As some of you may already know, I’ve been on the process of assembling the series of antoniniani struck by Trajan Decius in honor of the « good emperors » of the past, also called « the Divi series », for some years now. On the occasion of the arrival of the 21st of them out of 22 in my trays (from the last Gemini XIII auction), I thought it might be entertaining and educationnal to our community to write something on the subject. The following is a translation of an article I wrote five years ago for a french numismatic review. Thank you so much to @TIF for reading it and pointing out big mistakes or when my words have failed to express my thoughts and have the whole un- or mis-understandable (I sometimes feel translating from french into english more difficult than writing in english from the begining because I would then use a more basic level of language). All the coins illustrated are from my personnal collection. Anyway, here’s the coin : Augustus, Antoninianus Rome mint AD 250/251 DIVO AVGVSTO radiate head right CONSECRATIO Eagle facing with spred wings and head left 3.10 gr Ref : RIC IV # 77, Cohen # 577, RCV # 9458 reference of dies in qblay's catalog : AU27/A045 Ex Gemini XIII auction, #291 CAIVS MESSIVS QVINTVS DECIVS, as the admirer of the emperor Trajan he was (talented general and respected emperor from the 2nd century CE during the reign of whom the Empire experienced its greatest expansion), took the name of TRAJAN DECIUS at his accession to the throne. His short reign, from September 249 CE to June or July 251 CE is known for a revival of conservative values : attempts to reunify the empire to prevent from barbaric invasions, restoration of the prestige of Rome and religious traditions, foundation of a new dynasty. In such a context, the decision to honor the “good” emperors from a glorious past makes sense. However, the attribution of the Divi series to Trajan Decius and when, why, and where they were minted have for long been controversial. TRAJAN DECIUS Decius would be born in 201 CE not far from Sirmium, Pannonia (today Mitrovica, Serbia) in a family from the Senatorial Order. Before his accession to power his cursus isn’t known with certainty. Some historians say he might have been governor in Moesia Inferior under Severus Alexander and governor in Hispania Citerior under Maximinus Thrax. Around 245 CE Philip the Arab named him Praefectus Urbi, among the highest position a member of the Senatorial Order could pretend to. At this time Philip the Arab had to face invasions and rebellions in several parts of the Empire, in particular usurpations by Jotapian in Cappadocia and Pacatian in the Danube area. Although these ended in being minor events, the usurpers being shortly defeated, Philip found himself unsettled enough that he decided to entrust to Decius the command of an army with mission to restoring order in the provinces of Danube and repelling Goths invaders. On the occasion of this expedition, after the assassination of Pacatian, the troops of the Danube region acclaimed Decius, who found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to accept the Imperial Purple (under the risk of being killed by his men should he refuse to), while assuring Philip of his loyalty. The confrontation with Philip becoming inevitable, it took place near Verona, and turned to the advantage of Decius. Meanwhile, Philip II, son and co-emperor with Philip the Arab, was being killed in Rome. Philippus I, Sestertius Rome mint, 248 AD IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, Draped and laureate bust of Philippus right P M TRP V COS III PP, Felicitas standing left, holding cornucopiae and caduceus 18.71 gr Ref : Cohen #149, RCV #9008 Philippus II, Antonianus Rome mint, 246 AD M IVL PHILIPPVS CAES, Radiate and draped bust of Philippus right PRINCIPI IVVENT, Philippus II standing left, holding globe and spear 4.42 gr Cohen #48, RCV #9240 Back to Rome, and once his power has been endorsed by the senate, Decius developed a whole system, back to conservative values : - The imperial cult, from optional became mandatory. The most visible and well-known consequence from a contemporary reading of history was the persecution of Christians. - Attempt to found a new dynasty, as the Antonines or the Severans, by quickly associating his two sons to power. - Emphasizing the values of the first century CE such as Pudicitia (modesty) or Pietas (piety). - Restoration of the central authority of Rome over the provinces of the Empire, in the first rank of which is Dacia, where the Emperor had been able to assert himself. All these elements are found on the coins of the reign : reverses extolling the values of a glorious past, victories over the Dacians, but also abundant emissions with the effigy of the Empress and her children. Trajan Decius, Antoninianus Rome mint, AD 250-251 IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind DACIA, Dacia standing left holding a standard surmounted by an ass's head 3.52 gr - 20/23 mm Ref : RCV # 9368, RSC # 16, RIC IV-3 # 12b Herennia Etruscilla, Antoninianus Rome mint, AD 250-251 HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed bust right, with hair ridged in waves PVDICITIA AVG, Pudicitia standing left holding transverse sceptre and drawing veil from her face 3.78 gr, 21 mm Ref : RIV IV # 58b, Cohen # 17, RCV # 9494 Herennius Etruscus, Antoninianus Rome mint, AD 250-251 Q HER ETR MES DECIVS NOB C, Radiate bust of Herennius right PIETAS AVGVSTORVM, Sacrificial implements 4.45 gr Ref : RIC # 143, Cohen #14, RCV #9521 Hostilian, Antoninianus Rome mint, AD 251. Issued as Caesar with Trajan Decius C VALENS HOSTIL MES QUINTVS N C, radiate and draped bust right MARTI PROPUGNATORI, Mars advancing right, holding spear and shield 2.74 gr Ref : RCV # 9556, Cohen # 15, RIC # 177b The reign has also been marked by a number of originalities in the numismatic field. While the antoninian was experiencing a slow degradation of its silver content, bronze coins became more and more expensive to manufacture so production fell. The lack of low value coins was felt in daily life. Trajan Decius then introduced a new denomination, the double sestertius, and reintroduced the bronze semis, in an attempt to restore legitimacy to this metal. Trajan Decius, Semis Rome mint, AD 249-250 IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG Laureate and draped bust right Mars standing left, holding spear and shield. S|C in field 19 mm, 4,71 gr Ref : RIC # 128, Cohen # 102 Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus perished in June or July 251 CE at the Battle of Abrittus, during an offensive against the Goths led by Cniva.