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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Adoptive Emperors| ▸ |Commodus||View 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.


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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Posthumous commemorative struck by Marcus Aurelius' son, Commodus.
RB91948. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III C654 (S); BMCRE IV C385; Hunter p. 408, 14; SRCV II 5982; Szaivert MIR 481-6/10; Cohen III 89, aVF, dark patina, well centered, weak reverse strike, weight 23.965 g, maximum diameter 31.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, consecration issue, c. 180 A.D.; obverse DIVVS M ANTONINVS PIVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on globe, head turned left, wings open, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking globe; scarce; $125.00 (110.00)


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, central cavities, 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; $120.00 (105.60)


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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RB91329. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 497 (S); Cohen III 213; BMCRE IV p. 810, 593 var. (rev. HILARITAS...); MIR 18, 729-6/30 var. (same); SRCV II 5754 var. (same); Hunter II -, F , broad and heavy flan, spot of reverse encrustation, weight 27.795 g, maximum diameter 33.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 186 - Dec 187 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse HILARIT AVG PM TR XII IMP VIII COS V P P, Hilaritas standing slightly left, head left, olive branch in extended right hand, grounded palm frond vertical in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across the field below center; scarce; $110.00 (96.80)


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

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Mount Erciyes (Argaios to the Greeks, Argaeus to the Romans) is a massive stratovolcano 25 km to the south of Kayseri (ancient Caesarea) in Turkey. The highest mountain in central Anatolia, with its summit reaching 3,916 meters (12,848 ft). It may have erupted as recently as 253 B.C., as may be depicted on Roman era coins. Strabo wrote that the summit was never free from snow and that those few who ascended it reported seeing both the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south in days with a clear sky.
RP87685. Silver didrachm, cf. RPC IV Online 10073; Metcalf Cappadocia 146a; SNGvA 6441; SNG Cop 250 var. (legends); Sydenham Cappadocia Supp. 370a var. (same); BMC Galatia -, aVF, frosty porous surfaces, bumps and marks, tine edge split, reverse legend ending in exergue is obscure, weight 3.343 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, COS III, 181 - 182 A.D.; obverse AYT M AYPH KOMO - ANTΩNINOC C, laureate head right; reverse UΠATOC Γ - ΠAT ΠA-[TP...(?)], Mount Argaios with rocks and trees, surmounted by Helios standing left on summit, globe in his right hand, long scepter in left hand; $105.00 (92.40)


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

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The Temple of Apollo Palatinus, on the Palatine Hill, was dedicated by Octavian on 9 October 28 B.C. in return for vows made for his victories over Sextus Pompeius at the Battle of Naulochus in 36 B.C. and over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium 31 B.C. It was built on a site where a lightning bolt had struck. Augustus' private house was directly connected to the terrace of the sanctuary. Ancient sources state the temple had ivory doors and held numerous works of sculpture. The remains were excavated in the 1960s.
RS85050. Silver denarius, Szaivert MIR 18 p.165, 805; BMCRE IV 271, pl. 97, 17 (aureus); RIC III 197 (S) var. (obv. leg.), RSC II 30 var. (same), Hunter II - (clv), F, dark deposits, rough, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.082 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 189 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT P P, laureate head right; reverse APOLLINI PALATINO, Apollo Palatinus standing facing, head right, laureate and wearing long robe, plectrum in right hand, lyre resting on a column in left hand; there were only two specimens of this type in the Reka Devnia Hoard, and there are none on coin archives.; extremely rare; $100.00 (88.00)


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; $80.00 (70.40)


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Libertas (Latin for Liberty) was the Roman goddess and embodiment of liberty. The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. coins.
RB88855. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III p. 341, 1589; Hunter II p. 404, 35; BMCRE IV p. 675, 1684; SRCV II 5766; MIR 18 427; Cohen III 330 var. (no drapery), F, dark patina, centered on a tight flan, corrosion, scratch, small edge splits, weight 20.522 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 177 - Dec 178 A.D.; obverse L AVREL COMMODVS AVG TR P III, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse LIBERTAS AVG IMP II COS P P, Libertas standing half left, pileus (freedom cap) in right hand, vindicta (long rod) vertical in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $70.00 (61.60)


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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS92024. Silver denarius, RIC III 236, BMCRE 326, RSC II 574, MIR 18 843-4/30, SRCV II 5686, Hunter II 58 var. (star rev upper left), VF, centered on a tight flan, flow line, die wear, areas a little rough, part of edge ragged with small splits and cracks, weight 2.219 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 191 - Dec 192 A.D.; obverse L AEL AVREL COM AVG P FEL, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVII IMP VIII COS VII P P, Pietas seated left, extending right hand to child at feet, long transverse scepter in left hand, the child stands with legs crossed and rests right hand on her knee; ex FORVM (2009); $70.00 (61.60)


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 Mn 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; $45.00 (39.60)







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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).
Mouchmov, N. Le Tresor Numismatique De Reka-Devnia (Marcianopolis). (Sofia, 1934).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
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, August 20, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Commodus