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The Colossus of Nero

525616. SOLD $8500

Nero. AD 54-68. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.44 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck circa AD 64-65. NERO CAESAR, laureate head right / AVGVSTVS GERMΛNICVS, Nero, radiate, togate, standing facing, left knee slightly bent, holding branch in right hand and Victory on globe in left. RIC I 47; WCN 54; RSC 45; BMCRE 60; BN 206. Attractive light cabinet tone. Choice EF.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 101 (24 October 2017), lot 138 (hammer CHF 7,000); Leu 61 (17 May 1995), lot 243.

The reverse depicts Nero’s Colossus, a roughly 120 foot tall bronze statue of the emperor as Sol that was created by Zenodorus for the vestibule of the Domus Aurea, or Golden House, the massive palace constructed by Nero after the fire of AD 64. Hadrian moved Zenodorus’ work, by this point altered so that it no longer represented Nero, closer to the Favian Amphitheatre. The sculpture’s memory was retained in the popular name of that amphitheatre - the Colosseum.