Featured Trajan: the Best Emperor and the Mystery of the River God

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Jun 26, 2018.


What do you think the DANVVIVS reverse type is referencing? See post 2 for my top theories.

  1. Trajan’s famous bridge over the Danube.

  2. The pontoon bridges Trajan used to cross the Danube in the First Dacian War.

  3. The canal Trajan had built along the Danube in preparation for the wars.

  4. Something else? Bacon? Please comment below.

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    OK, you have definitely outknowledged me on this one. :) I am going to move in your direction, but not all the way! Because I am stubborn. :shifty::shy:

    1) Fair point that the Romans already considered the Danube to be, well, Roman!

    2) You've convinced me that the canal was a huge part of his taming the Danube to allow for more substantial trade, but I do think there are other aspects to this, including his construction of the bridge, the riverside road, and the many fortresses & ports including the Diana fortress which controlled the entrance to the canal... or do you consider that to be "part" of the canal? ;) At least one source also says that Trajan enhanced the river fleets too! All of this would contribute towards making the Danube a safe, navigable, tradeworthy route and something for Trajan to celebrate on his coins.

    So I would suggest the coin represents the taming of the Danube (primarily for the purposes of trade, that's what I meant originally), with the canal representing a large portion of this achievement... but not all of it. If he wanted a coin to represent the canal specifically, then why not name and depict, well, a canal, for pete's sake? ;)

    Let me reiterate how wonderful your writeup is though. And I'm fully prepared to acknowledge that you're more likely to be right due to greater expertise! Well done, sir! I look forward to your next one, which I understand may also feature the Danube to some extent. :D
    Justin Lee, Smojo, Curtisimo and 3 others like this.
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  3. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great pick up zumbly, still enough reverse detail to get the idea of what it looked like. It amuses me as well that it and the Colosseum coin termed "affordable" that in my book still aren't cheap. Congratulations, I'm jealous...:)
    Curtisimo and zumbly like this.
  4. galba68

    galba68 Well-Known Member

    nice info..thanks
    Curtisimo likes this.
  5. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    I had a few more thoughts for this thread I would like to share and I hope you will all permit me one more question for the group :)

    I want to give a big thanks to @Severus Alexander for his commentary on this thread. As probably happens a lot on CT I correspond via private message with other members on coins I am studying or considering purchasing. SA is kind enough to listen patiently to my ramblings about this and other coins and provide some valuable insight and things to think about. :bookworm::bookworm::rolleyes: One of our discussions led me to ask the following question;

    Does the DANVVIVS type show flowing water over rocks on the reverse?

    My example appears to show DANVVIVS reclining on rocks with turbulent water flowing over the top of the rocks. The reason I think this is significant is that the only spot on the middle or lower Danube that had (in antiquity) a strong current, a large quantity of rocks visible in the channel and turbulent waters was the approx. 80 mile stretch of the Iron Gate. If these features are present on the coin it seems like more evidence that the type is referencing something specific within this geographical area.
    Top: Danube reclining on rocks and flowing water? Bottom: Rocks evident in the channel during the construction of the Sip Canal (before 1896)

    RIC describes DANVVIVS reclining on rocks but no mention of flowing water.

    While it seems clear enough that the Danube is reclining on rocks it seems less clear from looking at other examples that turbulent water was meant by the detail to the left of the personified Danube. Was this meant to be part of a flowing garment or was it meant to be flowing water?

    Below are links to search results for other examples.



    Anyone still reading this thread ;) what do you all think?
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
    singig, Justin Lee, zumbly and 6 others like this.
  6. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    If anyone wonders how this thread suddenly leapfrogged back to the top of the homepage, it's because its Featured status had expired. (Who knew there was such thing as a finite feature?) So I just RE-featured it- indefinitely- like the rest.
    Severus Alexander and Curtisimo like this.
  7. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Thanks LordM! For a minute there I thought Trajan was in time out for not playing nice with the other homepage coins. :hurting::wacky:
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  8. RomanGreekCoin3

    RomanGreekCoin3 Active Member

    I heard Trajan was so brave he used to walk around and even go into citizens homes without any bodyguards. That was pretty risky for someone back then.

