Trajan, 98-117 Denarius circa 112-113, AR 18mm., 2.96g. Laureate bust r., with drapery over l. shoulder. Rev. Woman reclining l. on rocks, holding wheel in r. hand and branch in l. C 648. RIC 266
Attractive odl cabinet tone, Good Very Fine.
One of the best investments ever made by the Romans was their road system, which included at least 250,000 miles of roads designed for high-speed travel that was reliable virtually year-round. No less than eleven of these major roads entered Rome, giving rise to the phrase “all roads lead to Rome”. The system gave the Romans a distinct advantage over their enemies in war and their partners in commerce; in essence, it gave them an unparalleled ability to grow and to maintain their empire. The construction of these super-roads was no mean feat: it required engineering expertise, time, and significant resources. It also required a powerful centralized government and a societal belief that the enormous short-term expenses of construction were justifiable in view of the long-term benefits that would accrue. With this in mind it is hardly surprising that the construction of roads (and other architectural feats, such as the building of aqueducts, harbours and temples) is commemorated on coinage. Trajan was never shy about using coinage for this purpose, and here he celebrates his via Traiana, a new road in Italy linking Beneventum and Brundisium. It took a path alongside the famous Appian Way, which by then had been used as a military highway for more than four centuries.