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Search results - "Messalina"
4110 viewsClaudius 41-54 AD
Alexandria in Egypt
Year 6
Rev: Messalina, 3rd wife of Claudius, holding two small children (Claudia Octavia and Britannicus) in outstretched hand
RPC I 5164
25 viewsROME. Claudius, with Messalina. AD 41-54
PB Tessera (19mm, 2.16 g, 12h)
Bare head of Claudius left
Draped bust of Messalina right
Rostovtsew –

Ex London Ancient Coins 60 (14 February 2017), lot 362
005b. Britannicus126 viewsBritannicus (son of Claudius) AE17. Ionia, Smyrna

Britannicus (41 - 55 A.D.) was the son of the Roman emperor Claudius and his third wife Messalina. His original name was "Germanicus" but was changed in honor of his father's conquest of Britain in 43 AD.

Nobody is sure why Claudius made Nero his successor and not Britannicus, although the fact that Britannicus may have been Caligula's son is a factor. Britannicus was killed by (partisans of) his step-brother (and brother-in-law) Nero so that Nero could become emperor of Rome.

His sister Octavia is the heroine of the play written at some time after the death of Nero. It's title is titled her name, but its central message is the wrong done to the Claudian house because of the wrong done to its last male member and its last hope.

Britannicus. Before 54 AD. AE 17mm (4.31 g), Minted at Ionia, Smyrna. Bare head right 'ZMYP' below bust / Nike flying right. cf S(GIC) 516. Scarce. Some dirt and patina chipping.

005cc. Valeria Messalina48 viewsMessalina, 41-48 AD

Size/Weight: 17mm, 3.36g

AEOLIS, Aegae. Messalina. Augusta, AD 41-48. Draped bust right / Zeus Aëtophorus standing left. RPC I 2430; SNG Copenhagen 23.

Obverse: CЄBACTH MЄCAΛЄINA draped bust right
Reverse: AIΓAЄΩN Zeus standing left, holding eagle and scepter

This should look familiar, A. Reich :)

Attribution: RPC 2430, SNG Aulock -, SNG Leypold -, SNG Righetti -, Lindgren -, Sear GIC –
005d. Agrippina II89 viewsLYDIA, Hypaepa. Agrippina Jr., mother of Nero. Augusta, 50-59 AD. Æ 14mm (2.33 gm). Draped bust of Agrippina right / Cult statue of Artemis. RPC I 2541; SNG Copenhagen -.

Julia Vipsania Agrippina Minor or Agrippina Minor (Latin for "the younger") (November 7, AD 15 – March 59), often called "Agrippinilla" to distinguish her from her mother, was the daughter of Germanicus and Agrippina Major. She was sister of Caligula, granddaughter and great-niece to Tiberius, niece and wife of Claudius, and the mother of Nero. She was born at Oppidum Ubiorum on the Rhine, afterwards named in her honour Colonia Agrippinae (modern Cologne, Germany).

Agrippina was first married to (1st century AD) Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus. From this marriage she gave birth to Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, who would become Roman Emperor Nero. Her husband died in January, 40. While still married, Agrippina participated openly in her brother Caligula's decadent court, where, according to some sources, at his instigation she prostituted herself in a palace. While it was generally agreed that Agrippinilla, as well as her sisters, had ongoing sexual relationships with their brother Caligula, incest was an oft-used criminal accusation against the aristocracy, because it was impossible to refute successfully. As Agrippina and her sister became more problematic for their brother, Caligula sent them into exile for a time, where it is said she was forced to dive for sponges to make a living. In January, 41, Agrippina had a second marriage to the affluent Gaius Sallustius Crispus Passienus. He died between 44 and 47, leaving his estate to Agrippina.

As a widow, Agrippina was courted by the freedman Pallas as a possible marriage match to her own uncle, Emperor Claudius, and became his favourite councillor, even granted the honor of being called Augusta (a title which no other queen had ever received). They were married on New Year's Day of 49, after the death of Claudius's first wife Messalina. Agrippina then proceeded to persuade Claudius to adopt her son, thereby placing Nero in the line of succession to the Imperial throne over Claudius's own son, Brittanicus. A true Imperial politician, Agrippina did not reject murder as a way to win her battles. Many ancient sources credited her with poisoning Claudius in 54 with a plate of poisened mushrooms, hence enabling Nero to quickly take the throne as emperor.