    IMO, Hes easily in the top 5, maybe the best of all time since her was at the helm during the Empires largest expansion
    lordmarcovan and Curtisimo like this.
  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    I heard Chuck Norris found a magic necklace with an unobtanium crystal set in a pendant, that when rubbed, would allow the wearer to time travel.

    Since Chuck Norris wanted to try his martial arts skills out against some Roman gladiators in the Colosseum, he went back to 2nd century Rome. But before he even got to the Colosseum, he ended up walking down a dark alley and literally bumped into the emperor Trajan, who was out for an evening stroll without any Praetorian bodygards.

    Chuck Norris, too accustomed to being Chuck Norris, did not yield the way to Trajan. Shoving ensued, followed by fisticuffs.

    Trajan whupped Chuck Norris terribly, and then took his time-traveling unobtanium pendant. That's how come nobody has seen the real Chuck Norris that did those movies and TV shows in a long time. He was replaced by the döppleganger you see today, who only does commercials. The real Chuck Norris finally did get to be a gladiator and lived out the rest of his days in ancient Rome, but was never the same again after that humiliating smackdown from Trajan.

    It is said that a certain wealthy but highly eccentric client frequents Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, and spends funny looking coins at the gaming tables. They let him, because the weird coins with his face on them are made of gold and silver. He is said to always be dressed in purple Roman costume, like he's a liitle too much into the whole Caesars Palace theme. He not only talks funny, but is always clutching an odd looking pendant as if it's his lucky talisman.
    Johndakerftw and Curtisimo like this.
  10. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Hahahaha! Trajan... the Chuck Norris of the ancient world :)
    Andres2, Ryro, Johndakerftw and 4 others like this.
  11. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Great presentation & history lesson! Thanks for sharing. Earlier this year I sold a handsome portrait coin of Trajan at a Heritage auction. See attachments. McAlee 440, obv..jpg McAlee 440, rev..jpg
    singig, Johndakerftw, Bing and 3 others like this.
  12. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Wow that is a spectacular specimen with a style that looks very close to imperial... and on the scale of a tetradrachm! Thanks for sharing @Al Kowsky and a belated welcome to CT :)
  13. Valens

    Valens Well-Known Member

    Is it possible that such a statue stood on the bridge?[​IMG]
  14. Valens

    Valens Well-Known Member

    The existing statue is the prototype of the later reverse?
    Curtisimo likes this.
  15. Valens

    Valens Well-Known Member

    My improved reconstruction of the bridge;)
    The reverse of the later dupondius is a statue that stood on the bridge. This is my opinion. This is certainly not Minerva. Two trophea are two Dacian wars. Two gates with the statue of the emperor can be considered triumphal arches.
    An interesting discovery?[​IMG]
  16. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Your observation about the statue on the bridge and it’s possible connection with some of Trajan’s reverse types is interesting. Yet another reason for me to put an example on my ever expanding “want list!” :D:greedy:;)
  17. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I am re-reading it and it is even better than ever for me that way! A fairly recent addition of mine:


    TRAJAN, SESTERTIUS, RIC Vol. II, Rome, No. 534, 98-117AD,
    Obverse depiction: Trajan, head facing right, wearing aegis
    Reverse depiction: Trajan galloping on horseback spearing a fallen Dacian soldier
    Inscription: SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI - in exergue S C
  18. Valens

    Valens Well-Known Member

    Still a close-up and comparison.
    At 100% what we see on later sides is a group of sculptures from the Danube bridge duplicated for new war propaganda purposes. Visibly known and admired since it was copied.[​IMG]
    Curtisimo likes this.
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