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From a man in love with art: showcasing my Nero reform middle Aes


Limes

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Hello everyone,

This topic is not about that man in love with art, but about that other guy who had a big crush on art: L. Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero Claudius Caesar. Born in Antium in 37 AD, he entered public life at an early age and rose rapidly in the imperial line after Claudius married his mother, Agrippina the Younger. Everything good, one would think. But, alas. His mother - allegedly - murdered emperor Claudius, placing Nero on the throne in 54 AD. From there on, things slowly went downwards. His endulgance for the arts lead to erratic behaviour which greatly upset the elite. And after his love for the arts caused the imperial treasure chest to reach the bottom in 67 AD, consequently delaying payments to the troops, the dagger proved to be stronger than the lyre. Exit: Nero.

I find the coinage of Nero absolutely fantastic. Rich in history, with vivid designs and always at a high level of artristry that would surely have pleased the Master himself. The designs are very varied and celebrate the imperial family, military victory in Armenia, but also show Nero’s exuberant building projects. And it’s not just the aureii or sestertii, but all denominations display the same fantastic designs.

The latest Kunker e-live auction allowed me to finally add this coin of Nero to my collection, having been high on my wishlist for quite some time. It’s a reform brass As showing Nero playing the lyre on the reverse. Now this coin is interesting for several reasons, on which I make a few comments below.

8.7.png.c2004c53f46f3ce1e21e9074d1ef75de.png

About the reverse: Nero playing the lyre

The next few comments are about the reverse. As said above, the reverse of this coin shows Nero as Apollo playing the lyre. It’s not a mystery to us that in the larger part of his reign, Nero indulged himself into horses and races, the arts and music, and everything Greek. He was also quite the big spender, and, according to Suetonius, Nero thought that there was no other way of enjoying riches and money than by “riotous extravagance, declaring that only stingy and niggardly fellows kept a correct account of what they spent, while fine and genuinely magnificent gentlemen wasted and squandered.” (Ch. 25; thanks to the fantastic site of Bill Thayer). 

His practice of the lyre and singing started early in his reign. According to Suetonius, after some encouragement by his entourage, he even started to appear on stage and his first acte de présence was in Naples. After that, he longed to appear in Rome itself, and for that reason, repeated the contest of  Neronia, a festival established in 60 AD on the model of the Olympic games which was to be held every five years with athletic and artistic competitions. Nero even also participated in the Olympic games after introducting a musical competition contrary to custom. Returning from Greece, he held a triumph in Rome while wearing a purple robe and a Greek cloak adorned with stars of gold, and bearing the Olympic crow on his head. Of course a visit to the temple of Apollo was part of the procession.

Next it becomes even more interesting, as Suetonius actually mentions this coin in his book, thereby making this the coin with the oldest provenance in my collection (well, not this specific coin, but the type. But that still counts right?): 

"He placed the sacred crowns in his bed-chambers around the couches, as well as statues representing him in the guise of a lyre-player; and he had a coin too struck with the same device." (Ch. 25; thanks to the fantastic site of Bill Thayer). 

But that’s not the only theory about the symbolism of the reverse. Another story about the reverse is that it shows Nero playing the lyre and singing while a great fire swept through Rome. This story gained further strength as Nero used part of the destroyed city to build his new palace. Suetonius mentions the following:

For under cover of displeasure at the ugliness of the old buildings and the narrow, crooked streets, he set fire to the city so openly that several ex- consuls did not venture to lay hands on his chamberlains although they caught them on their estates with tow and fire-brands, while some granaries near the Golden House, whose room he particularly desired, were demolished by engines of war and then set on fire, because their walls were of stone.
(...) Viewing the conflagration from the tower of Maecenas and exulting, as he said, in  "the beauty of the flames," he sang the whole of the "Sack of Ilium," in his regular stage costume.” (Ch. 38; again thanks to the fantastic site of Bill Thayer)

However, according to Tacitus, Nero was away from Rome when the fire broke out and returned to the city to take measures to help the population of Rome. He further took measures to tighten building regulations to prevent new fires. This seems to debunk the story provided by Suetonius.

