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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.
Also see: ERIC - NERO
Burnett, A., M. Amandry and P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial
Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD
69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, E. Xavier. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
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.). Numismatique Romaine XX. (Wetteren, 2000).
Giard, J-B. Bibliothèque National Catalogue Monnaies de L'Empire Romain II: De Tebère à Néron. (Paris, 1988).
King, C.E. Roman Quinarii from the Republic to Diocletian and the Tetrarchy. (Oxford, 2007).
Mac Dowall, D.W. The Western Coinages of Nero. ANSNNM 161. (New York, 1979).
Mattingly, H. and R.A.G. 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.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, David R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
I. Dated aurei, gold quinarii (AD 55-6 only), and denarii, AD 54-64: pre-reform
1. AGRIPP AVG DIVI CLAVD NERONIS CAES MATER
2. DIVVS CLAVDIVS AVGVSTVS
3. NERO CLAVD DIVI F CAES AVG GERM IMP TR P COS (AD 55)
4. NERO CL DIVI F CAES AVG P M TR P II (AD 55-6)
5. NERO CAESAR AVG IMP
A. Confronting busts of Nero (r.), undraped and bare-headed, and of Agrippina II (l.), dr. and with hair in long plait behind.
B. As A; but with corn-grain(?) behind Nero's head.
C. Jugate busts r. of Nero (in forefront), dr. at back of neck and bareheaded, and of Agrippina II, dr. and bare-headed.
D. Claudius head, laur., I.
E. Nero head, bare, r.
III. Aes of ROME (pp. 137 ff.)
IV. Aes of LUGDUNUM (pp. 142 ff.)
(a) Without or with IMP as cognomen, up to the course of 66.
1. NERO CAE AVG IMP
2. NERO CAES AVG IMP
3. NERO CAESAR AVG GER IMP
4. NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP
5. NERO CAESAR AVG IMP
6. NERO CAESAR AVG IMP TR POT P P
7. NERO CAESAR AVG IMP TR POT XI P P P
8. NERO CL CAE AVG
9. NERO CL CAE AVG GER
10. NERO CL CAES AVG GER
11. NERO CLA CA AVG GER
12. NERO CLA CAE AVG GER
13. NERO CLA CAE AVG GERM
14. NERO CLA CAES AVG GER
15. NERO CLA CAESAR AVG GER
16. NERO CLAV CAE AVG
17. NERO CLAV CAE AVG GER
18. NERO CLAY CAE AVG GER PM TR P IM
19. NERO CLAV CAES AVG GER
20. NERO CLAV CAESAR AVG
21. NERO CLAV CAESAR AVG GER
22. NERO CLAVD CAE AVG
23. NERO CLAVD CAE AVG GER
24. NERO CLAVD CAES AVG GER
25. NERO CLAVD CAES AVG GERM
26. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG
27. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GE
28. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER
29. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP
30. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P
31. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P
32. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM
33. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM IMP P P
34. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP
35. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP P
36. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP P P
37. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMA
38. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMAN
39. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANI
40. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANIC
41. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANICV
42. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS
43. NERO CLAVDIVS CAES AVG GERM
44. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GER
45. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P
46. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P
47. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM
48. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP P
49. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP P P
49. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM PM TR P IMP P P
50. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMA
51. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMA IMP
52. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMAN
53. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANIC
54. NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS
(b) With IMP as praenomen, from the course of 66 until 68.
55. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG
56. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERM
57. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERMANIC
58. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS
59. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT
60. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONTIF
61. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P M TR P P P
62. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P M TR POT P P
63. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX
64. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P
65. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P
66. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR POT P P
67. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TRIB POT P P
68. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR P P P
69. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT P P
70. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONTIF MAX TRIB POT P P
71. IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TRP PP
72. IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM PM TR P P P
73. IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P XIII P P
74. IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P XIV P P
75. IMP NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P P P
A. Nero, bare, r.
B. Nero, laur., r.
C. Nero, laur., wearing aegis, r.
D. Nero, laur., cuir., r.
E. Nero, rad., r.
F. Nero, bare, l.
G. Nero, laur., l.
H. Nero, crowned with bay, dr., l.
J. Nero, rad., l.
Reverse types (all legends individually specified in the coin-lists below).
