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Nero's Travels to Greece - Numismatic Evidence (a Naked Guy from Sicyon, Achaea)


Marsyas Mike

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This coin was in my eBay shopping cart for about a year or so.  I just couldn't figure it out - Nero, clearly, from the portrait, and his name visible.  The portrait is Provincial-looking, I thought, a later bust type with chariot-drover mullet, but a bit "blunt" for an imperial mint issue.  The guy on reverse, looking a bit like an Imperial issue showing Apollo playing a lyre (or Nero dressed as Apollo - opinions vary).  Pan?  Marsyas?  And a large C in the right reverse field - half of S-C?  Despite the C, it looked Provincial. 

Here are the seller's photos, which are pretty good.  It was described:  "Roman 210 BC~400AD Didrachm 292488 combine shipping" which was not much help:

 SicyonAchaea-NeronudefigurestandingRPC1242-MINEpic1a.jpg.bdf30e5af382f17fe87be0f5dcbd3aa9.jpg

From time to time I'd research it.  Finally, a couple weeks ago I tried just cruising through the RPC database for everything Nero with a standing reverse figure.  Bingo!  It is from Sicyon, Achaea, and it is apparently quite scarce.  RPC has three - the two illustrated are obverse/reverse die-matches to mine (and obverse die-matched to another issue with a horseman on the reverse).  I could find no other examples anywhere (no acsearch, no Wildwinds, etc.).  It was a "buy it now" for $38.99 and I made an offer of $25 which was immediately accepted (probably one of my better purchases this year). 

Here is my photo and attribution:

SicyonAchaea-NeronudefigurestandingRPC1242-MINEpic0b.jpg.fc3bb1ae3c90824bf74d0ab6637c08e0.jpg 

Nero Æ 19 Magistrate Gaius Iulius Polyaenus (duovir) Sicyon, Achaea (c. 67 A.D.) See notes. ΝΕ ΚΑΙ ΖΕΥϹ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟϹ laureate head right /  ΕΠΙ Γ ΙΟΥ ΠΟΛΥΑΙΝΟΥ, ΔΑ-ϹΙ across fields, naked figure wearing cloak standing right. (7.68 grams / 19 x 18 mm) eBay May 2023 $25.00 B.O.

Note:  RPC I 1242; no other references.  Found only 3 of these, all on RPC.

Die-Match Obv. & Rev.: Coin no. 1 of RPC I 1242 Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris Inventory No. 665

Coin no. 2 of RPC I 1242 British Museum Inventory No. 1895,0703.9

Die-Match Obv.: Coins 1-4 of RPC I 1240 (horseman rev.)

Note:  Reverse legend starts at right, under figure's hand (ΕΠΙ), and runs clockwise to head (NOY).   Note:  "The grant of freedom to Greece at Corinth in 67 is for the most part referred to by naming Zeus Eleutherios in a legend or depicting him....In addition, on all Neronian types of Sicyon the emperor was associated with Zeus Eleutherios by means of the legend NE(ron) K(aisar) ZEUS ELEUTHERIOS." E. Manders & D. Slootjes

Here are die-match comparison photos showing the only two images I could find of this coin, both RPC Online examples (there's a third example, but no image for it).  The bottom coin shows RPC 1240 with the horseman, an obverse die-match to the others (as noted in RPC https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/1/1240).

 SicyonAchaea-NeronudefigurestandingRPC1242-MINEpic0COMP.jpg.b72e415eb477fed3fcfcde54d000f697.jpg

 

***

"Rare" provincials aren't all that uncommon, but this particular coin proved more interesting than I thought.  The obverse legend, Nero Caesar / Zeus Eleutherios refers to the honors, including deification, bestowed on Nero for his "liberation" of Greece in Corinth in 67 A.D.  The reverse legend refers to the dovir Gaius Iulius Polyaenus, but an explanation for the nude guy hasn't come up in my desultory research - an athlete perhaps?  Nero wearing almost nothing but a smile?  

There have been many threads about the abundant issues of Hadrian celebrating his travels through the empire.  But I had no idea that there are a lot of coins issued for Nero when he traveled to Greece. 

