the coin Suetonius talked about.....

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Marsman, Oct 16, 2021.

  1. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    It’s been a while since I started a thread on this forum. I’m planning on doing this more often. I bought quite a few coins lately.

    One of my latest purchases is this coin of Nero playing the lyre. For me it’s a dream coin. I was looking for one for quite a while, made a few bids, but not successful until know. What makes this type so special is the figure on the back. It's the god Apollo Citharoedus with cithara (lyre). Apollo is the god of music, fine arts, poetry and more.


    It's no coincidence that Apollo appears on the reverse of this coin. Nero was very fond of Apollo and liked to identify himself with this deity. He often performed with lyre for an uncritical audience that was sometimes forced to attend his performances.
    It is quite possible that the figure on the reverse of my coin is not Apollo, but Nero himself making music. However, we are not 100% sure about that because the coin itself does not mention anything about the figure.

    What also makes the coin very interesting is that this coin was already talked about in ancient history. Suetonius discussed the coin in his emperor's biographies. He wrote that after his so-called 'successful' musical performances in Greece, emperor Nero had placed several statues of him as a lyre player and that a coin of the emperor playing the lyre was minted.

    Finally, the rumour was that the fire in Rome, which reduced part of the city to ashes, had been started by Nero himself, because he wanted to make room for the golden palace (domus aurea) he wanted to build. The story goes that he played the lyre when Rome burned......
    History was not on Nero's side, but the question remains whether that is fair!

    Nero as 1.jpg

    Nero, as
    Nero Ae. as, Lugdunum, AD 65.
    Obv. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERMANICUS, bare head right.
    Rev. PONTIF MAX TR POT IMP PP S C, Nero as Apollo Citharoedus advancing playing lyre.
    10.65 g, 2.9 cm
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  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great coin, congrats Marsman

    I have a similar Nero coin:

    P1160606  best.JPG
  4. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

  5. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Cool coin! I don't have the same type, but here's Apollo lyre-ing away with a tambourine in hand (i know its not a tambourine but cmon it sure looks like it)
    Maximinus II Van Heesch Antioch 3S.JPG
    TIF, Curtisimo, Bing and 8 others like this.
  7. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I'm glad somebody has been buying coins lately, because it sure hasn't been me! The recent hyper-price inflation has left me coinless and depressed :(
    ominus1 likes this.
  8. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    i do a lot more shopping than buying these days, but i hear ya...:)...and that's one( or @Andres2 ) i'd like to have there @Marsman very kool!:)
  9. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    That is a fantastic reverse type for Nero @Marsman , great coin!

    I can share this fairly common Gordian III with Apollo and his lyre:


    Gordian III, Antoninianus (22 mm, 4.61 g), Rome, circa 242. IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian to right. Rev. P M TR P V COS II P P Apollo seated left on throne, holding branch with his right hand and resting his left elbow on lyre. RIC 89.
    Johndakerftw, TIF, Bing and 3 others like this.
  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    Congrats!! That's a nice example with a great portrait. I actually had a worn example many years ago that I bought from a pick-bin (imagine that!) for only 10 CAD. I sold it for a tidy profit but years later came to regret that when I started looking for a replacement - the quintessential Nero coin, no? They don't come up all that often, and like you I tried and failed quite a few times, until this one landed in my lap:
    nero apollo.jpg
    I was quite amazed to get it for only a hundred bucks. I guess the corrosion spots made other bidders pass over it, but when I looked at the enlarged image and saw the detail present, I was more than satisfied to pick it up for my collection. I'm happy to forgive it its flaws. :D
    PeteB, Johndakerftw, Shea19 and 5 others like this.
  11. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I am in the market for that coin. I want the portrait decent and the lyre sharp. Not an easy combination to find.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  12. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    And don't forget, good price!
  13. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    No Nero for me of course but I do have Apollo and his lyre
    Roman Imperatorial period AR denarius(3.92g, 20mm), P. Clodius M.f. Turrinus, moneyer, 42 B.C., Rome mint. Laureate bust of Apollo right; lyre behind / Diana Lucifera standing facing with bow and quiver over shoulder, holding lighted torch in each hand; P•CLODIVS M•F• across fields. Crawford 494/23; Sydenham 1117; Sear HCRI 184
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