Nero augustus, 54 – 68
Sestertius, Lugdunum 67, Æ 26.67 g. IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR POT P P Laureate head r. with small globe at point of bust. Rev. PACE P R TERRA MARIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT / S – C View of the temple of Ianus Geminus (Ianiculum) on the Forum Romanum with closed doors to the r., decorated with garland; latticed window in the upper part of the left-hand side; above, frieze decorated with tendrils, a second frieze on top decorated with palmettes. C 146. BMC –. Giard, Lyon 126, 260. WCN 191, 463. RIC 585. CBN –. A magnificent portrait of masterly style and an exceptionally detailed reverse composition. A superb untouched dark green patina and good extremely fine Ex Tkalec 29th February 2000, 241; M&M 92, 2002, 41 and NAC 80, 2014, 67 sales. One of Rome's most ancient temples was dedicated to Janus, the god of beginnings and endings. It was comparatively small, consisting of two archways with doors that were joined by side-walls. The location of this temple, which was thought to have been built by Romulus after he made peace with the Sabines, is not known. King Numa was believed to have decreed that its doors would remain open when Rome was at war and must be closed in times of peace. But peace was rare in Roman history. Its doors had been closed only a few times prior to the reign of Nero: once under Numa, by the consul T. Manlius Torquatus in 235, at the end of the Second Punic War, three times under Augustus, and, according to Ovid, once under Tiberius. Thus, when peace generally had been established on the empire's borders in 65, Nero closed the temple's doors and marked the occasion with great celebrations and an impressive series of coins that documented this rare event. The inscription IANVM CLVSIT PACE P R TERRA MARIQ PARTA that accompanies the type is one of the most literal and instructive on Roman coins; it announces "the closed doors of Janus after he procured peace for the Roman People on the land and on the sea." In relation to this, Suetonius (Nero 15) describes the visit to Rome of Tiridates, Rome's candidate for the throne of Armenia, who had come to power in that nation due to the campaigns of the Roman general Corbulo, by which Parthian aggressions were defeated. Nero crowned Tiridates, was hailed Imperator, and "...after dedicating a laurel-wreath in the Capitol, he closed the double doors of the Temple of Janus, as a sign that all war was at an end." Despite the emperor's contentment with affairs along the borders, the year 65 was not peaceful on the home front: much of Rome was still in ashes from the great fire of the previous year, Nero narrowly survived the Pisonian conspiracy, and not long afterward, in a moment of rage, he kicked to death his pregnant wife Poppaea.