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Diva Poppaea and Diva Claudia
Caesarea Panias Bronze with a Mis-Struck Inscription?

by Joe Geranio

There is one Julio Claudian provincial issue I have always wanted in good condition so I can read the inscription at least half-way decently. Its a small 21 mm or so Herodian issue struck by Agrippa II under Nero at Caesarea Panias for Nero's little Claudia, his daughter. Claudia was born in January 63 and died 4 months later in April 63 A.D. Claudia was declared a goddess. Poppaea was given the title Augusta. Nero gave memory and honor to Claudia and Poppaea with this issue from Judaea. I found this coin that looked odd at a glance and noticed the Gemini description mentioned "Apparent engraver's error in obverse legend, Greek form POPPAIA rather than Latin POPPAEA, though it is not impossible that the apparent I is just a mis-struck E." A photograph of the coin is below. See the error at one o'clock.


Diva Poppaea and Diva Claudia. AE 21, 6.57g. Trachonitis, Caesarea Panias, 66-7 CE. Obv: DIVA POPPAIA (sic) AVG Seated statue of Diva Poppaea in two-columned temple. Rx: DIVA [CLAVD] NER F Standing statue of Diva Claudia in round, six-columned, temple. Apparent engraver's error in obverse legend, Greek form POPPAIA rather than Latin POPPAEA, though it is not impossible that the apparent I is just a mis-struck E. RPC 4846. Cohen p. 315, 1 (200 Fr.). Sear Millennium 2058. Hendin 578. Treasury 354. -- GEMINI/ AUCTION VI, 2010

Although the letter spacing is somewhat irregular there is an inordinately large gap between the 'I' and following A. Also, looking at the photograph I can make out three faint horizontal bars after the 'I'. The crossbar on the following A is also almost missing.  This is not an engraving error.  It is a filled die.  A photograph from CNG of another example is below, struck with the same obverse die, but with the legend fully struck.  


Caesarea Paneas, 65 AD or later, ∆ 6.05 g. DIVA POPPAEA AVG, distyle temple, female figure seated l. within. Rev. DIVA CLAVD NER F round hexastyle temple, female figure stands l. within, holds cornucopia. This is the only coin issued in the name of Claudia, Neroís daughter who died in infancy in 63 CE. RPC I 4846; TJC 354; Hendin 1270. -- CNG

What I really like about collecting are the small things on the Julio Claudian period issues and when you see such a rare issue with an interesting error, it makes it all the much more noteworthy.

This is the only known issue dedicated to little Claudia.

Edgar L. Owen also noticed something regarding this issue?  I agree with him.

All,

One thing that has always raised a question in my mind about this coin is that the statue supposedly of Claudia is clearly that of an adult woman rather than a 3 month old infant. In better examples it seems to me that the figure is actually that of a mother holding an infant in her arms. Thus I think it likely the standing figure is that of Poppaea holding the infant Claudia, rather than just the infant Claudia herself as it is usually described in the literature. After all it seems highly unlikely that a 3 month old infant would be portrayed as an adult woman. 

http://edgarlowen.com/claudia-11338.jpg
http://edgarlowen.com/claudia-11028.jpg

Shouldn't the accepted description of this figure in the literature be changed?

What do others think?

Edgar
http://EdgarLOwen.com

Although this issue seems to be of a statue ONLY without infant in arms?  Holding cornucopia.

Caesarea Paneas, 65 AD or later, ∆ 6.05 g. DIVA POPPAEA AVG, distyle temple, female figure seated left within. Rev. DIVA CLAVD NER F round hexastyle temple, female figure stands left within, holds cornucopia. This is the only coin issued in the name of Claudia, Neroís daughter who died in infancy in 63 CE. RPC I 4846; TJC 354; Hendin 1270.