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Roman Empire

Ruler: Nero
Reigned: 13th Oct. 54 AD - 9th June 68 AD
Denomination: AE Dupondius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 64 AD
Obverse: Laureate bust left. "NERO CLAVD. CAESAR AVG. GER. P.M. TR P. IMP. P"
Reverse: Front view of Nero's two storeyed provision market (Macellum Magnum), showing domed central section approached by steps and containing statue on pedestal, flanked by columned wings (the right one set back) and columned upper storey. "MAC AVG", "SC" around steps.
Reference: RIC 400
Weight: 16.9 gms
Diameter: 29 mm
Comment: The Great provision Market (Macellum Magnum) on Rome's Caelian Hill was completed in 59 AD. Part of it was transformed into the church of S. Stefano Rotundo by Pope Simplicius at about the time of the fall of the Western Empire. (cf. Hill, "The Monuments of Ancient Rome as Coin Types", p.40)


  • Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus was born at Antium on 15th December 37 AD, the last of the Julio-Claudian line. Originally named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, Nero was the son of consul Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger, great-granddaughter of Emperor Augustus, daughter of Germanicus, sister of Caligula.
  • In 49 AD his mother, Agrippina, married Claudius.
  • In 50 AD Agrippina and Claudius's freedman, Pallas, (who were rumoured to be lovers) persuaded Claudius to adopt her son, giving him the family name Nero.
  • In 51 AD Nero was given the title Princeps Iuventutis ('Leader of Youth'), making him heir apparent ahead of Claudius's own son Britannicus.
  • Nero married Octavia, daughter of Claudius in 53 AD.
  • In 54 AD Agrippina poisoned Claudius with the help of Locusta, the palace's resident poisoner.
  • Claudius died on the night of 12/13 October 54, leaving Nero to succeed him.
  • Britannicus is poisoned at dinner on 11th February 55 AD.
  • His mother Agrippina tried to rule through him, as well as being a restraint on his excesses. In March 59 AD, he had her killed.
  • In 58 AD Nero took a fancy to Poppaea Sabina, who was married to Marcus Otho (a future Emperor). Otho was appointed governor of Lusitania.
  • In 62 AD Nero divorced Octavia, exiled her and then had her killed, and married Poppaea
  • In the summer of 65 AD, while pregnant, Nero kicked her to death in a fit of temper. He married Statilia Messalina the following year.
  • In 64 AD fire destroyed much of Rome. Nero was at Antium when the fire begun, but hurried back to organise relief, blaming the fire on the Christians. The population blame him.
  • In March 68 AD Julius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, revolted. He was supported by Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis.
  • In May 68 AD the armies of the Rhine defeated Vindex at Besancon. They tried to proclaim their own commander, Verginius Rufus, emperor, but he refused. Galba waited in the wings.
  • Nero planned to flee but the praetorian commander Nymphidius Sabinus switched his allegiance to Galba.
  • On 9th June 68 AD he committed suicide.

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