1. (Adlocutio.) Nero, bare-headed and togate, stg. l. with praetorian prefect (also bareheaded and togate) on low platform on r., raising r. in address to three soldiers stg. r. in single file. of whom the two foremost carry standards: in the background, pillared building below battlemented crescent-shaped structure(? the praetorian camp).
2. (Annona.) Ceres on r., veiled and dr., seated l., r. holding com-ears. l. torch, her feet on stool, facing Annona, dr., stg. r., r. resting on hip, l. holding cornucopiae; between them, modius on garlanded altar; behind, ship's stern.
3. (Apollo.) Nero, laur., advancing r. in the flowing robes of Apollo Citharoedus, r. playing lyre held in l.
4. (Ara Pacis.) Altar-enclosure with ornamented top, decorated front panels, and central double doors.
5. (Arch.) Triumphal arch, hung with wreath across front and l. side; above, the emperor in facing quadriga escorted on r. by Victory holding wreath and palm and on l. by Pax holding caduceus and cornucopiae; just below the quadriga on extreme l. and r., two small figures of soldiers; on l. side of arch in niche, figure of Mars stg. facing, r. holding spear, l. round shield; ornamental reliefs on the faces and plinths of the arch.
6. (Branch.) Upright olive-branch, sometimes with three dots among the leaves.
7. (Column.) Helmet r. on column against which, on r., leans round shield bearing gorgoneion; behind, spear slanting upwards to r.
8. (Congiarium, platform on l.) Nero, hare-headed and togate:, seated r. on high platform on l.; before him, an official seated r. on another platform handing congiarium to togate citizen stg. with one foot on a flight nf steps, r. extended, l. preparing fold of toga, with small boy behind him; in background on l., Minerva facing, head l., r. holding owl, l. spear, and (on lower level) Liberalitas on r., facing, r. holding up tessera.
9. (Congiarium, platform on r.) Nero, bare-headed and togate, seated l. on low platform on r.. r. extended; behind him, praefectus annonae stg. facing; below in front, attendant stg. l. handing tessera to citizen stg. r. with fold of toga extended; in background, Minerva stg. facing. head l., r. holding owl, l. spear, with fiat-roofed tetrastyle building to l. of her.
10. (Decursio, to l.) Nero, bare-headed, cuirassed. and with cloak floating free, prancing l. on horseback, r. holding spear; beyond and behind him, mounted soldier prancing l. with vex.ilium held over r. shoulder.
11. (Decursio, to r.) As no. 10, but to r.
12. (Decursio, with foot-soldiers.) Nero prancing r., as on no. 11, but with foot-soldier in front advancing r. looking back, r. holding up vexillum, and with a second foot-soldier, helmeted, running behind the horse.
13. (Genius.) Genius, his waist dr., stg. half-left, sacrificing from patera over lighted altar with r., 1. holding cornucopiae.
14. (Janus, 'Terra', door r.) View of one front of the temple of Janus, with latticed window to l. and garland hung across closed double doors to r.
15. (Janus, 'Terra', door l.) As no. 14, but with window to r. and doors to l.
16. (Janus, 'Ubique', door r.) As no. 14.
17. (Janus, 'Ubique', door l.) As no. 14, but with window to r. and doors to l.
18. (Macellum.) Frontal view of the Macellum Magnum, its domed central section (in two storeys and approached by steps) flanked by two-storied wings of unequal height, with porticoes; above the steps in centre. male figure stg. l., l. holding long sceptre.
19. (Ostia.) Bird's-eye view of the harbour of Ostia. At the top, pharos surmounted by statue of Neptune l., l. holding sceptre; at the bottom, reclining figure of Tiber l., r. holding rudder, l. dolphin; to l., crescent-shaped pier with portico of varying length, terminating with figure sacrificing at altar and with building; to r., crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips, sometimes terminating with figure seated on rock; within the central harbour, a varying number of ships (most often seven, occasionally eight or more).
20. (Owl.) Owl, with wings spread, stg. facing on garlanded rectangular altar.
21. (Roma l., with spear and shield.) Roma, helmeted and in military dress. seated l. on cuirass, r. holding vertical spear, l. resting on shield; around and behind, various arms.
