ROMAN EMPIRE, Claudius, 41-54 AD, brass sestertius


ROMAN EMPIRE, Claudius, 41-54 AD, sestertius, no date (41-42 BC), Rome mint, Obverse: bust Nero Claudius Drusus L, NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMANICVS IMP, Reverse: male seated L, TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP SC, brass, 35mm, 25.27g, SR1896, excellent portrait, rev. not so wonderful, partial legends both sides, aVF/F

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Claudius I had some minor physical problems and was pushed aside by his more assertive relatives in the game of personal politics that was the early Roman Empire. When Caligula was assassinated he was the last adult male of the Julian family and was acclaimed by the Praetorian Guard. He turned out to be an honest and efficient administrator.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

“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.