About the coin reform

My latest addition, and the issue shown below which is already part of my collection, are also two issues marked with a ‘I’ in the exergue. They are part of Nero’s coin reform. The ‘what’ and ‘why’ about this reform interested me, so I started reading about it. I will make a few comments below, and, if you are interested too, I’ve added the sources at the bottom of this write up for further reading.  

8.2.png.559cb3624632bd6a4107041516076b1a.png

Augustus introduced a new monetery system, which consisted of the following - for this write up relevant - denominations*:

Aureus

Gold

7,85 gr

25 denarii

Denarius

Silver

4 gr

16 Asses

Sestertius

Brass

25 - 30 gr

4 Asses

Dupondius

Brass

12 gr

2 Asses

As

Copper

11 gr

Basic unit

Semis

Brass

3-4 gr

1/2 As

Quadrans

Copper

3 gr

1/4 As

To this system, Nero added the following changes**:

Aureus

Gold

7,27 gr

25 denarii

Denarius

Silver

3,41 gr

16 Asses

Sestertius

Brass

25 - 30 gr

4 Asses

Dupondius

Brass

16,3 gr

2 Asses

As

Brass

8,1 gr

Basic unit

 

Copper

10,9

Basis unit

Semis

Brass

4 gr

1/2 As

 

Copper

5 gr

1/2 As

Quadrans

Brass

2 gr

1/4 As

 

Copper

2,7 gr

1/4 As

* Based on David van Meter
** Based on Sydenham

As we can see from these tables, Nero begin striking the ‘lower’ denominations in both metals: copper and brass. He also reduced the silver and gold content of the denarius resp. aureus. The reasons for the latter might have been, that due to the increasing costs of the imperial household and military payments, Nero was forced (or happily decided) to decrease the purity of the finer metals to be able to increase funds. Also, according to David van Meter, the treasury was under extreme stress due to the relief actions because of great fire of 64 AD, and the various already initiated ambitious building projects.

However, that does not sufficiently explains the introduction of the smaller units in new metals. For this, Sydenham has examined the various weights of the coinage. The dupondius and As as introduced by Augustus, were in value 2:1. However, the weight was quite comparable, and this caused issues as the actual difference in value between the two metals - brass and copper - did not compensate for the monetary value of the dupondius - As. Hence, under the reign of Nero, it was decided to make a better connection to the actual value of the metals, which was 1.1/3:1 (brass:copper). And by introducing the brass As and increasing the weight of the brass dupondius, the monetary value was established at 1:2. The underlying reason to introduce these reforms was to adapt to the Greek coinage in proportional values, which may have made commercial relations between the east and west easier. To make the value of the new coinage clear, Nero added symbols to them, determining the coins as dupondii (II), Asses (I) and semisses (S) respectively. Also not that today, it’s difficult to distinguish copper from brass, due to the patina formed over the hundreds of years buried in the ground. But for a Roman, the difference was easy to notice, as brass had a bright yellow-golden colour, and copper a reddish-brown colour. (Note: copper is a pure metal, whereas brass is a copper alloy, containing copper and zinc.)

Although the ratio behind the reform remains uncertain - whether it was due to Nero’s love for anything Greek, to fix a commercial problem, or a scheme to generate more funds, or all of these reasons -  it is clear that it did not last. Nero’s coin reform was abandoned soon after his death. But fortunately for us collectors, it lasted long enough for us to hold such an interesting piece of history in hand.

About the attribution

Next I’ll briefly make a few comments about the attribution. Künker attributes this coin as RIC 210. And since I have two printed editions of RIC including volume I, I thought it would be entertaining to check this attribution thoroughly and share my journey. (You can skip this if you want, nothing out of the ordinary came from this exercise.)

Attribution of these issues turned out to be not too complicated. The mark of value and the weight are the biggest give-aways. So, with that in mind, I began.

