Nero, 54-68. Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 7.62 g, 7 h), Rome, 63-64. NERO•CAESAR•AVG•IMP Bare head of Nero to right. Rev. PONTIF MAX TR P•X COS•IIII•P•P / EX - S C Roma, helmeted and in military attire, standing front, head to left, holding parazonium set on her right knee in her right hand and long spear in her left, placing her right foot on head of decapitated enemy between arms. BMC 45. Calicó 437. Cohen 232. RIC 40. Rare. A lustrous and exceptional example, very well struck and with a splendid portrait. The obverse struck slightly off center, otherwise, good extremely fine.
This type with its remarkably belligerent rendering of Roma on the reverse was struck in four consecutive years, from 60/1-63/4, and very probably refers to the War of Armenian Succession in 58-63. As usual, hostilities between Rome and Parthia arose over the hegemony over the Kingdom of Armenia, where the Parthian King Vologaeses I had installed his brother Tiridates I in 52/3. A Roman counteroffensive under the brutal but highly skilled general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo led to the replacement of Tiridates with Tigranes VI, a great-grandson of Herod the Great, in 58. Four years later, however, a Roman army led by the legate Lucius Iunius Caesennius Paetus suffered a disastrous defeat in the Battle of Rhandeia (near Arsamosata), forcing the Romans to retreat and winning Tiridates back his throne. The humiliating peace treaty that followed was rejected by Nero, and Corbulo returned to the East in 63, where he crossed the Euphrates with a reinforced army to move into Armenia once again, only to find out that Vologaeses I and Tiridates I were not willing to risk a deciding battle with Rome's greatest general. A renewed peace treaty was concluded, which subjected Armenia nominally to Rome and allowed Corbulo to collect and bury the remains of the Roman soldiers fallen at Rhandeia. Tiridates travelled to Rome in 66 to receive his crown from the hands of Nero, a great propagandistic spectacle boasting Rome's superiority and celebrating its emperor's might.