Nero Claudius Drusus, died 9 BC.
Aureus (Gold, 20 mm, 7.71 g, 2 h), Lugdunum, struck under Claudius, circa 41-45. NERO•CLAVDIVS•DRVSVS•GERMANICVS•IMP Head of Nero Claudius Drusus to left, wearing oak wreath. Rev.
Triumphal arch surmounted by equestrian statue between two trophies; on architrave DE GERMANIS. Antike Kunst (1967), pl. 52, 486 (this coin
). BMC 100. Calicó 316. Cohen 3. RIC 71. Rare. A beautiful piece with a lovely portrait struck on a very broad flan. Very fine.
From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, Leu 8, 23 October 2021, 290 and ex Hess-Leu 28, 5-6 May 1965, 369.
When Octavian fell in love with Livia in 39 BC, she was pregnant by her first husband, Tiberius Claudius Nero, who agreed to divorce her to please his master. Drusus was born in early 38 BC, just months after Octavian had married his mother, and he and his older brother, Tiberius, subsequently grew up in their stepfather's household. As they came of age, Octavian – now Augustus – gradually started entrusting his stepsons with important duties, and when the Roman army launched a series of offensives against barbarian tribes in central and northern Germany in 12-9 BC, it was Drusus who led the charge. The young general proved to be an able commander, for he defeated his enemies in several battles and pushed deep into their heartlands.
In 9 BC, the Romans reached the Albis (Elbe), but to the great grief of his stepfather Augustus, Drusus died in the march returning home after injuring himself by falling from his horse. The body of the young general was picked up in Germany by his brother, Tiberius, whom Augustus did not favor but who would eventually become the successor of the aging emperor in 14 AD. No coins were struck for Drusus during his lifetime, but his son, Claudius, struck a commemorative series in his father's name after his accession to the throne in 41. In praising Drusus as the defeater of the Germans, the emperor, who was often belittled because of his stammering and his congenital deformities, clearly attempted to confer some of his father's glory as a successful general on himself. The triumphal arch depicted on the reverse of this aureus, on the other hand, was commissioned by Augustus to commemorate the victories of his beloved stepson in Germania.