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    Nero Addresses His Guards

    Nero (AD 54-68). Orichalcum sestertius (30mm, 25.82 gm, 6h). NGC (photo-certificate) MS ★ 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style, light smoothing. Lugdunum, AD 67. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR PONT P P, laureate head of Nero left, globe at point of bust / S - C, Nero standing left on low platform, togate, with praetorian prefect at his side, raising right hand in address to three German guardsmen, of whom the two in front carry standards; in the background, the tiled roof and a column of the camp Praetorium (headquarters); ADLOCVT COH in exergue. RIC 565. BMCRE --. Cohen --. WCN 467. Extremely rare and undoubtedly the finest surviving specimen. Superior portrait and a beautifully executed and detailed reverse scene, with a pleasing deep olive-green patina.

    Ex Gorny & Mosch 203, (5 March 2012), lot 327 (realized $86,000 hammer). 

    The soldiers depicted in this extremely rare "Adlocutio" ("addressing the troops") sestertius of Nero are probably not from the Praetorian Guard, as is often claimed. One of the soldiers is heavily bearded and all are shown without armor, wearing only tunics, cloaks and swords slung at their hips. The standards they carry are quite different from those depicted on Roman coins and sculpture, which bear a multitude of discs, banners and other emblems; these rather spindly standards have several hemispherical and one disc-shaped adornment each. These features indicate the troops Nero addresses are members of the Germani Corpori Custodes, the elite German Bodyguard that served the Julio-Claudian dynasty. German bodyguards were first employed by Julius Caesar and by the end of Augustus's reign they numbered between 500 and 1,000 men. They were briefly disbanded after the battle of the Teutoburg Wild, but were reconstituted by Tiberius and were the last force to remain loyal to Nero when his regime collapsed in AD 68.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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