EGYPT Nero 54-68 AD billon tetradrachm year 12 (65 AD


EGYPT, Nero, 54-68 AD, tetradrachm, year 12 (65 AD), Alexandria mint, Obverse: radiate bust R, ΝΕΡΩ ΚΛΑΥ ΣΕΒ ΓΕΡ, Reverse: bust of Alexandria in elephant headdress R, LIB, billon, 22-23mm, 13.87g, SGI633, E109, slightly off center, but the portraits are attractive, aVF

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Nero became Emperor on the death of his uncle, Claudius, who had possibly been poisoned by his wife, Agrippina Junior, who happened to also be Nero’s mother. Despite the famous fire of Rome, Nero’s government was fairly competent, even as he terrorized his relatives and murdered some of them.

During the early centuries of the Roman Empire Egypt was considered the personal property of the Emperor. There was a tendency to run it as an extractive business in which profits were not reinvested. The coinage was debased to keep it in the country and to make it harder for the populace to make a living. The reference we use on this web site for coins of Roman Egypt is Alexandrian Coins, by Keith Emmett.

The Romans, as they were building their empire, preferred to let the local coinage arrangements remain in place. As they developed their political system into the Cult of Personality that was the Empire, they started putting imperial portraits on the local coins. Later, as the Empire began to shrink, they preferred to centralize their coinage operations, eliminating local control. There were also allied and client states, some of which, at times, issued coins celebrating the alliance or subservience.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.