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Research Coins: The Coin Shop

 
833039. Sold For $795

Trajan. AD 98-117. Æ Sestertius (33mm, 26.29 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 116-117. IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC PARTHICO P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate and draped bust right / ARMENIA ET MESOPOTAMIA IN POTESTATEM P R REDACTAE, Trajan standing facing, head right, holding parazonium and spear; at feet to left and right, seated figures of Armenia, Euphrates, and Tigris. RIC II 642; Banti 29. VF, dark brown surfaces, minor roughness. Unusually complete legends.


Trajan's final campaign was sparked by Parthia's replacement of the pro-Roman king of Armenia with one of their own in 114 AD. Armenia had been a strategic and semi-independent kingdom which served as an important buffer between Parthia and Rome. The last conflict overt this region, during Nero's reign, resulted in a delicate balance that stabilized the situation for over fifty years. The move by Parthia now upset the balance and posed a threat to Rome's wealthy Syrian cities. Trajan’s campaign was swift and decisive; by 115 AD, Armenia was restored as a Roman client state. To secure the eastern frontier, he then moved southward through Mesopotamia, and captured the Parthian capital, Ctesiphon, in 116 AD. Although short-lived, these victories were celebrated on much of Trajan's later coinage.