P R REDACTAE
The Romans appear to understand the concept of victory and depict it here on the tails side of an a amazing sestertius of the emperor Trajan. This, a large brass coin that could buy a man a lunch, was the coin of the realm on the Roman homefront in the year 116 A.D. Standing over an abject personification of the land of Armenia is Trajan himself holding an upright spear and and a parazonium (short infantry sword) while the recumbent Tigris and Euphrates rivers look on impassively.
Here, Rome has defeated an enemy, and seeing it fitting to do so , announces, articulates and depicts it. And by making it money, promulgates it into the thickest parts of the daily life of the people.
I wonder how we would depict on TV an American victory over the jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan? Is what we hope to achieve capable of being expressed this compactly? If not, then perhaps we need to re-cast our concepts of victory into something that can be compacted for a clear and effective visual depiction. We must visualize in order to actualize while remembering that the narrative of victory must be capable of being illustrated in order to demonstrate that it has occurred.
Toward a semiotics of victory
A claim to victory must be made without regard to dreams of returning threats.
TRAJAN issued 116 A.D.
Brass Sestertius 33mm, 28.4g.
His laureate and draped bust right
ARMENIAETMESPOTAMIA INPOSTESTATEMPRREDACTAE, SC in fields
Trajan, in military attire, standing right holding upright spear and parazonium in sheath; river gods Tigris and Euphrates reclining on either side; Armenia, in abjection between them, her eyes to the ground.
(this coin is actually for sale on an ebay seller's site) at
...more to come.