On my coin, you can see that the last part of the obverse legend is missing. RIC gives 8 legends for Aes of Rome and Lugdunum starting with ‘NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG’ and ‘GERM’: the legend stops after GERM (1 legend); the legend continues after GERM with a series of abrevations (3 legends, including GERMA IMP); the word ‘germ’ is longer (4 legend, e.g. GERMAN). The first step I took was to determine whether the coin was struck at the Lugdunum or the Rome mint. The step is in my case relatively easy, since coins struck at the Lugdunum mint show a globe at the point of the bust, which the portrait on my coin clearly has not. The second step was to weigh the coin (7,84 gr), which led me to conclude that it’s a brass AE As. And together with the mark of value that can be seen in the exergue on the reverse, the conclusion is that it’s a reform AE As of the Rome mint. Next was to find the corresponding RIC number (or, to check the number given by Kunker). The obverse legend was unclear, but the bust and reverse type are not. RIC lists 36 reverse types and 9 portrait types for the AES of Rome and Lugdunum; my coin shows reverse type no. 3 (Apollo) and obverse portrait ‘B’. Looking at the coins from the Rome mint, RIC lists 8 ‘asses’, with reverse type 3. Combined with portrait type, the reverse legend of my coin, the mint mark and the presence of ‘S C’, only one possibility remained, which is indeed RIC 210. So that makes my obverse legend: NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANIC.

Relief

My last remark regards the relief of these smaller bronzes. I had already noticed about my earlier issue that the head of Nero on the obverse really pops out. The same is the case with my latest addition. So I’ll end this write up with a question: did Nero try to mimic the relief of some of the coinage of his so beloved Greek world, especially coins of Alexander...?

P1150417.JPG.309a6212ca3956f0e7f35f682c18ac37.JPG

Thank you for reading. If you have any Nero (reform) Aes, other smaller bronzes, or anything else relevant, please share.

Sources:
- C.H.V. Sutherland and R.A.G. Carson (ed), Roman Imperial Coinage, Volume I. Revised edition, London, 1984, reprinted 2018.
- David van Meter, The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins. 1991, Laurion Press, New York.
- E. A. Sydenham. THE COINAGE OF NERO. An Introductory Study. In: The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, Fourth Series, Vol. 16 (1916), pp. 13-36; via jstor.org
- C. Suetonius Tranquillus, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; via https://penelope.uchicago.edu/ 
- Tacitus, The Annals; via https://penelope.uchicago.edu/  

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4 hours ago, Limes said:

I find the coinage of Nero absolutely fantastic. Rich in history, with vivid designs and always at a high level of artristry that would surely have pleased the Master himself. The designs are very varied and celebrate the imperial family, military victory in Armenia, but also show Nero’s exuberant building projects. And it’s not just the aureii or sestertii, but all denominations display the same fantastic designs.

Yes, that's exactly why I love the designs of Nero the most, especially the Lugdunum issues, with the 'fat face'. 

Price hikes have deterred me from picking up more than a handful of imperial Neros over the last decade (probably less than 4).

Nero was probably my co-first coin (the coin is in poor condition).

I really enjoyed the post.

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One of my favourite coins in my collection, also a recent addition.

nero.jpg.c86e235096b0f02752cfd0026fe4f045.jpg

 

Not my coin, but I'd love to own something like this. A follis of Artuqids showing the bust of a 'Roman' head, as described by the sellers. But, I think that's 100% the face of Nero. I bet he'd be ecstatic knowing that he'd be portrayed on coins more than 1000 years in future from a different culture, because they thought his coins were such beautiful works of art! 

image02100.jpg.8c8106401f6a07711c0413383cdc2e9a.jpg

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15 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

Lovely coins! Talk about HIGH RELIEF!!! Informative write-up, too. Don't let anyone say we're light on scholarship here at NVMIS FORVMS!

Thanks! You saying that means a lot. I must admit it's a bit strenuous to do a write up as a non native English speaker. 

11 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Yes, that's exactly why I love the designs of Nero the most, especially the Lugdunum issues, with the 'fat face'. 

Price hikes have deterred me from picking up more than a handful of imperial Neros over the last decade (probably less than 4).

