Trajan. A.D. 98-117. Æ sestertius. 33 mm. Rome mint. Struck A.D. 116-117. His laureate and draped bust right; IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC PARTHICO P M TR P COS VI P / Trajan standing right, holding spear and parazonium; Armenia at his feet, reclining left; Tigris and Euphrates flanking, facing inwards, each holding reed and leaning on urn from which water flows; ARMENIA ET MESOPOTAMIA IN POTESTATEM P R REDACTAE S C. RIC II 642 corr. (obverse legend). NGC VG Strike 4/5 Surface 4/5; brown patina with underlying orichalcum visible on high points. Rare and fascinating type.
This piece celebrates Trajan's victories in Armenia and Mesopotamia in A.D. 114-116. Armenia's status as a buffer state between Rome and Parthia was compromised when Parthia replaced the pro-Roman king in A.D. 114. In response Trajan moved decisively to bring Armenia back under Roman influence, and then continued into Mesopotamia, capturing the Parthian capital Ctesiphon in A.D. 116. He advanced as far as the Persian Gulf, at the time the furthest east that Roman armies had ever reached.
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