For some time, Agrippina influenced Nero as he was relatively ill-equipped to rule on his own. But Nero eventually felt that she was taking on too much power relative to her position as a woman of Rome. He deprived her of her honours and exiled her from the palace, but that was not enough. Three times Nero tried to poison Agrippina, but she had been raised in the Imperial family and was accustomed to taking antidotes. Nero had a machine built and attached to the roof of her bedroom. The machine was designed to make the ceiling collapse — the plot failed with the machine. According to the historians Tacitus and Suetonius, Nero then plotted her death by sending for her in a boat constructed to collapse, intending to drown Agrippina. However, only some of the crew were in on the plot; their efforts were hampered by the rest of the crew trying to save the ship. As the ship sank, one of her handmaidens thought to save herself by crying that she was Agrippina, thinking they would take special care of her. Instead the maid was instantly beaten to death with oars and chains. The real Agrippina realised what was happening and in the confusion managed to swim away where a passing fisherman picked her up. Terrified that his cover had been blown, Nero instantly sent men to charge her with treason and summarily execute her. Legend states that when the Emperor's soldiers came to kill her, Agrippina pulled back her clothes and ordered them to stab her in the belly that had housed such a monstrous son.

006c. Statilia Messalina 20 viewsIONIA, Ephesus. Nero, with Statilia Messalina. AD 54-68. Æ . Struck AD 66. Laureate head of Nero right / Draped bust of Messalina right. RPC 2631; SNG von Aulock 7864. Very rare.
012p Claudius I. (41-54 A.D.), Egypt, Alexandria, RPC I 5131, G-075, D-123, AR-Tetradrachm, MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing left, #184 views012p Claudius I. (41-54 A.D.), Egypt, Alexandria, RPC I 5131, G-075, D-123, AR-Tetradrachm, MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing left, #1
avers: TI KΛAΥΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓERMANI AΥTOK, laureate head of Claudius right, LΓ before
reverse: MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing, head left, leaning on draped column, holding figures of two children in the extended right hand and cradling two-grain ears in the left arm.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 25mm, weight: 11,50g, axis: 0h,
mint: City: Alexandria, Region: Egypt, Province: Egypt,
date: Year (LΓ) 3 = 42-43 A.D.,
ref: Geissen 075, Dattari 123, Kapmann-Ganschow 12.22 p-5½, RPC I 5131, Milne 77,
1ap_2 Messalina37 viewsThird wife of Claudius, married in 38 (?)

AE 20, Knossos mint

Bare head of Claudius left, CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS

Draped bust of Messalina right, VALERIA MESSALINA [CAPITONE CYTHERONTE IIVIR] or [CYTHERO CAPITONE] (end of legend off flan)

According to Suetonius: [Claudius] was betrothed twice at an early age: to Aemilia Lepida, great-granddaughter of Augustus, and to Livia Medullina, who also had the surname of Camilla and was descended from the ancient family of Camillus the dictator. He put away the former before their marriage, because her parents had offended Augustus; the latter was taken ill and died on the very day which had been set for the wedding. He then married Plautia Urgulanilla, whose father had been honoured with a triumph, and later Aelia Paetina, daughter of an ex-consul. He divorced both these, Paetina for trivial offences, but Urgulanilla because of scandalous lewdness and the suspicion of murder. Then he married Valeria Messalina, daughter of his cousin Messala Barbatus. But when he learned that besides other shameful and wicked deeds she had actually married Gaius Silius, and that a formal contract had been signed in the presence of witnesses, he put her to death and declared before the assembled praetorian guard that inasmuch as his marriages did not turn out well, he would remain a widower, and if he did not keep his word, he would not refuse death at their hands. . . . [He later married Agrippina Jr.]

He had children by three of his wives: by Urgulanilla, Drusus and Claudia; by Paetina, Antonia; by Messalina, Octavia and a son, at first called Germanicus and later Britannicus. . . .

But it is beyond all belief, that at the marriage which Messalina had contracted with her paramour Silius he signed the contract for the dowry with his own hand, being induced to do so on the ground that the marriage was a feigned one, designed to avert and turn upon another a danger which was inferred from certain portents to threaten the emperor himself. . . .

He was so terror-stricken by unfounded reports of conspiracies that he had tried to abdicate. When, as I have mentioned before, a man with a dagger was caught near him as he was sacrificing, he summoned the senate in haste by criers and loudly and tearfully bewailed his lot, saying that there was no safety for him anywhere; and for a long time he would not appear in public. His ardent love for Messalina too was cooled, not so much by her unseemly and insulting conduct, as through fear of danger, since he believed that her paramour Silius aspired to the throne. . . .

Appius Silanus met his downfall. When Messalina and Narcissus had put their heads together to destroy him, they agreed on their parts and the latter rushed into his patron's bed-chamber before daybreak in pretended consternation, declaring that he had dreamed that Appius had made an attack on the emperor. Then Messalina, with assumed surprise, declared that she had had the same dream for several successive nights. A little later, as had been arranged, Appius, who had received orders the day before to come at that time, was reported to be forcing his way in, and as if were proof positive of the truth of the dream, his immediate accusation and death were ordered. . . .

