Roman Imperial coin, bronze (orichalcum), AE sestertius. Struck during the reign of the Emperor (Marcus Ulpinus Traianus, also known by full title of Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nervae filius Augustus), c. 104-107 C.E. The laureate head of Trajan faces right in profile, on obverse with the inscriptions "IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P" surrounding image. On reverse, a single-span bridge with a tower at each end and boat beneath (the "Danube Bridge") depicted in center with the inscriptions "S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI" around image and "S-C" on left and right of image. Obverse and reverse images and inscriptions based on Sear reference; images and inscriptions severely faded and difficult to decipher.
Date range: 104-107 C.E.
Remarks: The bridge on the reverse of this coin has been generally thought to be that constructed across the Danube by Trajan’s architect, Apollodorus of Damascus, in AD 104. There is good circumstantial evidence for this. The date range for this coin’s issue is closely contemporary with the date of the bridge’s construction, and would fit in well programmatically with those war-related issues of the same time frame. The statuary displayed along the roof line of the attic of the arches situated at either end of the structure – one of which is clearly a trophy – suggests that these arches are triumphal in nature and that the bridge should be associated with some war-related construction. There is no literary or epigraphic evidence describing the construction or restoration of another bridge during Trajan’s reign. The only plausible structure is the bridge across the Danube. Trajan's coins were minted in Rome and Asia Minor.
Reference: David Sear, "Roman Coins and Their Values" , London 2002 (Vol II), #3207 or #3235, pgs 111 & 115 (?); Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., Danube Bridge Sesterius (n.d.), http://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=169807
|Credit line||Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas|
|Place of Origin||Europe/Italy/Rome|