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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ NeroView Options:  |  |  |   

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

Nero became emperor after his stepfather, the emperor Claudius, died (Claudius was probably poisoned by Nero's mother Agrippina II). At first, Nero ruled well, guided by his mentors Seneca and Burrus, but soon his reign degenerated into the debauchery and murder for which he is infamous. He had his mother, Burrus, Britannicus, and numerous senators and members of the nobility murdered or executed. Legend says he kicked Poppaea, his pregnant wife, to death. He was the first emperor to persecute Christians, blaming them for the Great Fire in 64 A.D. Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D after generals in Africa, Gaul, and Spain all rebelled, and the Praetorian Guard in Rome deserted him.


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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4680.00 (€3978.00)
 


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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.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG - GERM P 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); reverse PONTIF 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)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 62 A.D., Lucan wrote a history of the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey.
RX86146. Bronze obol, RPC I 5263; Dattari 278/279; Geissen 149; BMC Alexandria 179/180; Milne 207; Kampmann-Ganschow 14.67, F, old scratch on obverse, reverse rough, edge cracks, weight 5.661 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 61 - 62 A.D.; obverse NER KLAY KAI CEB GEP, laureate head right; reverse AYTO KPAT, Roma standing half left, patera in right hand, shield and spear in left hand, LH (year 8) lower left; rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The reverse legend translates, "The gates of Janus' temple are closed because peace (of the Roman people) is set on both land and sea." On the rare occasions when Rome was not at war the doors of the 'Twin Janus' were ceremonially closed, an event Nero commemorated extensively on the coinage of 65 - 67 A.D. -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol 1
RB86771. Copper as, RIC I 306, Mac Dowall WCN 288, BMCRE I 227, BnF II 400, Cohen I 171, SRCV I 1974, F, mostly bare copper surfaces, marks, scratches, some corrosion, weight 8.796 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP, laureate head right; reverse PACE P R VBIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, three-quarter view of the Temple of Janus with garland over closed doors within arch, temple front on the right, the left side of the temple side with windows to the left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The shield held by Victory is the golden shield that was dedicated to Augustus by the Senate and Roman People (S. P. Q. R.) in recognition of his classic, cardinal virtues. By placing the shield and Victory on his coin, Nero was claiming these same virtues were part of his regime. -- Roman History from Coins by Michael Grant
RB86775. Copper as, Giard Lyon 231, Mac Dowall WCN 603, BMCRE I 388, BnF II 171, RIC I 606, Hunter II 134, Cohen I 303, SRCV I -, aVF, excellent portrait, brown tone, light marks, light porosity, weight 10.224 g, maximum diameter 30.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 67 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, bare head left, globe at point of neck; reverse Victory flying left, holding with both hands a round shield marked S P / Q R (Senatus Populusque Romanus) in two lines, large S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field at center; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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After the Great Fire of Rome in July 64, Lugdunum sent a fortune to Rome to aid in the reconstruction. However, during the winter of 64 - 65, Lyon suffered its own catastrophic fire. Nero reciprocated, sending money to Lugdunum for their reconstruction.
RB86772. Orichalcum dupondius, Mac Dowall WCN 495, Giard Lyon 50, RIC I 379, BnF II 57, Hunter II 112, SRCV I 1969 var. (illustrated), BMCRE I -, Cohen I -, aVF, well centered, nice portrait, a little rough, weight 12.230 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, radiate head right, globe at the point of the bust; reverse VICTORIA AVGVSTI (the victory of the Emperor), Victory walking left, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand, S - C across field, II (mark of value) in exergue; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Sardes, Lydia

