Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Emperor Nero's coinage is considered by some to be the height of artistic innovation, strongly influenced by his own philhellenism. This can especially be seen in his Alexandrian coinage, which minted an unprecedented amount of coinage at the end of his reign. The overall purpose of this thesis is to explore why the Olympic series, a series of billon tetradrachms minted in 66/67 and 67/68 CE and thought to commemorate Nero’s victories in Greece, was minted, despite Alexandria not being affected by Nero’s journey to Greece. I will argue that the Olympic series was minted as a philhellenic connection to Nero, commemorating his recent victories in the Greek games, and as a way to show the superiority of the Greek population of Alexandria over the Jewish population.

Through this exploration of Nero's Alexandrian coinage, I also investigate the Achaean coinage minted which commemorated Nero's visit to Greece in 66-67 CE. Here discuss Nero’s itinerary and retinue in Greece, the evidence for Nero’s participation in the games of the six major sanctuaries, the coinage minted by cities in Achaea, and the possible implications behind why certain mints commemorated his visit and other mints did not.

Lastly, the die study conducted in this thesis illustrates the massive scale of coin production which occurred in the last two years of Nero's reign. The results of this study also help prove that the star symbol on the reverse of some of the Olympic series is most likely a mint mark, instead of a date marker.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

William Bubelis

Committee Members

Nicola Aravecchia, Roger Bagnall

Included in

Classics Commons