1 commentsBlindado
705a, Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.63 viewsClaudius. 42-43 AD. AE As.
Claudius. 42-43 AD. AE As (29 mm, 10.87 g). Obverse: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, bare head right; Reverse: CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI / S - C, Constantiae in military dress standing left, holding spear; RIC I, 111; aVF. Ex Imperial Coins.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

CLAUDIUS (41-54 A.D.)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

Ti. Claudius Nero Germanicus (b. 10 BC, d. 54 A.D.; emperor, 41-54 A.D.) was the third emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His reign represents a turning point in the history of the Principate for a number of reasons, not the least for the manner of his accession and the implications it carried for the nature of the office. During his reign he promoted administrators who did not belong to the senatorial or equestrian classes, and was later vilified by authors who did. He followed Caesar in carrying Roman arms across the English Channel into Britain but, unlike his predecessor, he initiated the full-scale annexation of Britain as a province, which remains today the most closely studied corner of the Roman Empire. His relationships with his wives and children provide detailed insights into the perennial difficulties of the succession problem faced by all Roman Emperors. His final settlement in this regard was not lucky: he adopted his fourth wife's son, L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who was to reign catastrophically as Nero and bring the dynasty to an end. Claudius's reign, therefore, was a mixture of successes and failures that leads into the last phase of the Julio-Claudian line.

Robert Graves' fictional characterization of Claudius as an essentially benign man with a keen intelligence has tended to dominate the wider public's view of this emperor. Close study of the sources, however, reveals a somewhat different kind of man. In addition to his scholarly and cautious nature, he had a cruel streak, as suggested by his addiction to gladiatorial games and his fondness for watching his defeated opponents executed. He conducted closed-door (in camera ) trials of leading citizens that frequently resulted in their ruin or deaths -- an unprecedented and tyrannical pattern of behavior. He had his wife Messalina executed, and he personally presided over a kangaroo court in the Praetorian Camp in which many of her hangers-on lost their lives. He abandoned his own son Britannicus to his fate and favored the advancement of Nero as his successor. While he cannot be blamed for the disastrous way Nero's rule turned out, he must take some responsibility for putting that most unsuitable youth on the throne. At the same time, his reign was marked by some notable successes: the invasion of Britain, stability and good government in the provinces, and successful management of client kingdoms. Claudius, then, is a more enigmatic figure than the other Julio-Claudian emperors: at once careful, intelligent, aware and respectful of tradition, but given to bouts of rage and cruelty, willing to sacrifice precedent to expediency, and utterly ruthless in his treatment of those who crossed him. Augustus's suspicion that there was more to the timid Claudius than met the eye was more than fully borne out by the events of his unexpected reign.

The possibility has to be entertained that Claudius was a far more active participant in his own elevation than traditional accounts let on. There is just reason to suspect that he may even have been involved in planning the murder of Gaius (Caligula). Merely minutes before the assassination of Gaius, Claudius had departed for lunch; this appears altogether too fortuitous. This possibility, however, must remain pure speculation, since the ancient evidence offers nothing explicit in the way of support. On the other hand, we can hardly expect them to, given the later pattern of events. The whole issue of Claudius's possible involvement in the death of Gaius and his own subsequent acclamation by the Praetorian Guard must, therefore, remain moot . . . yet intriguing

Copyright 1998, Garrett G. Fagan.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Nero AE Sestertius.jpg
706a, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.74 views6, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D. AE setertius, Date: 66 AD; RIC I 516, 36.71 mm; 25.5 grams; aVF. Obverse: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT PP, Laureate bust right; Reverse: S C, ROMA, Roma seated left, exceptional portrait and full obverse legends. Ex Ancient Imports.

NERO (54-68 A.D.)

It is difficult for the modern student of history to realize just how popular Nero actually was, at least at the beginning of his reign. Rome looked upon her new Emperor with hope. He was the student of Seneca, and he had a sensitive nature. He loved art, music, literature, and theatre. He was also devoted to horses and horse racing—a devotion shared by many of his subjects. The plebs loved their new Emperor. As Professor of Classics Judith P. Hallett (University of Maryland, College Park) says, “It is not clear to me that Nero ever changed or that Nero ever grew-up, and that was both his strength and his weakness. Nero was an extraordinarily popular Emperor: he was like Elvis” (The Roman Empire in the First Century, III. Dir. Margaret Koval and Lyn Goldfarb. 2001. DVD. PBS/Warner Bros. 2003).

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
The five Julio-Claudian emperors are very different one from the other. Augustus dominates in prestige and achievement from the enormous impact he had upon the Roman state and his long service to Rome, during which he attained unrivaled auctoritas. Tiberius was clearly the only possible successor when Augustus died in AD 14, but, upon his death twenty-three years later, the next three were a peculiar mix of viciousness, arrogance, and inexperience. Gaius, better known as Caligula, is generally styled a monster, whose brief tenure did Rome no service. His successor Claudius, his uncle, was a capable man who served Rome well, but was condemned for being subject to his wives and freedmen. The last of the dynasty, Nero, reigned more than three times as long as Gaius, and the damage for which he was responsible to the state was correspondingly greater. An emperor who is well described by statements such as these, "But above all he was carried away by a craze for popularity and he was jealous of all who in any way stirred the feeling of the mob." and "What an artist the world is losing!" and who is above all remembered for crimes against his mother and the Christians was indeed a sad falling-off from the levels of Augustus and Tiberius. Few will argue that Nero does not rank as one of the worst emperors of all.