Nero was probably my co-first coin (the coin is in poor condition).

I really enjoyed the post.

Thanks, and glad you liked it. Positive may be that Nero bronzes are abundant and in various grades. Although popular, not all of his coins are very expensive, although it of course depends on your budget and collecting preferences. I hope you may find another good piece to add to your collection some day. 

7 hours ago, JayAg47 said:

One of my favourite coins in my collection, also a recent addition.

nero.jpg.c86e235096b0f02752cfd0026fe4f045.jpg

 

Not my coin, but I'd love to own something like this. A follis of Artuqids showing the bust of a 'Roman' head, as described by the sellers. But, I think that's 100% the face of Nero. I bet he'd be ecstatic knowing that he'd be portrayed on coins more than 1000 years in future from a different culture, because they thought his coins were such beautiful works of art! 

image02100.jpg.8c8106401f6a07711c0413383cdc2e9a.jpg

Thanks for your comment, appreciate it. Your latest Nero shows a really strong portrait. And is there someone riding on the back of Victory? Or is it a die break? 

And that follis is very interesting! That sure does like Nero. Indeed, even the guys froms the Artuqid dynasty enjoyed the artistry of these coins, as much as we do today. And if the world still exists a 1000 years from now, maybe people then will still marvel at these coins. 

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Thank you for the very informative text! You always learn something new. 

Here is my Nero II-dupondius from Lugdunum. What I don't quite understand from the tables is that my dupondius weighs around 13 grams. A bit heavier than the Augustus system, but well under 16 grams in relation to the "new" Nero system. And yet the Dupondius bears the "II" mark for the reform?

 

 

NERORIC412.png.8429ef9193f40cbf7d683df1264c774d.png

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; Reign: Nero; Mint: Lugdunum, Gaul; Date: circa 65 AD; Nominal: Dupondius; Material: AE Bronze; Diameter: 28mm; Weight: 12.99g; Reference: BMC 351; Reference: Cohen 446; Reference: RIC I (second edition) Nero 412; Provenance: Künker Numismatik Osnabrück, Germany; Provenance: Lanz Numismatics Munich, Germany (Auction 109, Lot 312, 2002); Obverse: Head of Nero, laureate, left; small globe at point of neck; Inscription: NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P; Translation: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribunicia Potestas, Imperator, Pater Patriae; Translation: Nero Claudius, Caesar, Augustus, victor over the Germans, high priest, tribunician power, Imperator, father of the country; Reverse: Victory walking left, holding wreath in right hand and palm in left; Inscription: VICTORIA AVGVSTI S C II; Translation: Victoria Augusti, Senatus Consultum; Translation: Victory of the Augustus. Decree of the senate

 

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21 hours ago, Limes said:

Hello everyone,

This topic is not about that man in love with art, but about that other guy who had a big crush on art: L. Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero Claudius Caesar. Born in Antium in 37 AD, he entered public life at an early age and rose rapidly in the imperial line after Claudius married his mother, Agrippina the Younger. Everything good, one would think. But, alas. His mother - allegedly - murdered emperor Claudius, placing Nero on the throne in 54 AD. From there on, things slowly went downwards. His endulgance for the arts lead to erratic behaviour which greatly upset the elite. And after his love for the arts caused the imperial treasure chest to reach the bottom in 67 AD, consequently delaying payments to the troops, the dagger proved to be stronger than the lyre. Exit: Nero.

I find the coinage of Nero absolutely fantastic. Rich in history, with vivid designs and always at a high level of artristry that would surely have pleased the Master himself. The designs are very varied and celebrate the imperial family, military victory in Armenia, but also show Nero’s exuberant building projects. And it’s not just the aureii or sestertii, but all denominations display the same fantastic designs.

The latest Kunker e-live auction allowed me to finally add this coin of Nero to my collection, having been high on my wishlist for quite some time. It’s a reform brass As showing Nero playing the lyre on the reverse. Now this coin is interesting for several reasons, on which I make a few comments below.

