Numismatics
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Photo credit: Christopher Gardner
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Christopher Gardner
Ruler: Trajan, Emperor of Rome, A.D. 53–117, ruled 98–117
Mint: Rome

Sestertius of Trajan

103–11

Orichalcum

26.26 g, 6:00, 33 mm
Gift of Ben Lee Damsky
2018.65.1

Trajan was fond of construction projects; he was said to have restored old monuments and to have added his name to them, as if he were their originator. In 103 he restored and expanded the grandstand of the Circus Maximus. This magnificent sestertius is one of the finest examples of the issue and shows precise details: the Arch of Titus looks down from the upper left, quadrigae (four-horse chariots) surmount the gates at either end of the grandstand, and metae (turning posts) are seen at either end of the racecourse, which is being run by a galloping figure. The large, gabled structure surmounted by the bust of Sol reflects his status as the major god honored here.

Geography: 
Made in Rome, Italy
Culture: 
Roman
Period: 
2nd century A.D.
Classification: 
Numismatics
Status: 
By appointment
Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018,” https://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/bulletin/Pub-Bull-acquisitions-2018.pdf (accessed December 1, 2018).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.