From what I can tell from just a little research, there are quite a few types and issuing authorities for these Neronian visit coins (including Egyptian issues; see Michael Grant's book Emperor in Revolt: Nero (1970), where a tetradrachm photo is shown, with this caption:  "The Pythian Apollo:  one of a series of five designs on coins issued by the governor of Egypt to celebrate Nero's successes in the Greek Games" (p. 131)).  Given the complexity of this situation, I'm going to limit my findings pertaining to the coin I just got, Sicyon with the naked guy.  Two articles in particular were full of information; these articles described other coins and areas as well, but here's what they say about my coin:

Article Number 1: "Linking Inscriptions to Provincial Coins: a Reappraisal of Nero’s Visit to Greece"

Erika Manders & Daniëlle Slootjes https://repository.ubn.ru.nl/bitstream/handle/2066/184419/184419.pdf?sequence=1

"Corinth, Patras and Nicopolis all issued coin types propagating the emperor’s arrival in these cities by means of their legends (aduentus/epiphania/portus frugifera) often in combination with an image of a galley.39  In addition, the participation of Nero in several games is probably commemorated by the frequent representations of panhellenic games: the Isthmian games on Corinthian coins,40the Nemean games in Sicyon,41 the Actian games in Nicopolis,42 and the Olympian games in Patras.43 Although Buthrotum was not visited by the emperor, this city also minted coins commemorating his victories at the Greek games (as did the Thessalian League). 44

The grant of freedom to Greece at Corinth in 67 is for the most part referred to by naming Zeus Eleutherios in a legend or depicting him. Two coin types minted in Patras bear the legend IV PITER LIBERATOR and display the chief god with eagle and sceptre.45In addition, on all Neronian types of Sicyon the emperor was associated with Zeus Eleutherios by means of the legend NE(ron) K(aisar) ZEUS ELEUTHERIOS.46 Corinth issued coins that refer directly to Nero’s proclamation, showing the emperor with a scroll in his hands and standing on a suggestum together with the legend ADLO[cutio] AVG.47 Coinage that can probably be attributed to the mint of Nicopolis displays not only the personification of Eleutheria, but also bears the legend NERONI (DEMOSIO) PATRONI ELLADOS (“To Nero, the public patron of Greece”).48 Possibly, even the Achaean city of Phoenice, which was not visited by the emperor, referred to the Freedom of Greece on its coinage, as one of its types displayed Zeus Eleutherios.49"

Footnotes:

40 RPC I, nos. 1202, 1207, 1208.

41 RPC I, nos. 1238, 1240, 1241-44.

42 RPC I, nos. 1371, 1372, 1374-76.

43 RPC I, no. 1275.

44 RPC I, nos. 1415, 1439, 1444, 1449, 1451-52.

45 RPC I, nos. 1279-80.

46 RPC I, nos. 1238-44.

47 RPC I, nos. 1205-6.

48 RPC I, nos. 1376-77.

49 RPC I, no. 1418.

I'm not sure why the Sicyon issue refers to the Nemean Games - I don't know enough about the various Olympiad-type games to say anything useful beyond the (apparent) fact that all the Olympiad-type games got moved together in the schedule to accommodate Nero's visit (and participation). 

Article Number 2:  "When Did Nero Liberate Achaea - And Why?"  B. Levy

This one has a kind of complicated citation situation - the full text can be found here:  https://helios-eie.ekt.gr/EIE/bitstream/10442/386/1/A01.013.27.pdf However, I couldn't find a title or author from this!  The site is:  "The National Documentation Centre is a Greek public organisation that promotes knowledge, research, innovation and digital transformation." Wikipedia 

As I was unable to cut and paste from this source, I had to type it out; apologies in advance for typos.  Doing some more digging I found a full citation (but not the text; this is from a bibliography):

Full citation: LEVY 1991 Levy, B., When did Nero Liberate Achaea and Why? In: Rizakis, A.D. (ed.), Achaia und Elis in der Antike. Akten des 1. Internationalen Symposiums Athen, 19.-20. Mai 1989 (Paris: de Boccard), 189-194. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/43573318.pdf

"The third Acaean mint to produce coinage clearly related to Nero's visit is Sicyon.  Examples of its single Neronian issue have always been considered rare, but that is partly due to the circumstance that none appear in the published catalogues of major collections 22.  In fact, at least forty-four are locatable today, and from them we can get a reasonable picture of the issue's structure.  All come from six obverse dies, bearing a patently late portrait of Nero (figs. 4-9) 23.  The obverse inscription, which is rendered in a slightly different abbreviated form on each die, is ΝΕPWV ΚΑΙAP ΖΕΥϹ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟϹ - proof that the whole issue was struck after the liberation of Achaea. 

