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Additional References: WCN 15; Calico 432
Notes: Bare head of Nero right / Virtus standing left, resting foot on a pile of arms, holding parazonium and spear.
Obverse: Emperor Nero is a man who simply needs no introduction! In addition to being guilty of fratricide, matricide and suicide, Emperor Nero blew huge sums of money on wild parties and massive palaces and used the first Christians as lion food and human torches. He thought of himself as an actor first and an Emperor second (something which Roman high society looked on as the modern equivalent of the Queen of England preferring to work a job as a night shift stripper).
Reverse: In Roman mythology, Virtus was the deity of bravery and military strength, the personification of the Roman virtue of virtus. The Greek equivalent deity was Arete. He/she was identified with the Roman god Honos (personification of honour) and was often honoured together with him, such as in the Temple of Virtus and Honos at the Porta Capena in Rome itself.
This deity was represented in a variety of ways, for example, on the coins of Tetricus, it can appear as a matron, an old man, or a young man, with a javelin or only clothed in a cape. Within the realm of funerary reliefs Virtus is never shown without a male companion. Often her presence within this realm of art is to compliment and provide assistance to the protagonist of the relief during a scene of intense masculinity or bravery.
Denomination: The aureus (pl. aurei - "golden") was a gold coin of ancient Rome valued at 25 silver denarii. The aureus was regularly issued from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD, when it was replaced by the solidus. The aureus was about the same size as the denarius, but heavier due to the higher density of gold (as opposed to that of silver.)
Before the time of Julius Caesar the aureus was struck very infrequently, usually to make large payments from captured booty. Caesar struck the coin more frequently and standardized the weight at 1/40 of a Roman pound (about 8 grams). Augustus (r. 29 BC - 9 AD) tariffed the value of the sestertius as 1/100 of an aureus. The mass of the aureus was decreased to 1/45 of a pound (7.3 g) during the reign of Nero (r. 54 - 68).
After the reign of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161 - 180) the production of aurei decreased, and the weight was further decreased to 1/50 of a pound (6.5 g). During the 3rd century, gold pieces were introduced in a variety of fractions and multiples, making it hard to determine the intended denomination of a gold coin.
Period: Imperial Rome. As the Roman Republic began to implode because of corruption and infighting among powerful members of the Roman Senate, a new type of Roman Republican coinage emerges, that of the military strongmen who dominated and fought among each other before the final fall of the Republic. The drama surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic is a story full of political intrigue, military action, betrayal, murder and sex scandals. Different parts of this story have been told and retold by ancient historians, modern day scholars, dozens of Hollywood movies and even an HBO miniseries. All of the actors in this great drama, Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and the last man standing at the end of it all, Octavian (later known as the first emperor of Rome, Emperor Augustus) all minted coins during this time bearing their names and propaganda images supporting their factions and political ideals.
Culture: Ancient Rome. A famous catch phrase "Rome was not built in a day" definitely applies to the Roman civilization. Rome stated as a series of small villages among the famous seven hills of Rome along the river Tiber. Eventually through conquest, diplomacy, wise policies of indirect rule and assimilation, the Romans were able to not only unify the Italian peninsula, but though a series of brutal wars against regional powers established a great Empire that spanned Europe, Asia and Africa, making the Mediterrean Sea and "Roman Lake."
All Roman coinage can generally be divided into eight time periods as described below. An interesting thing about Roman coins minted during these eight time periods is that you can literally see the "Rise and Fall" of the Roman Empire on its coinage as the sharp imagery and pure silver and gold coins of the Roman Republic and Early Imperial Period gradually devolves into crude, illegible and heavily debased coins of the "Barracks Emperors" and "Barbarian" Period.
Item created by: Chance on 2016-08-13 16:10:01. Last edited by gdm on 2016-08-14 16:27:42
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