22. (Roma r., with shield and spear.) Roma, helmeted and in military dress, seated r. on cuirass, r. resting on shield, l. holding vertical spear; around and behind, various arms.
23. (Roma, with Victory and parazonium.) Roma, helmeted and in military dress, seated l. on cuirass, r. holding Victory, l. resting on parazonium; around and behind, various shields, etc.
24. (Roma, with Victory and shield.) As no. 23, but l. resting on shield.
25. (Roma, with Victory and spear.) Roma, helmeted and in military dress, seated l. on cuirass, r. holding Victory, l. vertical spear; around and behind, various shields, etc.
26. (Roma, with wreath and parazonium.) Roma, helmeted and in military dress, seated l. on cuirass, r. holding wreath, l. resting on parazonium; around and behind, various arms.
27. (Roma, with wreath and shield.) As no. 26, but l. resting on shield.
28. (Roma, with wreath and spear.) As no. 26, but l. holding vertical spear.
29. (Securitas.) Securitas, bare to waist, seated r. on throne, r. resting head against throne, 1. holding short sceptre; in front of her, garlanded and lighted altar, against which leans lighted torch resting on bucranium.
30. (Table.) Table, seen from front and r., bearing urn on l. and wreath on r.; on the front panel, a bas-relief of two sphinxes (or two gryphons) confronted; a round shield rests against table-leg.
31. (Victory flying l.) Victory flying l., r. leg advanced, r. holding wreath, l. palm.
32. (Victory flying r.) As no. 31, hut to r.
33. (Victory walking l.) Victory walking l., r. holding wreath, l. palm.
34. (Victory with palladium.) Victory advancing r., r. holding small palladium, l. palm.
35. (Victory with shield.) Victory flying l., holding in both hands shield inscribed S P Q R.
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The Portraiture of Caligula (under Nero tab) www.portraitsofcaligula.com by Joe Geranio
By Jim Phelps
Nero's early reign was dominated by his mother, though there were the underlying tensions of a power struggle with himself (advised by Seneca and Burrus) on the other side. When Agrippina began showing attention to Britannicus in 55, he was conveniently murdered. Nero began an affair with Poppaea, the wife of his friend Otho. Otho was appointed as governor of the province of Lusitania, pushing him out of the way. Soon thereafter Agrippina was murdered on Nero's order, and his wife Octavia was divorced, exiled, and murdered. Seneca and Burrus left the scene, and Tigellinus replaced them as the main influence on Nero.
Poppaea and Nero were married in 62, and Nero began persecuting many around him. In 64 a fire devastated a large portion of Rome, clearing the way for Nero to began a huge building program, particularly a large palace for himself. Always considering himself an artist, he began to give public performances of his singing ability and lyre playing. In 65 the Pisonian conspiracy was uncovered, a plot to replace Nero with Calpurnius Piso. As a result several powerful leaders in the government were killed, including Seneca.
In 67 Nero went on a cultural tour of Greece, participating in the Olympics by chariot racing, which of course he won. Nero was very popular with the common people, who no doubt enjoyed the entertainment he both sponsored and participated him. However, the patrician class had enough of him. During his absence the governors of several provinces began revolts. Nero had returned to Rome, but faced betrayal on all sides. He fled to the port of Ostia and committed suicide on 9 June 68. His lasting popularity with the people was such that several "false" Neros sprung up over the following years, to reclaim the throne. With the death of Nero the Julian-Claudian line of rulers, the first 5 emperors, comes to an end.
Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
NERO (Claudius Domitius). This son of Cneius Domitius Abenobarbus and of Agrippina the younger, was born at Antium in the 37th year of the Christian era. He was adopted (A.D. 50)
and created Caesar by Claudius whose daughter. Octavia, he married. He eventually succeeded Claudius although he had no family claim or birthright to the imperial throne. But Claudius having espoused Agrippina, that unscrupulously ambitious princess persuaded him to adopt her son by Domitius and consequently to exclude Britannicus whom the Emperor had by Messalina. From this time he took the name of Claudius Nero and received the title of Princeps Juventutis in 51. After Claudius was removed by poison, Nero succeeded in A.D. 54 at the age of 17. It is said that he possessed great and even good qualities. His preceptor Seneca certainly neglected nothing to ennoble his mind and to accomplish his education. He was fond of the fine arts, of poetry and above all of music, a passion which led him to commit a multitude of extravagances. In the first year he seemed to give promise of a happy reign. But in this he evidently was disguising the atrocity of his disposition. He soon dropped the mask of virtue.
