Coins from Adoptive Emperors
Following the murder of Domitian, the elder statesman Nerva found himself crowned emperor. His brief reign - 96-98 AD - was marred by financial difficulties and the question of succession. Following a palace revolt in 97 AD, he was forced to adopt an heir - and chose the young and popular general Trajan.

This ensured a peaceful transition of power, and founded a dynasty of adopted emperors which would rule until Commodus' murder in 192 AD. This was a period of great stability and splendour, during which the Empire reached its peak land mass area and population - almost 70 million people. Includes the year of the five emperors (193 AD).

Adoptive Emperors

(1) Aelius Caesar 137 AD
Obverse: head right; Λ AIΛIOC__KAICAP
Reverse: Homonoia half left, holding cornucopia and patera over altar; ΔHMEΞO_V_C VΠAT B
Ref: RPC III 6141; Emmett 135
(2) Antoninus Pius 138-161 AD
Obverse: laureate bust right from behind; KAICAP_ANTΩNEINOC
Reverse: winged thunderbolt with four wings; KOINON MA_KEΔONΩN
Ref: BMC 155; SNG Cop. 430 var; Varbanov...
(3) Antoninus Pius 138-161 AD
AE unit Ephesos
Obverse: laureate head right; KAICAP__ANTΩNEINOC
Reverse: Tyche standing half left, holding rudder cornucopia; EΦECI_ΩN
Ref: Karwiese 262; http://rpc.ashmus.ox....
(4) Antoninus Pius 140-141 AD
AE unit Emesa
Obverse: Draped laureate bust right from behind; AVT KAI TI AIΛ ANTΩNEINOC CEB EV
Reverse: Eagle standing right on baetyl (the sacred stone) of Elagabal; EMI_CHNΩN / Γ
Ref: BMC 4; SNG Copenhagen 309
(5) Antoninus Pius 158-159 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; TI AI AΔPIA ANTΩNINOC CEB EV
Reverse: Hermanubis standing right, modius on head, himation on legs, holding caduceus and long palm, jackal left, head turned back; L _ B / K
Ref: Geissen 1831, Milne 2389, Emmett 15...
(6) Antoninus Pius 138 AD
Obverse: bare draped bust right seen from behind; AVTO T·AIΛIOC·KAICAP·ANTWNEINOC·
Reverse: Tyche standing half left, holding rudder and cornucopia; AMICOV EΛEVΘE_PAC ETOVC PΞΘ
Ref: RPC Online 1296. R.G. 109
(7) Antoninus Pius 153-154 AD
Obverse: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right from behind ANTωNIN_OC CEB EVCEB
Reverse: Dikaiosyne seated left holding scales and cornucopia I / L _ Z
Ref: Dattari: 2210
(8) Antoninus Pius 138-161 AD
AE unit Iconium
Obverse: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS, Bust of Pius facing right, wearing larel wreath, cuirass, and drapery
Reverse: COL ICO, Head of Athena facing right, wearing crested Athenian helmet
Ref: RPC IV Online 7259
(9) Antoninus Pius 138-161 AD
Obverse: Laureate head right; AV KAI TI AI AΔP__ANTΩNEINOC
Reverse: Wreath; (ΠΟ) / ΑΙΛΙΟС / ΔΙΟΝVСΙΟС / ΛΑΟΔΙ / ΚЄΩΝ
Ref: RPC IV online 2084; BMC 202-3.
(10) Antoninus Pius 139 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; ANTΩNEINOC__CEBACTOC
Reverse: Mount Argaeus, statue of Helios on top, holding globe and scepter, star below; YΠAT B ΠAT ΠAT P
Ref: Sydenham 301c var. (reverse legend)...
