Sestertius of Trajan, "OPTIMO PRINCIPI"

Roman Imperial
Roman Empire




Diameter: 1 5/16 in. (33 mm)

Weight: 26.57 g

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Arthur Fairbanks, Class of 1886, in memory of his father, Henry Fairbanks, Class of 1853



Place Made: Italy, Europe



Object Name


Research Area

Numismatics: Greek and Roman

Not on view


Obverse: Bust of Trajan, facing right, laureate, wearing a cloak pin, Legend: IMP(erator) CAES(ar) NERVAE TRAIANO AVG(ustus) GER(manicus) DAC(icus) P(ontifex) M(aximus) TR(ibunicia) P(otestas) CON(n)S(ul) V P(ater) P(atriae) (Emperor Caesar Nerva Trajan Augustus Germanicus Dacicus, Pontifex Maximus, endowed with power of the Tribune, consul for the fifth time, Father of his Country) clockwise from six o’clock. Reverse: Octastyle temple with Corinthian columns and three steps. A statue, holding a spear and cornucopia, is visible on a low base between a wider center intercolumniation. The spear has a banner extending right. The pediment is decorated with two reclining figures flanking a seated figure in sacrifice. Five standing figures on the roof. Legend: S(enatus)P(opulus)Q(ue)R(omanus) OPTIMO PRINCIPI (the Senate and the Roman people, for the best Princeps) clockwise from seven o’clock. S(enatus) C(onsulto) (by decree of the Senate) in exergue.

Course History

CLST 18, HIST 94.6, History of the Roman Empire, Roberta Stewart, Winter 2012

LAT 01, Introductory Latin, Scott Arcenas, Winter 2019

LAT 01, Introductory Latin, Bryce Walker, Winter 2019

LAT 01, Introductory Latin, Margaretha Kramer, Winter 2019

LAT 01, Introductory Latin, Jenny Lynn, Winter 2019

Exhibition History

Investigations into the Ancient Mediterranean, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, Yale University Collection-Sharing Initiative, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 5-June 24, 2012.

Publication History

IMPERIUM ROMANUM IN NUMMIS, The Roman Empire in and on Its Coinage, a booklet with entries created by Dartmouth students and Professor Roberta Stewart, Spring 2012, no. 3, Chris Bodine, Class of 2013.


Arthur Fairbanks (1864-1944), Class of 1886; given to present collection, 1927.

Catalogue Raisonne

RIC, Trajan no.575; BMC, Vol. III: nos. 858-859, pl. 32/5; Terrace 1958: pp. 18-19, no. 15

This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.

We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: