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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.


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The elaborate Annona reverse composition reflects the special care Commodus took in supplying the much needed African grain to Rome (in fear of mob uprisings).
RS84978. Silver denarius, RIC III 95, RSC II 17, BMCRE IV 144, MIR 18 647, SRCV II 5627, Hunter II -, Choice VF, nice portrait, well centered, reverse die wear, edge cracks, weight 3.212 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 184 - 185 A.D.; obverse COMM ANT AVG P BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P VIIII IMP VII COS IIII P P, Annona standing left, statuette of Concordia holding patera and scepter in Annona's right hand, scepter in her left hand, modius overflowing with grain at feet on left, two persons on prow at feet on right, ANN in exergue; $150.00 (133.50)


Lot of 26 Silver Denarii of Commodus, 177 - 192 A.D.

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Includes the following rarities:

- Not in RIC. Obv: L AVREL COMMODVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right / Rev: TR P V IMP IIII COS II PP, Virtus/Roma seated right holding spear and parazonium

- Not in RIC. Obv: M COMMODVS ANTONINUS AVG, laureate head right / Rev. TR P VIII IMP V COS IIII PP, Roma seated left with Victory and spear

- RIC III 197 ( just a few specimens known). Obv: M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT, laureate head right / Rev. APPOLINI PALATINO - Apollo standing front, head right, holding plectrum and lyre resting on column
LT80253. Silver Lot, 26 silver denarii, no flip tags, Rome mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; the actual coins in the photograph; as is, no returns; $1100.00 (979.00)


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

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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RP84963. Bronze AE 27, RPC IV 8302, Touratsoglou 38 ff., Varbanov 4338 (R5) var. (crescent and star right), SNG Hunterian -, BMC Macedonia -, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, VF, nice portrait, die wear, slight corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 12.628 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, 184 - 188 A.D.; obverse AVTOK M AVP KOMM ANTΩNEINON (clockwise from upper right), laureate head right; reverse ΘECCAΛONIKEΩN (clockwise from upper right), Nike advancing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder, crescent right; rare; $160.00 (142.40)


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

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Founded in 709 B.C., the ancient city of Parion was a major coastal city, near Lampsacus, with two harbors used to connect Thrace with Anatolia. Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period, it came under the domain of Lysimachus, and subsequently the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia in the province of Asia. It was the main customs station through which all goods bound for Byzantium from Greece and the Aegean had to pass. When this coin was minted, Parium was within the Conventus of Adramyteum. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, Parium was in the province of Hellespontus. Today it is the village of Kemer in the township of Biga, Canakkale province, Turkey.
RP84683. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online 3152 (4 spec.); ANS Collection 1944.100.43132; BMC Mysia p. 105, 103 var. (no globe); SNG BnF -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Tub -, Choice F, well centered, attractive toned brassy surfaces, marks, small edge crack, centration dimples, weight 9.952 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 178 - 180, probably 180; obverse IMP CAI Λ AV - COMODVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, with a short beard, from behind; reverse Capricorn swimming right, holding celestial globe between hooves, cornucopia on back, C G I H PAR (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) below; very rare; $170.00 (151.30)


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; $90.00 (80.10)


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

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It seems the Philippopolis mint allowed for many slight variations in legends and types. This variation is apparently unpublished, except Varbanov III 1073, with an unknown obverse legend, and RPC Online 7567 lists an example from the Plovdiv National Museum with an uncertain obverse legend variation. Perhaps one or both of those coins match this type, but photos are not available.
RP69759. Bronze assarion, cf. Varbanov III 1073 (R3, no obv. leg. listed), RPC Online 7567 var. (same, 6 spec., Plovdiv National Museum spec. possible obv. legend var.), aF, well centered, light corrosion, small encrustation above head, weight 4.348 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT KAI Λ AYPHΛI OYHPOC (or similar), laureate head right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛEITΩN, Homonoia standing left, phiale in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, altar at feet on left; from the Butte College Foundation, ex-Lindgren; rare; $28.00 (24.92)


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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; $70.00 (62.30)


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; $200.00 (178.00)


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 IV online 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; $150.00 (133.50)


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During the reign of Commodus, in 179 A.D., Lucius Septimius Severus arrived at Antioch to take command of Legio IV Scythica. The citizens of Antioch ridiculed Septimius Severus. Later, when Septimius Severus was emperor, although he would forgive many who supported Niger, he did not forgive Antioch and deprived the city of many privileges.
RS79867. Silver denarius, RSC II 771, RIC III M662, BMCRE IV p. 506, M796; cf. SRCV II 505 (TR P V); Hunter II -, gF, toned, small edge cracks, weight 2.698 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 179 A.D.; obverse L AVREL COMMODVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P IIII IMP III COS II P P, Fortuna seated left, holding rudder by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, wheel under seat; $60.00 (53.40)










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. III: 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, June 27, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Commodus