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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  History and Archeology (Moderator: David Atherton)  |  Topic: Arch of Nero 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Arch of Nero  (Read 2075 times)
basemetal
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« on: March 24, 2007, 07:39:34 pm »

I just acquired this worn example of the Arch of Nero.
My question is, are there any extant physical remains left of the actual arch?
Base, foundation, used in other structures, ect?
Thanks in advance.
Bruce
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PeterD
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2007, 05:05:10 am »

Marvin Tameanko's book "Monumental Coins" dedicates an entire chapter to "The Lost Arch of Nero". It is presumed that the arch was erected in front of the entrance to the Capitolne Temple, perhaps in AD 58 to celebrate a premature victory over Parthia, or maybe in AD 63 or 66 when other Parthia related events took place. Whatever, no trace of the arch has been found.
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Peter, London

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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2007, 07:27:34 pm »

I don't know the fate of the arch, but I would think Nero's successors (especially the Flavians) would have made every effort to erase any glorifications of him.  Perhaps it was recycled into other structures.
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Georgi
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2007, 08:00:54 pm »

It is presumed that this arch is the one that Tacitus says was voted to Nero for Corbulo's victory in Armenia in 58, and that Tacitus further reports was being constructed "in the middle of the Capitoline Hill" in 62, despite a successful invasion of Armenia by the Parthians in that year.

Fred Kleiner wrote a whole book on this lost arch in 1985.  Perhaps Barry Murphy, who has a copy, can tell us where Kleiner thinks the arch was located.  Marvin T's placement of the arch directly in front of the Capitoline Temple seems unlikely to me.

Basemetal's sestertius, with centration dimples, was struck at a branch mint in Thrace.  Coins of this mint were little known before coins began flooding out of Bulgaria and Romania with the fall of the Iron Curtain.  I wonder if any from this mint were included in Kleiner's die corpus of Arch sestertii of Nero.

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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2007, 09:55:39 pm »

Thanks Curtis for giving me homework.

Kleiner agrees with Tacitus. He suggests that the arch most likely spanned the clivus Capitolinus as it lead from the Asylum to the Capitolium, in line with other arches dating back to the Republic and it was likely the last arch one passed before reaching the temple of Jupiter.

No traces of the arch have ever been found. Kleiner suggests that the arch was either completely destroyed shortly after Nero's death with the damnatio memoriae Nero received when the senate proclaimed him an enemy of the state or in one of the two fires that consumed the Capitoline hill in 69 and 80.

Kleiner's article was an attempt to reconstruct the Arch of Nero, not an attempt at a corpus of the coinage, though he did conduct a die study of the Rome and Lugdunum coins available to him. Kleiner's thought was that the earliest dies would most faithfully represent the arch and therefor be the most useful in his reconstruction. The die study revealed that the earliest issues were indeed more detailed in their depiction of the arch than the later issues. Kleiner also shows that the Lugdunum issues are only copies of either coins or drawings supplied from Rome and are not reliable in their details. As the issues procede, the engravers became more careless and proportions change and details come and go, each succesive issue being just a copy of the coins or dies from the earlier issue. Kleiner suggests that the arch may stood not far from the mint on the Arx at the Temple of Jupiter Moneta so the initial engravers may have used the arch itself as their model.

As I said, Kleiner was attempting to reconstruct the arch, not provide a corpus of the arch sestertii. Whether Kleiner was aware of the Balkan mint issues or chose to ignore them as being too far removed to be at all reliable I don't know. He doesn't mention anything other than the Rome and Lugdunum issues.

Barry Murphy
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curtislclay
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2007, 07:01:00 pm »

Thanks, Barry, that deserves an "A"!

Since MacDowall published a Thracian Arch sest. in Num. Chron. 1960, the illustration reproduced by RPC 1758, you'd think Kleiner must at least have mentioned it somewhere in the book.

Your summary makes me want to acquire that book even more than before!
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2007, 08:43:07 pm »

Off topic but...

You should also find a copy of Kleiner's The Trajanic Gateway to the Capitoline Sanctuary of Jupiter Optimus Maximus published in the 1992 Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaologischen Instituts. It includes a die study of RIC 572 & 573. Surprisingly he tracked down 70 coins struck from 39 obverse dies and 25 reverse dies. Die linkages show that Hill's chronology based on obverse bust types was wrong.

Barry Murphy
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basemetal
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2007, 07:03:21 pm »

For what it's worth, I seem to have found a close match in RPC 1758 on WildwindsPerinthus, Thrace. Not spot on, the centering mark is inside the arch, but close.
I also finally had enough sense to remove the massive amounts of Dellar's that cloaked many details on mine.  The two attendants on either side of the quadringia show up much more clearly as do the legs of the quadringia.  The garland across the top of the arc is there, but takes magnification to make out due to wear.
My, aren't the ones offered so expensive?  [Wink]
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