In 101 A.D., Dacian warriors who were ledby King Decebalus stormed through the towering Iron Gate mountain pass and attacked the Roman fort at Moesia, killing over 3,500 soldiers. Angered, the mighty Emperor Trajan prepared to punish them. About 104 A.D., he ordered that a bridge be built across the Danube River, then he amassed over 120,000 men and, in the spring of 106 A.D., marched into the mountains toward the capital of the Dacian kingdom. This ancient denarius, with Trajan's sculpted threedimensional portrait in fine silver, recalls the emperor's revenge and his discovery of King Decebalus' riches.
Mountainous terrain, and the tactics used by the Dacians made fighting difficult for the Romans, but finally in July, Trajan conquered Dacia's capital. Soon after, he learned that Decebalus had buried the kingdom's treasures under a river, and secured them. He returned triumphantly to Rome with 180 tons of gold and 360 tons of silver. Celebrations lasted 123 days, and building projects were undertaken, including Trajan's Column that tells the story of that war. And today, 1900 years later, this handsome denarius – perhaps struck from that very Dacian silver – survives as a testament to Trajan's victory.