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Home>Catalog>RomanCoins>TheTwelveCaesars>Nero PAGE 1/212»»»

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.


Click for a larger photo Nero's first bronze issue at Rome c. 63 A.D. omitted the usual letters S C, abbreviating Senatus Consulto (with authority of the Senate). All of his following issues included S C. Curtis Clay was the first to note that an example of this third issue type, struck with the same reverse die as our coin, had been struck with a first issue reverse die, recycled with S C added. A Praetorian camp is visible in the upper background on the first issue specimens. Due to die wear, the camp is not visible on third issue examples from this recycled die.
SH71774. Bronze sestertius, RIC I 135 (S), Mac Dowall WCN 84, BMCRE I 124, BnF II 272, Cohen I -, SRCV I -, F, well centered, nice high relief portrait, weight 23.438 g, maximum diameter 35.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right wearing aegis; reverse bare-headed, togate Nero, standing left on dais addressing troops, raising right hand, praetorian prefect behind, three soldiers before him standing right, two foremost hold standards, praetorian camp in background, S - C flanking, ADLOCVT COH in ex; ex Seaver Collection; very rare; $1230.00 (€1070.10)

Click for a larger photo The Nero sestertii from the Rome mint are scarcer than those from Lugdunum. The Rome portrait style is almost uniformly better.
SH72092. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 273, BnF II 369, Mac Dowall WCN 145, BMCRE I 173 (no aegis?), Cohen -, aVF, weight 27.048 g, maximum diameter 35.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head right, wearing aegis; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass and shields, Victory in right, left resting on parazonium at side, right foot on helmet, S - C flanking across field, ROMA in exergue; ex Morton & Eden auction 59 (14 Nov 2012), part of lot 873; ex Seaver Collection; $490.00 (€426.30) ON RESERVE

Click for a larger photo 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!"
RB72097. Orichalcum as, BnF II 102, RIC I 417, Mac Dowall WCN 547, BMCRE I 377, Cohen 246, SRCV I 1975 var (head right), aVF, centered, excellent portrait, rough, weight 10.064 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS, bare head left, globe at point of neck; reverse PONTIF MAX TR POT IMP P P, Nero as Apollo Citharoedus, advancing right in flowing robes, singing and playing the lyre, S - C flanking across field, I (mark of value) in exergue; ex Morton & Eden auction 59 (14 Nov 2012), part of lot 873; ex Seaver Collection; $250.00 (€217.50)

Click for a larger photo 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!"
RB72098. Orichalcum as, BnF II 101, RIC I 416, Mac Dowall WCN 543, BMCRE I 376, Cohen 247, SRCV I 1975, F, excellent portrait, porous, scrape, weight 10.108 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS, bare head right, globe at point of neck; reverse PONTIF MAX TR POT IMP P P, Nero as Apollo Citharoedus, advancing right in flowing robes, singing and playing the lyre, S - C flanking across field, I (mark of value) in exergue; ex Morton & Eden auction 59 (14 Nov 2012), part of lot 873; ex Seaver Collection; $250.00 (€217.50)

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Perinthus, Thrace
Click for a larger photo In 46 A.D., after the death of the Thracian king Rhoemetalces III and after an unsuccessful anti-Roman revolt, the Thracian Kingdom was annexed by Claudius as the Roman province of Thracia. Perinthus was made the capital of Roman Thracia. All the Latin coins of Perinthus are rare. BMC does not list Perinthus mint, but identifies this type as "barbarous." RIC notes the existence of Balkan sestertii, dupondii and asses but does not catalog them.
RB90366. Copper as, RPC I Supplement S-1760a, F, corrosion, light scratches, weight 8.452 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 315o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 63 - 9 Jun 68 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG, laureate head right; reverse Neptune standing half left, dolphin in right, long vertical trident in left, S - C flanking across field; very rare; $200.00 (€174.00)

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Kassandreia, Macedonia
Click for a larger photo Cassandrea, previously Potidaea, was founded as a colony by Hortensius in 43 - 42 B.C. and refounded as COL IVL AVG CASSANDREN by Augustus in 30 B.C. The portrait and inscribed titles indicate this type was struck between 63 and 68 A.D. It may have been struck for Nero's visit to Greece in 66 - 67.
SH59952. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 1517, SNG ANS 234, Varbanov 3324, SNG Cop -, VF, nice jade patina and attractive style, weight 8.108 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, Kassandreia mint, 63 - 68 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P (IMP?) P P, radiate head left; reverse COL IVL AVG - CASSANDREN, horned head of Zeus Ammon left; $190.00 (€165.30)

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
RB72099. Copper as, BnF II 160 (same obv die), RIC I 543, BMCRE I 381, Mac Dowall WCN 593, Cohen I 302, SRCV I -, F, weight 10.463 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, bare head right, globe at point of neck; reverse Victory flying left, holding shield inscribed S P Q R, S - C flanking across field; ex Morton & Eden auction 59 (14 Nov 2012), part of lot 873; ex Seaver Collection; $180.00 (€156.60)

Click for a larger photo In 65 A.D., Nero killed his pregnant wife, Poppea Sabina, with a kick to the stomach. He also appeared in a stage performance shocking the senatorial class.
RB72095. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I 296, BMCRE I 205, Cohen I 280 (2f.), Mac Dowall WCN 225, BnF II 385; SRCV I 1966, F, rough, corrosion, weight 11.134 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, radiate head right; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass, right foot on helmet, wreath in right, parazonium in left, arms on ground below, S - C flanking across field, ROMA in exergue; ex Morton & Eden auction 59 (14 Nov 2012), part of lot 873; ex Seaver Collection; $175.00 (€152.25)

Judaea, Antonius Felix, Roman Procurator Under Claudius and Nero, 52 - 60 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Minted by Antonius Felix, Roman Procurator of Judaea, 52 - 60 A.D., in the names of Nero and Britannicus Caesars, the stepson and son respectively of the emperor Claudius.
JD66656. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1348, Meshorer TJC 340, SGICV 5626, gVF, flan flaw, weight 2.501 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 270o, Caesarea mint, 54 A.D.; obverse NEPW KΛAV KAICAP (Nero Claudius Caesar), two oblong shields and two spears crossed; reverse BPIT (Britannicus), six-branched palm bearing two bunches of dates, L - I∆ / K-AI (year 14 of Caesar) flanking trunk; $160.00 (€139.20)

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Abdera, Thrace
Click for a larger photo In ancient Athens it was proverbial to ridicule Abdera by saying that the air in Abdera causes stupidity. But Abdera counted among its citizens the philosophers Democritus, Protagoras and Anaxarchus, historian and philosopher Hecataeus of Abdera, and the lyric poet Anacreon.
SH68886. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 1730, Varbanov II 7 (R6), AMNG II 244, SNG Cop 382, SGICV 485, aVF, some corrosion, weight 4.523 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Abdera mint, 63 - 68 A.D.; obverse NEPΩNI KΛAY∆IΩ KAIΣAPI ΣEBAΣTOY, bare head of Nero left; reverse ΘEΩ AB∆HPEITAI, bare head of Augustus (or Claudius) left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Harlan J. Berk; scarce; $155.00 (€134.85)



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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

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.). (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).

Catalog current as of Sunday, March 01, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Nero