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Claudius. AD 41-54. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.78 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck AD 49-50. TI CLAVD CAESAR • AVG P • M •TR • P • VIIII • IMP • XVI, laureate head right / PACI AVGVSTAE, Pax-Nemesis advancing right, holding out fold of drapery below chin, and holding winged caduceus, pointing down at erect snake, gliding right. RIC I 47; von Kaenel Type 28; RSC 61; BMCRE 52-3; BN –. Deeply toned. EF. Attractive portrait. Well struck from dies of exemplary style.

Ex Morris Collection (Heritage 3071, 6 January 2019), lot 32038; Classical Numismatic Group 28 (8 December 1993), lot 255; Numismatic Fine Arts XXV (29 November 1990), lot 343; Art Monaco (22 April 1977), lot 55.

Nemesis is the goddess who enacts divine retribution on those who display hubris, or arrogance before the gods. By Roman times she is usually depicted as a winged woman holding out a fold of her garment before her, expressing aversion by spitting upon her bosom (supposedly humans could avoid her anger by making the same gesture). From early in his reign, Claudius employed on his coins a version of Nemesis sharing some features with Pax (Peace) along with the legend PACI AVGVSTAE (”the Emperor’s peace”). Claudius’s Nemisis coinage starts in AD 43 and probably refers to his invasion and subsequent conquest of Britain, with Rome meting out “divine retribution” on the arrogant British tribes. “The Emperor’s peace” presumably refers to Britannia being brought within the Pax Romana, albeit by force of arms. Nine decades later Hadrian would employ a similar reverse as a reference to the Bar Kochba conflict.