Sicyon's obverse portrait is coupled with a pair of reverse types; each, like the portrait, can appear either to right or to left (figs. 10-13)24.  These types are interesting in their own right, and the first of them has received a great deal of scholarly attention 25, but their meaning will not concern us here.  More important to this discussion is the reverse legend.  Like that of the obverse, it appears with a number of petty variants, which have been useful in distinguishing a dozen or so of the dies used for these generally rather worn reverses.  It gives the name of a magistrate, the damiorgos Gaius Julius Polyaenus.  He too is interesting, as a man who had signed the coinage for Corinth while serving there as duumvir about a decade earlier; in fact, the coin-blanks for Polyaenus' issue at Sicyon could well have been produced at Corinth, for their weight and fabric, though not their style of engraving, correspond closely to those of contemporary Corinthian issues. Dependence on certain technical resources of a more active neighboring atelier would be quite constant with the fact that Sicyon had struck no earlier Julio-Claudian coinage, and was to sponsor none again until the Severan period. 

Most pertinent here is the fact that just one magistrate is named.  That implies production within a single year -- which must, in fact, be the year following the liberation.  The pattern of die-links suggests an even more restricted period of issue, for ever obverse die but one is linked to another, and half are linked to two or more, as if all or nearly all obverse dies were in use together.  As is common with such compact and isolated coinages, we should probably assume games or a festival as the occasion.  It seems very likely, even if our literary sources are silent on the subject, that Sicyon's games were put on for Nero and in his presence26.  But if the liberation of Achaea, to which this coin refers, had taken place in late November of 67, there would hardly have been time for games between Nero's proclamation and his departure -- which in Suetonius' version followed immediately after." (p. 193)

24.  Figs. 10-13:  London BM 1895-7-3-9; Munich; Corinth, Blegen coll.; Corinth 76.367

25 L. Lacroix, Quelques aspects de la numismatique sicyonienne, RBNum 110, 1964, 19-29.  The most recent discussion of the general type, with bibliography of earlier treatments, is by A. E. Kalpaxis in Tainia...Roland Hampe...dargebract (1980) 291-305

I've included two of the footnotes as they pertain to my coin.  The article cited for 25 is from Levy's frustrating comment:  "These types are interesting in their own right, and the first of them has received a great deal of scholarly attention 25, but their meaning will not concern us here."  Even if I found it, I can't read French, but if anybody has it, I'll give it a try!

***

Well, hope this hasn't paved you over with excruciating detail.  Information on Sicyon can be found on the Internet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicyon and elsewhere.  It was a city of some importance for a time, but dwindled away over the centuries.  The fact RPC Online only lists 7 total issues for the city, all Nero, would suggest that Nero's visit was an opportunity to show some civic pride and/or make an effort to issue coins like the big cities do (Corinth is nearby).  

Please share anything you might have from Nero's travels in Greece.  As I mentioned before, the information above was culled from the two cited articles pertains specifically to my coin from Sicyon; other issues are discussed as well.  You might check your Provincial Neros - you might have a "Nero Travel Issue."  And don't forget those Alexandria tetradrachms.  Please share your Neronian Greeks or anything else along those lines, especially anything from Sicyon.  

 

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9 hours ago, Marsyas Mike said:

This coin was in my eBay shopping cart for about a year or so.  I just couldn't figure it out - Nero, clearly, from the portrait, and his name visible.  The portrait is Provincial-looking, I thought, a later bust type with chariot-drover mullet, but a bit "blunt" for an imperial mint issue.  The guy on reverse, looking a bit like an Imperial issue showing Apollo playing a lyre (or Nero dressed as Apollo - opinions vary).  Pan?  Marsyas?  And a large C in the right reverse field - half of S-C?  Despite the C, it looked Provincial. 

