The Emperor Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus), the first to be born in a province, ruled from A.D. 98 to 117. An outstanding commander, the Empire reached its greatest expansion during his reign. He was also a wise administrator and initiated numerous building campaigns in the provinces as well as in Rome, highlighted by the grandiose forum that bears his name.
Although his portraiture hearkens back to that of Augustus, Trajan's images abandon the Augustan taste for an eternally youthful visage in favor of reflecting the fact that he was forty-five years old when he came to power. According to Kleiner (Roman Sculpture, p. 208), the portraits made during his lifetime have been divided into several types: "a first type that dates to the few years after his adoption by Nerva, a second type created in about 103, the Decennial type of 108 - celebrating the 10th anniversary of his reign - and a few postdecennial types, including the Sacrifice type, so called because it appears time and again on the Column of Trajan in numerous sacrifice scenes. The distinctions among the types are very subtle and have to do for the most part with the arrangement of the hair over the forehead and on the nape of the neck."
The present head compares to the first type, the so-called "Bürgerkronnen Typus" (see for example no. 33 in Johansen, Katalog Romerske Portraetter, II, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek).