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 Agrippina Junior, 54 - 68 A.D.
Agrippina Jr. was daughter of Agrippina Sr. and Germanicus, sister of Caligula, and mother of Nero. She seduced and married her uncle Claudius, murdering him after she secured the thrown for Nero. A soothsayer prophesied if Nero became emperor, he would kill his mother, Agrippina replied "Let him kill me, only let him rule!" Nero executed her in 59 A.D.
SH68894. Silver denarius, RIC I 7, RSC II 4, BMCRE I 8, SRCV I 2044, F, toned, scratches, weight 3.484 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 135o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. Jan - Nov 55 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDDIVI FCAES AVG GERMIMP TR P COS, Jugate bare headed draped busts of Nero (in forefront) and Agrippina Junior; reverse AGRIPP AVG DIVI CLAVD NERONIS CAES MATER, enthroned on cart drawn left by four elephants; Augustus, further, radiate, holding aquila; and Claudius, nearer, radiate, holding patera and scepter; EX S C in upper left field; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; very rare (R3); $1700.00 (1275.00)
In either late 67 or early 68, Gaius Iulius Vindex, the Roman governor of Gallia Lugdunensis rebelled against Nero's tax policy. In order to gain support, he declared allegiance to Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, as the new emperor. Vindex was defeated and killed in battle near Vesontio (modern Besanηon) but support for Galba grew. On 9 June 68, deserted by the Praetorian Guard, Nero stabbed himself in the throat.
SH68701. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1943, RSC II 123, RIC I 69 (R), BMCRE I 80, aVF, weight 3.298 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 67 - 9 Jun 68 A.D.; obverse IMP NEROCAESAR AVG P P, laureate head right; reverseIVPPITER CVSTOS (Jupiter the Preserver), Jupiter seated left, bare to the waist, thunderbolt in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $340.00 (255.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Antioch, Syria
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo was the Propraetorial Imperial Legate of Roman Syria from 60 - 63 A.D. In 58 A.D. Corbulo, who had been Caligula's brother-in-law, had defeated the Parthians. Tigranes, who grew up in Rome, was installed as king of Armenia. In 63, Armenia again fell under Parthian hegemony. Corbulo crossed the Euphrates with a strong army. The new Armenian king Tiridates refused battle, laid down his diadem at the foot of the emperor's statue, and promised not to resume it until he received it from the hand of Nero himself in Rome. In 67, Nero, suspicious of Corbulo and his support among the Roman masses, summoned him to Greece. On his arrival at Cenchreae, the port of Corinth, messengers from Nero met Corbulo, and ordered him to commit suicide, which he loyally obeyed by falling on his own sword, saying, "Axios!"
SH66235. Silver tetradrachm, Prieur 82 (same reverse die); McAlee 258; RPC I 4182; BMC Galatia p. 174, 192; cf. SNG Cop 154 (Z / ΘP), VF, weight 14.760 g, maximum diameter 24.66 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch mint, 61 - 62 A.D.; obverse NEPΩNOΣ KAIΣAPOΣ ΣEBAΣTOY, laureate beardless bust right wearing aegis; reverseeagle standing left on a thunderbolt, wings spread, head left, palm frond on left, H (regnal year 8) over IP (year 110 of the Caesarian era) on right (off flan); $300.00 (225.00)
A decursio was a military exercise, by which Roman soldiers were taught to make long marches in a given time, under arms and without quitting their ranks. They sometimes consisted of a mock fight between two divisions. Augustus and subsequently Hadrian ordered that the infantry and cavalry were to march out three times a month ten miles from the camp and ten miles back, fully armed and equipped. The decursio this coin probably refers Nero's participation in mock military maneuvers in the circus.
SH67778. Orichalcumsestertius, cf. RIC 169, BMCRE I 146, MacDowell WCN 89 (no aegis may indicate an Balkan mint variety not listed in the refs), F, river-find corrosion, cleaning scratches, smoothing, possibly some tooling, weight 25.573 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 45o, Rome or Balkan mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverseNERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMP M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right; reverseDECVRSIO (in exergue), Nero and a companion on horseback prancing right, Nero holds spear in right, companion holds vexillum in right over shoulder, S - C flanking high across field; damaged by amateur cleaning but nice examples can be 10x the price; rare; $240.00 (180.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Kassandreia, Macedonia
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, weight 8.108 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, Kassandreia mint, 63 - 68 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P (IMP?) P P, radiate head left; reverse COL IVL AVG - CASSANDREN, head of Zeus Ammon left; nice jade patina and attractive style; $205.00 (153.75)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Side, Pamphylia
Side was founded by Greeks from Cyme, Aeolis, most likely in the 7th century B.C. The settlers started using the local language and over time forgot their native Greek. Excavations have revealed inscriptions written in this language, still undeciphered, dating from as late as the 2nd century B.C. The name Side is from this indigenous Anatolian language and means pomegranate.
RP64025. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 3404, BMC Pamphylia p. 53, 75; SNGvA 4810; cf. SNG Cop 414 (younger portrait), VF, weight 4.037 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 45o, Side mint, c. 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN KAICAP, draped, bare-headed bust right; reverse CI∆−HT, Athena advancing left, spear and pomegranate in right, shield in left, snake before at feet; ex Helios Numismatik auction 7 (12 Dec 2011), lot 607; $180.00 (135.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Abdera, Thrace
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; $175.00 (131.25)
Judaea, Antonius Felix, Roman Procurator Under Claudius and Nero, 52 - 60 A.D.
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 (NeroClaudiusCaesar), 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 (120.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia
This type was issued to celebrate Corbulo's Armenian conquest. Corbulo was honored by Nero as the man who had brought this "triumph" but his popularity and influence with the army made him a potential rival. Together with the involvement of his son-in-law Lucius Annius Vinicianus in a foiled plot against Nero in 66, Corbulo became suspect in the eyes of the emperor. In 67, while journeying in Greece, Nero ordered him to be executed; upon hearing of this, Corbulo committed suicide.
RP70091. Silver hemidrachm, SydenhamCappadocia 81, RPC I 3644, RIC I 616, BMC Galatia -, VF, frosty surfaces, uneven toning, weight 1.309 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea mint, c. 59 - 60 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVD DIVI CLAVD F CAESAR AVG GERMANI, laureate head right; reverseVictory advancing right, raising wreath in right, palm frond over shoulder in left, ARME-NIAC flanking across field; rare; $150.00 (112.50)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
This type is from a series of tetradrachms depicting and naming a variety of Greek deities; issued to commemorate Nero's sojourn in Greece in 67 - 68 A.D.
RX59016. Billontetradrachm, RPC I 5315, BMC Alexandria 133, Geissen 200, VF, weight 13.002 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 67 - 9 Jun 68 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AY LI∆, radiatebust left wearing aegis; reverse HPA APΓEIA, veiled bust of Hera Argeia right, wearing stephane, star in front; $135.00 (101.25)