Roman Empire

Nero, Emperor AD 54-68

RIC 40; BMC 45; Calicó 437, Mint State

Rome, AD 63. NERO CAESAR AVG IMP, youthful bare head of Nero right. Reverse: PONTIF MAX TR P X COS IIII P P, EX S C across field, Roma standing left, resting foot on helmet, holding spear and parazonium.

Ex Roma XIII (23 March 2017), 770

The quality of Nero’s reign appears to have fallen into a steep decline after the death of his mother. He began to indulge in his artistic passions and chariot racing, which offended the senatorial elite. After the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, Nero blamed the Christians for it and burned them alive in punishment while at the same time using the devastated central regions of the city to build a grand palace known as the Domus Aurea or Golden House. He enjoyed popularity with the lower classes due to his frequent celebration of games and food distributions, but his confiscations and reintroduction of treason laws made him hated by the elite. The Pisonian conspiracy, uncovered in AD 65, made the Emperor increasingly paranoid, which was not helped by the outbreak of the Great Jewish Revolt in the following year. In AD 68, C. Julius Vindex, the governor of Germania Superior revolted, followed by Servius Sulpicius Galba in Hispania, and L. Clodius Macer in Africa. Nero’s world was falling apart before his eyes. When the Senate declared him a public enemy he fled Rome and took his own life with the lament, “What an artist dies with me!”