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Hadrian’s Travel Series

CNG 106, Lot: 745. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $2400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Hadrian. AD 117-138. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.31 g, 6h). “Travel series” issue. Rome mint. Struck circa AD 134-138. Bare head right / AEGYPTOS, Egypt reclining left, holding sistrum and resting arm on basket; to left, ibis standing right. RIC II 297; RSC 99. EF, toned.

Ex Gemini VIII (14 April 2011), lot 332 (hammer $2600).

Between the years AD 119 and 136, the emperor Hadrian travelled throughout the Roman Empire, visiting various provinces to take stock of his inheritance and calm the disquiet which had arisen in the later years of Trajan’s reign. His travels can be divided into two major episodes. The first tour was designed to shore-up Rome’s northern borders and began sometime around AD 119 when Hadrian first visited the provinces of Gaul and Germania Inferior and Superior. The emperor then crossed the Channel to Britannia where, during his stay, construction began on a 73-mile long wall across the north of the province. In AD 122-123, Hadrian spent time in Hispania, then travelled East to Asia Minor. The remainder of this first tour was spent in the Balkans and Greece, touring such areas as Dacia and Achaea, before returning to Rome, via Sicily, in AD 126.

Hadrian’s second tour began in AD 128, when he set out on a short tour of the provinces of Africa and Mauretania. Returning for a brief stay in Rome, Hadrian then went again to Asia Minor, and continued into the Levant. In AD 130, Hadrian moved on to Egypt, where he visited Alexandria. It was while Hadrian was on tour in Egypt that his favorite, Antinoüs, mysteriously drowned in the Nile. The Bar Kochba revolt in Judaea forced Hadrian to remain in the region until AD 135. In AD 136, Hadrian returned to Italia, ending his long travels.