8.7.png.c2004c53f46f3ce1e21e9074d1ef75de.png

About the reverse: Nero playing the lyre

The next few comments are about the reverse. As said above, the reverse of this coin shows Nero as Apollo playing the lyre. It’s not a mystery to us that in the larger part of his reign, Nero indulged himself into horses and races, the arts and music, and everything Greek. He was also quite the big spender, and, according to Suetonius, Nero thought that there was no other way of enjoying riches and money than by “riotous extravagance, declaring that only stingy and niggardly fellows kept a correct account of what they spent, while fine and genuinely magnificent gentlemen wasted and squandered.” (Ch. 25; thanks to the fantastic site of Bill Thayer). 

His practice of the lyre and singing started early in his reign. According to Suetonius, after some encouragement by his entourage, he even started to appear on stage and his first acte de présence was in Naples. After that, he longed to appear in Rome itself, and for that reason, repeated the contest of  Neronia, a festival established in 60 AD on the model of the Olympic games which was to be held every five years with athletic and artistic competitions. Nero even also participated in the Olympic games after introducting a musical competition contrary to custom. Returning from Greece, he held a triumph in Rome while wearing a purple robe and a Greek cloak adorned with stars of gold, and bearing the Olympic crow on his head. Of course a visit to the temple of Apollo was part of the procession.

Next it becomes even more interesting, as Suetonius actually mentions this coin in his book, thereby making this the coin with the oldest provenance in my collection (well, not this specific coin, but the type. But that still counts right?): 

"He placed the sacred crowns in his bed-chambers around the couches, as well as statues representing him in the guise of a lyre-player; and he had a coin too struck with the same device." (Ch. 25; thanks to the fantastic site of Bill Thayer). 

But that’s not the only theory about the symbolism of the reverse. Another story about the reverse is that it shows Nero playing the lyre and singing while a great fire swept through Rome. This story gained further strength as Nero used part of the destroyed city to build his new palace. Suetonius mentions the following:

For under cover of displeasure at the ugliness of the old buildings and the narrow, crooked streets, he set fire to the city so openly that several ex- consuls did not venture to lay hands on his chamberlains although they caught them on their estates with tow and fire-brands, while some granaries near the Golden House, whose room he particularly desired, were demolished by engines of war and then set on fire, because their walls were of stone.
(...) Viewing the conflagration from the tower of Maecenas and exulting, as he said, in  "the beauty of the flames," he sang the whole of the "Sack of Ilium," in his regular stage costume.” (Ch. 38; again thanks to the fantastic site of Bill Thayer)

However, according to Tacitus, Nero was away from Rome when the fire broke out and returned to the city to take measures to help the population of Rome. He further took measures to tighten building regulations to prevent new fires. This seems to debunk the story provided by Suetonius.

About the coin reform

My latest addition, and the issue shown below which is already part of my collection, are also two issues marked with a ‘I’ in the exergue. They are part of Nero’s coin reform. The ‘what’ and ‘why’ about this reform interested me, so I started reading about it. I will make a few comments below, and, if you are interested too, I’ve added the sources at the bottom of this write up for further reading.  

8.2.png.559cb3624632bd6a4107041516076b1a.png

Augustus introduced a new monetery system, which consisted of the following - for this write up relevant - denominations*:

Aureus

Gold

7,85 gr

25 denarii

Denarius

Silver

4 gr

16 Asses

Sestertius

Brass

25 - 30 gr

4 Asses

Dupondius

Brass

12 gr

2 Asses

As

Copper

11 gr

Basic unit

Semis

Brass

3-4 gr

1/2 As

Quadrans

Copper

3 gr

1/4 As

To this system, Nero added the following changes**:

Aureus

Gold

7,27 gr

25 denarii

Denarius

Silver

3,41 gr

16 Asses

Sestertius

Brass

25 - 30 gr

4 Asses

Dupondius

Brass

16,3 gr

2 Asses

As

Brass

8,1 gr

Basic unit

 

Copper

10,9

Basis unit

Semis

Brass

4 gr

1/2 As

 

Copper

5 gr

1/2 As

Quadrans

Brass

2 gr

1/4 As

 

Copper

2,7 gr

1/4 As

* Based on David van Meter
** Based on Sydenham

As we can see from these tables, Nero begin striking the ‘lower’ denominations in both metals: copper and brass. He also reduced the silver and gold content of the denarius resp. aureus. The reasons for the latter might have been, that due to the increasing costs of the imperial household and military payments, Nero was forced (or happily decided) to decrease the purity of the finer metals to be able to increase funds. Also, according to David van Meter, the treasury was under extreme stress due to the relief actions because of great fire of 64 AD, and the various already initiated ambitious building projects.

