Roman Empire

Plotina, Empress AD 105-123

RIC 732 corr. (obv. legend); Woytek 701; BN 1025; BMC 525; Calicó 1146, Superb Extremely Fine

Rome, under Trajan, AD 112-114. PLOTINA AVG IMP TRAIANI, diademed and draped bust of Plotina right, hair plaited in long queue down back of neck. Reverse: CAES AVG GERMA DAC COS VI P P, Vesta seated left, feet resting on footstool, holding palladium and scepter.

Pompeia Plotina entered the imperial palace alongside her husband Trajan in AD 98. Although most accounts suggest that she conducted herself as a paragon of virtue, a rumor circulated that she became a lover of Trajan’s Praetorian Prefect, P. Acilius Attianus, after the two men became guardians for Trajan’s young orphaned cousin, Hadrian. Plotina cared for Hadrian, arranging his marriage to Vibia Sabina and perhaps even his succession. Upon the death of Trajan in AD 117 a letter began to circulate in Rome purporting to be the final wishes of the emperor. In it he formally adopted Hadrian and made him his legitimate successor. Although this letter, which carried the seal of Plotina rather than that of Trajan was suspected as a forgery cooked up by Plotina and Attianus, Hadrian’s command of the eastern legions at the time of Trajan’s death quickly silenced the doubters. No one had the stomach for civil war.