TRAJAN DECIUS. AE As. Rome, 1st officina, 5th emission, 251 AD
Obv. IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG Cuirassed and radiated bust to right.
Rev. DACIA SC, Dacia standing left, holding cohort standard.
RIC 113c (R); Cohen 29
Several types for Decius honour the embroiled Balkan region. In this case it honours Dacia, an important region beyond the Danube containing the rich gold, silver and iron mines of the Transylvanian Alps (Carpathians). The region had been annexed about 140 years earlier by Trajan, who celebrated his conquest with the magnificent friezes on his column in Rome. In Roman times more than a dozen cities were established in Dacia as it was populated by people from nearby Roman provinces, notably Illyricum. However, in the reign of Decius, Dacia was no longer a promised land for skilled workers, but a place of great danger. Over the course of time the more remote portions of the province fell from Roman control until, by the reign of Aurelian, only the Transylvanian highlands remained in Roman hands. Indeed, it was Aurelian who forfeited Dacia, and in 274 oversaw a mass evacuation of its citizens and soldiers to the two Moesias south of the Danube. On Decius' coinage Dacia is represented as a draped, veiled woman holding a military standard, either a staff topped by an uncertain animal head (symbol used by Dacian auxiliary units?) or, in this case, a cohort standard. [after NAC]
Aix-en-Provence auction, 15 Nov. 1997, lot 241