(11) Antoninus Pius 138-161 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; AVT KAI AΔP__ANTωNEINOC
Reverse: Mên half left wearing Phrygian cap, crescent behind shoulders, foot on Bucranium, holding pine cone and long scepter; ΤΙΒƐΡΙE_ω_Ν ΠΑΠΠΗΝ(ωΝ)
Ref: vA Pisid. I, 1149-73, BMC 1-2, Cop ...
(12) Antoninus Pius 138-161 AD
AE unit Savatra
Obverse: laureate head right; ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙC ΑΔΡ__ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC CΕ
Reverse: naked unknown deity, half left, holding grain ears and cattail stalk, fish left at the feet; smaller stalk behind; СΑΟVΑ_ΤΡEΩΝ
Ref: vA Lykao. 166-81, BMC 2; Volume IV,...
(13) Antoninus Pius AD 140-141
Obverse: AVTO KAI TI AIΛI AΔPI ANTWNEINOC CEB EY, laureate head right
Reverse: IOVΛIЄШN TШN KAI ΛAOΔIKЄWN, draped and turreted bust of Tyche right, bunches of grapes as earrings; HΠP in left field and MO in right field
Ref: RPC IV Online 6264; cf. SNG Copenha...
AE unit Cyprus
Obverse: ΑVΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡΙ ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟС СƐΒ ƐV, Bust of Pius facing right, wearing laurel wreath, cuirass, and paludamentum
Reverse: Μ ΑVΡΗΛΙΟС ΚΑΙСΑΡ VΙΟС СƐΒΑC, Bare headed bust of Marcus with short beard, facing right, wearing cuirass, and paludamentum
Ref: RPC Online IV temp 5041
(15) Commodus 189-190 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; M A KOM ANTW__CEB EYCEB
Reverse: bust of Selene left; crescent to the left; LΛ
Ref: Milne 2686 ff.; Curtis 852; Geissen...
(16) Commodus 183-184 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; M A KO ANTW__CEB EYCEB
Reverse: Commodus standing left, sacrificing at altar; bust of Serapis set on column right; K_Δ, L
Ref: Geissen 2212; Milne 2655; SNG Cop 5...
(17) Commodus 176-192 AD
AE unit Pautalia
Obverse: laureate head right; AV KAI K_OMOΔOC
Reverse: snake coiled around altar, head right; OYΛΠIA_C ΠAYTAΛIAC
Ref: RPC IV.1, 8935 (temporary); Ruzicka...
(18) Commodus 183-184 AD
AE unit Anazarbus
Obverse: laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right from behind; MAP AV AN__KOMOΔOC C
Reverse: IE / POC / IC within wreath; KAI TωN ΠΡOC ANAZAΡBω ET BC
Ref: Ziegler, Anazarbos 246,1
(19) Commodus 177-192 AD
Obverse: AVT K M AV AVPH KOMOΔOC, Head of Commodus facing right, wearing laurel wreath
Reverse: NEIKOΠOΛEITΩN PROC ICTRON - Tyche standing facing, head left, holding rod and cornucopia
Ref: Varbanov 2180
(20) Commodus 177-192 AD
AE unit Pautalia
Obverse: AV KAI MAP AV KOMOΔOC?, Head of Commodus facing right, wearing laurel wreath
Reverse: OYLΠIAC ΠAYTAΛIAC, Amphora
Ref: Unpublished
(21) Commodus 176-192 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; AV KAI M AVP__KOMOΔOC
Reverse: Isis standing left, lotus on head, holding sistrum and situla; ΦIΛIΠΠOΠO_ΛEITΩN
Ref: RPC online – Volume IV, № 10928
(22) Crispina 178-182 AD
Obverse: draped bust right; KPICΠEINA__CEBACTH
Reverse: Nike standing left, holding wreath and palm frond; ΦIΛIΠΠ_OΠO_ΛEITΩN
Ref: RPC IV online -; Varbanov 1153; Mou...
