Author Topic: Aurelian and the Dacian Draco  (Read 1253 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Victor

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2057
  • Country: us
  • Date Nolite Rogare
    • Victor's Imperial Coins
Aurelian and the Dacian Draco
« on: August 01, 2015, 11:22:52 AM »
Below is a fairly rare type for Aurelian that shows what is referred to as the Dacian Draco. This is a much more common type for Trajan Decius, with a reverse legend of DACIA. RIC V describes it as a “staff surmounted by head of ass” but RIC V is woefully outdated. Some people also refer to it as a wolf’s head, which it does resemble a bit and perhaps it blends wolf and dragon attributes. Below is an example of the Draco from Trajan’s Column. Troops carried these into battle and they were fitted with fabric which flowed behind as air passed through and the standard also made a whistling sound, which was intended to disturb the enemy.

These coins were minted after the restoration of the Empire in A.D. 270, which is why the reverse legend translates as "Happy Dacia" but Aurelian shortly abandoned the territory of Dacia in A.D. 275, having decided it was too difficult to defend the area north of the Danube.

  The province of Dacia, which Trajan had formed beyond the Danube, he gave up, despairing, after all Illyricum and Moesia had been depopulated, of being able to retain it. The Roman citizens, removed from the town and lands of Dacia, he settled in the interior of Moesia, calling that Dacia which now divides the two Moesiae, and which is on the right hand of the Danube as it runs to the sea, whereas Dacia was previously on the left.
—Eutropius: Abridgement of Roman History

Aurelian
AD 270- 271
20mm   3.7gm
IMP AVRELIANVS AVG; radiate and cuirassed bust right.
DACIA FELIX; Dacia standing facing, head left, holding staff surmounted by wolf’s head  (Dacian draco).
In ex. S
RIC V Milan 108; Venèra 1557

Offline Victor

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2057
  • Country: us
  • Date Nolite Rogare
    • Victor's Imperial Coins
Re: Aurelian and the Dacian Draco
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 10:22:50 AM »
a bit from Ammianus Marcellinus on the draco-

"Behind the motley cavalcade that preceded him the emperor's person was surrounded by purple banners woven in the form of dragons and attached to the tops of gilded and jewelled spears; the breeze blew through their gaping jaws so that they seemed to be hissing with rage, and their voluminous tails streamed behind them on the wind."  The Later Roman Empire book 16  10:7