Two Dupondii of Nero

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Trebellianus, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Trebellianus

    Trebellianus VOT II MVLT III


    One recent and one not-so-recent acquisition which I think compare nicely. On the left we have a specimen from Rome, and on the right one from Lugdunum. The telltale sign of the Lugdunum mint is, of course, the small globe at the point of the bust — but I think here the contrast in style is very clearly apparent.

    Rome gives us an idealised (and rather cold, distant) portrait. Combined with the inaugural appearance of the radial crown on a living emperor we have something rather Hellenistic in feeling — the princeps as demigod. Meanwhile Lugdunum hands down what we might imagine is something closer to Nero the man — the jowls, the scowl, the artfully messy hair. Mattingly diagnosed the Lugdunum style as "rugged, but vigorous, with an expression often almost truculent", which fits this specimen rather neatly.

    The lack of consistency in the headgear is of note. The mints were experimenting with indications of value at this stage: Rome did what would later become conventional, but Lugdunum generally turned out a laureate head on the Dupondius and a bare head on the As.

    Difference in the inscriptions is chronological in nature: the Lugdunum coin dates from after Nero's assumption of "Imperator" as a praenomen in 66AD. Meanwhile "Germanicus" disappears completely -- was it deliberately dropped, as Mattingly wondered, "as a suggestion that the Parthian triumph of Nero eclipsed the traditional Germanic glories of the family?" The earlier Rome also finds room to honour the emperor's descent by adoption from the divine Claudius.

    52 both.jpg
    Nero, Rome, c.64-66AD, O: radiate head right, NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P / R: Roma seated left on cuirass holding wreath and parazonium, arms piled around, ROMA, S-C between

    50 both.jpg
    Nero, Lugdunum, c.66-68AD, O: laureate head left, globe at point of bust, IMP. NERO. CAESAR. AVG. P. MAX. TR. P. P. P. / R: Securitas holding sceptre seated right, lighted, garlanded altar and torch to right, SECVRITAS AVGVSTI, S-C between

    Both just absolutely lovely coins visually, as much character as you could ask for. The reverses are fairly self-explanatory, and I think the "Securitas" composition turned out very agreeably.

    So — post some Neroes, or the same thing from multiple mints, or whatever feels germane to the topic.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  3. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

  4. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    (I think you might have swapped them around, cuz I see a globe on the right and not on the left.)

    Great coins though! Wow!

    Agreed, it's lovely!
    Trebellianus likes this.
  5. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A wonderful post featuring great coins. I really appreciated your interpretation based on the numismatic evidence. I have long been fascinated with the portraiture of Nero. I believe these portraits tell an interesting story.

    This one is a very young Nero as Caesar under Claudius. I wish I knew if there was some significance in the directionality of the portraits.

    claud nero new.jpg
    The next 2 are both pre reform denarii. These are fairly difficult to find but they are interesting. Both are still young portraits. he is starting to put on some weight but he still has a youthful appearance.
    Nero ric 35.jpg

    nero ric 24 copy.jpg
    This last one is a different animal all together. The 'Fat Tyrant' portrait on this coin is an image I think many people associate with Nero. This coin was struck in the last year of his reign.
    new nero ric 68 combined.jpg
    I would love to have more coins of Nero.
  6. Trebellianus

    Trebellianus VOT II MVLT III

    That's about as basic as it gets, good grief — now corrected, thanks!
    Justin Lee likes this.
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Good post. I have a similar pair:
    Lugdunum laureate dupondius
    Rome radiate dupondius with II denomination mark

    My Roma is a sestertius

    There are many variations of the Temple of Janus asses.

    Most common Nero bronze is the Victory as.
  8. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice @Trebellianus, I especially like the Securitas reverse. I don’t have an imperial Nero yet, still waiting on the “right” one, but here’s a Nero tetradrachm from Alexandria with a bonus emperor (Tiberius) on the reverse.


    Nero, Tetradrachm, Alexandria, (22 mm, 13.54g), Circa 66-67 AD, NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AY, Radiate bust of Nero to left, wearing aegis; in field to left, L IΓ. Rev. TIBEPIOΣ KAIΣAP, Radiate head of Tiberius to right. Dattari (Savio) 185, RPC I 5295
  9. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Great coins. LOVE the Lugd!
    Funny enough, I just received a neat lil Nero coin in the mail today!
    One I'm very excited to own, and get a great "kick" out of (to soon?), Is one that portrays someone who greatly adds to Nero's notoriety...Poor Poppaea

    Nero With Poppaea
    Billon tetradrachmon, 63-64. Head with strkr. No. Rv. [POPPAI] A SEBASTH Drap. Bust nr, the hair in the neck in a braid, in the field r. Date LI (= year 10). 12.18 g. Geissen 58, 157. Dattari 12, 196. RPC I, 708, 5275. Rare.
    Ex: Savoca
  10. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Awesome! Happens to all of us.

    Nero, AE Dupondius
    Struck 62-68 AD, Lugdunum (Lyon) Mint

    Obverse: NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P, Head of Nero, laureate, left; small globe at point of neck.
    Reverse: VICTORIA AVGVSTI, Victory walking left, holding wreath in right hand and palm in left, S-C in fields, II in exergue.
    References: RIC I 410; Lyon 81; BMCRE 350; Cohen 346
    Size: 29mm, 14.84g

    Nero, Ruled 54-68 AD
    AE As, Struck 65 AD, Rome mint

    Obverse: NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP, Laureate head of Nero right.
    Reverse: Victory alighting left, wings spread holding shield inscribed SPQR, S-C across field.
    References: RIC I 312, Sear 1976

    [Below is an image of the coin as purchased prior to cleaning.]
  11. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    Fantastic Neros.

  12. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  13. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Here are some of my middle Nero bronzes - I love all of his coins, but much prefer the more florid issues from Lugdunum.

    9c_1_b.jpg 136_0_mid.jpg 136_1.jpg 138_0_mid.jpg 138_1.jpg 16435.jpg 650864.jpg 1199204l.jpg 4947876l.jpg 76001400.jpg
    Eduard, Shea19, Johndakerftw and 5 others like this.
  14. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    a couple more Nero's demonstrating sylistic differences between Rome and Lugdunum. m46761.jpg NeroDup.jpg nero.jpg nerr.jpg OR-TFWQ.jpg
    Eduard, Marsyas Mike, Shea19 and 6 others like this.
  15. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member



    Nero Æ Dupondius. Rome, circa AD 64. NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, radiate head right / Façade of the Macellum Magnum; MAC AVG above, II (mark of value) in exergue. RIC 184; WCN 203. 14.38g, 29mm, 6h.

    This portrait seems to me to be influenced by the portrayals of Hellenistic monarchs - idealised and upward looking.
    Eduard, Marsyas Mike, Shea19 and 3 others like this.
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