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Sardis was the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia, an important city of the Persian Empire, a Roman proconsul seat, and in later Roman and Byzantine times the metropolis of the province Lydia. In the Book of Revelation, Sardis, one of the Seven Churches of Asia, is admonished to be watchful and to strengthen since their works haven't been perfect before God. (Revelation 3:1-6).
RP86895. Bronze AE 17, RPC I 3002; BMC Lydia p. 253, 120; SNG Cop 523; SNGvA 3146, SNG Munchen -, VF, dark patina, earthen deposits, some porosity, slightly off center, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, strategos Mindios, c. 59 - 62 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN KAICAP (square C), young laureate head right; reverse EΠI MIN∆IOY CAP∆IANΩN (square C), bust of young Herakles right, Nemean lion skin tied around neck; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
RY86487. Bronze semis, McAlee 403(d); RPC II 2017; BMC Galatia p. 181, 251; Wruck 116; SNG Fitzwilliam 5878 var. (dot above S C); SNG Cop -; SNG Hunterian -, gVF, tight flan, light earthen deposits, slight porosity, weight 7.861 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 69 - 79 A.D.; obverse DOMITIANVS CAESAR, laureate head left; reverse large S C, no dot in field, within laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
The shield held by Victory is the golden shield that was dedicated to Augustus by the Senate and Roman People (S. P. Q. R.) in recognition of his classic, cardinal virtues. By placing the shield and Victory on his coin, Nero was claiming these same virtues were part of his regime. -- Roman History from Coins by Michael Grant
RB86770. Copper as, RIC I 312, BMCRE I 241, Mac Dowall WCN 285, BnF II 399, Hunter I 91, Cohen I 288, SRCV I 1976 , aVF, well centered, good portrait, rough bare copper, weight 10.472 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP, laureate head right; reverse Victory flying left holding shield inscribed S P Q R, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Click for a larger photo
The shield held by Victory is the golden shield that was dedicated to Augustus by the Senate and Roman People (S. P. Q. R.) in recognition of his classic, cardinal virtues. By placing the shield and Victory on his coin, Nero was claiming these same virtues were part of his regime. -- Roman History from Coins by Michael Grant
RB86421. Copper as, RIC I 352, Mac Dowall WCN 299, BMCRE I 249, Hunter I C3777, BnF II -, Cohen I , SRCV I -, F, nice green patina, bumps, marks, scratches, weight 10.398 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERM, laureate head left; reverse Victory flying left, holding shield inscribed S P / Q R (Senatus Populusque Romanus - The Senate and the Roman People) in two lines, S - C (senatus consulto - with authority of the Senate) flanking across field; $90.00 (€76.50)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPNEROCAESARAVGPMAXTRPOTPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPMAXTRPPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPMTRPOTPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPONTMAXTRPOTPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGPP
IMPNEROCAESARAVGVSTVS
NEROCAESAR
NEROCAESARAVGGERMIMP
NEROCAESARAVGIMP
NEROCAESARAVGVSTVS
NEROCAESAVGIMP
NEROCLAVCAEAVGGER
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERMANI
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPIMP
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERPMTRPIMPPP
NEROCLAVDCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPIMPPP
NEROCLAVDCAESDRVSVSGERMPRINCIVVENT
NEROCLAVDDIVICLAVDFCAESARAVG
NEROCLAVDDIVICLAVDFCAESARAVGGERMANI
NEROCLAVDIVSCAESARAVGGERMA
NEROCLAVDIVSCAESARAVGGERMANIC
NEROCLAVDIVSCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPIMPPP
NEROCLDIVIFCAESAVGPMTRPII
NERONERONICLAVDIODRVSOGERMCOSDESIGN
NERONICLAVDIODRVSOGERMCOSDESIGN


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, & P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Clay, C. "Münzprägung des Kaisers Nero" in Numismatische Zeitschrift 96 (1982), pp. 7 - 17.
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon, De Claude Ier à Vespasien (41-78 après J.-C.), et au temps de Clodius Albinus (196-197 après J.-C.). (Wetteren, 2000).
Giard, J-B. Bibliothèque National Catalogue Monnaies de L'Empire Romain II: De Tebère à Néron. (Paris, 1988).
King, C. Roman Quinarii from the Republic to Diocletian and the Tetrarchy. (Oxford, 2007).
Mac Dowall, D. The Western Coinages of Nero. ANSNNM 161. (New York, 1979).
Mac Dowall, D. "Two Roman Countermarks of A.D. 68" in NC 1960, pp. 103 - 112, pl. VII.
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Sunday, May 27, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Nero