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In June of 68, after the Senate declared Nero a public enemy, he committed suicide, and Galba was made emperor. The following year, 69 A.D. would be The Year of the Four Emperors, when Rome was ruled in rapid succession by Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. Galba's popularity was short-lived. He executed senators and equites without trial, reversed Nero's reforms, and refused to pay promised rewards to soldiers who had supported him. Meanwhile, legions in Germania Inferior acclaimed Vitellius as emperor. When Galba designated his successor, Otho, who had expected the honor, bribed the Praetorians. They killed Galba on 15 January. That day the Senate made Otho emperor. Vitellius was, however, on the march with an army to take power. Otho attempted to negotiate to no avail. After he was defeated in battle, he killed himself on 16 April. Vitellius celebrated his acclamation with feasts and parades which nearly bankrupted the treasury. Money-lenders who demanded payment were tortured and executed. He lured rivals to his palace where they were assassinated. As Vitellius murdered his rivals, the legions in Egypt, Judaea, and Syria acclaimed Vespasian as emperor on July 1. The Danube legions acclaimed him emperor in August and then invaded Italy. In October, Vitellius was defeated. He attempted to negotiate peace by bribery and force but he was captured and executed. The Senate recognized Vespasian as emperor on 21 December 69.
Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.
This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC IGalba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., SPQR (Vindex?) Countermark
Legend claims Nero fiddled while Rome burned. While this rumor is probably not true, Nero did sing and play the lyre at other times. He even composed songs that were performed by entertainers across the empire. At first, Nero only performed for private audiences, but in 64, when this coin was struck, he began singing in public in Neapolis. Nero craved the attention, but also he was encouraged to perform in public by the Senate, his inner circle and the people. Nero's famous dying words were "Qualis artifex pereo," which translates, "What an artist dies in me!"
The S P Q R countermarks were applied by Gallic rebels probably under Vindex. They appear on Lugdunum mint sestertii, dupondii and asses of Nero.RB86167. Orichalcum as, RIC I 454, Mac Dowall WCN 570, BnF II 110, Cohen I 244, BMCRE I -, Hunter I -, SRCV I -; c/m: Pangerl 26, F, some legend unstruck, pitting, weight 10.457 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 195o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 65 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG - GERMP M TR P IMP P P, bare head right, globe at point of neck; countermark: S P Q R in a rectangular punch (on neck); reversePONTIF MAX - TR POT IMP P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power, imperator, father of the country), Nero as Apollo Citharoedus, advancing right in flowing robes, singing and playing the lyre, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field, I (mark of value) in exergue; from the Lucas Harsh Collection, ex Incitatus Coins (2012); very rare variety with the same titles in the obverse and reverse legends; $300.00 (€255.00)
Roman Civil Wars, Revolt of Galba, Governor of Spain, April - June 68 A.D.
Galba lived in Tarraco for eight years. This coin was issued by Galba as governor of Spain in revolt against Nero. The obverse is copied from Republican denarii struck in 62 B.C. by the moneyer L. Scribonius Libo.SH63560. Silver denarius, RIC I 9 (R4), RSC II 396, BMCRE I 9, SRCV I 2072, F, toned, weight 3.515 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 225o, Tarraco(?) mint, Apr - Jun 68 A.D.; obverseBON EVENT, young female head (Bonus Eventus) right, fillet around forehead; reverse ROM RENASC, Roma standing right in military garb, Victory on globe in right hand, eagle-tipped scepter over left shoulder in left; bargain priced for this interesting R4 rarity implying the restoration of the Republic!, from the Jyrki Muona Collection; very rare (R4); SOLD
American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
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