The prime sources for Nero's life and reign are Tacitus' Annales 12-16, Suetonius' Life of Nero, and Dio Cassius' Roman History 61-63, written in the early third century. Additional valuable material comes from inscriptions, coinage, papyri, and archaeology.

Early Life
He was born on December 15, 37, at Antium, the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbusand Agrippina. Domitius was a member of an ancient noble family, consul in 32; Agrippina was the daughter of the popular Germanicus, who had died in 19, and Agrippina, daughter of Agrippa, Augustus' closest associate, and Julia, the emperor's daughter, and thus in direct descent from the first princeps. When the child was born, his uncle Gaius had only recently become emperor. The relationship between mother and uncle was difficult, and Agrippina suffered occasional humiliation. But the family survived the short reign of the "crazy" emperor, and when he was assassinated, it chanced that Agrippina's uncle, Claudius, was the chosen of the praetorian guard, although there may have been a conspiracy to accomplish this.

Ahenobarbus had died in 40, so the son was now the responsibility of Agrippina alone. She lived as a private citizen for much of the decade, until the death of Messalina, the emperor's wife, in 48 made competition among several likely candidates to become the new empress inevitable. Although Roman law forbade marriage between uncle and niece, an eloquent speech in the senate by Lucius Vitellius, Claudius' closest advisor in the senatorial order, persuaded his audience that the public good required their union. The marriage took place in 49, and soon thereafter the philosopher Seneca [[PIR2 A617]] was recalled from exile to become the young Domitius' tutor, a relationship which endured for some dozen years.

His advance was thereafter rapid. He was adopted by Claudius the following year and took the name Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar or Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, was preferred to Claudius' natural son, Britannicus, who was about three years younger, was betrothed to the emperor's daughter Octavia, and was, in the eyes of the people, the clear successor to the emperor. In 54, Claudius died, having eaten some poisoned mushrooms, responsibility for which was believed to be Agrippina's, and the young Nero, not yet seventeen years old, was hailed on October 13 as emperor by the praetorian guard.

The First Years of Rule
The first five years of Nero's rule are customarily called the quinquennium, a period of good government under the influence, not always coinciding, of three people, his mother, Seneca, and Sextus Afranius Burrus, the praetorian prefect. The latter two were allies in their "education" of the emperor. Seneca continued his philosophical and rhetorical training, Burrus was more involved in advising on the actualities of government. They often combined their influence against Agrippina, who, having made her son emperor, never let him forget the debt he owed his mother, until finally, and fatally, he moved against her.

Nero's betrothal to Octavia was a significant step in his ultimate accession to the throne, as it were, but she was too quiet, too shy, too modest for his taste. He was early attracted to Poppaea Sabina, the wife of Otho, and she continually goaded him to break from Octavia and to show himself an adult by opposing his mother. In his private life, Nero honed the musical and artistic tastes which were his chief interest, but, at this stage, they were kept private, at the instigation of Seneca and Burrus.

As the year 59 began, Nero had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday and now felt the need to employ the powers which he possessed as emperor as he wished, without the limits imposed by others. Poppaea's urgings had their effect, first of all, at the very onset of the year, with Nero's murder of his mother in the Bay of Naples.

Agrippina had tried desperately to retain her influence with her son, going so far as to have intercourse with him. But the break between them proved irrevocable, and Nero undertook various devices to eliminate his mother without the appearance of guilt on his part. The choice was a splendid vessel which would collapse while she was on board. As this happened, she swam ashore and, when her attendant, having cried out that she was Agrippina, was clubbed to death, Agrippina knew what was going on. She sent Nero a message that she was well; his response was to send a detachment of sailors to finish the job. When she was struck across the head, she bared her womb and said, "Strike here, Anicetus, strike here, for this bore Nero," and she was brutally murdered.

Nero was petrified with fear when he learned that the deed had been done, yet his popularity with the plebs of Rome was not impaired. This matricide, however, proved a turning point in his life and principate. It appeared that all shackles were now removed. The influence of Seneca and Burrus began to wane, and when Burrus died in 62, Seneca realized that his powers of persuasion were at an end and soon went into retirement. Britannicus had died as early as 55; now Octavia was to follow, and Nero became free to marry Poppaea. It may be that it had been Burrus rather than Agrippina who had continually urged that Nero's position depended in large part upon his marriage to Octavia. Burrus' successor as commander of the praetorian guard, although now with a colleague, was Ofonius Tigellinus, quite the opposite of Burrus in character and outlook. Tigellinus became Nero's "evil twin," urging and assisting in the performance of crimes and the satisfaction of lusts.