However, that does not sufficiently explains the introduction of the smaller units in new metals. For this, Sydenham has examined the various weights of the coinage. The dupondius and As as introduced by Augustus, were in value 2:1. However, the weight was quite comparable, and this caused issues as the actual difference in value between the two metals - brass and copper - did not compensate for the monetary value of the dupondius - As. Hence, under the reign of Nero, it was decided to make a better connection to the actual value of the metals, which was 1.1/3:1 (brass:copper). And by introducing the brass As and increasing the weight of the brass dupondius, the monetary value was established at 1:2. The underlying reason to introduce these reforms was to adapt to the Greek coinage in proportional values, which may have made commercial relations between the east and west easier. To make the value of the new coinage clear, Nero added symbols to them, determining the coins as dupondii (II), Asses (I) and semisses (S) respectively. Also not that today, it’s difficult to distinguish copper from brass, due to the patina formed over the hundreds of years buried in the ground. But for a Roman, the difference was easy to notice, as brass had a bright yellow-golden colour, and copper a reddish-brown colour. (Note: copper is a pure metal, whereas brass is a copper alloy, containing copper and zinc.)

Although the ratio behind the reform remains uncertain - whether it was due to Nero’s love for anything Greek, to fix a commercial problem, or a scheme to generate more funds, or all of these reasons -  it is clear that it did not last. Nero’s coin reform was abandoned soon after his death. But fortunately for us collectors, it lasted long enough for us to hold such an interesting piece of history in hand.

About the attribution

Next I’ll briefly make a few comments about the attribution. Künker attributes this coin as RIC 210. And since I have two printed editions of RIC including volume I, I thought it would be entertaining to check this attribution thoroughly and share my journey. (You can skip this if you want, nothing out of the ordinary came from this exercise.)

Attribution of these issues turned out to be not too complicated. The mark of value and the weight are the biggest give-aways. So, with that in mind, I began.

On my coin, you can see that the last part of the obverse legend is missing. RIC gives 8 legends for Aes of Rome and Lugdunum starting with ‘NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG’ and ‘GERM’: the legend stops after GERM (1 legend); the legend continues after GERM with a series of abrevations (3 legends, including GERMA IMP); the word ‘germ’ is longer (4 legend, e.g. GERMAN). The first step I took was to determine whether the coin was struck at the Lugdunum or the Rome mint. The step is in my case relatively easy, since coins struck at the Lugdunum mint show a globe at the point of the bust, which the portrait on my coin clearly has not. The second step was to weigh the coin (7,84 gr), which led me to conclude that it’s a brass AE As. And together with the mark of value that can be seen in the exergue on the reverse, the conclusion is that it’s a reform AE As of the Rome mint. Next was to find the corresponding RIC number (or, to check the number given by Kunker). The obverse legend was unclear, but the bust and reverse type are not. RIC lists 36 reverse types and 9 portrait types for the AES of Rome and Lugdunum; my coin shows reverse type no. 3 (Apollo) and obverse portrait ‘B’. Looking at the coins from the Rome mint, RIC lists 8 ‘asses’, with reverse type 3. Combined with portrait type, the reverse legend of my coin, the mint mark and the presence of ‘S C’, only one possibility remained, which is indeed RIC 210. So that makes my obverse legend: NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANIC.

Relief

My last remark regards the relief of these smaller bronzes. I had already noticed about my earlier issue that the head of Nero on the obverse really pops out. The same is the case with my latest addition. So I’ll end this write up with a question: did Nero try to mimic the relief of some of the coinage of his so beloved Greek world, especially coins of Alexander...?

