Nero

Nero plays the Lyre – Prof Kevin Butcher

Nero plays the Lyre – Prof Kevin Butcher

An occasional series of short videos on coins that shed light on various aspects of ancient history, presented by Professor Kevin Butcher. Does this coin depict the emperor Nero as a musician, or does it show the god Apollo instead?

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Nero and Agrippina – Prof Kevin Butcher

Nero and Agrippina – Prof Kevin Butcher

Professor Kevin Butcher from the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Warwick takes a closer look at coins from the ancient world and discovers new meanings and insight into the lives of emperors, nobles and ordinary people from this time in history. Professor Butcher looks at why Agrippina seems to have been given precedence over her son Nero on the earliest coins of his reign?

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Nerva 96 – 98 A.D.

Nerva's career as emperor ended less than two years after his accession to the throne. Up to that point he had been a long-time central politician under the various emperors before him, particularly Domitian and Nero. However, he started off as emperor under a precarious relationship with the army which rightly suspected him of being involved in the conspiracy against Domitian. He made things right in their eyes by presenting them with an embarrassingly apologetic speech and appointing Trajan as his successor. Trajan was at the time an admired general engaging the Germanic tribes. He died in 98 following...

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Nero 54 – 68 A.D.

One of ancient history's most infamous characters, Nero rose to power in his mid-teens following the death of Claudius, his adoptive father. To speed things along he had Britannicus poisoned and in league with his mother Agrippina had had Claudius poisoned as well. His next few years were fairly unremarkable one way or the other largely in part because of Agrippina's overbearing influence. He corrected the problem, however, by having her executed on the pretext that she had a unfavorable view of Poppaea, his new mistress. Because he was already married to a certain Octavia he had her exiled and murdered...

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Clodius Macer 68 A.D

Clodius Macer was an opportunist who took advantage of a revolt following Nero's death and the power struggle that ensued. He gambled that by appropriating northern Africa, Rome's food supply, he would strongarm the senate into accepting him as the next Augustus. Instead, Galba's fortunes improved and he consolidated power instead. Galba then suppressed Macer's small army and had him executed. Curiously, he stands alone in the long roster of men who usurped the throne but not the imperial title. All of Macer's coins are exceedingly rare. In fact, there are only about 85 known to date, only 20 of which...

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Galba 68 – 69 A.D.

Another one of the short-lived emperors during the Roman civil wars of this period, Galba was the Governor of Spain at the time of Nero's downfall. Coming from a Senatorial background, he was a likely candidate to succeed Nero from the Senate's point of view and was thus given the title. Galba made his way to Rome where he proceeded to make enemies out of all his former supporters. Most critical among these was his decision to deny the customary donatives to the army on his accession. This bit of ill-will towards the hands that fed him precipitated a number of events that would eventually lead...

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Claudius I 41 – 54 A.D.

After the murder of Caligula, the Praetorian Guard had to come up with a worthy successor and fast lest the Senate step in and revert back to the pre-Julius Caesar type of Republic. The only relative of Caligula they could find was Claudius who was Caligula's uncle. An otherwise unfit man to rule, Claudius was a recluse of whom little was known about by design. Because he suffered physical deformities he was kept out of the limelight to avoid embarrassment. At the age of 46 he was unveiled to the public by his uncle Caligula and he held a position as Suffect Consul or "replacement" consul. But don't...

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Britannicus c.41 – 55 A.D.

Britannicus was the son of Claudius and presumptive heir to the throne until Agrippina showed up with her own son Nero. Between the two they plotted to eliminate Britannicus and managed to poison him just like they had his father.   AE Sestertius (Posthumous) RIC unlisted, BMC 226 (Claudius) & 306 (Titus), C 2 Sestertius Obv: TICLAVDIVSCAESARAVGFBRITANNICVS - Bare-headed, draped bust left. Rev: No legend - Mars advancing left, holding spear and shield. c.50-54 (Rome). $8,600 9/24/03.  

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Agrippina II ? – 59 A.D.

Mother of Nero. Infamous for treachery and desire for power, Agrippina married the emperor Claudius and was involved in a number of political moves worthy of her own daytime soap opera. It is suspected she got rid of Claudius, after removing other potential rivals, by feeding him poisoned mushrooms. She did this as much to ensure her son Nero would succeed him as much as to place herself at the upper crust of Rome's powerbrokers. Nero himself grew wary of her ways and eventually had her murdered. AU Aureus RIC 1 (Nero), BMC 6, Vagi 656, C 6 Aureus Obv: AGRIPPAVGDIVICLAVDNERONISCAESMATER - Confronted...

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