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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ CommodusView Options:  |  |  |   

Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

L Aelius Aurelius Commodus was the son of emperor Marcus Aurelius and empress Faustina II. Caesar in 177 A.D., Commodus succeeded his father as Augustus in 180. His rule of twelve years quickly degenerated into debauchery, paranoia, and insanity. He actually believed he was Hercules reincarnated and even participated in gladiatorial contests. The empire was directed by his unscrupulous favorites while the emperor amused himself in whatever decadent way he saw fit. His assassination in 192 A.D. was viewed as a blessing by most Romans of the day.


Commodus and Annius Verus, Caesars, 166 - 170 A.D., Tarsus, Cilicia

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The brothers Annius Verus and Commodus, sons of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger, were made caesars in 166 A.D. Annius Verus died at age 7 of natural causes in Rome on 10 September 169. His younger brother Commodus became his father's heir and later successor to his father's throne. The portraits are obviously unrealistic - the caesars were small boys when the coin was struck.
RP84085. Bronze AE 17, RPC Online 5035 (17 spec.); BMC Lycaonia p. 191, 166; SNGvA 5993; SNG BnF 1456; SNG Levante 1018 var. (no star); SNG Cop -, F, turquoise patina, tight flan, porous, earthen deposits, weight 3.339 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 166 - 170 A.D.; obverse KOPOI CEBACTOY, confronted draped youthful busts of Annius Verus (on left) and Commodus, star over crossed club and caduceus between them; reverse temple with ten columns, eagle left with head right and wings open in pediment, KOINOC KIΛIKIAC in architrave, TAP-COY across field at center, MHTPOΠ in exergue; rare; $180.00 (153.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85221. Bronze AE 24, RPC online IV temp 624 (5 spec.); SNGvA 1337; Weber 5152; BMC Mysia p. 105, 104 var. (obv. leg.); SNG Cop 290 var. (same); cf. SNG BnF 1484 (obscure), F, well centered, light scratches, some legend weak, areas of corrosion, centration dimples, weight 8.321 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 195o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse IMP CAI(sic) Λ AV - COMODVS, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse DEO AESC SVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $170.00 (144.50)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85222. Bronze AE 24, RPC online IV temp 624 (5 spec.); SNGvA 1337; Weber 5152; BMC Mysia p. 105, 104 var. (obv. leg.); SNG Cop 290 var. (same); cf. SNG BnF 1484 (obscure), F, well centered, marks and scratches, small areas of corrosion, light deposits, weight 8.258 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse IMP CAI(sic) Λ AV - COMODVS, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse DEO AESC SVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $170.00 (144.50)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was on the Via Egnatia, the principal Roman road crossing the southern Balkans. In 50, the apostle Paul visited Amphipolis on his way to Thessaloniki. Many Christian churches were built indicating prosperity, but the region grew increasingly dangerous. In the 6th century, the population had declined considerably and the old perimeter was no longer defensible against Slavic invasions. The lower city was plundered for materials to fortify the Acropolis. In the 7th century, a new wall was built, right through the bath and basilica, dividing the Acropolis. The remaining artisans moved to houses and workshops built in the unused cisterns of the upper city. In the 8th century, the last inhabitants probably abandoned the city and moved to nearby Chrysopolis (formerly Eion, once the port of Amphipolis).
RP83483. Bronze AE 24, RPC online IV 7653 (5 spec.), SNG Cop 109, SNG Evelpidis 1186, Varbanov III 3244 (R4) var. (obv. leg.), BMC Macedonia p. 57, 116 var. (same), aVF, well centered, bumps, areas of light corrosion, flan flaw (pit) obverse center, weight 8.624 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, c. 188 - 190 A.D.; obverse AVTOK M AVP KOMM ANTΩNEINON, laureate head right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Tyche seated left on high-backed throne, wearing crown of city walls, right leg drawn back, patera in extended right hand, left elbow on back of throne; $135.00 (114.75)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 184 A.D., Roman forces in Britannia, led by Ulpius Marcellus, lost the Antonine Wall to raiding Caledonians and Picts.
RX64541. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 2215 (same dies); Dattari 3874 var.; Kampmann 41.44 var.; BMC p. 177, 1423 var.; Milne 2651 var.; Emmett 2552; SNG Cop - (all var. obv leg), F, weight 10.797 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 183 - 28 Aug 184 A.D.; obverse M A KO ANTΩ CEB EYCEB, laureate head right; reverse bust of Nilus right, crowned with lotus, cornucopia on right shoulder, himation over left, K/L - ∆ (year 24 of Marcus Aurelius) across fields; $80.00 (68.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Kanatha, Decapolis, Provincia Arabia