P1150417.JPG.309a6212ca3956f0e7f35f682c18ac37.JPG

Thank you for reading. If you have any Nero (reform) Aes, other smaller bronzes, or anything else relevant, please share.

Sources:
- C.H.V. Sutherland and R.A.G. Carson (ed), Roman Imperial Coinage, Volume I. Revised edition, London, 1984, reprinted 2018.
- David van Meter, The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins. 1991, Laurion Press, New York.
- E. A. Sydenham. THE COINAGE OF NERO. An Introductory Study. In: The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, Fourth Series, Vol. 16 (1916), pp. 13-36; via jstor.org
- C. Suetonius Tranquillus, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; via https://penelope.uchicago.edu/ 
- Tacitus, The Annals; via https://penelope.uchicago.edu/  

Interesting coins & writeup ☺️!

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2 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

Thank you for the very informative text! You always learn something new. 

Here is my Nero II-dupondius from Lugdunum. What I don't quite understand from the tables is that my dupondius weighs around 13 grams. A bit heavier than the Augustus system, but well under 16 grams in relation to the "new" Nero system. And yet the Dupondius bears the "II" mark for the reform?

 

 

NERORIC412.png.8429ef9193f40cbf7d683df1264c774d.png

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; Reign: Nero; Mint: Lugdunum, Gaul; Date: circa 65 AD; Nominal: Dupondius; Material: AE Bronze; Diameter: 28mm; Weight: 12.99g; Reference: BMC 351; Reference: Cohen 446; Reference: RIC I (second edition) Nero 412; Provenance: Künker Numismatik Osnabrück, Germany; Provenance: Lanz Numismatics Munich, Germany (Auction 109, Lot 312, 2002); Obverse: Head of Nero, laureate, left; small globe at point of neck; Inscription: NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P; Translation: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribunicia Potestas, Imperator, Pater Patriae; Translation: Nero Claudius, Caesar, Augustus, victor over the Germans, high priest, tribunician power, Imperator, father of the country; Reverse: Victory walking left, holding wreath in right hand and palm in left; Inscription: VICTORIA AVGVSTI S C II; Translation: Victoria Augusti, Senatus Consultum; Translation: Victory of the Augustus. Decree of the senate

 

That's a very handsome bronze, & your excellent video reveals the engraver's guide line on the reverse 😃!

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On 11/6/2023 at 11:41 AM, Prieure de Sion said:

What I don't quite understand from the tables is that my dupondius weighs around 13 grams. A bit heavier than the Augustus system, but well under 16 grams in relation to the "new" Nero system. And yet the Dupondius bears the "II" mark for the reform?

@Limes ... can you say something about it? Do you have any information about this? Thanks.

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21 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

@Limes ... can you say something about it? Do you have any information about this? Thanks.

Ah yes, sorry, didn't have the time to dive into this yet. It's an interesting (and beautiful!) coin.

It raises the question of the relation of post and prior reform coinage in relation to the Lugdunum mint. Sydenham briefly mentions this in his paper; the weight of the AE As at Lugdunum deviated from the weight of the Rome mint, and the weight of post reform copper semisses do not relate to the weight of post reform semisses of Rome. I'll have to check it out and do some comparison. But basically, I think this also affects the dupondius from Lugdunum (i.e. weight appears to be lighter that post reform weight standard at the Rome mint). 

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22 minutes ago, Limes said:

It's an interesting (and beautiful!) coin.

Thanks for that interesting Thread and information...!

22 minutes ago, Limes said:

It raises the question of the relation of post and prior reform coinage in relation to the Lugdunum mint. Sydenham briefly mentions this in his paper; the weight of the AE As at Lugdunum deviated from the weight of the Rome mint, and the weight of post reform copper semisses do not relate to the weight of post reform semisses of Rome. I'll have to check it out and do some comparison. But basically, I think this also affects the dupondius from Lugdunum (i.e. weight appears to be lighter that post reform weight standard at the Rome mint). 

