The Roman Empire
Tiberius Gemellus





Coin Details

Origin/Country: ANCIENT - ROMAN PROVINCIAL (2nd CENT BC - 3rd CENT BC) LYDIA, PHILADELPHIA Tiberius Gemellus(?)
Design Description: Tiberius Gemellus AE14
Item Description: AE14 Lydia, Philadelphia Tiberius. rv thunderbolt. AD 35-37 as co-heir of
Full Grade: NGC F Strike: 5/5 Surface: 2/5
Owner: Kohaku

Set Details

Custom Sets: The Roman Empire
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

Based on the reverse inscription (NEOKA-ICAPE[IC]?), this extremely scarce and enigmatic bronze coin was struck in the ancient Asia Minor city of Neocaesarea, formerly known as Philadelphia. Further attribution grows more complex and less decisive. The lone obverse die employed for this issue appears damaged, resulting in an inscription notoriously difficult to read. Based on the letters postulated (CEBACTON), and subject to uncertainty, the bare-headed obverse bust represents Tiberius Gemellus (19 – 37 AD), the son of Drusus the Younger and Livilla, and the grandson of Emperor Tiberius.

Like Augustus before him, Tiberius grappled with the question of his own succession. By 35 AD, Tiberius had outlived a number of potential heirs, including his own son Drusus (the obvious first choice), grandson Germanicus Gemellus (Tiberius Gemellus’ twin brother) and great-nephews Drusus and Nero Caesars. Among the dwindling Julio-Claudian male dynasts, Tiberius was down to two heirs: his remaining great-nephew, Caligula, and Tiberius Gemellus. (At the time, the sickly and ostracized Claudius was not considered fit for the task.) Between the finalists, Tiberius Gemellus was ostensibly in Tiberius’ direct bloodline. However, the Emperor had serious doubts, suspecting that his Praetorian Prefect, rather than his son, was Gemellus’ true sire.

The Emperor grew very wary for Tiberius Gemellus, who, regardless of true parentage, shared the potential path to the throne along with his notoriously brutal and capricious cousin, Caligula. As a result, the Emperor’s waning years were anxious; at one point he reportedly put his arms around Tiberius Gemellus and lamented to Caligula, “You will kill him and another will kill you.

Apocryphal or not, the predication proved accurate.

Coin Details: LYDIA, Philadelphia (as Neocaesarea), Tiberius Gemellus(?), Caesar, AD 35-37, Æ (19mm, 2.54 g, 6h), NGC Grade: F, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 2/5, Obverse: Bare head right, TIBEPION CEBACTION (?), Reverse: Winged thunderbolt, NEOKA-ICAPE[IC] (?), References: RPC I, 3017; Vagi 480 (under Tiberius Gemellus; same obverse die as illustration).

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