Hadrian, securing the transition of power

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Transitions between emperors could be risky times, and Trajan had not clearly defined his successor. We are only a week away from the day that Trajan died, August 8 or 9 in AD 117. On his death bed, he named Hadrian as his successor - at least that is what the letter signed by Plotina said. Hadrian was 41-years-old and decisively took control, and had he not, there might have been another period like AD 69, with 4 emperors competing for the throne, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.

    I have a few coins of Hadrian. I wasn't looking for more, when this historically interesting coin turned up. This is a very early issue of Hadrian securing his transition as successor to Trajan. This coin lacks the word added later, "ADOPTIO", in exergue. However, on this coin the words "DIVI TRAIAN AVG F" declares Hadrian as "son of deified Trajan". Also worth noting that this coin inappropriately carries over the titles of Trajan for Hadrian (e.g. OPT GER DAC PARTH) - titles later not included on coins of Hadrian.
    Hadrian son of Trajan denarius.jpg
    Hadrian, AD 117-138, AR denarius (18.9mm, 3.32g, 7h), Rome mint, struck AD 117
    Obv: IMP CAES TRAIAN HADRIAN OPT AVG GER DAC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: PARTHIC DIVI TRAIAN AVG F P M TR P COS P P Trajan presenting globe to Hadrian, each holding scroll
    Ref: RIC II 2c p.338

    You can find a nice write-up of this transition here. And an article on the aureus which might provide additional evidence that Trajan intended Hadrian as his successor.

    Share your coins of Hadrian, coins from transitions in power, or anything else you find interesting or entertaining.
    Salaethus, Okidoki, Spaniard and 22 others like this.
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I'm a big fan of Hadrian. He has some of the greatest portraiture on Roman coins in my opinion. This is one of the best portraits in the entire FF collection. It reminds me of a CIRCAM.

    114-117 AD
    Obverse: IMP CAES NER TRAIAN OPTIM AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS VI, laureate draped bust right
    Reverse: PM TRP COS VI PP SPQR, Genius or Bonus Eventus standing left, holding patera and corn ears
    Trajan Denarius, 114-117 AD.jpg
  4. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coin! I have been meaning to pick up either this type, or the more popular ADOPTIO, which are just about the only way to pick up a budget coin with Divus Trajan before the Decian issues more than a century later. Interesting note is that Hadrian looks almost beardless, although I don't think I have ever seen a clean-shaven Hadrian.

    Here's my earliest Hadrian, although still a far cry from an actual transitional issue
    Hadrian denarius roma seated.jpg
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's an early one with the so-called "heroic bust":

    Hadrian P M TR P COS II PIETAS denarius.jpg
    Hadrian, AD 117-35.
    Roman AR Denarius, 3.10 g, 17.7 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 118.
    Obv: IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, laureate bust, right, with drapery on left shoulder.
    Rev: P M TR P COS II, PIETAS across fields, Pietas, draped, standing facing left, raising her right hand and placing her left arm on her breast.
    Refs: RIC 45a; BMCRE 82; RSC 1027; Strack 39; RCV --.

    See the cover of this mystery novel set in Roman Britain:

  6. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Nothing's special, only my latest acquisition from this Emperor, the only denomination that was missing from him.

    Hadrian Ae As
    Rome 27mm 12.32g
    RIC 579b
    Ex. @Valentinian
  7. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Great and historical relevant coin, @Sulla80. I've also read your first link with great interest. That blog is a very usefull resource. I only have 10 coins of Hadrian, and one of Aelius. I will show two below:

    The earliest coin I have, from his reign:

    And one from his 'travel-series' coinage:
  8. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    This coin of Hadrian is like the coin in the original post except this one includes the word "ADOPTIO" in exergue.
    19 mm. Struck 117.
    BMC 7 but no photo. RIC 3e.

    ex Empire Coins auction 6, lot 374, November 14, 1986.

    I think this is the only Roman coin type to explicitly mention adoption. A photo of this much ADOPTIO.jpg of the coin is enough to identify it. It is an historically important type from the period of "the adoptive emperors."
  9. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Thanks @Valentinian, I was hoping one of those would surface! It certainly takes identifiable by the reverse to an extreme.
  10. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Here is a tet from the last year of Hadrian’s reign. The phoenix on the reverse likely represents the transition of power to the next generation of the dynasty.

    Hadrian, Alexandria, BI Tetradrachm (24 mm, 12.68 g), RY 22 = 137/8 AD. ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙC ΤΡΑ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟC CЄΒ Laureate head of Hadrian to right./ Rev. ΠΡΟΝΟΙΑ / L ΚΒ Pronoia standing front, head to left, holding Phoenix in her right hand and scepter in her left. RPC III 6252.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  11. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Nice coin and write-up, @Sulla80! It's interesting to see the different Hadrian portraits posted here. Here are two other examples:

    Hadrian Denarius.jpg

    Hadrian as Caesar (117-138 AD). Denarius. Rome mint. HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, Bare head right / VOTA PVBLICA, Hadrian, draped standing left, holding a patera over tripod altar, left, sacrificing. 18.4 mm. 3.4 g.


