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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.


Nero and Poppaea, 62 - 65 A.D., Thyatira, Lydia

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Poppaea was renowned for her beauty and voluptuous extravagance. In 62 A.D., Nero divorced his wife Octavia to marry Poppaea. According to Tacitus, Poppaea married Otho only to get close to Nero and then, in turn, became Nero's favorite mistress, and then wife. She bore Nero one daughter, Claudia Augusta, born 21 January 63, who died at only four months of age. At the birth of Claudia, Nero honored mother and child with the title of Augusta. According to Suetonius, one day in the summer of 65, Poppaea quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. She was pregnant with her second child. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her.
RP84927. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 2383 (6 spec.); BMC Lydia p. 302, 65; Weber 6932, SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark green patina, a little rough, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Thyatira (Akhisar, Turkey) mint, c. 62 A.D.; obverse NERΩN KΛAY∆IOC KAICAP CEBACTOC, laureate head of Nero right; reverse ΠOΠΠAIAN CEBACTHN ΘYATIPHNOI, draped bust of Poppaea right; rare; $220.00 (€195.80)
 


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Then reverse legend abbreviates, Certamen quinquennale Romae constitutum - five-year games established at Rome. In 60 A.D. Nero founded the quinquennial Neronia games at Rome which, in the Greek fashion, included musical, gymnastic, and horse racing contests. Nero himself was awarded the victory crowns for Latin oratory and poetry and for lyre playing. Despite his supposed talent, it seems Nero did not actually perform at all, the judges declared he was the only one worthy of victory.
RB85335. Orichalcum semis, RIC I 233, BMCRE I 261, Mac Dowall WCN 325, BnF I 338, Cohen I 47, SRCV I 1979, VF, nice portrait, toned brass, light encrustations and deposits, light corrosion, weight 3.174 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 66 - 68 A.D.; obverse NERO CAES AVG IMP, laureate head right; reverse CER QVINQ ROM CO (Certamen quinquennale Romae constitutum - five-year games established at Rome), prize-urn and a wreath set on a agonistic prize-table seen from front and right, front panel ornamented with two griffins, discus(?) resting against right front leg, S (semis) above left, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $165.00 (€146.85)
 


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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
RB85337. Copper as, RIC I 309, BMCRE I 232, BnF II 404, Mac Dowall WCN 289, Hunter I 90, Cohen I 164, SRCV I 1974 var. (door on right), aVF, bumps and marks, some legend weak, some corrosion and pitting, weight 10.592 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 125o, Rome mint, c. 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP, laureate head right; reverse PACE P R VBIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, lateral view of the Temple of Janus with garland over closed doors within arch, temple front on the left, the right side of the temple with windows to the right, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at sides; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Philippi, Macedonia, 41 - 68 A.D.

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This coin has traditionally been attributed to Augustus, but due to its copper composition, RPC attributes it as likely from Claudius to Nero; Philippi probably did not issue copper coins during the reign of Augustus.
RP84961. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 1651, Varbanov III 3229, SGICV 32, SNG Cop 305, AMNG III 14, BMC Macedonia 23, VF, dark patina, some light corrosion, weight 5.683 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Philippi mint, 41 - 68 A.D.; obverse Victory standing left on base, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder, VIC - AVG divided across field; reverse COHOR PRAE PHIL, three standards; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


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This coin is a small module quadrans struck on orichalcum (brass). The same type was also struck on a normal size copper quadrans flan.
RB85334. Orichalcum quadrans (small module), BMCRE I 291 (also small module), Cohen I 180, RIC I 317, SRCV I 1987 var. (CLAVD), BnF I -, gVF, green patina, scratches, small patina chip and rough spot on obverse, weight 1.568 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAV CAE AVG GER, crested Corinthian helmet right on top of cippus, oval shield leaning on the column to right, spear diagonal pointing upper right on far side of column leaning on shield; reverse P M TR P - IMP P P, upright branch, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across lower half of field; rare; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


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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
RB85336. Copper as, RIC I 543, BMCRE I 381, BnF II 160, Mac Dowall WCN 593, Hunter I 131, Cohen I 302, SRCV I -, F, bumps and marks, some corrosion, dark fields with bare copper devices, weight 10.186 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, laureate head right, globe at point of neck; reverse Victory flying left, shield inscribed S P Q R in right hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking high across field; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


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

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Ancyra minted its first coinage under Nero and this type with a young portrait and the name Claudius in the emperor's titles may have been the first type struck by the city.
RP84539. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 3108; SNG Cop 135; SNGvA 8227; Weber 7019; Mionnet IV p. 220, 152, VF, attractive young portrait of Nero, flan flaw upper left, weight 4.200 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ancyra (Ankara, Turkey) mint, magistrate Klaudios Artemidoros, c. 55 - 60 A.D.; obverse NEPΩNA KΛAY∆ION KAICAPA ANKYPANΩN, bare head right; reverse EΠI KΛAY∆IOY APTEMI∆ΩPOY IEPEΩC, Zeus standing left, nude, anchor downward in right hand, long scepter in left hand; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


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

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Mostene, in ancient Lydia, prospered in Roman and Byzantine eras. There is debate, based on a line in Tacitus, over whether Mostene was a Macedonian colony or a native Lydian city. In 17 A.D. the city was hit by an earthquake and was assisted by relief from Tiberius.
RP84897. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 2462 (2 specimens), Imhoof-Blumer LS 4a, BMC Lydia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Munchen -, SNG Tubingen -, VF, dark patina, encrustations, light corrosion, slightly off center, weight 2.457 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Mostene (Kepecik, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 50 - 54 A.D.; obverse NEPONA KAICAPA, bare-headed and draped bust right; reverse EΠI ME∆ANIOY MOCTHNΩN, city goddess of Mostene seated left, kalathos on head, two grain ears in right hand, double axe in left hand; very rare; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


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

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The object on Serapis' head is sometimes described as a modius, a grain container, or as a polos, a high cylindrical basket-like woven crown. Poloi are normally worn by female deities but perhaps is worn by Serapis to indicate his all-encompassing nature. In "The symbolical language of ancient art and mythology: An inquiry," Richard Knight identifies this object as the seed-vessel of the lotus plant.
RX84811. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 160, Milne 222, RPC I 5274, Dattari 251, BMC Alexandria 156, Kampmann 14.77, Emmett 133 (R1), VF, tight flan, light marks, porous, edge cracks, strike a little flat, weight 12.309 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 64 - 64 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP, radiate head right; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Serapis right, date LI (year 10) right; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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

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Perga was the capital of Pamphylia. Today it is a large site of ancient ruins, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) east of Antalya on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. During the Hellenistic period, Perga was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the ancient world, famous for its temple of Artemis. It also is notable as the home of the renowned mathematician Apollonius of Perga.Ruins of the main street in Perga
RP84161. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 3373 (5 spec.), McClean 8902, BMC Lycia -, SNGvA -, aF, flan crack, rough, weight 4.647 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Perge mint, as caesar under Claudius, 50 - 13 Oct 54 A.D.; obverse NEPWN KAICAP, bare head right; reverse APTEMI∆OC ΠEPΓAIAC, Artemis running right, torch in left, bow in right; very rare; $90.00 (€80.10)
 




  



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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 Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Nero