.  He expanded road construction, and built the Aqua Trajana, a huge aqueduct, delivering water to the Roman capital.  Other noteworthy construction projects in Rome during his reign include the Baths of Trajan and the Forum of Trajan.

Trajan died while returning from the Parthian capital after suffering a stroke.  He was lauded by historians for his desire to serve his subjects and his nation.  In this regard, he was ranked by many of both his contemporaries and historians as the equal of Augustus.
Aureus, Optimo Pricipi
Aureus, Optimo Principi


Trajan's numismatic legacy serves collectors a bounty of well executed pieces in all metals.  Portraiture, especially in bronze, is of high artistic grade, and shows him as a physically strong man, and of determined demeanor.  His coinage has survived in adequate numbers, and varied enough types to be sought and collected by collectors of all levels.  Reverses of Trajan's coinage were used extensively to promote the virtue of his reign.  Optimo Principi reverses abounded in his coinage.
Sestertius, Optimo Principi

Dupondius, Optimo Principi

As, Optimo Principi


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