|Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 908. Estimate $2000.
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004.
Sold For $4750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
96-98 AD. Æ Sestertius (24.41 gm). Struck January-September 97 AD. IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P, laureate head right / PLEBEI VRBANAE FRVMENTO CONSTITVTO, S C across field, modius containing poppy and six grain ears. RIC II 89; BMCRE 115; BN 103; Cohen 127. Good VF, pleasing red and orichalcum surfaces. ($2000)Ex Lanz 26 (5 December 1983), lot 546.
The assassination of Domitian on 18 September 96 AD unleashed the forces of chaos in Rome, long repressed by the emperor's brutal rule. His supporters were murdered in the streets, and monuments and buildings associated with his reign were gutted. In addition, and more ominously, the army was resentful of the loss of a ruler who, despite his grievous faults, always treated them generously. The elderly and frail new emperor Nerva, frightened by the unsettled conditions, began a program of public works and government reforms. This sestertius records the distribution of grain to the urban populace, probably from a new network of imperial warehouses (frumento constituto
). Others marks the remission of road tolls, renewed ties with the Senate, and the curious piece concerning the "Jewish Tax", apparently referring to the illegal diversion of tax money. The strained relations with the army would only be resolved with Nerva's adoption of the popular general Trajan in October 97 AD.