Home Ancient Roman The Adoptive emperors and the Antonine Dynasty 96 - 192 RC001138
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Trajan 98-117 AD, c. 104 AD Commemoration of Trajan's construction of five thousand additional seats in the circus by moving and heightening the building's western wall.
Second of the Good Emperors, Sestertius.
The Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman stadium and mass entertainment venue located in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills. Chariot racing was the most important event at the Circus. The track could hold twelve chariots while the center of the oval track featured a raised median called the "spina".The Circus Maximus site was first used for public games and entertainment by the Etruscan kings of Rome. The first version was made completely from wood. Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC to meet the demands of the population. The Circus Maximus could once hold over a quarter million spectators, a fourth of Rome’s population. The abandonment of Circus Maximus led to systematic looting of building materials leaving it as it remains today. Obverse laureate Trajan with fold of his cloak on front shoulder and behind his neck, IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P. Reverse Circus Maximus, showing front wall with large entrance arch surmounted by facing quadriga, and eleven smaller arches with square windows or niches in the wall above them; back wall divided into two rows of rectangular sections, with a small arch in each of the lower sections. A four-columned temple is located in the back wall, just left of the obelisk rising from the spina. At the end of the back wall, the top of another entrance arch surmounted by a quadriga; at the center of the curving the end of the circus, a triumphal arch surmounted by statue of emperor in quadriga. In the arena, seen just above the front wall, spina with turning posts at ends, obelisk in middle, plus Cybele on lion and another indistinct object. An apparatus with dolphins for numbering laps is on the finally to the right of spina, two uncertain forms rising above the front wall, possibly the patron of the games crowning the leaping horses of the winning charioteer, or an arch bearing a second device for numbering the laps and an uncertain standing figure. SPQR OPTIMO PINCIPI (sic, R omitted) around, S C in exergue.
Mint: Rome
Provenance: Courtesy Harlan J Berk, LTD

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