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Emperor! Emperor take me with you on the journey!

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Emperor Nero's journey to Greece

"Neroneia" was the name Emperor Nero gave to his Greek games in Rome, which he first established in 60 AD. Literary and musical contests played a major role. Nero's first public appearance as a participant, however, took place in Naples in 64 AD at the "Sebasta". A year later in 65 AD he also appeared in Rome at the "Neroneia" as a poet and kithara player. In the following year he began his great tour of Greece, where he participated in the Olympic Games and gave theatrical performances across the Hellenic cities, where he also enjoyed playing female roles, as a kithara singer and in athletic competitions. He won all the wreaths of the musical competitions (in Olympia there was an extra unique musical competition) and was also victorious in the chariot races, although in Olympia he fell out of his chariot while driving a ten-horse instead of a four-horse! He is said to have emerged victorious in competitions of all kinds 1808 times.

His Tour:
October 66 AD - Actia
Spring 67 AD - Olympia
Spring 67 AD - Nemea
April / May 67 AD - Isthmia
August 67 AD - Pythia 
August 67 AD - Inauguration of the Isthmus Canal
28. November 67 AD - Proclamation of the freedom of the Greeks in Corinth
December 67 AD until beginning 68 AD - Four triumphant entries in Rome

An admirer of Greek culture, he stayed in Greece for over a year until he was urged by his advisors to return to Rome, where the mood had meanwhile deteriorated greatly. Although he returned to Rome to great acclaim, he gave himself over entirely to his pleasures, attending theaters and concerts, arranging betting games, and once again appearing as an artist himself. The Roman nobility did not approve of the emperor's public appearances at the games. He also aroused their ill-will when he forced them to participate in the Roman spectacles, even though this was an activity for slaves.

Coins with corresponding motifs were minted on the occasion of the journey, including Alexandrian tetradrachms with the ship on which Nero was traveling on the reverse and the circumscription ΣΕΒΑΣΤΟΦΟΡΟΣ ("Emperor Bearer")*. Other coin motifs refer to the temples he visited of Zeus of Olympia, that of Hera of Argos, of Poseidon at the Isthmus, and other stops on his journey.

*Ursula Kampmann, Thomas Ganschow: Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria. Battenberg Verlag, Regenstauf 2008, S. 54.




Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
BI Tetradrachm of the Roman Imperial Period 66/67 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 24mm; Weight: 14.12g; Mint: Alexandria, Egypt; Reference: RPC I 5296 (Specimens: 12), Dattari (Savio) 264; Obverse: Radiate bust of Nero with aegis to the left. The Inscription reads: ΝΕΡΩ ΚΛΑV ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ ΓΕΡ ΑV L ΙΓ for Nero Klaudios Kaisaros Sebastos Germanicos Augustos Alexandria Iota Gamma (Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus Augustus, Alexandria (L) reign year (10+3) 13); Reverse: Corbita with helmsman under sail to right; two dolphins in water below. The Inscription reads: ΣEBAΣTOΦOPOΣ for Sebastophoros (Best wishes (hope) [for the safe travel] of the Emperor).



And now I would be happy to receive your "travel coins". Coins motifs which are directly related to a trip - be it military or a visit. Show your coins and explain for which (travel) occasion they were minted.

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Hadrian's Visit to Alexandria Commemorated as part of his tour through the provinces. Since his estate at Tivoli has many Egyptian influences - crocodile statues, Serapis bust, etc. one can understand the emperor's interest in the province which in fact had been part of the emperor's domain since the time of Octavian. It is also the place - near the town of Hermopolis Magna in Middle Egypt (known since Pharaonic times as the cult center for the worship of Thoth) where the emperor's favorite the youth Antinous was reputedly drowned after falling into the Nile from Hadrian's ship. The saddened and mourning emperor thereupon founded the city of Antinopolis across the river from Hermopolis, to commemorate the youth. 

Æ Drachm, 36mm, 22.1g, 11h; Alexandria, Year 15 = 130/1 AD. Obverse: AVT KAI - TRAI AΔPIA CEB; Bust laureate, draped, cuirassed right. Reverse: Alexandria kisses the hand of the arriving emperor; he is laureate and togate, stands left, extends right hand to Alexandria and holds scepter in left; she stands right wearing elephant skin headdress, guides the emperor's hand to her mouth with her right hand, and holds two wheat ears downwards with her left hand; in lower field L - IE. Reference: Cologne 1034; Emmett 964/15.



Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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Another coin that features a lot less on the forum is this one of Postumus.

I think that this coin is very nice and this period of minting is widely underrated. All of the most skilled minters were still in Rome but Postumus and his Gallic Empire mints still managed to create beautiful coins - especially his Gold aureii.

This coin is another with a galley on the reverse and is possibly due to a visit to Britain.


Screenshot 2023-02-13 12.20.39.png

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Speaking of Postumus, here's one of a god that traveled around, Serapis. Originally a hybrid Egyptian and Hellenistic deity crafted in Egypt by the Ptolemies, he appears here in a coin from Cologne....got around like Mithras...and the legend Serapi Comiti Avg means something like "Serapis is the companion of the emperor".




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