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Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
Britannicus Caesar. Tiberius Claudius Germanicus, afterwards called Britannicus, was born AD 42. By the influence of Agrippina Junior, the second wife of Claudius, he was deprived of his heriditary right to succeed that emperor, and Nero was adopted in his stead, AD 50. About five years afterwards, when he had scarcely reached his 14th year, this ill-fated prince was poisoned by Nero, partly out of envy of his fine voice, but more from fear that the youth should snatch the empire from him.

There are neither gold nor silver coins of Brittannicus. Brass, even of Greek colonies, are extremely rare. Eckhel ascribes to him as genuine, a large brass in the cabinet at Vienna, having on the obverse the bare head of Britannicus, with the legend of TI CLAUDIVS CAESAR AVG F BRITANNICVS. On the reverse S C, Mars walking. (D. N. V. T vii p 155). Mionnet pronounces it unique.

Captain Smyth says: "The only large brass of Britannicus which I know of is that with reverse of Mars, in the imperial cabinet of Vienna, which was purchased at Rome, in 1773, and it has been pronounced to be genuine." (p 36)

The learned and accurate author of Lecons de Numismatique Romaine, after alluding to the extreme rarity even of colonial coins of Britannicus, expresses himself as follows (p 95): "There has been cited but one medal of Roman die, or rather struck at Rome, bearing the name and effigy of this prince. It is of large brass, and now in the collection of the Abbe Canova, brother of the celebrated sculptor. -- But (adds this writer), although referred to as a true antique by several authors, we, who have seen and examined it; we who rest, in the first place, on the opinion of Eckhel, and in the second place, that of the well-informed P. Caronni; believe it to be very suspicious. It is of a larger module, and it is thicker than large brass of the ordinary size. Its reverse presents the god Mars, an unusual type for a young prince invested with only the title of Caesar."

A second brass specimen was admitted into a collection bt Morel, but Eckhel thinks is must be false.

Mionnet and Ackerman both quote the following small brass, colonial, with Latin legends:
Obverse: BRITANNICVS, bare infant head of Britannicus.
Reverse: Legend effaced (within a garland).
Obverse: BRITANNICUS AVGV, bare head.
Reverse: TI CLAVD TR POT P P, from Sestini.

The coins on which Britannicus is called Augustus are colonial; and to the ignorance of the moneyer, rather than to any particular motive, is to be attributed the above use of a title which was never conferred upon that prince. Mionnet.

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