Tiberius Claudius Nero, born on August 1st 10 BC at Lugdunum, was the son of Drusus Mairo and Antonia Minor and thus a grandnephew of Augustus. Because he suffered from an unknown illness that limited his physical abilities, he wasn't allowed to hold any public office. Even after his physical strength was getting better during the reign of Tiberius, it was only under Caligula that he was admitted to the senate. After Caligula's murder, Claudius, as the last representative of the dynasty, was made emperor. His rule was quite successful, both in foreign and domestic policy. When he got older, however, his health rapidly started to decline. It was his fourth wife Agrippina Minor who supported him while arranging that her son Nero was adopted by Claudius, who made him heir of the throne. On October 13th 54 AD, Claudius died of mushroom poisoning. Both in ancient and in modern times, people suspected that it was murder, arranged by his wife Agrippina.
2.1. Some general notes
Claudius slightly raised the weight of the Denarius to 3.60-3.85 g and of the Sestertius to 27.50-29.50 g while reducing the weight of the Dupondius to 13.00-15.00 g. The silver content of the Denarii was at about 98 %, but there are lots of plated imitations, named Subaerati, issued by ancient forgers. There also exist numerous imitations of the AE coinage, which, however, are believed to have been issued by locale authorities to satisfy local demands.
There mainly are two portrait types for Claudius, the first strongly showing his advanced age while the second is more idealizing. Both show the main characteristic of Claudius' portraits: his very muscular neck.
Different portrait-types of Claudius.
|41-50 n. Chr.
|42-43 n. Chr.
|46-47 n. Chr.
|50-54 n. Chr.
2.3. The Types
Apart from some coin types that show his parents, his stepson Nero or Germanicus, most of Claudius' coins show religious topics, illustrating the piety of the emperor.
One of the most beautiful coin types of Claudius is this Sestertius, struck 41-50 AD in Rome. The obverse shows Claudius to right with the legend TI CLAVDVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P. The reverse shows the triumphal arch erected by his father Drusus on the Via Appia with a statue of the successful general atop and two trophies aside. This reverse type also exists for Aurei and Denarii.