(23) Faustina II 161-176 AD
Obverse: draped bust right; ΦAVCTEINA__CEBACTH
Reverse: veiled Demeter standing half left, holding torch in each hand; ΦIΛIΠΠO_Π_OΛEITΩN
Ref: Varbanov 886 (R5)
(24) Faustina II 161-175 AD
AE unit Pautalia
Obverse: draped bust right; ΦAYCTEI_NA CEBACTH
Reverse: Hera standing left holding patera and scepter; OYΛΠIAC ΠA_YTAΛIAC
Ref: Ruzicka 68 var. (obv. legend break)
(25) Faustina II 161-175 AD
AE unit Pautalia
Obverse: draped bust right; ΦAYCTEINA__CEBACTH
Reverse: Hera standing left holding patera and scepter; OYΛΠIAC ΠA_YTAΛIAC
Ref: Ruzicka 68 var. (obv. legend break)
(26) Faustina II 161-175 AD
AE unit Pautalia
Obverse: draped bust right; ΦAYCTEI_NA CEBACTH
Reverse: Demeter seated left, holding corn ears and torch; OYΛΠIAC ΠA_YTAΛIAC
Ref: Ruzicka 87a; Varbanov 4472
(27) Faustina II 162-163 AD
Obverse: draped bust right; ΦAVCTEINA__CEBACTH
Reverse: Athena standing half left holding branch and spear; CEΛ__EVK__ABIΛA ϚKC
Ref: Spijkerman 4; SNG ANS 1120; RPC IV....
Obverse: draped bust of Faustina I right; ΘEA ΦAY_CTEINA
Reverse: draped bust of M. Annius Galerius Antoninus right; M ΓAΛEPIOC ANTWNINOC AYTOKPATOPOC ANTWNINOY YIOC
Ref: Overbeck, Galerius 6; Parks 22; Vag...
(29) Hadrian 120-121 AD
Obverse: Laureate bust left draped shoulder; AVTO KAIC TPAI AΔPIANOC CEBACT
Reverse: Nike walking right holding wreath and palm branch; ETΔ
Ref: Metcalf 86a; Sydenham Caesarea 255;...
(30) Hadrian 128-129 AD
Obverse: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right from behind AVT KAI__TRAI AΔPIA CEB
Reverse: Clasped hands; ΠATHP ΠATPIΔOC, L / IΓ
Ref: Kampmann 32.468, Geissen 994 ff., M...
(31) Hadrian 121-122 AD
Obverse: laureate bust right, slight drapery; crescent right; AVT KAI TPAI__AΔPIA CEB
Reverse: canopus of Osiris right; L_Ϛ
Ref: Geißen: 825, Dattari: 1321 f
(32) Hadrian 117-138 AD
AE unit Samosata
Obverse: Laureate head right; AΔPIANOC_CEBACTOC
Reverse: Within wreath: ΦΛA / CAM / MHTPO / KOM
Ref: SNG Cop 17, BMC 20, SGICV 1235
(33) Hadrian 117-138 AD
AE unit Titiopolis
Obverse: laureate head right; KAICAP__AΔPIANOC
Reverse: turreted head of Tyche right; TITIOΠOΛITωN
Ref: SNG Levante Supp. 125; SNG France -...
(34) Hadrian 117-118 AD
Obverse: laureate and draped bust right; E / T _ B
Reverse: club and legend within wreath; ET_B
Ref: var. RPC online, Volume III, № 3147...
(35) Hadrian 119-120 AD
Obverse: laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right from behind; AYTO KAIC TPAIA__AΔPIANOC CEB
Reverse: veiled and turreted head of Tyche right; MHTPOΠOΛEωC__ANTIOXEωN THC / Γ
Ref: RPC III, 3728; BMC 302; CRS 261; Mc...
(36) Hadrian 126-127 AD
Obverse: laureate bust right, draped shoulder; AVT KAI_TPAI AΔPIA CEB
Reverse: two cornucopiaes; L IA
Ref: Köln 961; Dattari (Savio) 1915; K&G...
