(79) Nero - AE sestertius, A.D. 66-68, 26.50 g. (inv. 91.139).
Obverse: Laureate head of Nero r.; IMP(ERATOR) NERO CLAVD(IVS) CAESAR AVG(VSTVS) GER(MANICVS) P(ONTIFEX) M(AXIMVS) TR(IBVNICIA) P(OTESTATE) P(ATER) P(ATRIAE): Imperator Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, pontifex maximus, with tribunician power, father of the country.
Reverse: Roma, helmeted and in military dress, seated l. on cuirass, holding Victoria in r. and resting l. on parazonium; S(ENATVS)-C(ONSVLTO): by decree of the Senate; in exergue, ROMA: Rome.
Provenance: Coin Galleries, 1961.
Bibliography: C.H.V. Sutherland, The Roman Imperial Coinage I: from 31 BC to AD 69, rev. ed. (London 1984) 329.

In July A.D. 64 much of the city of Rome was destroyed by a fire that burned for days. Although Nero was widely blamed for the fire (it was known that he wanted to clear a large part of the city for a new palace), he took it upon himself to rebuild both the public and private sectors of the city. He cared for the refugees and replaced the old shacks and tenements with insulae, apartment blocks constructed of concrete faced with brick, of limited height and situated on a grid plan of widely-spaced streets, which eased the overcrowded conditions and made the housing safer and more easily accessible to fire brigades. The reverse of this sestertius celebrates the rebirth of the city. Roma, the personification of the city of Rome who was worshipped as a goddess, wears a short tunic, with her right breast bared in the manner of an Amazon, and armor, including a parazonium or short sword worn at the waist. As a symbol of the city's triumph she holds Victoria in her extended right hand.


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