Ah ok.

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Today is Nero Day for me - I was able to secure two Dupondii. One without "II" and one with "II" - so one before and one after the reform. First of all, another Victory Dupondius from Lugdunum - but unlike my previous specimen, this one without the "II" suffix.

 

nerovictory.png.8c0f4d27041df4c0f77bc3d92cb16b0c.png

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; Reign: Nero; Mint: Lugdunum, Gaul; Date: circa 66 AD; Nominal: Dupondius; Material: AE Bronze; Diameter: 28mm; Weight: 13.00g; Reference: BMC 356; Reference: Cohen 344; Reference: RIC I (second edition) Nero 523; Obverse: Head of Nero, laureate, left; small globe at point of neck; Inscription: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P; Translation: Imperator Nero Caesar Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribunicia Potestas, Pater Patriae; Translation: Imperator) Nero Caesar, Augustus, high priest, tribunician power, father of the country; Reverse: Victory walking left, holding wreath in right hand and palm in left; Inscription: VICTORIA AVGVSTI S C; Translation: Victoria Augusti, Senatus Consultum; Translation: Victory of the Augustus. Decree of the senate.
 
 
And here is another Dupondius - this time from Rome - and with the suffix "II". I was fascinated by the reverse, which shows the food market inaugurated by Nero in 59 AD. Macellum was the name for a market hall in Roman antiquity. Macellum is probably the Latinised form of the Greek word for market (mákellos). According to Marcus Terentius Varro, the word macellum is of Doric-Ionic origin and means "garden". In the actual sense, macellum refers to the area where slaughtering takes place. Later, it came to refer to the entire facility. A macellum was a public building with shops on the outer walls that traders could rent. In the centre of the usually square building there was often a smaller, central structure, such as a tholos (round temple), a fountain or a water basin. A macellum was often surrounded by porticoes. In addition to the forums, a macellum served as a food market, especially for meat, fish and delicacies. Plautus mentions such a market for the first time in the 2nd half of the 3rd century BC and also calls it a macellum. It was modelled on the agora of the Greek-Hellenistic cities. However, there was no wholesale trade here.
 
Until the 2nd century BC, there were many different individual food markets in Rome, such as the Forum Boarium (the cattle market) and the Forum Piscarium (the fish market). The latter burned down in 210 BC, as reported by Livy and Varro. It was not until 31 years later, in 179 BC, that the reconstruction work was completed. In the course of this work, the many different individual markets were merged into a single market on the site of the old Forum Piscarium. This new market was called Macellum and was already mentioned by Plautus. The reason for this was the desire to move trade away from the political centre. Under Augustus, the old Macellum was replaced by the new Macellum Livae, named after his wife Livia Drusilla, on the Esquiline. Under Nero, the macellum magnum on the Caelius was added. On this occasion, Nero issued one of his most famous coins, which showed the macellum magnum on the reverse (as on the bronze offered here). The site of the "original" macellum was built over with the Forum Pacis under Vespasian.
 
neromacellummagnus.png.d50f3b91a4d8d48c6bbcb1a7386a226a.png
 
Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; Reign: Nero; Mint: Rome; Date: 64 AD; Nominal: Dupondius; Material: AE Bronze; Diameter: 29mm; Weight: 13.87g; Reference: Cohen 130; Reference: WCN 203 Hill Monuments 59; Reference: RIC I (second edition) Nero 184; Pedigree: Ex Niels Bro-Rasmussen Collection; Obverse: Head of Nero, radiate, right; Inscription: NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P; Translation: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribunicia Potestas, Imperator, Pater Patriae; Translation: Nero Claudius, Caesar, Augustus, victor over the Germans, high priest, tribunician power, Imperator, father of the country; Reverse: Front view of the Macellum Magnum; above the steps, male figure standing, left, holding sceptre; Inscription: MAC AVG S C II; Translation: Macellum Augusti, Senatus Consultum; Translation: The food market of the Augustus. Decree of the senate.
 
 
Edited by Prieure de Sion
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