Trajan Decius semis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Cucumbor, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    A few days ago I've had the opportunity of acquiring a semis minted by Trajan Decius, which I find interesting in several ways. At this time of the empire, this denomination is rather scarce ; a new denomination of his, in the context of assembling the complete Divi series adds to the attractivenes of the whole ; and when time will come to put together all the denominations of an emperor, why not TD as you can go from the small semis, to the enormous, and covetable, double sestertius !

    The following is a quick and partial translation of an article I wrote about the Divi series in "Les monnaies de l'antiquité, #2, pp 65-70"

    , as the admirer of the former emperor Trajan he was, gave to himself the name of TRAJAN DECIVS immediately upon his accession to supreme power. His short reign, from September AD 249 to June or July AD 251, has been characterized by a return to conservative values.

    He would be born AD 201 near Sirmium in Pannonia (modern Mitrovica, Serbia) in a family belonging to the senatorial order. His curriculum is not well known until he accesses to power, some sources giving him as governor of Lower Moesia under Severus Alexander, and governor of Hispania Citerior under Maximinus Thrax. On AD 245 he is appointed as Praefectus Urbi by Philip the Arab, an office of highest demand for a member of the senatorial order.

    At this time Philip had to face invasions and rebellions in several parts of the empire, including the usurpations of Jotapian in Cappadocia and Pacatian on the Danube. Although these events were in the end only epiphenomena, the usurpers being quickly thrown down, Philip the Arab has been destabilized enough to give Decius the mission of restoring order in the provinces of the Danube, from which he originated, and repel the Goths invaders.

    Taking advantage of this expedition, after Pacatian had been murdered, the troops on the Danube acclaimed Decius, who found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to accept the imperial purple for fear of being himself executed by his men, while ensuring Philip the Arab 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 killed in Rome.

    Back to Rome, and once his power endorsed by the Senate, Decius has developed a whole system back to conservative values:
    • The imperial cult, from optional became compulsory. The most visible result and best known from a contemporary point of view being the persecution of the christians.
    • An attempt to found a new dynasty, like the Antonines or the Severi, by quickly combining his two son to supreme power.
    • Highlighting the first century values as Pudicitia (modesty) or Pietas (piety).
    • Restoration of the central authority of Rome over the provinces of the Empire at the forefront of which Dacia, where the Emperor was able to be victorious.

    All these elements are found on coins from the reign : reverses extolling the values of a glorious past, such as victoriy over the Dacians, but also abundant emissions with the image of the Empress and her children. From the numismatic point of view, the rule as been marked by a number of peculiarities. While antoninians knew a slow debasement of their silver content, bronze became less and less interesting to strike as pocket change and its lack was felt everyday in trades. Trajan Decius introduced a new denomination, the double sestertius, and reintroduced the bronze semis in an attempt to re-legitimate this metal.

    Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus died in June or July AD 251, at the Battle of Abrittus, during an offensive against the Goths led by their chief Cniva.


    Trajan Decivs, Bronze semis
    IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG Laureate and draped bust right
    Mars standing l., holding spear and shield. S | C in field
    4,71 gr - 19 mm
    Ref : Cohen #102 (6), RIC #128
    Pics are the seller's, being unable today to get the right light on that thick and bright patina

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
    Marsyas Mike, dlhill132, WDF and 13 others like this.
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  3. Okidoki

    Okidoki Well-Known Member

    Thank you for posting very interesting
    Cucumbor likes this.
  4. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Oh, sorry, and of course, please post anything related : Trajan Decius, semis, Divi series, and of course double sestertii you may have !

  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Never seen one of his before, nice find and wonderful writeup!

    Trajan Decius (249 - 251 A.D.)
    Billon Tetradrachm
    Syria, Seleucis and Pieria
    O: AYT K Γ ME KY TPAIANOC ΔEKIOC CEB, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Z below.
    R: ΔHMAPX EΞOYCIAC / S C. Eagle standing left on palm branch, wreath in beak.
    Prieur 548

    Trajan Decius (249 - 251 A.D.)
    AR Antoninianus
    O: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG; radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right.
    R: PANNONIAE; the two Pannoniae, veiled, standing right and left facing one another, clasping right hands in front of standard between them.
    Rome Mint, 251 A.D.
    RIC IV Rome 26
    dlhill132, WDF, Alegandron and 4 others like this.
  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Very nice!
    Cucumbor likes this.
  7. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Wonderful coin and article!
    Marsyas Mike, WDF, Alegandron and 4 others like this.
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    Much nicer than mine which is typically low end but don't make fun of the little guy. He brought his big brother.
    32.51g rx1315fd3284.jpg
    Marsyas Mike, dlhill132, WDF and 7 others like this.
  9. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Great stuff, Q. Of the Crisis period emperors, TD is certainly one of the more interesting ones to collect.
    Cucumbor likes this.
  10. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Wow, great OP-addition, Q (congrats) ... I don't have an AE Trajan Decius example (*sigh*)

    => but I do have this silver baby to toss-into your thread ...

    T R A J A N D E C I U S, AR Tetradrachm
    249-251 AD
    28 mm
    14.55 grams
    Antioch, Syria, Seleucis ad Pieria, Struck 250-251 AD
    Obverse: AΥT K Γ ME KΥ ΔEKIOC TΡAIANOC CEB, Radiate Crown, draped bust right, Z below bust
    Reverse: ΔHMAΡX EΞOΥCIAC, eagle standing left on palm, head right, wings spread, wreath in beak, S C in ex.
    Ref. Prieur 548. Extremely Fine, light gray toning

    trajan decius a.jpg trajan decius b.jpg

    ... Eagle, smokin' a cigarette
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
    Marsyas Mike, dlhill132, WDF and 7 others like this.
  11. Alegandron

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

    I really enjoy your Historical write-ups Q! Thanks, and that is a great coin...
    Cucumbor likes this.
  12. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I didn't know that denomination was struck that late in the empire. Nice coin!
    Cucumbor likes this.
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    I see this as if the US decided to make a reissue half cent. The question is why???
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