(37) Hadrian 132-133 AD
Obverse: laureate and draped bust right; AVT KAIC TPAIAN·_ADPIANOC CEB
Reverse: Tyche standing left, holding rudder and cornucopiae; L IZ
Ref: SRCV II 3770, BMC Alexandria 725, M...
(38) Hadrian 129-130 AD
Obverse: laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right from behind; AVT KAI__TRAI AΔPIA CEB
Reverse: radiate and draped bust of helios right; L_ ΔI
Ref: Köln 1002; Dattari 1384; Milne 1280...
(39) Hadrian 117-138 AD
Obverse: laureate bust right, draped shoulder; ΑΥΤ{Ο} ΚΑΙ{СΑΡ} ΤΡΑΙ{Α} ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟС СΕΒ{ΑС}
Reverse: Dioscuri on horses right, holding spear and reins; ΛΑΚΕΔΑΙΜΟΝΙΩΝ
Ref: Grunauer group XXXVII, series 1-11;...
(40) Hadrian 132-133 AD
AE unit Gaza
Obverse: laureate head right; A KA TR__AΔPIAN CE
Reverse: Herakles facing, head left, holding club and lion skin; ΓAZA__Δ EΠI Γ_YP / Mem
Ref: Yashin 323; Rosenberger 54, BMC 49,...
(41) Hadrian 118 AD
Obverse: laureate and cuirassed bust rightand, draped shoulder; ·AYT KAI ΘE TPA ΠAP YI ΘE NEP YI TPAI AΔPANOC CEB·
Reverse: facing eagle, head left, standing on thigh of sacrificial animal; ΔHMAPX__·EΞ·YΠAT·B·
Ref: Prieur: 155
(42) Hadrian 120-121 AD
Obverse: AVTO KAIC TPAI AΔPIANOC CEBACT, laureate draped bust right
Reverse: ET Δ, Nike walking right with wreath and palm
Ref: RIC 351, RSC 282, MIR 522v, King 39
(43) Hadrian 128-138 AD
Obverse: head right; HADRIANVS__AVGUSTVS P P
Reverse: facing cult statue of Kore, headdress with plume, stiff robe falling to feet and veil draped over wrists; grain ear on both sides; COS__III
Ref: RIC 510; RSC 279; Metcalf Typ 47.
(44) Hadrian AD 133-134
Obverse: ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙС ΤΡΑΙΑΝ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟС СƐΒ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
Reverse: Two canopic jars; L IH (date) across field
Ref: Köln 1108
(45) Lucius Verus 161-169 AD
AE unit Ancyra
Obverse: laureate head right; AVTO__Λ OVHPOC
Reverse: star in crescent; ANKVΡANΩN
Ref: Arslan "Galatya.." B33 corr. (obv l...
(46) Lucius Verus 161-169 AD
Obverse: Cuirassed bust right with paludamentum; IMP L AVRELIVS AVG COL IVL__AVG
Reverse: Wreath; NI / CO
Ref: RPC IV online 5824.
(47) Marcus Aurelius 139-161 AD
AE unit Side
Obverse: bare head right; KAIC__M? AYPHΛIOC
Reverse: Athena advancing right, holding spear and shield, serpent at foot; CI_ΔH_TωN
Ref: SNG Cop. 418 var. SNG Pfalz 661. va...
(48) Marcus Aurelius 161-180 AD
Obverse: radiate head right; KAICAP AN_TΩNINOC
Reverse: winged thunderbolt; KOINON MA_KEΔONΩN
Ref: Varbanov 3051/3052var (Büste).
