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Stumbling On To Decius!

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 15 / Views: 1,167Next Topic  
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 Posted 03/31/2023  1:07 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Trajan Decius (born sometime around 201 AD in Illyricum as Gaius Messius Quintus Decius Valerinus) was a distinguished senator, consul, governor, and urban prefect, before being entrusted with a military command on the Danube by then emperor Philip l. When a legionary officer in the region named Pacatianus attempted a revolt, Decius was sent to put it down. His success in doing this inspired his own troops to proclaim Decius as emperor. The clash between Philip l and Decius at Verona resulted in the death of Philip, and the Roman Senate quickly confirmed him, giving Decius the attribute of 'Traianus'.

This sestertius is yet another "happy accident" as I continued to search for a suitable Aurelius. Decius' large-coin portraits generally tend to be realistic and high quality. So what is it about this particular specimen that inspired me? I would say it's the fleshy details. Especially the hollow of the cheek and bagginess suggested in the the lower eyelid. I also found the tone to be appealing. The coin's odd shape only adds to the long-lost story!
Anyone else out there have a Decius to share?

Sestertius AD 249-251. Obverse: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right / GENIVS EXERC ILLVRICIANI, Genius standing left, holding patera and cornucopia; signum to right, S-C across fields. 12.8 grams, 25-29mm.
"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
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 Posted 03/31/2023  6:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Kamnaskires to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice, with a strong portrait. Congrats.
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 Posted 03/31/2023  6:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I really like the portrait style as well.

Color looks a bit 'off'- that may be due to the cleaning; most probably the result after recovery from burial.
Details generally look a bit 'mushy' could be due corrosion during burial, or to cleaning, or both.

Examine inside the flan split with a 10x loupe, looking in particular for tensile metal stress, which caused the split
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 Posted 03/31/2023  6:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You have been picking up some really nice portraits recently, Mike, and this Decius is another super example. He looks like a man who has seen and done a lot in his life, thoughtful and battle hardened even. The product of a skilful engraver.

Thanks for sharing.
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 Posted 04/01/2023  2:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Very nice, with a strong portrait. Congrats.


Thanks, Bob. The overall realistic quality of large-coin portraits of Decius presented a real challenge in choosing a specimen. This one checked most of the boxes for me. There is a truly sculptural quality to this portrait.


Quote:
Color looks a bit 'off'- that may be due to the cleaning; most probably the result after recovery from burial.
Details generally look a bit 'mushy' could be due corrosion during burial, or to cleaning, or both.


I agree, sel_691. Even though it appeared to me to have been cleaned, it didn't lessen the overall strengths otherwise exhibited in the coin. The shape didn't discourage me either. There's a lost story there. If I were to speculate, I'd say the planchet was not hot enough when it was placed between the dies. The edges don't seem to suggest it had been clipped or manually reduced. I do appreciate your comments and opinions!


Quote:
He looks like a man who has seen and done a lot in his life, thoughtful and battle hardened even. The product of a skilful engraver.


Well said, Jim. Certainly seems to be the intention of the depictions of this man (in both coin and sculpted bust). Perhaps an intentional propagandistic element. 'Decius, your emperor, will bear the weighty responsibility of the Empire. Do not worry, people of Rome, for your emperor will do all the worrying for you...and act on your behalf!'
"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
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27209 Posts
 Posted 04/01/2023  3:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree an interesting flan shape, with some similarities to this piece sold by CGB in 2006:

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=280743

I don't think that it is an exact match though as the rev rotation seems to be a little different.
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 Posted 04/01/2023  4:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I don't think that it is an exact match though as the rev rotation seems to be a little different.


Great example, Spence. I actually saw this "squared" flan-shape quite often in these large coins of Decius. From what little I know of the minting process, if this look is not the result of a too-cool planchet...I would think it's the result of hammering the blank in an attempt to further flatten the disc prior to placement in the die. After all, it is the weight that is important. Not the shape. This might account for the rotational differences in each specimen.
"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
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 Posted 04/02/2023  9:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a sestertius that's rather square. I think it's common.



