Roman Empire

Trajan Decius, Emperor AD 249-251

RIC 16a; Calicó 3290, Superb Mint State

Rome, AD 249. IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust of Trajan Decius right / GENIVS EXERC ILLVRICIANI, Genius standing facing, head left, holding patera and cornucopiae; behind, standard.

Ex NAC 100 (29 May 2017), 573

In AD 245, Philip I appointed C. Messius Quintus Decius—one of his most vocal supporters in Rome—to a command on the Danube frontier in order to restore order to the troubled region. Decius enjoyed so much success in this endeavor that four years later he celebrated the repression of a major rebellion by accepting the title of emperor from his troops. He defeated his former benefactor at Verona before moving on to Rome where he was recognized by the Senate, which also accorded him the name Trajan in honor of his wars on the Danubian frontier. Unfortunately, in AD 250, when he marched to deal with the Carpi and Goths who had been invading Dacia and Moesia he did not live up to his second-century namesake. Decius was defeated at Beroia while trying to stem the invasion and again at Abritus in AD 251 as the Goths were returning home laden with booty. The battle of Abritus was an especially shocking defeat since it saw the destruction of many Roman soldiers, Decius’ son, and Decius himself. For the first time ever a Roman Emperor had fallen in battle against a foreign enemy.