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Comments
Nero
Aureus, struck 55 AD in Rome.
Obv.: NERO CLAVD DIVI F CAES AVG GERM IMP TR P COS, jugate busts r. of Nero (in forefront), dr. at back of neck and bare-headed, and of Agrippina (junior), dr.
Rev.: AGRIPP AVG DIVI CLAVD NERONIS CAES MATER, quadriga of elephants l., bearing two chairs holding two male figures, Divus Claudius (the further), rad., r. holding eagle-tipped sceptre, and Divus Augustus, rad., r. holding patera, l. sceptre; EX S C in field above elephants.
RIC² 6 (R3); BMC 7
Picture: Numismatica Ars Classica

 Romanatic-ID: 954

Comments
Lars Rutten
E-Mail

19:23:37, 08.02.2009
Note by Numismatica Ars Classica:
The last of Nero's early issues, this aureus honours mother and emperor on the obverse and the deified Claudius on the reverse: as such we may consider it a compilation of the two separate coinages of Nero's accession issue. The reverse scene is of great interest as it depicts four elephants drawing a wheeled platform with two seated figures. Clearly this is a depiction of Claudius' funeral. He was only the second emperor to be deified, and the scene is virtually identical to the one on Tiberius' sestertii dedicated to Divus Augustus. The scenes differ in that on the coins dedicated to Claudius the elephants have no riders (undoubtedly because the format was smaller) and Augustus' statue is joined by another, which we must presume to be that of his divine companion Claudius. Some have described the seated figures differently: Cohen questioned if they were Augustus and Livia, and it has also been suggested that they are Augustus and Fides Praetorianum. However, these should be dismissed considering the direct iconographic link to the Tiberian sestertii and the remark by Tacitus, who notes that Claudius' funeral "...was modeled on that of the divine Augustus...". He further relates that the senate placed his widow Agrippina in charge of his priesthood, and that in his funeral she imitated "...the grandeur of her great-grandmother Livia, the first Augusta".


Lars Rutten
E-Mail

19:23:37, 08.02.2009
Note by Gemini, LLC:
This is the second coin type of Nero and Agrippina together, testifying to Agrippina's waning influence (her titles on the reverse, her portrait behind Nero's) before she was eliminated from the coinage entirely from mid 55 AD on. The elephant quadriga carrying statues to the Circus games is one of the honors voted to Divus Claudius by the Senate, as the legend EX S C attests. For the possible true identity of the second statue, traditionally misconstrued as Divus Augustus, see article by C. Clay in Num. Zeitschrift 96, 1982, pp. 42-45, summarized in RIC, p. 149.