Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 97   |   12 December 2016
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Lot 91





Estimate: 50'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 40'000 CHF Unsold
The Roman Empire
Nero augustus, 54 – 68. Sestertius, Lugdunum circa 67, Æ 25.82 g.
Description: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR PONT P P Laureate bust l. Rev. S – C Nero standing l. on low platform with praetorian prefect at his side, raising r. hand in address to three soldiers, of whom the two in front carry standards; in the background, the praetorian camp (?). In exergue, ADLOCVT COH. References: C –
BMC –
RIC 565
CBN –
WCN 467 Condition:Very rare and undoubtedly the finest specimen known of this difficult and intriguing issue. A superb portrait and a finely detailed and unusually well-preserved reverse composition. Wonderful green patina and good extremely fine Provenance: Gorny & Mosch sale 203, 2012, 327 Note: The scene on the reverse of this sharply struck sestertius of Nero depicts the emperor saluting three Praetorian guardsmen while attended by the prefect himself. In the background can be seen what is presumably the brick walls of the praetorian camp, the Castra Praetoria, located just beyond Rome’s religious boundary line (pomerium) to the east of the Quirinal and Viminal Hills. The type reuses a scene found on sestertii of Caligula that were used by that emperor to pay a promised donative to his guardsmen, which indicates a similar purpose for its use under Nero. Even if this is not the case, though, the majestic nature of the type could do nothing but serve to endear the emperor to his troops. The execution here is exceptional, with every detail distinct from the emperor’s youthful portrait to the straps and laces on the guardsmen’s sandals. Nero, of course, was careful to cultivate good relations with the Praetorian Guard as he owed his power principally to two of his prefects, Burrus and then Tigellinus. Additionally, the praetorians had already elevated one emperor to the throne, and perhaps Nero realized that they could just as easily remove an emperor, as indeed they were to prove on future occasions.

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