The inscription on this brass sestertius of Nero (24.5 g), minted at Rome in 66 CE, is the first of its kind: Nero’s sestertius is the first Roman coin to create a complete sentence from the sum of the obverse and reverse inscriptions . This design capitalizes on the double-sidedness of the coin, emphasizing the medium’s interactivity and dynamism as a political instrument. This coin begs to be flipped over
According to convention, the obverse inscription records the emperor Nero’s titles: IMP NERO CLAUD CAESAR AUG GER PM TRP PP, Imperator Nero Cladius Caesar Augustus Germanicus Pontifex Maximus Tribunicia Potestas Pater Patriae [Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, as Pontifex Maximus with Tribunician power and Father of the Country].
The reverse inscription, however, transforms the emperor’s titles on the obverse into a grammatical subject by adding a verb phrase: PACE P[E]R TERRA MARIQ[UE] PARTA IANUM CLUSIT […closed the Temple of Janus, having borne peace throughout the land and sea].
The obverse of the coin shows the filleted head of Nero facing left. The reverse of the coin depicts a simplified image of the Temple of Janus flanked by the letters ‘SC,’ Senatus Consulto [By decree of the Senate].
RIC 182; Hood 27.1.29288.