Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Trajan

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minted in Rome

Postcard of Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Trajan.
© National Museums Scotland

Coin (obverse), Denarius, of Trajan

This silver coin was minted in Rome by the emperor Trajan in 101 or 102 AD. It is a type called a denarius, the most common Roman silver coin. This picture shows the obverse of the coin.

The obverse has the head of Trajan wearing a laurel wreath and facing to the right. The legend 'IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM' identifies the emperor and abbreviates a number of his titles.

Silver coins of the early empire were struck to good weight and metal purity. Over time, however, the issues became lighter and the purity was debased. During Trajan's reign, there was increased debasement of silver denarii.

The Roman currency system included the denarius (plural: denarii), a small silver coin, as the most common coin in circulation. Classical historians regularly say that in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire the daily wage for a laborer was one denarius. The denarius was first struck in 211 BC during the Roman Republic, valued at 10 asses, giving the denarius its name which translates to "containing ten". In 118 BC it was re-tariffed at 16 asses, to reflect the decrease in size of the As. The As was a bronze or copper coin. The denarius continued to be the main coin of the empire until it was replaced by the antoninianus in the middle of the 3rd century AD.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-506-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1958.63
Date: 101 - 102
Minted in 101 or 102 AD
Material: Silver. Inscription: Obv. IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM; head of Trajan (a), with slightdrapery front of left shoulder / Rev. PM TR P COS IIII P P; Victory standing l.
Dimensions: 18.00 mm D / Die Axis: 6.0
What: Coin Type: RIC 58
Coin, denarius
Subject: Ancient Coin Collection
Who: Trajan
Where: Italy, Rome
Description: Silver denarius of Trajan, Rome, 101 - 102
  • Mattingly, Harold and Sydenham, Edward A. The Roman Imperial Coinage. Vol. II. Vespasian to Hadrian. London: Spink & Son, Ltd, 1926. 
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