Nero abandoned himself to his vicious and cruel propensities. He successively put to death Britannicus his half brother (55), Agrippina his mother (59), Domitia his aunt, Octavia his wife, Claudia his sister in law. Seneca and Burrhus who had been his tutors and Corbulo his victorious general, Lucan and Petronius and his second wife Poppaea also became the victims of his murderous fury which extended to a multitude of other persons.
In the year 64 he caused ten districts of Rome to be burnt. At the same time he falsely accused the Christians as the incendiaries and this crime being imputed to them, gave rise to the first persecution. Among the works he caused to be constructed in Rome after this horrible conflagration was a palace for himself called the golden house on which he lavished prodigious expenses. Meanwhile, he amused himself publicly in contesting for the prize with musicians, with actors and with charioteers of the circus both in Italy and in Greece. In social life he gave himself up to such excesses of cruelty and infamy that his name afterwards became synonymous with that of monster and tyrant. At length his detestable conduct having rendered him an object of universal execration, the Gallic and Spanish provinces revolted in 68. Galba was proclaimed Emperor with the Senate confirming the election and declaring Nero an enemy of the Republic. This odious prince, abandoned by everyone, found himself compelled to plunge a dagger into his own throat. His death to the joy of all, took place in the 68th rear of the Christian era, in the 31st rear of his age and in the 14th year of his reign. He left no children by his three wives, Octavia, Poppaea and Statilia Messalina.
His name on coins is NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS P M and NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS, etc and IMP NERO CAESAR etc. On medals struck after Christ 51 to 53, Nero is styled CAESAR PRINC IVVENT COS DES. In 54 his titles are AVGVSTVS TR P COS DES P M IMP. The name of Drusus is dropped which he bore during the lifetime of Claudius. In 66 he is styled IMP NERO CLAVD CAES GERManicus.
Nero established in Italy the colonies of Antium and Atina in Latium, Beneventuia in the Herpini, and reinforced with fresh veterans Vapua and Nuceria in Campania. The city of Puteoli in Campania received from him the right and title of a colony. - Vaillant, Col. i, p. 115.
Nero's first wife was Octavia, the daughter of Claudius by adoption whom, however, he soon got rid of after that emperor's death. Poppaea was his second whose nuptials are celebrated on an Ephesian medal. Statilia Messalina was his third. - See their names.
Nero's coins are numerous and for the most part common in each metal. Some of them represent the Emperor with his mother Agrippina the younger. "The silver pieces." says Akerman, "are generally ill struck or in bad condition. A really fine round denarius is seldom met with and will consequently bring a high price". The bronze on the other hand afford many specimens of high relief and fine workmanship. Havercamp on Morell gives numerous illustrations and descriptions of the Contorniate medals of Nero. But as the pieces so denominated are well understood not to have been struck under the princes whose portraits they bear, it is unnecessary to say more respecting them than that the most interesting of the inscriptions and types on their reverses will be noticed in this Dictionary under their proper heads.
Born in 37 A.D., he was adopted by Emperor Claudius in 50 A.D. Nero became emperor after Claudius' death, which was probably due to poisoning 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, two wives, and numerous senators and members of the nobility murdered or executed. He was the first emperor to persecute Christians, blaming them for the Great Fire in 64 A.D. He committed suicide in 68 A.D after generals in Africa, Gaul and Spain all rebelled, and the Praetorian Guard in Rome deserted him.
Nicaea. Nero. AD 54-68. Æ 19mm (4.64 g). Bare head right / Altar
inscribed PAT/RWN/OS in three lines. RPC I 2059; Rec Gen 43, pl. LXVI, 18.
Joe Geranio Collection - Anyone may use as long as credit is given.
This is a youthful portrait of Nero from a private collection on loan to the Koln Museum in Germany. Rarely seen. (Photos by Hans) Joe Geranio
Interesting New portrait of Nero Found?- Joe Geranio