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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Protection from the Pisonian Conspiracy

Triton XXII, Lot: 1025. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Nero. AD 54-68. AV Aureus (19mm, 7.21 g, 9h). Rome mint. Struck circa AD 64-65. NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS, laureate head right / IVPPITER CVSTOS, Jupiter, bare to waist, with cloak around lower limbs, seated left on throne, holding thunderbolt in right hand and vertical scepter in left. RIC I 52; WCN 25; Calicó 412; BMCRE 67-73; BN 213-21; Biaggi 225-8. Good VF, light reddish tone.

From the DMS Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group 40 (with Numismatica Ars Classica, 4 December 1996), lot 1389; Classical Numismatic Auctions XIII (4 December 1990), lot 417; Classical Numismatic Review XV.3 (Third Quarter 1990), no. 180. Possibly ex Boscoreale Hoard.

This reverse type commemorates the protection of Nero from the Pisonian Conspiracy. Events of the years AD 64-65 defined the subsequent reputation of Nero as a cruel and self-indulgent ruler. His "excesses" resulted in a conspiracy to overthrow and replace him with Gaius Calpurnius Piso. Among the conspirators were many high-ranking members of Nero's court including Seneca the Younger, the poet Lucan, and Petronius, who called himself Nero's "arbiter of elegance." To Nero, the failure of a conspiracy made up of those so close to him could have been achieved only through divine intervention. As the king of the Gods oversaw the security of the Roman state, Nero believed it was Jupiter the Guardian (Custos) who had saved him from harm.