Administrative and Foreign Policy
With Seneca and Burrus in charge of administration at home, the first half-dozen years of Nero's principate ran smoothly. He himself devoted his attention to his artistic, literary, and physical bents, with music, poetry, and chariot racing to the fore. But his advisors were able to keep these performances and displays private, with small, select audiences on hand. Yet there was a gradual trend toward public performance, with the establishment of games. Further, he spent many nights roaming the city in disguise, with numerous companions, who terrorized the streets and attacked individuals. Those who dared to defend themselves often faced death afterward, because they had shown disrespect for the emperor. The die was being cast for the last phases of Nero's reign.

The Great Fire at Rome and The Punishment
of the Christians
The year 64 was the most significant of Nero's principate up to this point. His mother and wife were dead, as was Burrus, and Seneca, unable to maintain his influence over Nero without his colleague's support, had withdrawn into private life. The abysmal Tigellinus was now the foremost advisor of the still young emperor, a man whose origin was from the lowest levels of society and who can accurately be described as criminal in outlook and action. Yet Nero must have considered that he was happier than he had ever been in his life. Those who had constrained his enjoyment of his (seemingly) limitless power were gone, he was married to Poppaea, a woman with all advantages save for a bad character the empire was essentially at peace, and the people of Rome enjoyed a full measure of panem et circenses. But then occurred one of the greatest disasters that the city of Rome, in its long history, had ever endured.

The fire began in the southeastern angle of the Circus Maximus, spreading through the shops which clustered there, and raged for the better part of a week. There was brief success in controlling the blaze, but then it burst forth once more, so that many people claimed that the fires were deliberately set. After about a fortnight, the fire burned itself out, having consumed ten of the fourteen Augustan regions into which the city had been divided.

Nero was in Antium through much of the disaster, but his efforts at relief were substantial. Yet many believed that he had been responsible, so that he could perform his own work comparing the current fate of Rome to the downfall of Troy. All his efforts to assist the stricken city could not remove the suspicion that "the emperor had fiddled while Rome burned." He lost favor even among the plebs who had been enthusiastic supporters, particularly when his plans for the rebuilding of the city revealed that a very large part of the center was to become his new home.

As his popularity waned, Nero and Tigellinus realized that individuals were needed who could be charged with the disaster. It so happened that there was such a group ready at hand, Christians, who had made themselves unpopular because of their refusal to worship the emperor, their way of life, and their secret meetings. Further, at this time two of their most significant "teachers" were in Rome, Peter and Paul. They were ideal scapegoats, individuals whom most Romans loathed, and who had continually sung of the forthcoming end of the world.

Their destruction was planned with the utmost precision and cruelty, for the entertainment of the populace. The venue was Nero's circus near the Mons Vaticanus. Christians were exposed to wild animals and were set ablaze, smeared with pitch, to illuminate the night. The executions were so grisly that even the populace displayed sympathy for the victims. Separately, Peter was crucified upside down on the Vatican hill and Paul was beheaded along the Via Ostiensis. But Nero's attempt, and hope, to shift all suspicion of arson to others failed. His popularity even among the lower classes was irrevocably impaired.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of Nero’s reign please see]

The End - Nero's Death and its Aftermath
Nero's and Tigellinus' response to the conspiracy was immediate and long-lasting. The senatorial order was decimated, as one leading member after another was put to death or compelled to commit suicide. The year 66 saw the suicides of perhaps the most distinguished victims of the "reign of terror," Caius Petronius and Thrasea Paetus. Petronius, long a favorite of Nero because of his aesthetic taste, had been an able public servant before he turned to a life of ease and indolence. He was recognized as the arbiter elegantiae of Nero's circle, and may be the author of the Satyricon. At his death, he left for Nero a document which itemized many of the latter's crimes. Thrasea, a staunch Stoic who had been for some years an outspoken opponent of Nero's policies, committed suicide in the Socratic manner. This scene is the last episode in the surviving books of Tacitus' Annals.

In the year 68, revolt began in the provinces. . . the end of Nero's reign became inevitable. Galba claimed the throne and began his march from Spain. Nero panicked and was rapidly abandoned by his supporters. He finally committed suicide with assistance, on June 9, 68, and his body was tended and buried by three women who had been close to him in his younger days, chief of whom was Acte. His death scene is marked above all by the statement, "Qualis artifex pereo," (What an artist dies in me.) Even at the end he was more concerned with his private life than with the affairs of state.

The aftermath of Nero's death was cataclysmic. Galba was the first of four emperors who revealed the new secret of empire, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than in Rome. Civil war ensued, which was only ended by the victory of the fourth claimant, Vespasian, who established the brief dynasty of the Flavians. The dynasty of the Julio-Claudians was at an end.

Nero's popularity among the lower classes remained even after his death.

. . . .

It is not excessive to say that he was one of the worst of Rome's emperors in the first two centuries and more of the empire. Whatever talents he had, whatever good he may have done, all is overwhelmed by three events, the murder of his mother, the fire at Rome, and his savage treatment of the Christians.

