Drachm of Trajan

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112–117 CE
Hood Museum of Art: Gift of Daniel Stoyanoof Ruevsky, Class of 1887; 95.1.29721

Obverse: Bust of Trajan, facing right, beardless, laureate.

Legend: AYTOKP KAI C NEP TPAIANOC CEB ΓEPM ΔAK (Emperor Caesar Nerva Trajan Augustus Germanicus Dacicus) clockwise from six o’clock.

Reverse: In center of the field, two hands clasped together, holding a standard resting on a prow.

Legend: ΔHMAPX EΞ YΠATO ς (with tribunician and proconsular power) clockwise from seven o’clock.


This particular Cappadocia coin was minted around the time of Trajan’s invasions of Armenia and Parthia. The coin’s symbols (clasped hands, military standard, prow), and their historical connections, highlight not only accord with the Roman armies and navies, but also establish another crucial pillar of imperial legitimacy, namely the military virtue of Trajan. During his rule, expansion of the Empire’s borders became a top priority; as a result, Trajan was wildly popular with the military establishment, and his coinage seems to cultivate that feeling.

This text was prepared by Steve Muenzen, Class of 2014

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