Here are the seller's photos, which are pretty good.  It was described:  "Roman 210 BC~400AD Didrachm 292488 combine shipping" which was not much help:

 SicyonAchaea-NeronudefigurestandingRPC1242-MINEpic1a.jpg.bdf30e5af382f17fe87be0f5dcbd3aa9.jpg

From time to time I'd research it.  Finally, a couple weeks ago I tried just cruising through the RPC database for everything Nero with a standing reverse figure.  Bingo!  It is from Sicyon, Achaea, and it is apparently quite scarce.  RPC has three - the two illustrated are obverse/reverse die-matches to mine (and obverse die-matched to another issue with a horseman on the reverse).  I could find no other examples anywhere (no acsearch, no Wildwinds, etc.).  It was a "buy it now" for $38.99 and I made an offer of $25 which was immediately accepted (probably one of my better purchases this year). 

Here is my photo and attribution:

SicyonAchaea-NeronudefigurestandingRPC1242-MINEpic0b.jpg.fc3bb1ae3c90824bf74d0ab6637c08e0.jpg 

Nero Æ 19 Magistrate Gaius Iulius Polyaenus (duovir) Sicyon, Achaea (c. 67 A.D.) See notes. ΝΕ ΚΑΙ ΖΕΥϹ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟϹ laureate head right /  ΕΠΙ Γ ΙΟΥ ΠΟΛΥΑΙΝΟΥ, ΔΑ-ϹΙ across fields, naked figure wearing cloak standing right. (7.68 grams / 19 x 18 mm) eBay May 2023 $25.00 B.O.

Note:  RPC I 1242; no other references.  Found only 3 of these, all on RPC.

Die-Match Obv. & Rev.: Coin no. 1 of RPC I 1242 Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris Inventory No. 665

Coin no. 2 of RPC I 1242 British Museum Inventory No. 1895,0703.9

Die-Match Obv.: Coins 1-4 of RPC I 1240 (horseman rev.)

Note:  Reverse legend starts at right, under figure's hand (ΕΠΙ), and runs clockwise to head (NOY).   Note:  "The grant of freedom to Greece at Corinth in 67 is for the most part referred to by naming Zeus Eleutherios in a legend or depicting him....In addition, on all Neronian types of Sicyon the emperor was associated with Zeus Eleutherios by means of the legend NE(ron) K(aisar) ZEUS ELEUTHERIOS." E. Manders & D. Slootjes

Here are die-match comparison photos showing the only two images I could find of this coin, both RPC Online examples (there's a third example, but no image for it).  The bottom coin shows RPC 1240 with the horseman, an obverse die-match to the others (as noted in RPC https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/1/1240).

 SicyonAchaea-NeronudefigurestandingRPC1242-MINEpic0COMP.jpg.b72e415eb477fed3fcfcde54d000f697.jpg

 

***

"Rare" provincials aren't all that uncommon, but this particular coin proved more interesting than I thought.  The obverse legend, Nero Caesar / Zeus Eleutherios refers to the honors, including deification, bestowed on Nero for his "liberation" of Greece in Corinth in 67 A.D.  The reverse legend refers to the dovir Gaius Iulius Polyaenus, but an explanation for the nude guy hasn't come up in my desultory research - an athlete perhaps?  Nero wearing almost nothing but a smile?  

There have been many threads about the abundant issues of Hadrian celebrating his travels through the empire.  But I had no idea that there are a lot of coins issued for Nero when he traveled to Greece. 

From what I can tell from just a little research, there are quite a few types and issuing authorities for these Neronian visit coins (including Egyptian issues; see Michael Grant's book Emperor in Revolt: Nero (1970), where a tetradrachm photo is shown, with this caption:  "The Pythian Apollo:  one of a series of five designs on coins issued by the governor of Egypt to celebrate Nero's successes in the Greek Games" (p. 131)).  Given the complexity of this situation, I'm going to limit my findings pertaining to the coin I just got, Sicyon with the naked guy.  Two articles in particular were full of information; these articles described other coins and areas as well, but here's what they say about my coin:

Article Number 1: "Linking Inscriptions to Provincial Coins: a Reappraisal of Nero’s Visit to Greece"

