Nero AE AS Damnatio Memoriae "Playing Lyre" Extremely Rare Damnation of Memory
Nero AE AS. Rome Mint 64 AD. Obverse: NERO. CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMANIC, radiate head of Nero right; Damnatio Memoriae scratches all over bust. Reverse: PONTIF MAX TR POT IMP P P Nero, as Apollo Citharoedus, advancing right, playing lyre; S-C to sides, I in exergue; Damnatio Memoriae scratch over Nero. RIC I: 211 Extremely Rare. Size: 28mm, 11.53g. Numismatic Notes: A despotic ruler, Nero was hated by the people whom he ruled. After his death, the Roman senate decreed a Damnatio Memoriae, declaring him an enemy of the state. The term Damnatio Memoriae translates to English as "Damnation of Memory"; basically they did not want to honor Nero, in fact they wanted to dishonor him. All statues of Nero and his architecture were subsequently destroyed. This coin, interestingly, bares a complete desecration of the memory of Nero. On the obverse can be seen many deep, seemingly vengeful marks over SPECIFICALLY the bust of Nero. On the reverse it can also be noted a deliberate slash over the torso of Nero, whom is playing his beloved lyre. It is also interesting to note the type of coin that this desecration was placed upon. This reverse type is a very famous type, mentioned in the writings of one of the contemporary writers, Seutonius. Nero was enamored by his perceived ability to play the Lyre, forcing many to listen to his, what was most likely terrible musical talents. This coin represents a complete Damnatio Memoriae, not only putting to shame his face but also the memory of one of his favorite things. A fascination specimen!