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Britannicus – Son

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Britannicus Bust Pompeii

Born 41 AD – Poisoned by Nero 55 AD

Britannicus-BTiberius Claudius Germanicus (Britannicus) was the son of Claudius and Messalina, his third wife. He was born in February 41 AD, just one month after his father’s accession. Britannicus was originally named Germanicus after Claudius‘ brother. Nonetheless, his name was formally changed to Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus to celebrate his father’s conquest of Britain in 43 AD.

As he is known to history, Britannicus grew up at court and became close friends with the son of one of his father’s generals, Titus. As fate would have it, Britannicus would never become Emperor, but his boyhood friend would one-day issue coins in his memory when he inherited the throne. Britannicus was poisoned on the orders of Nero in 55AD while eating dinner at the palace. Nero had his body quietly removed and buried in secret.


Monetary System

Britanicus AE Sesterius-R

The only coinage of Latin origin is the sestertii of Britannicus, which has been a matter of dispute regarding who issued the coinage. Previously, the issue had been attributed to Rome around the end of Claudius’ reign when Britannicus adopted the toga virilis. However, such attribution was problematic, given that the Rome mint was not producing bronze then. This resulted in the coinage being attributed to the early years of Titus when many restoration and commemorative issues were being struck. This appeared logical, given the reported close friendship between Britanicus and Titus as boys. Nevertheless, with the fall of the Iron Curtain, reasonable numbers of Latin coins (sestertii and dupondii) in the name of Britannicus, Agrippina Jr., Nero Caesar, and Nero Augustus have been found in the Balkan region. This appears to be of Thracian origin for the series based on the style and fabric of the coins. Additionally, finding locations of this Latin bronze coinage would have been struck for use by the legions servicing the border, resulting in Latin coinage rather than Greek provisional issues.

Mints: Thrace

Britanicus AE Ses Bust Right


Æ Sestertius (Bust Left)

Æ Sestertius (Extremely Rare Bust Right) (5 KNOWN)



Æ Sestertius (Countermark hippocamp right above triangular object, all within incuse square) UNIQUE

Ancient COUNTERFEIT (‘limes-falsum’)

Britanicus Sesterius Cast Imitation

Æ Sestertius (Bust Left) Cast



AEOLIS Aegae. Britannicus Circa 43 55 AD. AE 16mm RPC 2431


Æ16 AIGAI, Aeolis (bare hd rt/Rev ЄΠI XAΛЄ/OY – [AIΓAЄωN] Zeus standing holding eagle)(RPC 2431)

Britanicus Bithynia


Æ22 BITHYNIA (Bare bust rt/Arch)


PHRYGIA Britanicus RPC 2915



Æ16 PHRYGIA, Laodicea (Bare had Britannicus rt/Tripod) (RPC 2995)

Britanicus Syria RPC 4043


Æ24 SYRIA, Aegeae(Bare bust rt)

Britannicus IONIA RPC 2476 RPC 2503


Æ17 IONIA, Clazomenae (Bare bust rt/Ram rt reclining)(RPC 2503)
Æ17 IONIA, Smyrna (Bare hd rt/Nike flying)

BRITANICUS with Octavia & Antonia

Æ22 CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea (Bard hd rt/Oct & Ant stg)



Æ18 CRETE (Bare hd Claudius lf/Britannicus & Octavia Conjoined)
Æ13 MYSIA, Cyzicus (Bare Britanicus rt/Ant & Oct facing) (RPC 2248)

Claudius with 3 children RPC 1255

BRITANNICUS & OCTAVIA & ANTONIA, children of Claudius

Æ29 PATRAS, (Bare Claudius lf/crossed cornucopias with three small busts of children Antonia, Octavia, Britannicus)(RPC 1255)

EGYPT – Claudius with & Three Busts

Æ EGYPT BI Didrachm (Laur hd Claudius rt/3 busts)(RPC 5135)

Britanicus LYDIA with Messalina Claudius RPC 2654

LYDIA – Claudius & Messalina with Britannicus

Æ19 LYDIA Tralles (Claudius & Messalina facing/Britanicus stg)(RPC 2654)

Britanicus with Claudius MACEDON._Thessalonica._RPC 1588MACEDONIA – Claudius with Britannicus

Æ20 Thessalonica (bare hd Claudius lf/Brit. hd lf)(RPC1588)

Judaea Britanicus with Claudius_Judaea RPC4843

JUDAEA – Claudius with Britannicus

Æ20 Judaea, Caesarea Paneasa (Laur hd Claudius lf/Brit. hd rt)(RPC4843)

BRITANICUS with Claudius

AE23 MACEDON Thessalonica (bare hd Claudius lf/Brit. hd lf)
AE21 TROAS Ilium (bare hd Claudius rt/Brit. hd rt)

Britanicus Nero


Britanicus & Nero ColonialÆ21 TROAS, Ilium (Brit. & Nero facing/River-god)
Æ17 MYSIA, Pergamon (Brit/Nero)
Æ17 UNCERTAIN (Bare hd Brit rt/Bare hd Nero rt)
Æ23 UNCERTAIN (Laur hd Brit lf/laur Nero lf)


Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong