Poppaea AE28 of Perinthos,wife of OTHO and NERO. Thrace. Headdress of Isis.

Ancient Coins - Poppaea AE28 of Perinthos,wife of OTHO and NERO. Thrace. Headdress of Isis.
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Poppaea AE28 of Perinthos,wife of OTHO and NERO. Thrace. Headdress of Isis.VF 

Poppaea AE28 of
Perinthos, Thrace. POPPAIA SEBASTH, diademed and draped bust right / P-E either side of headdress of Isis. SGI 670. No.10269 G VF.

Poppaea Sabina (c. 30 - 65) was the second wife of the Roman Emperor Nero. The historians of Antiquity see in her few good qualities apart from her beauty and focus on her intrigues to become empress. Fifteen centuries later, Claudio Monteverdi depicted her in a more favorable light in his last opera, highlighting her love for the emperor.

Ancestry and Early Life

Poppaea Sabina was the only child and daughter to Titus Ollius and an elder Poppaea Sabina. Titus Ollius was a quaestor in the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Ollius� friendship with notorious Imperial palace guardsman�s Lucius Aelius Sejanus ruined him, before gaining public office. Titus Ollius was from Picenum (modern Marche and Abruzzi, Italy) and he was an unknown minor character in Imperial Politics. Her mother an elder Poppaea Sabina was a distinguished woman, whom the Roman Historian Tacitus praises as a wealthy woman and a woman of distinction. Tacitus describes her a �the loveliest woman of her day�. In 47 AD, she committed suicide as an innocent victim of the intrigues of the Roman Empress Valeria Messalina.

The father of the elder Poppaea Sabina was Gaius Poppaeus Sabinus. This man of humble birth was consul in 9 AD. During his consulship, the future Roman Emperor Vespasian was born. During the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, he received a military triumph, for ending a revolt in Thrace in 26 AD. From 15 AD until his death, he served as Imperial Proconsul (or Governor) of Greece and in other provinces. This competent administrator enjoyed the friendship of the Roman Emperors. He died in the final days in 35 AD, of natural causes. After her maternal grandfather died, Poppaea Sabina assumed the name of her maternal grandfather. Roman coinage of Sabinus can be seen here.

Poppaea Sabina�s father died in 31 AD. Her mother remarried Publius Cornelius Lentulus Scipio (I). Lentulus Scipio was a divisional commander in 22 AD, consul in 24 AD and later a senator. Publius Cornelius Lentulus Scipio (II), was most probably Poppaea's step brother, he was a consul in 56 AD and later served as a senator.

Marriage to Rufrius Crispinus

Poppaea Sabina's first marriage was to Rufrius Crispinus, a man of equestrian rank. They married in 44 AD. He was the leader of the Praetorian Guard during the reign of the Emperor Claudius. In 51 AD, Agrippina, then married to Claudius and Empress, removed him from this position, as she regarded him loyal to Messalina's memory and replaced him with Burrus. Later under Nero he was executed. Poppaea had borne him a son a younger Rufrius Crispinus, who later after her death, would be drowned on a fishing trip by the Emperor Nero.

 Marriage to Otho

Poppaea Sabina then married Otho, if only as a stepping stone to reach her ultimate goal: Emperor Nero. After attaining a 'position' as his mistress, she divorced her husband Otho (who later became emperor after Nero's death in succession to Galba) and focused her attentions solely on becoming empress of Rome. Before marrying Otho, Nero ordered her to leave her first husband and they divorced.


Ambitious and ruthless, Poppaea was initially Nero's favourite mistress. Even as a mistress, she was hated and feared by many in Rome. It is said that Nero's mother Agrippina the Younger, saw the danger and tried to persuade Nero to get rid of her. This dispute over Poppaea was one of the reasons that saw Nero finally murder his mother. With Agrippina gone, Poppaea's influence over Nero became so great that due to the pressure she put on him, he divorced (and later executed) his first wife Octavia in order to marry Poppaea in 62 AD. Octavia was initially dismissed to Campania, and then imprisoned on the island of Pandateria (a common place of banishment for members of the Imperial family who fell from favour), on a charge of adultery. The new empress had many other unfortunates who challenged her power murdered or sent into exile. Nero's former tutor Seneca is thought to be among her victims. In some Church sources it is claimed that it was Poppaea and not Nero who instigated the persecutions against Christians, in order to cover up her murderous deeds.

She bore Nero one daughter, Claudia Augusta, born on 21 January 63 AD, who died at only four months of age. At the birth of Claudia, Nero honored mother and child with the title of Augusta.

According to Suetonius, while she was awaiting the birth of her second child in the summer of 65 AD, she quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the games. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, so causing her death.

When Poppaea Sabina died in 65 AD, Nero was in complete mourning. Her body was not cremated, it was stuffed with spices and embalmed and put in the Mausoleum of Augustus. Nero gave his second wife a state funeral. Nero praised her during the funeral eulogy and gave her divine honors. Nero�s eulogy of Poppaea Sabina caused disgust among those who disliked her and remembered her for her cruelty and immorality.

Poppaea enjoyed having milk baths. She would have them daily, because she was once told 'therein lurked a magic which would dispel all diseases and blights from her beauty'.( From Wikipedia,the free encyclopedia)





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