Denarius depicting the head of Trajan and the personification of Dacia mourning (103-111 CE)

Denomination: 

Denarius

Date: 
103 CE to 111 CE
Material: 

Silver

Mint: 

Rome

Name of Ruler: 

Trajan

Obverse (Image and Inscription): 

Image: Laureate bust right, with slight drapery on far shoulder

Inscription: IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TR P

Reverse (Image and Inscription): 

Image: Dacia seated left on a pile of arms in attitude of mourning; two curved swords, two spears, and octagonal shield around

Inscription: COS V PP SPQR OPTIMO PRINC – DAC CAP

Commentary: 

RIC II, Trajan, no. 98, p. 251.

This denarius, minted between 103 and 111 CE, depicts on the obverse the head of Trajan and on the reverse, the personification of Dacia, in attitude of mourning. The inscription refers to Trajan as imperator, Augustus, Germanicus, Dacicus, pontifex maximus, or high priest of the Roman state religion, holder of the tribunicia potestas, consul for the fifth time, and pater patriae, or father of the fatherland. Trajan is also celebrated as optimus princeps, excellent or best ruler. The personification of Dacia is depicted on the reverse, in an attitude of mourning. The caption, Dacia capta, or Dacia defeated, which ends the inscription on the reverse, enhances the message. The dress Dacia is wearing, as well as the weapons depicted, curved swords and octagonal shields, were characteristic of the weaponry of the Dacian warriors, and are also depicted on Trajan's column in Rome, as well as on the panels of the monument located at Adamklissi (see The Tropaeum Traiani at Adamklissi (109 CE)).
The iconography of the mourning province had several predecessors in coins minted by Augustus depicting Armenia capta, and later in the series Iudaea capta, minted by Vespasian and Titus (see Sestertius depicting Vespasian and a couple of Jews mourning under a palm tree (71 CE)), and Germania capta, minted by Domitian (see Aureus depicting the head of Domitian and the personification of Germania mourning (88-89 CE)). This denarius minted by Trajan fits into this category as well (for a detailed study of the so-called provincia capta types, which depict the conquered people mourning or with bound hands, as prisoners, see Cody, "Conquerors and Conquered on Flavian Coins").

Bibliographical references: 
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How to quote this page

Denarius depicting the head of Trajan and the personification of Dacia mourning (103-111 CE)
Author(s) of this publication: Samuele Rocca
Publishing date: Mon, 08/27/2018 - 10:21
URL: http://judaism-and-rome.cnrs.fr/denarius-depicting-head-trajan-and-personification-dacia-mourning-103-111-ce
Visited: Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:13

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