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10 lei silver 2009 - 1900 Years since the Inauguration of Tropaeum Trajani from Adamclisi
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10 lei silver 2009 - 1900 Years since the Inauguration of Tropaeum Trajani from Adamclisi 10 lei silver 2009 - 1900 Years since the Inauguration of Tropaeum Trajani from Adamclisi
37 mm diameter, 31.103 g, 99.9% silver, reeded edge
Obverse: ROMANIA, face value "10 LEI", coat of arms of Romania, year 2009, three of the metopes of Tropaeum Trajani, with images from the Dacian-Roman wars
Reverse: the image of the emperor Trajan and his name, TRAIAN, the monument of Adamclisi, as it looks today, after its reconstruction from 1977, inscriptions "TROPAEUM TRAIANI" and "1900 DE ANI" meaning "1900 YEARS"

Issuing date: 21st of October 2009

Mintage: 500 coins

About Tropaeum Trajani from Adamclisi

The battles between Dacians and Romans that took place in Moesia Inferior (Dobrogea) at the end of year 101 and at the beginning of year 102 can be at the origin of the monument from Adamclisi (in Turkish Adamclisi means Man's Church), erected in 109 AD in the same place where the Romans achieved a great victory. Inscriptions on the walls of a nearby altar commemorate more than three thousand soldiers who died here, from several military units (the number was estimated).

Tropaeum Trajani was dedicated to Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger), having almost 39 meters in height, with a base diameter of almost 40 meters. The monument has a cylindrical base, ended with a conical zone. Above lies a hexagonal tower. Atop the monument lies the trophy. The restoration was made in the seventies, the building being inaugurated in 1977, when 100 years since the proclamation of the Independence of Romania were celebrated.

Around the cylinder there was a frieze comprising 54 metopes. A metope is a rectangular architectural element, usually ornated with sculptures, that fills the space between two triglyphs of a frieze of the Doric order (triglyph - element that resembles three tree trunks). One of the original metopes is hosted by the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, 48 by the museum of Adamclisi, the rest having been lost (Giurescu [3, p. 78] wrote that two of them fell into the Danube River during the transport to Bucharest).

The monument was represented on coins issued by the town of Tomis during the reign of Trajan (Tomis, nowadays Constanța, is at only 60 kilometers from Adamclisi).

The monument from Adamclisi is also represented on the 1000 lei from 2001 gold coin consecrated to 1900 years since the beginning of the first Dacian-Roman war.

About the inscription dedicated to Mars, the god of war

At Tropaeum Traiani an inscription was found showing that the trophy was dedicated to Mars Ultor (the Avenger). Below the text displayed by the nowadays votive plaque, the restored text and a possible translation are reproduced.

-------- ITV
------------ V
------------ E
Marti Ultori
Imp(erator) Caesar divi
Nervae f(ilius) Nerva
Traianus Aug(ustus) Germ(anicus)
Dacicus pont(ifex) max(imus)
trib(unicia) potest(ate) XIII
imp(erator) VI co(n)s(ul) V p(ater) p(atriae)
[?victo exerc]itu [d(acorum)]
[---- et sarmatar]u[m]
To Mars the Avenger (this monument is dedicated) Imperator Caesar, son of divine Nerva, Nerva Traian Augustus Germanicus Dacicus, highest priest, plebeian tribune for the 13th time, acclaimed imperator for the 6th time, consul for five times, father of the Fatherland, after the defeats of the armies of the Dacians and Sarmatians [----]

The avenger stance of Mars - Ultor - was introduced by emperor Augustus, who intended to obtain the punishment of Caesar's murderers. The names and titles of Trajan are read and interpreted as [2]:
- the first word, Imperator, takes the role of a forename;
- Caesar is a cognomen (surname) of gens Julia, playing the role of gens name (gentilicium);
- divi Nervae filius shows that Trajan has divine origin, being the son of a god, because emperor Nerva - who had adopted Trajan - was deified after his death;
- Nerva Traianus was the name of the emperor after his adoption by Nerva;
- Augustus is a title, playing the role of a cognomen;
- Germanicus and Dacicus are victory titles, surnames earned by Trajan after his victories against the Germans and Dacians;
- pontifex maximus shows the possession of a title of greatest priest (literally, pontifex means bridge constructor!);
- tribunicia potestate XIII shows that Trajan had the power of the tribunate for the 13th time (the plebeian tribunes were sacrosanct during their mandates, and the Roman emperors were always also tribunes); the 13th tribunate of Trajan took place in 108-109;
- imperator VI shows that Traian had been acclaimed for his victories by the troops for six times;
- consul V shows that the emperor had served as consul for fifth times;
- pater patriae, Father of the Fatherlad, is a honorific title.

About the Characters on the Metopes

The artistic realization of the metopes is unluckily poor, typical exemple of provincial art. Niels Hannestad puts it [5]: "Despite the monumental grandeur of the complex, the sculptural decoration has to be qualified as extremely primitive. It seems that the Trophy was raised by those who won the war, that is by the Roman soldiers." Although the metopes of Tropaeum Trajani were thoroughly studied by numerous historians and researchers, there is no general accord on the original order, several solutions having been proposed [4]. Besides Romans and Dacians, the allies of the Dacians are also represented - Roxolani Sarmatians and Buri (Germanic strain).

