Ancient Rome (Imperial) 54AD Nero Gold Aureus Jupiter RIC 52 about VF
Mint: Rome | Reference Number/s: RIC 52
Obverse Design: Laureate bust of Nero to right, legend around.
Obverse Legend: NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS.
Reverse Design: Jupiter on a throne with sceptre and thunderbolt, legend around.
Reverse Legend: IVPPITER CVSTOS.
Metal: Gold | Diameter: 18mm | Weight: 7.22g
Condition: about VF
This Roman Imperial gold coin was struck in the wake of the Great Fire of Rome.
The Roman emperor Nero regularly features at the top of any list that ranks Rome's worst emperors. Not only is he is said to have killed his mother, his wife and unborn child, the death toll around Rome that resulted from his drive for self-preservation; revenge and bloodlust numbered in the thousands.
64 AD was the year in which the Great Fire of Rome took place, it was an inferno that destroyed much of the city.
Despite his clear aptitude for depravity, Nero is acknowledged as having made some effort to assist those that had lost everything in the fire. The cost of rebuilding the city was enormous and resulted in a reform of the monetary system. As part of that reform, the weight of the aureus was reduced from 1/42 to 1/45 of a Roman pound.
The weight of this aureus indicates that it was issued after the reform.
The reverse of the coin shows the God Jupiter holding a sceptre and thunderbolt. The reverse legend translates to "Jupiter the Custodian", which may have indicated that Nero wanted the Roman people to be aware of his role in taking care of his fellow Romans. An alternative explanation for this reverse type lies in what history knows as "The Pisonian Conspiracy", which was the first concerted effort to depose Nero.
So many of Nero's friends and advisors were involved in that plot, Nero believed he could only have survived if Jupiter himself had intervened.
Whatever the true background to the selection of this reverse type is, this solid gold coin is an honest representation of one of Rome's worst emperors.
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