This is my only Trajan Decius.

Trajan II Decius 1st Issue Antoninianus, 249

Rome. Silver, 22mm, 3.54g. Radiate draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; IMP TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG. Dacia standing left, holding draco standard; DACIA (RIC IV, 2B).
Found near Basingstoke, Hampshire.
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United States
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 Posted 04/03/2023  10:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
This is my only Trajan Decius.


Might be your only Decius, John...but it's a fine one!


Quote:
I have a sestertius that's rather square. I think it's common.


I agree. We see a lot of this odd flan shape. The more I look at it, the more I am of the opinion that it's caused by hammering-flat the slightly domed side of a cast planchet. Fascinating!
"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
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 Posted 04/06/2023  12:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Based on the response of sel_691, I performed a closer examination of this fine looking Decius. The appearance does suggest it has been cleaned at some point...but I base this assessment solely on the darker toning in the low areas, and the luster evident on the higher surfaces. If a cleaning did happen, it was subtle and expertly executed. No damage to the coin is detectable. An examination of the edges (as suggested by sel_691) shows the same appearance as the obverse/reverse. Low areas and flan cracks are dark-toned, and the high points are lustered. Why was the cleaning necessary (including the edges)? Regardless...the coin is marvelous, and I do enjoy being able to see some of the shine it once exhibited in a long ago time. I wish these objects could speak. The stories they could tell us!

"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
Edited by circusmax120
04/06/2023 1:10 pm
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 Posted 04/07/2023  9:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I didn't see this until now. I do not think I have any other T. Decius coins, but this one was in a lot I picked up recently. (Posted earlier, with bad photos.) This is in hand. It's rough, but it's a survivor. I'll have to pick up a nicer example at some point.

Trajan Decius (249-251) (RIC IV 12b, or similar?)
Billon antoninianus. Partial reverse silvering, or just a very poor alloy mix.

21.0mm, 3.2 grams

Obv: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG
Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right

Rev: DACIA
Dacia standing left, holding staff with head on top in right hand


Longhorn Coins & Exonumia
Member ANA - EAC - TNA - SSDC - CCT #890

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
Valued Member
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266 Posts
 Posted 04/08/2023  6:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice silver, paralyse. I appreciate you sharing it. In my search for a realistic portrayal of Decius, I found that his portraits are consistently strong and high quality. I hope your search for another specimen is fruitful!
"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
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 Posted 04/08/2023  7:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add paralyse to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks!
I think at last count I'm up to 30 or 40 different Emperors.
Longhorn Coins & Exonumia
Member ANA - EAC - TNA - SSDC - CCT #890

"Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -- Louis D. Brandeis
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109 Posts
 Posted 04/08/2023  9:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Canefan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice pickup circusmax120! I would have snatched that up in a heartbeat. Really like the detail of the portrait. Sadly I don't have one to share yet.
Valued Member
United States
266 Posts
 Posted 04/09/2023  3:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I think at last count I'm up to 30 or 40 different Emperors


That is an impressive number, paralyze! My focus (over the past several years) has been realistic portraits on the larger bronzes. Couple that narrow focus with a limited budget, makes things difficult. So it is quite rewarding to find a specimen like the Decius at the top of this post/topic.


Quote:
Sadly I don't have one to share yet.


Keep looking, Canefan. The right acquisitions are out there to be discovered.
"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
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 Posted 04/11/2023  12:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add circusmax120 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I just noticed that both the obverse and reverse legends on this sestertius are incorrectly described on the paperwork (and consequently in my original post). The legend is incomplete at the top, but a quick check in Van Meter's 'The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins' provided clarity.

Obverse: IMP CAES C MESS Q DECIO TRAI AVG. Reverse: GENIUS EXERCITUS ILLYRICIANI, with SC in fields.
"I warn you, gentlemen, I'm not to be trifled with. To pull the tail of a lion is to open the mouth of trouble and reveal the teeth of revenge biting the tongue of deceit!" --- Duke d'Escargot
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