Arcus Neronis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Marsman, Mar 2, 2022.

  1. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    I’m back in The Netherlands after a long weekend in Rome, visiting the Musei Vaticani and of course the Forum Romanum. The Forum is a magical place, especially with that beautiful view from the Palantino. So much history when you walk on the Via Sacra, paved with those large stones.

    This coin arrived at home when I was in Rome. A sestertius of Nero with the Arch of Nero (Latin: Arcus Neronis) on the reverse. The arch was erected between 58 and 62, in honor of the Parthian victories of Corbulo, an important general under Nero. This general had to commit suicide later on the orders of the paranoid Nero.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing left of this triumphal arch in todays Rome.
    The arch was probably demolished immediately after Nero's death and his sentence to damnatio memoriae, as no later references are known in the ancient sources. Another possibility is that the arch was destroyed by the fires of 69 or 80. We don't know.....

    Coins are the only source by which we can now reconstruct the arch.


    Nero (AD 54-68). AE Sestertius. Lugdunum, circa AD 65.
    Obv: NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head to left, globe at point of bust.
    Rev: Triumphal arch surmounted by statuary group of Nero in quadriga, escorted by Victory and Pax and flanked by soldiers; statue of Mars holding spear and shield in niche on left side of arch; S-C to left and right.
    Ref: RIC I 393

    Weight: 24,4 gr
    Diameter: 35 mm
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2022
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    Very nice!! And so satisfying in hand, I expect. I love the statue on the near side of the arch.

    I have a right-facer, also from the Lugdunum mint:
    nero arch sestertius.jpg
  4. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    @Severus Alexander, thank you for your kind words.
    Your right-facer piece looks very nice as well !
    I love to hold those big sestertius coins :)
    In this case even more cause we only know what this triumphal arch looked liked by coins like these.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  5. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    I really like the excellent detail on your coin, @Marsman, specially the reverse. Many of the devices are clearly visible. Nice addition.

    This is my example. I forget now, but I think it was also struck at Lugdunum.

    Nero Sestertius ARCH - OBV:REV - Nice GP Picture - good detal and color. New 2021.png
    TIF, buckeye73, Spaniard and 6 others like this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    That's a lovely coin, @Marsman (and everybody else).

    Although I don't have a Nero, I do have a Julio Claudian arch, the Arch of Druses. There is an "Arch of Drusus" that still stands, described thusly:

    "The Arch of Drusus is an ancient arch in Rome, Italy, close to the First Mile of the Appian Way and next to the Porta San Sebastiano.

    The exact origins of the Arch are unclear. It is now generally agreed that it has nothing to do with Nero Claudius Drusus, the conqueror of the Germans. Some versions have the arch being constructed as part of a spur added to the Aqua Marcia by Caracalla in 211–216 AD to take water from that aqueduct to Caracalla's new baths. However, it appears more likely that the arch pre-dated the aqueduct and that the aqueduct was conveniently routed over the top of the arch." (Wikipedia)​

    The true Arch of Drusus shown on the coin below is probably this one:

    "The monument now known as Arch of Drusus has nothing to do with Drusus. In fact, it was built more than two centuries after his death at the point where the Aqua Antoniana aqueduct, which supplied the Baths of Caracalla, crossed the Via Appia. As was usual, the arch on which the water was carried across the road, was decorated (cf. the Porta Maggiore).

    The remains of the real Arch of Drusus, which was erected by the Senate, may have been found near this part of the aqueduct, which is close to the Porta Sebastiano. A coin that commemorates Drusus' victories in Germania. struck by his son Claudius, shows the real monument. On top of the arch is a statue of Drusus on horseback, flanked by two trophies and sitting captives."

    This is a Paduan, or some other type, of copy:

    Claudius - Arch Sestertius July 2019 (0).jpg
    Claudius Æ Sestertius/Medal
    Paduan copy after Da Cavino
    (50-54 A.D. type; 1500-1570 or later 19th C. restrike?)

    TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head right / NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMAN IMP, S C, Arch of Drusus with statue.
    RIC 114 type (Paduan copy)
    (18.16 grams / 31 mm)
    eBay July 2019

    My inexpert guess is that the original, genuine Arch of Drusus collapsed soon after construction because the horse was too big. This may be why I never made it as an archaeologist/scholar. But everybody is entitled to a theory! :rolleyes:
    TIF, Spaniard, Bing and 4 others like this.
  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    A beautiful coin. Do you have any photos of your trip to post? I'm sure there are many of us who'd love to see them.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  8. Curtis

    Curtis Supporter! Supporter

    Beautiful arch coins! And lucky you getting a trip to Rome and getting to return home to the Netherlands!

    I don't have his triumphal arch, but here is a coin of Nero that relates to ancient sources and monuments they described (and rather indirectly to the earlier fire of 64 CE).

    This is the Provincial version, but doubtless modeled on the Imperial AE Asses (e.g., for those right-facing bare head obv., RIC 415-416, 464, and others), and discussed by Suetonius (Life of Nero 25:2):

    [After winning prize crowns for his musical performances, Nero] "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."​

    One can barely tell from the example below, but the reverse depiction of Nero-as-Apollo on these coins shows him with a radiate crown as well. This was, apparently, a device Nero became quite fond of, seeing himself as a sun god borrowing features of Apollo-Sol. I don't think we know exactly where he placed his statues of himself as Apollo (if only around the "bed-chambers" or elsewhere!) but the Colossus of Nero also wore a radiate crown.

    This coin was likely struck during or immediately after Nero's musical tour of the Greek Games c. 66/7 CE, during which he also "liberated" Achaea. (No surprise, then, that various Greek cities and leagues struck coins in exactly the designs that would flatter his delusions of musical grandeur.)

    BCD Nero Thessaly Koinon Apollo Lyre-Kithara Bronze ex-CNG e-490, e-325.jpg
    Roman Provincial. Thessaly, Koinon. temp. Nero. Aristion, Strategos.
    AE Assarion or Diassarion (22mm, 9.52 g, 6h). Struck c. 66/7 - 67/8 CE.
    Obv: ΝЄΡΩΝ ΘЄCCΑΛΩΝ. Laureate head right
    Rev: APIΣTIΩN/OΣ ΣTPATH/ΓOY. Apollo Kitharoidos standing right, holding kithara in his left hand, playing it with his right.
    Ref: BCD Thessaly II 931.1 var. (arrangement of legend); Burrer Em. 1, Series 1, 1.1 (A1/R1 – this coin illustrated on pl. 9); RPC I 1439 (this coin cited in RPC Supp 1 & Online, as Burrer 1.1).
    Prov: Ex-BCD Collection; CNG e-Auction 325, "Coinage of the Thessalian League from the BCD Collection" (23 April 2014), lot 39; Peter J. Merani Collection (Part II); CNG e-Auction 490 (21 April 2021), Lot 65.
    TIF, Marsyas Mike, Bing and 2 others like this.
  9. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    nero apollo.jpg

    Very cool that your provincial version has a radiate crown!
  10. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins. This is my Nero as Apollo plugging the strings :)


    Thank you Donna and yes, I certainly took some photos but my eldest daughter took the camera with her to her trip to Constantinopel. She didn’t tell me about taking the camera until she was at the Schiphol AirPort :arghh: she’s away for a while….
    I can only show you the magnificent view from the Palatine hill, these are the photos that I took with my mobile phone. But then, there must be a million pictures of this scene on the internet ;)

    37CEC6E2-579D-4955-9B05-80F1E5BB1E83.jpeg 5C9FF4C5-85B4-483E-89A6-6975138C9782.jpeg
  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    Well, yeah, but it's nice seeing it through a coin friend's eyes. Next best thing to being there. :) I remember that view during my trip years ago with great fondness!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page