(49) Marcus Aurelius 147-161 AD
AE unit Decapolis | Antioch ad Hippum
Obverse: ΚΑΙС ΑΥΡ οΥΗΡ, Bare head of Marcus facing right, sporting short beard
Reverse: ΑΝΤ ΠΡ ΙΠ ΙƐΡ ΑСΥΛ, Tyche standing facing, head left, wearing turret headdress, holding small horse and cornucopia
Ref: RPC Online IV temp 6571
(50) Nerva | Trajan 98-102 AD
AE unit Perinthus
Obverse: radiate head right; NEPOVAN ΘEON ΣEBAΣTO
Reverse: veiled Demeter? standing left, holding grain ears and scepter; ΠEP_IN_ΘIΩN
Ref: Schönert S. 143 und Taf. 15, 317; L...
(51) Trajan 100 AD
Obverse: Laureate head of right; AYT KAIΣ NEP TPAIAN ΣEB ΓEPM
Reverse: Head of Zeus-Ammon right; ΔHMAPX·EΞ·YΠAT·Γ
Ref: BMC 57-58. Sydenham 176
(52) Trajan 112 AD
Obverse: Laureate head right, club below, eagle right; AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANOC CEB ΓEPM ∆AK
Reverse: City goddess (Tyche?) right, seated on a rock, holding heads of grain, river god (Orontes?) swimming at her feet; ∆HMAPX__EΞ IϚ YΠAT Ϛ
Ref: Prieur 1499
(53) Trajan 100 AD
AE unit Stobi
Obverse: laureate head righ;t IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM P M TR P COS III
Reverse: Asklepios standing in tetrastyle temple half right, head left, holding serpent-entwined staff; round shield in pediment; MVNI_CIPI S_TO_BENSIVM
Ref: Josifovski Stobi 56 (V8/R?); Varban...
(54) Trajan 112-113 AD
Obverse: laureate bust right, draped shoulder; AVT TPAIAN C_EB ΓEPM ΔAKIK
Reverse: Trajan in elephant quadriga right, holding laurel branch and eagle-tipped scepter; L IϚ
Ref: Emmett 462 (R3), Geissen 619var (Po...
(55) Trajan 115-116 AD
Obverse: laureate bust right, draped shoulder; ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΝΕΡ ΤΡΑΙΑΝΟC ΑΡΙCΤ ΚΑΙC CΕΒ ΓΕΡ ΔΑΚ
Reverse: veiled and turreted head of Tyche; ΙΟΥΛIEWN TWN KΑI__ΛΑΟΔΙΚΕWΝ ΓΞΡ / M / KO
Ref: BMC 48-50; SNG Copenhagen 348
(56) Trajan 112 AD
Obverse: laureate bust right, draped shoulder; AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIAN CEB ΓEPM ΔAK
Reverse: Arabia facing, holding branch and cinnamon sticks, camel halfleft; ∆HMAPX__EΞ IϚ YΠAT Ϛ
Ref: RIC II 142, Woytek 285b, RSC II 89,...
(57) Trajan 98-99 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; AYT KAIC NEP TPAIANOC CEB ΓERM
Reverse: owl standing on two lyres; ΔHM EΞ__YΠAT B
Ref: BMC 10; SNG Copenhagen 45; SNG von ...
(58) Trajan AD 114-116
Obverse: AYTOKP KAIC [NЄP TP]AINѠ APICTѠ CЄB ΓЄPM ΔAK, laureate and cuirassed bust left, with paludamentum, seen from behind
Reverse: ΔHMAPX ЄΞ YΠATO ς, camel walking left
Ref: RPC III 4080; SNG ANS 1158; Sydenha...
(59) Trajan 101-117 AD
Obverse: laureate head right; ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΚΑΙϹ ΝΕΡ ΤΡΑΙΑΝΟϹ ΑΡΙϹΤ ϹΕΒ ΓΕΡΜ ΔΑΚ
Reverse: Baetyl with fillet attached within square shrine with pyramidal roof surmounted by an eagle; ϹΕΛΕΥΚΕωΝ ΠΕΙΕΡΙΑϹ / B / ΖΕΥС / ΚΑСΙΟС
Ref: RPC III, 3768; BMC 37; CRS 420/53a