Metope from the Left of the Coin

The Roman soldier wears a helmet having cheekpiece and neckguard. On the helmet the reinforcement ribs are also visibles. These ribs were adopted by the Roman army following the first war with the Dacians, for better protection against the symbol weapon of the Dacians, the curved sword [1].

The trunk of the Roman is protected by a scale armor - lorica squamata - with short sleeves. The thighs are protected by two rows of pteruges - pieces of leather fixed on the lower part of the armor, like an apron. For protecting the forearms from the blows of the Dacian sword the Roman wears sleeves made from metal sheets, named manica laminata in Latin.

The whole body of the Roman is protected by a rectangular shield bent about its vertical axis. The umbo (metal piece placed in the moddle of the shield) is also visible. In the raised right hand the legionnaire holds a sword - gladius - trying to slash a Dacian enemy. The sheath of the sword is hung on the right side of the body (being fastened with a belt, more clearly visible on other metopes).

The Dacian wears long beard split into tufts, with the head covered by a bonnet, wearing only pants with many folds. He is armed only with a two-handed weapon - falx dacica, and he is trying to fend the blow of the Roman.

On the metope another person is represented, sitting on the ground, wearing tunic and pants - maybe he was just knocked down by the legionnaire. He has large beard, and the hair is represented with a knot in front of the head (as Roman historian Tacitus told us that the Suebi Germans wore). It is a German warrior belonging to the Buri tribe, an ally of the Dacians.

Metope from the Center of the Coin

The Roman soldier is equipped as his comrade from the metope from the right side of the coin. His shield is rectangular but curved, with raised rim and with straightened corners. The umbo is also represented. The legionnaire holds a sword (gladius) in the right hand, stabbing a Dacian enemy. The sheath of the sword is hung also on the right side of the body.

The Dacian has long beard, wears bonnet and is dressed with a tunic with large sleeves, with folds. He is armed with a two-handed falx - falx dacica, trying to crack the head of the Roman soldier.

On the metope a Buri warrior is represented, sitting on the ground, with bare chest and only with pants. He has large beard, with the hair knotted in front of the head. He is armed with a kind of a stick.

Place the pointer over the picture to see the description of all these elements.

Metope from the Right of the Coin

It presents a scene quite resembling to the other two. A Roman soldier fights with two enemies, a Dacian defending himself with an oval shield, and another (a Buri?) already taken down.

The representation of the enemies of the Romans as fighting with bare chest does not necessarily reflect the reality. The traditional Greek art represents the barbarians almost always naked, and seldom in positions that emphasized their inferiority. Both Greeks and the Romans considered the pants as a garment peculiar to the barbarians.

Repetitive decoration frieze placed under the metopes, also featured on the coin, comprizing: acanthus leaves, wolf heads and tiny birds.

About Emperor Trajan

Marcus Ulpius Traianus (53-117 AD) was born in the city of Italica in Spain. He was adopted by emperor Nerva and succeded him at the rule of the empire in 98 AD. Trajan is the first emperor born outside Italy. After the Dacian Wars (101-102 and 105-106) he established the imperial province of Dacia, that included a great part of Decebalus' kingdom. Between 114 and 117 AD Trajan carried out a military campaign in the Orient, fighting against the Parthians. In the newly conquered territories he created the provinces of Mesopotamia, Assyria and Armenia (abandoned by Hadrian). Trajan financed - from Dacian spoil - great construction projects, especially in Rome and Italy. He built the Trajan's Forum, with the Latin and Greek libraries and with Trajan's Column, the new harbor of Ostia. He dammed up the Tiber, built the bridge over Danube at Drobeta, repaired and extended the Italian roads. Trajan allowed the Senate to collaborate with him at the rule of the empire, but without renouncing any of the prerogatives achieved by the previous emperors.


1. Borangic C., O incursiune în arsenalul armelor curbe tracice. Falx dacica. (An Excursion inside the Arsenal of Curved Dacian Weapons. Dacian Falx) Terra Sebus, I, Sebeș, 2009, p. 43-62.

1. Bounegru O., Introducere în epigrafia latină. (Introduction to Latin Epigraphy) Editura Universității Alexandru Ioan Cuza din Iași, 2002.

2. Giurescu C., Istoria românilor. I. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă la moartea lui Alexandru cel Bun. (History of the Romanians. From the Oldest Times to the Death of Alexander the Good) Editura BIC All, București, 2007 (reproduce ediția a cincea, 1946).

3. Gramatopol M., Arta imperială a epocii lui Traian. (The Imperial art of Trajan's Epoch) Editura Meridiane, București, 1984.

4. Hannestad N., Monumentele publice ale artei romane. Program iconografic și mesaj. (original title: Roman Art and Imperial Policy) Editura Meridiane, București, 1989.

The coin pictures above are present on the site through the permission of an anonymous donor. These pictures, like all other pictures displayed on Romanian coins / Monede românești, cannot be used in any circumstances to illustrate auctions or sales and cannot be posted on other web page without the permission of the owner.

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