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Kanatha (or Canatha), 16 miles North of Bostra, is today Qanawat, Syria. It was the Biblical Kenath, which was captured by Nobah from the Amorites (Numbers 32:42 and Judges 8:11) and taken back by Geshur and Aram. The epithet Gabinia (ΓABI in the reverse legend) was probably derived from Gabinius the Proconsul of Syria.
RP83599. Bronze AE 17, SNG ANS 1268 (same dies); Sofaer p. 154 & pl. 132, 6 ff.; Spijkerman p. 92, 8; Rosenberger IV p. 18, 8, F, well centered on a tight flan, toned bronze surfaces, weight 2.54 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Kanatha (Qanawat, Syria) mint, obverse KOMO ANTONOC (A unbarred), laureate, draped, and cuirassed right, from behind; reverse ΓABI KANAΘ (A's unbarred, Θ appearing as O), bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; ex Alex G. Malloy; rare coin and city; $80.00 (68.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Roman people, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc.
RS85032. Silver denarius, RIC III 167, BMCRE IV 245, RSC II 532, Szaivert MIR 18 743-4/23/30, Hunter II 34, SRCV II 5680, gF, nice portrait, toned, light marks and scratches, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 2.509 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 187 - Dec 188 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XIII IMP VIII COS V P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power 13 years, imperator the 8th time, consul the 5th time, father of the country), Genius standing half left, head left, nude, patera in right hand, grain ears downward in left hand; $75.00 (63.75)


Elaea, Aeolis, 138 - 192 A.D.

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The head on this type has traditionally been identified as Lucius Verus; however, Lucius Verus was 30 years old when he was made caesar and he was made augustus simultaneously. The legend and young portrait suggest it might be someone else. RPC identifies the identity of the head as uncertain and lists Lucius Verus, Lucius Aelius and Commodus as possibilities.
GB86137. Orichalcum AE 15, RPC IV temp 216; SNG Cop 197; SNGvA 1612; SNG Mun 427; SNG Delepierre 9; SNG Leypold I 513; BMC Troas p. 130, 46; Lindgren III 330; McClean III 7943, VF, centered on a tight flan, porous, weight 2.708 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Aeolis, Elaea mint, 138 - 192 A.D.; obverse Λ OVKIOC - KAICAP, head of youthful Caesar (Lucius Verus, Annius Verus or Commodus) right; reverse EΛAI-TΩN, kalathos containing poppy in center and four stalks of grain; $70.00 (59.50)


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In 189 A.D., plague (possibly smallpox) killed as many as 2,000 people per day in Rome. Farmers were unable to harvest their crops and food shortages brought riots in the city. Part of Rome burned in 190. Commodus ordered the city to be rebuilt under the name Colonia Commodiana.
RX79588. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 2686 ff.; Curtis 852; Geissen 2252; Dattari 3889; SNG Cop 582; BMC Alexandria p. 175, 1404; Kampmann-Ganschow 41.124; Emmett 2558, F, dark patina, weight 10.856 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 189 - 28 Aug 190; obverse M A KOM ANTW CEB EYCEB, laureate head right; reverse bust of Selene left, large crescent on left, L Λ (year 30) on right; $60.00 (51.00)


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The Romans believed that Fortuna, after deserting the Persians and Assyrians, took flight over Macedonia and saw Alexander perish as she passed into Syria and Egypt. At last arriving on Mount Palatine, she threw aside her wings and casting away her wheel, entered Rome where she took up her abode forever. It appears, however, she kept her wheel. She just hid it under her seat.
RB68877. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 513, Cohen III 153, BMCRE 618, SRCV II 5746, gF, nice green patina, weight 22.316 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 188 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XIII IMP VIII COS V P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power 13 years, imperator the 8th time, consul the 5th time, father of the country), Fortuna seated left, rudder on globe in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, wheel under seat, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field, FOR RED in exergue; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $50.00 (42.50)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

COMMANTAVGPBRIT
COMMANTFELAVGPBRIT
COMMODOCAESAVGFILGERM
COMMODOCAESAVGFILGERMSARM
COMMODVSCAESAVGFILGERM
DIVOCOMMODO
IMPCAESLAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
IMPCAESLAVRELCOMMODVSGERMSARM
IMPLAVRELCOMMAVGGERMSARM
IMPLAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
LAELAVRCOMAVGPF
LAELAVRELCOMMAVGPFEL
LAVRECOMMODVSAVG
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVG
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGGERMSARM
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGTRPIII
LAVRELCOMMODVSAVGTRPIIII
LCOMMODVSAVG
MANTONINVSCOMMODVSAVG
MAVRELANCOMMAVGPFEL
MCOMMANTAVGPBRIT
MCOMMANTAVGPBRITFEL
MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRIT
MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRITPP
MCOMMANTOAVGPIVSFEL
MCOMMANTAVGBRIT
MCOMMANTONAVGPIVSBRIT
MCOMMANTONVSPIVSBRIT
MCOMMODANTPFELIXAVGBRITPP
MCOMMODVSANTONAVGPIVS
MCOMMODVSANTONINVSAVG
MCOMMODVSANTONINVSAVGPIVS
MCOMMODVSANTPFELIXAVGBRIT


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayn, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 3: Marcus Aurelius to Clodius Albinus. (Paris, 1883).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1930).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 4: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1940).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Szaivert, W. Die Mnzprgung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus un Commodus (161-192). (Wien, 1984).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Commodus