249 - 251 CE
|Trajan Decius spent most of his reign battling the Goths, and he managed to do something that none of his predecessors had done by becoming the first Roman emperor to be killed in battle against a foreign enemy.|
|Trajan Decius Antoninianus|
|About this coin:|
Trajan Decius was quickly accepted as Emperor after his predecessor's death. He returned to Rome and initiated several building projects. This is also when he adopted the surname "Trajan" in memory of the much revered emperor who had expanded Rome to its largest size ever.
But those pesky Goths were on the move again, this time allying themselves with the governor of Thrace, who declared himself Emperor, but no one outside of Thrace took him seriously, and the rebellious Thracian governor was soon dead. In the resulting chaos, the Goths indulged in some heavy looting in Thrace.
Decius and his son (also named Decius), whom he'd raised to the rank of Caesar, headed north to once again confront the Goths. There was another short-lived attempt at usurpation while they were out, this time at Rome, but it was quickly stamped out by the future emperor Valerian, whom Decius had left in charge at Rome.
Meanwhile, Decius and son were having considerable success against the Goths, who were retreating, laden with as much Thracian booty as they could carry. Decius thought this would slow them down enough for him to catch them, and he was right -- sort of. Unfortunately, the Goths laid a successful ambush for him, and Decius managed to secure for himself the dubious honor of becoming the first Roman emperor to die in battle against a foreign enemy. His son also died in the same ambush.