The Roman Empire
Estimate: 7'500 CHF
Starting price: 6'000 CHF
Price realized: 8'500 CHF
Aureus 50-54, AV 7.73 g. TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TRIB POT P P Laureate head of Claudius r. Rev. AGRIPPINAE – [AVGVSTAE] Draped bust of Agrippina r., wearing barley wreath. C 3. BMC 72. RIC 80. CBN 76 (Lugdunum). Calicó 396.
Rare. Two lovely portraits, light marks on reverse, otherwise
about extremely fine / good very fine Claudius faced many challenges in his life, and though his physical disabilities ranked high on the list, perhaps even more trying were his four marriages. His first two attempts at marriage failed – the first because his would-be in laws fell out of favour, the second because his bride-to-be died on their wedding day. Of the four women Claudius actually married, he divorced the first three: one because she was the sister of the defamed Sejanus, the other two because of their adulterous affairs and apparent plans to murder him. His final, fatal marriage to his young niece Agrippina Junior, was similarly disastrous as it ended not only the life of Claudius, but also the life of his only son, Britannicus. According to Tacitus, Claudius’ famous statement that "it was his destiny first to endure his wives’ misdeeds, and then to punish them" may have expedited his own death, for upon hearing him utter these words, Agrippina wasted no time in murdering Claudius by serving him a dish of poisoned mushrooms. Adding insult to injury was Claudius’ precocious teenage successor Nero, who, after Claudius had been deified by the senate, rudely observed that mushrooms must be the food of the gods.