Precisely these qualities are the reasons that he has remained so well known and has been the subject of many writers and opera composers in modern times. These works of fiction particularly merit mention: Henryk Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis, one of the finest works of the 1907 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and John Hersey's The Conspiracy. Nero unquestionably will always be with us.

Copyright (C) 2006, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

1 commentsCleisthenes
Claudia Octavia.jpg
Claudia Octavia, daughter of Claudius and Valeria Messalina, first wife of Nero. Augusta, 54-62 CE.252 viewsAlexandria, Egypt, Billon tetradrachm (25mm, 11.1gm), struck AD 56-7.
Obv: NER KLAU KAIS SEB GER AUTO, laur. hd. of Nero, r.
Rev: OKTAOUIA SEBASTOU, dr. bust of Octavia, r., L Gamma (=regnal year 3) before.
RPC 5202; BMCG 119; SGI 657; Cologne 122; Milne 133.
1 commentsEmpressCollector
CLAUDIUS26 viewsBI tetradrachm. Alexandria. 42-43 AD. 10.4 grs. Laureate head right, IΓ before. TI KΛAΥΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEΡMANI AVTOK / Messalina standing half-left, leaning on column, holding two grain-ears with left arm and figures of two children in extended right hand. MEΣΣAΛINA KAIS ΣEBAΣ
Milne 84, Koln 75

Claudius & Antonia Tetradrachm175 viewsTI KΛAY∆I KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEPMANI AYTOKP
laureate head right, date LB (year 2) before

bust of Antonia right, hair in queue

29 Sep 41 - 28 Sep 42 A.D.

Alexandria mint

11.054g, 23.2mm, die axis 0o,

RPC 5117; Geissen 62; Milne 61; BMC Alexandria p. 9, 65; Dattari 114; SNG Milan 620, SNG Cop 57; Sommer 12.3, Emmett 73



Antonia was the youngest daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia. She was a niece of the Emperor Augustus, sister-in-law of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal grandmother of the Emperor Caligula and Empress Agrippina the Younger, mother of the Emperor Claudius, and both maternal great-grandmother and paternal great-aunt of the Emperor Nero. She was additionally the maternal great-aunt of the Empress Valeria Messalina and Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix, and paternal grandmother of Claudia Antonia, Claudia Octavia, and Britannicus.
3 commentsJay GT4
Claudius & Messalina Billon Tetradrachm of Alexandria. Year 3 = AD 42/397 viewsClaudius & Messalina Billon Tetradrachm of Alexandria. Year 3 = AD 42/3
O: TI KΛAΩΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEPMANI AYTOKP, laureate head of Claudius right, LΓ in lower right field
R: MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing, head left, leaning on draped column, holding figures of two children in extended right hand and cradling two grain ears in left arm.
26mm 12.30g RPC 5113.
2 commentscasata137ec
Claudius (41 - 54 A.D.)33 viewsEgypt, Alexandria
Billon Tetradrachm
O: TI KLAUDI KAIS SEBA GERMANI AUTOKR,  Laureate head right; L Δ (date) below chin
R:  MESSALI-NA KAIS SEBAS Messalina standing facing, head left, leaning on short column, holding two children in outstretched right hand, grain ears with left. RY 4 ( 43/44 A.D.)
Köln 81; Dattari (Savio) 125; K&G 12.35; RPC I 5145; Emmett 74.4.
2 commentsMat
Claudius Alexandrian Tetradrachm110 viewsTI KΛAΥΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEΡMANI AΥTOKΡ
laureate head of Claudius right, in field below chin, date L Γ (Regnal year 3)

Messalina as Ceres standing facing, head left, two small figures in right, two stalks of grain in left. In left field a lituus.

