Denarius of Trajan

A1 Leeming to Barton




Julie Shoemark

This is a silver denarius of Trajan, minted in Rome in AD98–99, when Cataractonium was still a fledgling settlement. The obverse depicts the head of the emperor Trajan, facing right and wearing a laurel wreath. The legend surrounding him reads: IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, which is a combination of the emperor’s name and his imperial titles.


On the reverse is the legend PONT MAX TR POT COS II surrounding a female figure standing facing left. We can tell from the objects she’s holding (a caduceus and cornucopiae) that she is the Roman personification Felicitas. The reverse legend gives us some more of Trajan’s imperial titles: PONT MAX (Pontificus Maximum, or chief priest of Rome) and TR POT (Tribunicia Potestas, holder of the Tribunician Power) and finally COS II (Consul for the second time). This combination of titles enables us to date the coin very precisely.


Felicitas represented prosperity and happiness, an appropriate choice then to celebrate the release of our latest monograph Cataractonium: Establishment, Consolidation and Retreat and we are certainly ready to party – in a socially distanced manner if necessary!

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