    IONIA. Ephesos. Hadrian (117-138 AD). AE. Hadrian laureate head right. / Statue of Artemis Ephesia facing within temple. 21 mm. 5.89 g.
  12. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I can't believe I biffed the first reply to this by posting Trajan...oof. At least he was Hadrian's adopted father. :p

    Here is one of my 2 Hadrians. He has almost no resemblance to a Roman coin portrait of him and he has quite the nose.

    AR Hemidrachm
    Caesaria, Cappadocia
    Dated year 5 (121/2 AD)
    Obverse: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Reverse: Nike walking right, holding wreath and palm; ET E (date) in right field
    Hadrian Hemidrachm 1.jpg
  13. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  14. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Several sestertii and a couple of denarii of Hadrian. first and last are early in his reign.

    942956.jpg 2670404.jpg fFx9D8zc38XgK4qyeZf6nm2H52SkGc.jpg Jz9aX3Ti8rWXRk6xMkF574bCYB2jN4.jpg nc9L7tA4fa8DZen32Fyop6QJWpj5Wr.jpg
  15. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread and some great coins.

    I think this is my earliest Hadrian, based on the DIVI (twice - but obliterated on this poor specimen) in the obverse inscription: Hadrian - As 3 standards lot May 2020 (0).jpg

    Hadrian Æ As
    (118 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    draped, cuirassed bust right /PONT M[AX TR P]OT COS II SC aquila between two standards
    RIC II, 3 157 (old RIC 546A).
    (12.04 grams / 27 x 25 mm)

    For a "transition of power" coin from the other end of Hadrian's reign, I recently got this sestertius of Antoninus Pius as Caesar, issued under Hadrian (it has a Hadrian RIC number), bare head, no "AVG" no "PIVS":

    Antoninus Pius - Sest. Caesar PIETAS July 2020 (0).jpg

    Antoninus Pius Æ Sestertius
    (138 A.D.) as Caesar
    Rome Mint

    IMP T AELIVS CAE[SAR ANTONINVS], bare head right / TR[IB POT COS], S-C, PIETAS in exergue, Pietas standing right raising hand and holding incense box over altar.
    RIC II.3 2747 (RIC 1082).
    (22.57 grams / 29 x 27 mm)
  16. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Hadrian, AE drachm, Nilos reclining.

    Egypt, Alexandria - Hadrian. (117-138)
    Year 127-128

    Type: AE Drachm, 32mm 24.42 grams

    Obverse: AVT KAI TPAI AAPIA CEB, Laureate draped and cuirassed bust right

    Reverse: LDW (delta) EK in exergue, Nilos reclining left upon a crocodile, holding cornucopia and reed, Genius emerging from the cornucopia and pointing at letters IS in upper field

    Reference: Milne 1269



    The coin is quite historical and commemorates Hadrian’s arrival in Egypt in the year 130-131.


    Hadrian. 117-138 AD.

    Æ Drachm, 36mm, 22.1g, 11h; Alexandria, Year 15 = 130/1 AD.

    Obverse: AVT KAI - TRAI AΔPIA CEB; Bust laureate, draped, cuirassed right.

    Reverse: Alexandria kisses the hand of the arriving emperor; he is laureate and togate, stands left, extends right hand to Alexandria and holds scepter in left; she stands right wearing elephant skin headdress, guides the emperor's hand to her mouth with her right hand, and holds two wheat ears downwards with her left hand; in lower field L - IE.

    Reference: Cologne 1034; Emmett 964/15.
  17. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter


    RI Hadrian CE 117-138 AR Denarius Salus stdg feeding Snake
  18. singig

    singig Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to see a new thread with Hadrian ! , there haven't been many opened in the last four months..... , an emperor that I like.

    Hadrian AE Sestertius. Rome, AD 119-121. RIC II 586c
    IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG P M TR P COS III, laureate, draped bust right / MONETA AVGVSTI, Moneta standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae. S-C across fields.
  19. El Cazador

    El Cazador Active Member


    Here are two by the same seller and of the same emperor 81EE6E05-937D-4B06-A4AF-3958F4624CA1.jpeg C62317D3-569B-44D9-8D7F-9F565211AD08.jpeg
  20. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    How about any Quinarius?

    RI Hadrian 117-138 AR Quinarius Victory holding palm

    RI Hadrian AR Quinarius 1.30g, 14mm Rome, AD 119-122 cuirassed laureate COS III Victory seated wreath palm RIC 108a
  21. Okidoki

    Okidoki Well-Known Member

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