Egypt, Alexandria 42/3 AD


RPC 5132; Köln 76; Dattari 124; Kampmann & Ganschow 12.23

Ex-Londinium Coins
4 commentsJay GT4
Claudius and Messalina Tetradrachm37 viewsClaudius and Messalina, Alexandria, YEAR 1 (40 - 41 AD), 25.60mm, 10.92g, Milne 60, RPC 5113, Köln 61, Dattari 119, Emmett 74/1
OBV: TI KΛAΩΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEPMANI AYTOKP, laureate head of Claudius right,
REV: MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing, head left, leaning on draped column,
holding figures of two children in extended right hand and cradling two grain ears in left arm.
1 commentsRomanorvm
Claudius, 41 - 54 AD.  Billon Tetradrachm with high silver content.  Alexandria.  Year 6 = 45/6. 57 viewsObv. Laur. bust rt. 
Rev. Messalina stg. left resting on a column, extending her rt. hand in which she holds two small figures, and ears of corn in her left hand. 
Sear 1869 var
3 commentsCanaan
Claudius, tetradrachm, with Messalina, Britannicus & Octavia18 viewsClaudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Messalina, Britannicus & Octavia Reverse. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 88, BMC 75, Milne 110, RPC I I 5164, toned VF, Alexandria mint, 10.976g, 27.5mm, 0o, 45 - 46 A.D.; obverse “ΤΙ ΚΛΑΥΔΙ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙ ΑΥΤΟΚΡ”, laureate head right, date LS (year 6) before; reverse “ΜΕΣΣΑΛΙΝΑ ΚΑΙΣ” C“ΕΒΑ”C, Messalina as Ceres standing facing, head left, two small figures in right, two stalks of grain in left. RPC I notes, "Messalina, who is shown as Demeter, holds two small figures. These were traditionally identified as the children of Claudius and Messalina, Britannicus and Octavia, but Dattari (RIN 1900, pp. 383-4) rejected this view, since Britannicus was born in 42 and the coin type is first used in 41; but Vogt (pp. 24-5) returned to the traditional description, arguing that the date of Britannicus' birth was not certain, and that these coins, in fact, show that he was born before August 41." ex FORVMPodiceps
Egypt, Alexandria, 012p Claudius I. (41-54 A.D.), RPC I 5131, G-075, D-123, AR-Tetradrachm, MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing left, #1270 viewsEgypt, Alexandria, 012p Claudius I. (41-54 A.D.), RPC I 5131, G-075, D-123, AR-Tetradrachm, MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing left, #1
avers: TI KΛAΥΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓERMANI AΥTOK, laureate head of Claudius right, LΓ before
reverse: MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing, head left, leaning on draped column, holding figures of two children in the extended right hand and cradling two-grain ears in the left arm.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 25mm, weight: 11,50g, axis: 0h,
mint: City: Alexandria, Region: Egypt, Province: Egypt,
date: Year (LΓ) 3 = 42-43 A.D.,
ref: Geissen 075, Dattari 123, Kapmann-Ganschow 12.22 p-5½, RPC I 5131, Milne 77,
Egypt, Alexandria, AD 043/044, Claudius, Messalina28 viewsClaudius
Alexandria, year 4, AD 43-44
Billon Tetradrachm
Obv.: TI KΛAΥΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEΡMANI AΥ[TOKΡ], laureate head right, date LΔ before
Rev.: MEΣΣAΛINA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina as Ceres standing facing, head left, two small figures in right, two stalks of grain in left
Billlon, 22.9x24.1mm
Ref.: Geißen 81, Dattari 125
1 commentsshanxi
Galatia, Tavium, Nero, RPC 356224 viewsNero, AD 54-68
AE 25, 13.14g
struck 62-65
Head, laureate, r.
Bust of Poppaea, draped, r.; hair in thick braid, curls over forehead
RPC 3562; SGICV 662; SNG von Aulock 6117; SNG Paris 2400
From Forum Ancient Coins, thanks!

AD 62 Nero divorced Messalina to marry Poppaea. He has two children from her who died early.
AD 65 Nero killed her by kicking in her pregnant belly. Poppaea was totally amoralic - she was
responsible of some of Nero's murders - but famous for her beauty too. The depiction on the rev. gives
an impression of this .
Ionia, Smyrna, Britannicus, RPC 247670 viewsBritannicus, son of Claudius, killed AD 55 by Nero
AE 16, 3.89g
struck AD 50-54 under the magistrates Philistos (stephanophoros) and Eikadios (strategos)
obv. Youthful bust of Britannicus, draped, bare-headed, r.
Below the neck ZMY
Nike, flying r., holding tropaion over l. shoulder
RPC 2476 (Nero as Caesar); BMC 283 (Britannicus); Klose 233, 37 (Britannicus)
very rare, VF (one of the nicest specimens)

It is discussed wether the obv. shows Britannicus or Nero. Britannicus was the son of Claudius with Messalina. Originally his name was Germanicus. After the victory of his father over Britannia he was renamed Britannicus. He was poisoned AD 55 in order of Nero.
2 commentsJochen
Lydia, Tralleis. Æ18. Claudius, Messalina & Britannicus. 36 views Æ18 Trichalkon of Tralleis in Lydia, A.D. 43-48.
Obv: TI KΛAY KAI CEBAC. Confronted busts of Messalina and Claudius.
Rev: BRETANNIKOΣ KAIΣAREΩN. Britannicus, togate, standing almost to front, head left, holding grain ears.
18mm. 5.40gm.
RPC 2654.
Messalina23 viewsClaudius & Valeria Messalina, Tetradrachm
Struck at Alexandria in Egypt in regnal year 1 (A.D. 41/2).
Obv: TI KΛAΩΔI KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEPMANI AYTOKP, laureate head of Claudius right,
Rev: MEΣΣAΛI-NA KAIΣ ΣEBAΣ, Messalina standing facing, head left, leaning on draped column,
holding figures of two children (Octavia and Britannicus) in extended right hand and cradling two grain ears in left arm.
25 mm 13.21gm.
RPC I 5113.
1 commentsMarsman
Messalina (Valeria), third wife of Claudius. Augusta, 41-48 CE.543 viewsAlexandria, Egypt.
Billon Tetradrachm (24 mm, 10.32 g).
Year 6=AD 45/46.
Obv: TI KLAUDI KAIS SEBA GERMANI AUTOKR, Laureate head of Claudius, right, Ls (=year 6) before.
Rev: MESSALINA KAIS SEBAS, Messalina standing, left, veiled and wearing long chiton and peplos, resting l. elbow on column, holding in the r. hand two figures (their children, Octavia and Britannicus), on her l. arm are two stalks of corn; in lower l. field, a lituus. Sear 1869; SGI 495; RPC 5164; BMCG 75; Cologne 88; Milne 106.
1 commentsEmpressCollector
Nero and Statilia Messalina Galba countermark97 viewsNero & Statilia Messalina, Æ27 as, Galba ctmk., 10.54g Nicaea, Bythinia,
O: NERWN K[LAU]DIOS KAISAR SEBASTOS GE, laureate head left, rectangular countermark GALB[A].
R: ME[SSALEIN]A [GYNE SEBASTOY] Statilia Messalina as Securitas seated right.
Unique mule - Obverse die RPC 2057, Reverse die RPC 2061; Listed in Wildwinds as RPC 2061cf, countermark Howgego 591

