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Rome, 106-107 AD. AU aureus, 7.19 gr., 20 mm.

Obv: IMP TRAIANO AUG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P; laureate head of Trajan to the right, wearing aegis.

Rev: S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI; the emperor on horseback riding to the right, spearing fallen Dacian to the right below.

Ref: Calicó 1109; RIC 209; BMC 245 note.
Scarce. Good very fine.

During his reign, emperor Trajan had to deal with the Dacian king Decebalus. Some twenty years earlier, Domitian had signed a, for the Romans, shameful treaty with the king. It took two campaigns, in the years 101-102 AD and 105-106 AD, to subdue the Dacians. In the end Decebalus’ main stronghold, Sarmizegetusa, was taken by storm and razed to the ground. Decebalus himself tried to escape, but committed suicide as a Roman cavalry scout named Tiberius Claudius Maximus was closing on him. Maximus delivered the head and right hand of the enemy king to his emperor.

As reward for his service, Maximus was decorated and immortalized in a relief on Trajan’s column. A grave stele he ordered for himself while he was alive, tells of his deeds and honours. It bears his likeness on horseback, riding down the Dacian king. The relief is nearly identical to the reverse of this coin type.

Dacia was well known for its rich gold mines and Decebalus’ treasure seized by the Romans may well have been used, partly, for the striking of this issue of aureus.