Erika Manders & Daniëlle Slootjes https://repository.ubn.ru.nl/bitstream/handle/2066/184419/184419.pdf?sequence=1

"Corinth, Patras and Nicopolis all issued coin types propagating the emperor’s arrival in these cities by means of their legends (aduentus/epiphania/portus frugifera) often in combination with an image of a galley.39  In addition, the participation of Nero in several games is probably commemorated by the frequent representations of panhellenic games: the Isthmian games on Corinthian coins,40the Nemean games in Sicyon,41 the Actian games in Nicopolis,42 and the Olympian games in Patras.43 Although Buthrotum was not visited by the emperor, this city also minted coins commemorating his victories at the Greek games (as did the Thessalian League). 44

The grant of freedom to Greece at Corinth in 67 is for the most part referred to by naming Zeus Eleutherios in a legend or depicting him. Two coin types minted in Patras bear the legend IV PITER LIBERATOR and display the chief god with eagle and sceptre.45In addition, on all Neronian types of Sicyon the emperor was associated with Zeus Eleutherios by means of the legend NE(ron) K(aisar) ZEUS ELEUTHERIOS.46 Corinth issued coins that refer directly to Nero’s proclamation, showing the emperor with a scroll in his hands and standing on a suggestum together with the legend ADLO[cutio] AVG.47 Coinage that can probably be attributed to the mint of Nicopolis displays not only the personification of Eleutheria, but also bears the legend NERONI (DEMOSIO) PATRONI ELLADOS (“To Nero, the public patron of Greece”).48 Possibly, even the Achaean city of Phoenice, which was not visited by the emperor, referred to the Freedom of Greece on its coinage, as one of its types displayed Zeus Eleutherios.49"

Footnotes:

40 RPC I, nos. 1202, 1207, 1208.

41 RPC I, nos. 1238, 1240, 1241-44.

42 RPC I, nos. 1371, 1372, 1374-76.

43 RPC I, no. 1275.

44 RPC I, nos. 1415, 1439, 1444, 1449, 1451-52.

45 RPC I, nos. 1279-80.

46 RPC I, nos. 1238-44.

47 RPC I, nos. 1205-6.

48 RPC I, nos. 1376-77.

49 RPC I, no. 1418.

I'm not sure why the Sicyon issue refers to the Nemean Games - I don't know enough about the various Olympiad-type games to say anything useful beyond the (apparent) fact that all the Olympiad-type games got moved together in the schedule to accommodate Nero's visit (and participation). 

Article Number 2:  "When Did Nero Liberate Achaea - And Why?"  B. Levy

This one has a kind of complicated citation situation - the full text can be found here:  https://helios-eie.ekt.gr/EIE/bitstream/10442/386/1/A01.013.27.pdf However, I couldn't find a title or author from this!  The site is:  "The National Documentation Centre is a Greek public organisation that promotes knowledge, research, innovation and digital transformation." Wikipedia 

As I was unable to cut and paste from this source, I had to type it out; apologies in advance for typos.  Doing some more digging I found a full citation (but not the text; this is from a bibliography):

Full citation: LEVY 1991 Levy, B., When did Nero Liberate Achaea and Why? In: Rizakis, A.D. (ed.), Achaia und Elis in der Antike. Akten des 1. Internationalen Symposiums Athen, 19.-20. Mai 1989 (Paris: de Boccard), 189-194. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/43573318.pdf

"The third Acaean mint to produce coinage clearly related to Nero's visit is Sicyon.  Examples of its single Neronian issue have always been considered rare, but that is partly due to the circumstance that none appear in the published catalogues of major collections 22.  In fact, at least forty-four are locatable today, and from them we can get a reasonable picture of the issue's structure.  All come from six obverse dies, bearing a patently late portrait of Nero (figs. 4-9) 23.  The obverse inscription, which is rendered in a slightly different abbreviated form on each die, is ΝΕPWV ΚΑΙAP ΖΕΥϹ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟϹ - proof that the whole issue was struck after the liberation of Achaea. 