Statilia Messalina was the third and last wife of Nero, empress from 66-68. Her great beauty and intelligence kept her alive during some of the most turbulent years of the early empire.

After several failed attempts to strangle his first wife, Claudia Octavia, to death, Nero divorced her for barrenness and she was forced into suicide. Nero kicked his second wife, Poppaea Sabina who was pregnant at the time, to death. Going into a deep depression (Women, can't live with them, can't live without them!) he found comfort in his new bride, Statilia Messalina. All it took was the forced suicide of her husband and Nero was able to have her all to himself.

She must have been a most clever woman as she survived the revolution and civil war that followed, even being betrothed to Otho before he too met an untimely end. Suetonius reports that of the two letters Otho wrote the night before he committed suicide, one of them was to Statilia.
1 commentsNemonater
Polemo II-Mark Antony's great grandson480 views Silver drachm

diademed head of Polemo right

ETOYC - K (year 20)
laureate head of Nero right;

57 - 58 A.D.

18.1mm, die axis 180o

RPC I 3832, SNG Cop 242, BMC Pontus 7 - 8, SNG von Aulock 6691


Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon II of Pontos and Polemon of Cilicia is the only known direct descendant of Mark Antony who bares his name. Through his maternal grandmother he was a direct descendant of Mark Antony and his second wife Antonia Hybrida Minor. Antony and Antonia Hybrida were first paternal cousins. He was Antony’s second born great grandson. Through Antony, he was a distant cousin to Roman Client King Ptolemy of Mauretania and Drusilla of Mauretania. He was also a distant cousin to Roman Emperors Caligula, Claudius and Nero and Roman Empresses Valeria Messalina, Agrippina the Younger and Claudia Octavia.

Polemon II’s father Polemon Pythodoros King of Pontos died in 8 BC. His mother then married King Archelaus of Cappadocia, and the family moved to the court of his stepfather. In 17 AD Archelaus died and Polemon II and his mother moved back to Pontus. From 17 until 38, Polemon II assisted his mother in the administration of Pontos. When his mother died in 38, Polemon II succeeded her as the sole ruler of Pontus, Colchis and Cilicia.

Around 50 AD, Polemon II met the Judean princess Julia Berenice in Tiberias during a visit to King Agrippa I. Berenice was widowed in 48 AD when her second husband and paternal uncle Herod of Chalcis, died. She had two sons by him, Berenicianus and Hyrcanus. Berenice set the condition that Polemon II had to convert to Judaism before marriage, which included undergoing the rite of circumcision. Polemon II complied, and the marriage went ahead but it did not last long. Berenice left Pontus with her sons and returned to the court of her brother. Polemon II abandoned Judaism and, according to the legend of Bartholomew the Apostle, accepted Christianity, only to become a pagan again.

In 62, Nero compelled Polemon II to abdicate the Pontian throne. Pontos and Colchis became a Roman province. From then until his death, Polemon II only ruled Cilicia. He never remarried and had no children that are known.

Polemon's sister Antonia Tryphaena's Royal lineage goes all the way down to Nana Queen of Iberia, who died in 363 AD. Truly Antony may have lost the battle of Actium but won the war of genetics!
8 commentsJay GT4
Roman Empire , Emperor CLAUDIUS I , Billon Tetradrachm, Egypt , Alexandria31 viewsObverse : Claudius I , LE = 5th yr.
Reverse : Messalina standing.
24.84 mm, 12.3 gr. g VF , rich patina , and a lot better in hand.
Ref. Dattari 127, BMC. 70

The Sam Mansourati Collection.

ROMAN EMPIRE PROVINCIAL, EGYPT, Alexandria, Claudius and Messalina16 viewsNumis-Student
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