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High Relief Nero Aureus


Nero. AD 54-68. AV Aureus (18.5mm, 7.32 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck circa AD 65-66. NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS, laureate head right / Salus seated left on throne, holding patera in extended right hand, resting laft arm at side, SALVS in exergue. RIC I 59; WCN 28; Calicó 443; BMCRE 87-9; BN 225; Biaggi 242-3. EF, light mark on neck, faint scratches in field on reverse. Boldly struck, with a high-relief portrait of fine style.

For the first two thirds of his reign, Nero’s gold and silver coinage was quite conservative in its choice of types, and showed great deference to the Senate. But in AD 65 came the Pisonian Conspiracy, which irrevocably changed Nero’s attitude toward the Senate and the nature of his own rule. In the year AD 65/6 two new coin types make their first appearance, Jupiter Custos– “Guardian”, and Salus– “Well-Being” (of the emperor). Both confer divine protection on Nero, who had survived the most potent threat to his rule since he succeeded Claudius in AD 54. The conspiracy got its name from G. Calpurnius Piso, a wealthy and flamboyant senator who was being put forward as an alternative emperor by a cabal of senior military officers and government potentates who feared for their positions and lives under the increasingly erratic Nero. The plot was discovered, a number of prominent Romans were executed, and others, such as the political philosopher Seneca, the poet Lucan and the satirical writer Petronius were forced to commit suicide. The emperor gave thanks to the gods for his salvation, but his fate was only delayed for a few years.