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    Rare Aureus of Plotina

    Plotina, wife of Trajan (Augusta, AD 98-117). AV aureus (20mm, 7.24 gm, 7h).   Rome, AD 112-114.  PLOTINA · AVG  IMP · TRAIANI, draped bust of Plotina right, wearing stephane, hair rolled at crown of head and tied in queue down neck / CAES AVG GERMA DAC COS VI P P,  Vesta seated left on draped curule chair, holding palladium in right hand and and scepter in left. RIC (Trajan) 730. Cohen 2. BMCRE (Trajan) 525. Calicó 1146 (R1). Rare! Struck on a broad, round flan. A few parallel scratches in left reverse field. NGC Choice VF 5/5 - 2/5, edge marks.

    Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina Claudia Phoebe Piso was part of a coterie of powerful Spanish-born women who exerted considerable influence over imperial policy and the succession in the early second century AD. Born in Gades in AD 64, she was made Augusta by Trajan in AD 100, but did not formally accept the title until AD 105. Famously unostentatious, she is said to have stated, upon entering the imperial palace for the first time, "I enter here such a woman as I would wish to be when I leave." Coinage with her portrait commenced with this aureus issue in AD 112. Trajan's sister Marciana and niece Matidia also lived in the palace and were also honored on Trajan's coinage. The close circle of females is credited by some with influencing Trajan's reforms of taxation and the establishment of a welfare scheme to help the poor (Alimentia). With no children of her own, Plotina highly favored Hadrian, the emperor's protege, and probably engineered his betrothal and marriage to Matidia's daughter Sabina, thus tying him to the imperial family. She accompanied Trajan to the east on his final campaign against the Parthian Kingdom, and quickly took charge of the government apparatus when the emperor fell desperately ill on the return trip through Asia Minor. Some Roman historians accuse Plotina of concealing Trajan's death for a time in order to stage-manage the appointment of Hadrian as Caesar, thus ensuring a smooth transition of power. In any case she lived long into Hadrian's reign and continued to be honored by him as Augusta, or first woman of the Empire. A letter survives from Plotina to Hadrian seeking his endowment of an Epicurean school in Greece. Upon her death in AD 122, she was deified by order of the Senate. 


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
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