Gold Aureus of Emperor Nero - C.4079Origin: MediterraneanCirca: 54 AD to 68 ADCollection: NumismaticsStyle: RomanMedium: Gold. Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus was born at Antium in 37 A.D., the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina Junior. He became Caesar in 50 A.D., and Augustus from 54 A.D. Perhaps no emperor evokes the image of Rome’s grandeur and decadence better than Nero. Much maligned by later historians, Nero was in fact a complex and talented individual, as full of whims and contradictions as any human being. Though he sat on the throne of Rome, his dearest ambition was to be a stage actor. He neither started the fire that destroyed half of Rome in 64 A.D., nor fiddled as it burned, although this is the impression that has survived through the ages, thanks to the rumors spread by his enemies. He used this opportunity to begin one of the most outrageous building projects Rome has ever known, the Domus Aurea, or “Golden House of Nero.” Once standing on the present site of the Coliseum, work on this monumental complex, apparently covered in gold, silver, and precious jewels, was halted upon his death in 68 A.D. While Nero was not free from faults by any means, he clearly was not the corrupt villain history has painted him to be.