Sicyon's obverse portrait is coupled with a pair of reverse types; each, like the portrait, can appear either to right or to left (figs. 10-13)24.  These types are interesting in their own right, and the first of them has received a great deal of scholarly attention 25, but their meaning will not concern us here.  More important to this discussion is the reverse legend.  Like that of the obverse, it appears with a number of petty variants, which have been useful in distinguishing a dozen or so of the dies used for these generally rather worn reverses.  It gives the name of a magistrate, the damiorgos Gaius Julius Polyaenus.  He too is interesting, as a man who had signed the coinage for Corinth while serving there as duumvir about a decade earlier; in fact, the coin-blanks for Polyaenus' issue at Sicyon could well have been produced at Corinth, for their weight and fabric, though not their style of engraving, correspond closely to those of contemporary Corinthian issues. Dependence on certain technical resources of a more active neighboring atelier would be quite constant with the fact that Sicyon had struck no earlier Julio-Claudian coinage, and was to sponsor none again until the Severan period. 

Most pertinent here is the fact that just one magistrate is named.  That implies production within a single year -- which must, in fact, be the year following the liberation.  The pattern of die-links suggests an even more restricted period of issue, for ever obverse die but one is linked to another, and half are linked to two or more, as if all or nearly all obverse dies were in use together.  As is common with such compact and isolated coinages, we should probably assume games or a festival as the occasion.  It seems very likely, even if our literary sources are silent on the subject, that Sicyon's games were put on for Nero and in his presence26.  But if the liberation of Achaea, to which this coin refers, had taken place in late November of 67, there would hardly have been time for games between Nero's proclamation and his departure -- which in Suetonius' version followed immediately after." (p. 193)

24.  Figs. 10-13:  London BM 1895-7-3-9; Munich; Corinth, Blegen coll.; Corinth 76.367

25 L. Lacroix, Quelques aspects de la numismatique sicyonienne, RBNum 110, 1964, 19-29.  The most recent discussion of the general type, with bibliography of earlier treatments, is by A. E. Kalpaxis in Tainia...Roland Hampe...dargebract (1980) 291-305

I've included two of the footnotes as they pertain to my coin.  The article cited for 25 is from Levy's frustrating comment:  "These types are interesting in their own right, and the first of them has received a great deal of scholarly attention 25, but their meaning will not concern us here."  Even if I found it, I can't read French, but if anybody has it, I'll give it a try!

***

Well, hope this hasn't paved you over with excruciating detail.  Information on Sicyon can be found on the Internet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicyon and elsewhere.  It was a city of some importance for a time, but dwindled away over the centuries.  The fact RPC Online only lists 7 total issues for the city, all Nero, would suggest that Nero's visit was an opportunity to show some civic pride and/or make an effort to issue coins like the big cities do (Corinth is nearby).  

Please share anything you might have from Nero's travels in Greece.  As I mentioned before, the information above was culled from the two cited articles pertains specifically to my coin from Sicyon; other issues are discussed as well.  You might check your Provincial Neros - you might have a "Nero Travel Issue."  And don't forget those Alexandria tetradrachms.  Please share your Neronian Greeks or anything else along those lines, especially anything from Sicyon.  

 

Excellent score for $25, impressive research, & a great read 🤩! Your photos reveal more detail on the reverse figure 😉. Could the nude figure on your coin be Apollo 🤔? Apollo had many attributes including god of music & dance, & knowing how Nero loved to perform for a crowd of people, Apollo would seem to be a natural depiction on a Nero provincial coin. Septimius Severus & his two sons also depicted a nude Apollo on their provincial coins. Just food for thought....

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3 minutes ago, Al Kowsky said:

Excellent score for $25, impressive research, & a great read 🤩! Your photos reveal more detail on the reverse figure 😉. Could the nude figure on your coin be Apollo 🤔? Apollo had many attributes including god of music & dance, & knowing how Nero loved to perform for a crowd of people, Apollo would seem to be a natural depiction on a Nero provincial coin. Septimius Severus & his two sons also depicted a nude Apollo on their provincial coins. Just food for thought....

Thank you for the kind words, Al.  And yes, I definitely agree that it is possible the "naked guy" is Apollo.  Given Nero's visit had everything to do with singing and dancing (in the Olympics, among other games), Apollo would be a perfect fit. 

Your note inspired me to try a little harder to find this (cited in the OP):

25 L. Lacroix, Quelques aspects de la numismatique sicyonienne, RBNum 110, 1964, 19-29.  The most recent discussion of the general type, with bibliography of earlier treatments, is by A. E. Kalpaxis in Tainia...Roland Hampe...dargebract (1980) 291-305

You gotta love the Internet.  I found it right away, in pdf form, but not cut-n-pasteable.  Which means no easy Google Translate import.  Anybody out there fluent in French?  This site opened up as "not secure" on my computer, FYI.  The plates do not match any of the Provincial types, so I am not sure it is relevant, despite the indication that it is, as cited in the OP.  

http://www.numisbel.be/1964_1.pdf

Apollo?  Probably, but I just don't know.  

 

 

 

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Very nice score, and thanks for the excellent and thorough research! Finding that rare coin for a bargain is half the fun of collecting. That's a surprisingly fine portrait of Nero for a provincial.

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NERORPC5296.jpg.7e00397fc7f4bf92de39be4ebb92d3d7.jpg

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; Provenance: Ex Classical Numismatics CNG USA; 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).

 

"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 to Greece, 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.

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3 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

NERORPC5296.jpg.7e00397fc7f4bf92de39be4ebb92d3d7.jpg

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; Provenance: Ex Classical Numismatics CNG USA; 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).

 

"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 to Greece, 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.

Terrific tet, and write-up @Prieure de Sion.   That travel schedule is fantastic.  

Michael Grant says there are four Egyptian types for Nero's visit to Greece.  I hope some others will get posted as well.  Hint, hint!  

Thanks for posting! 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm bringing up this thread again because I got one of the Alexandrian tetradrachms that seem to commemorate Nero's travels in Greece.  In addition to the Michael Grant quote in the OP, I found an article discussing these issues (below).  

My new one shows the Phythian Apollo of Delphi with quiver over his shoulder.  Nero was the winner at the Pythian games when he made his tour (big surprise!).   This is a year 13; they were also issued year 14 as well, and the later ones seem to be more abundant, based on the auctions I looked at.  

Egypt-Nerotet.PythianApolloyearLRPC5302-MINEpic0.jpg.c5cdb43ba30da8a2c6c33da176e424fe.jpg

Egypt Tetradrachm Nero Year LΙΓ (13) = (66-67 A.D.) Alexandria Mint [N]EΡΩ [KΛAV] KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEΡ AV | [L]IΓ left, radiate bust left with aegis, / ΠYΘI[OΣ AΠOΛΛΩN], bust of Apollo Pythius right, quiver at shoulder. RPC I 5302; Walker 168-77; (10.32 grams / 26 x 21 mm) eBay June 2023 Attribution: RPC I 5302 (Average weight 12.69 grams; Specimens 5); Dattari (Savio) 208 var. (aegis); Geissen 176; Emmett 112; Walker 168-77;

 

Here's an overview and link to an article by George Couvalis talking about these - I think his theory is quite plausible and interesting:

Alexandrian Identity and the Coinage Commemorating Nero’s “Liberation” of the Greeks

George Couvalis

"The emperor Nero visited Greece in 66–67 CE to compete in the prestigious festivals of old Greece. He declared the Greeks of Akhaea and the Peloponnese “liberated” during his visit. Apart from the cities affected by his munificence or visited by him, only Alexandria clearly commemorated his visit on coins. It issued a prolific series of commemoratives celebrating the central festival deities of old Greece. I place Nero’s “liberation” in the context of the activities of the Greek upper classes in the period 50–250 CE. I argue that the issue of the Alexandrian coins can be most plausibly explained by assuming that the governor of Egypt, a Hellenised lapsed Jew aptly named Tiberius Julius Alexander, was attempting to curry favour with the philhellenic Nero and the Alexandrian Greeks. The Alexandrian Greeks wanted to affirm that Alexandria was truly Greek as they felt threatened by Jewish claims to equal privileges."

https://www.academia.edu/4693932/Alexandrian_Identity_and_the_Coinage_Commemorating_Neros_Liberation_of_the_Greeks 2/10

Feel free to bring out those Neronian Greco-Egyptian tetradrachms.  

 

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