OBVERSE: Bust of Emperor Trajan
TRAJAN was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 98 until his death in 117 As a civilian administrator, Trajan is best known for his extensive public building program, which reshaped the city of Rome and left multiple enduring landmarks such as Trajan's Forum, Trajan's Market and Trajan's Column
As an emperor, Trajan's reputation has endured throughout history. Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the prayer felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, meaning "may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan". Among medieval Christian theologians, Trajan was considered a virtuous pagan, while the 18th century historian Edward Gibbon popularized the notion of the Five Good Emperors, of which Trajan was the second
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. Numerous monuments scattered throughout the Roman Empire today bear testimony to Trajan’s reign. However, perhaps no ruin is as personal and intimate as this coin. Although simple in form and function, void of any grandeur or pomposity, this coin is not a stagnant memorial but an active artifact of a leader passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.
Found in Jerusalem, Holy Land
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