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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.

|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.|, |denarius|
Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. She was the goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word "hygiene."
RS94701. Silver denarius, RSC II 762b; Hunter II 13; SRCV II 5702; RIC III M649 var. (draped); BMCRE IV p. 503, M780 (draped), VF, nice young portrait, flow lines, slight porosity, uneven tone, edge ragged with cracks, weight 3.011 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 177 - Dec 178 A.D.; obverse L AVREL COMMODVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P III IMP II COS P P, Salus seated left, branch extended in right hand, left arm rests on chair, snake rising up from the ground before her; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.|, |denarius|
This type commemorates Commodus' accession largesse for the beginning of his sole reign. Liberality holds in her right hand a counting board on which are cut a certain number of holes. These boards were used to quickly count the proper number of coins or other items for distribution to each person. It appears they were held over a container, covered with coins and the excess swept away back into the container. The proper number of coins would fill the holes and then would be dumped out to the recipient. On coins, this symbol indicated the prince had given to the people money, grain, or other articles of consumption. In her left hand Liberalitas holds a cornucopia to indicate the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.
RS94128. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV 70, RSC II 311, Hunter II 11, RIC III 36, SRCV II 5655, VF, nice portrait, well centered, flow lines, light scratches, reverse die wear, edge cracks, weight 2.927 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 181 - Dec 182 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, with slight beard, seen from behind; reverse LIB AVG V TR P VII IMP IIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing slightly left, holding up coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $120.00 SALE |PRICE| $108.00


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.|, |denarius|
This type commemorates Commodus' accession largesse for the beginning of his sole reign. Liberality holds in her right hand a counting board on which are cut a certain number of holes. These boards were used to quickly count the proper number of coins or other items for distribution to each person. It appears they were held over a container, covered with coins and the excess swept away back into the container. The proper number of coins would fill the holes and then would be dumped out to the recipient. On coins, this symbol indicated the prince had given to the people money, grain, or other articles of consumption. In her left hand Liberalitas holds a cornucopia to indicate the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.
RS94103. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV 70, RSC II 311, RIC III 36, Hunter II 3 var. (laureate head), aVF, nice portrait, well centered on a tight flan, flow lines, light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.147 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 181 - 182 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse LIB AVG TR P VII IMP IIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing slightly left, holding up coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 82 (6 Oct 2019), part of lot 1070; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.|, |denarius|
In 185, Commodus drained Rome's treasury to put on gladiatorial spectacles and confiscated property to support his pleasures. He participated as a gladiator and boasted of victory in 1,000 matches in the Circus Maximus.
RS94706. Silver denarius, RIC III 121; RSC II 497; BMCRE IV p. 723, *; SRCV II-; Hunter V -, VF, some legend off flan, small edge cracks, weight 2.747 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec. 185 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XI IMP VII COS V P P, Felicitas standing front, head left, caduceus in right hand and vertical scepter in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


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

|Cappadocia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Caesarea,| |Cappadocia|, |didrachm|
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; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |Dec| |192| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
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; $95.00 SALE |PRICE| $85.50


|Commodus|, |Crispina,| |Augusta,| |178| |-| |182| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Commodus|, |denarius|
Juno was the chief female divinity in the Roman pantheon, the protector and special counselor of the Roman state, and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She was a daughter of Saturn, the sister and wife of Jupiter, and the mother of Juventas, Mars, and Vulcan. She had many different aspects, such as Juno Moneta, Juno Sospita, and Juno Lucina, but here she is depicted as Juno Regina, "Juno the Queen." Juno is usually shown holding a patera, scepter or a statuette of Athena, and is often accompanied by a peacock. Her Greek equivalent is Hera.
RS92469. Silver denarius, RIC III 283, RSC II 21, BMCRE IV 41, Hunter II 10, SRCV II 6001, VF, old collection toning, flow lines, minor flaw reverse left field, flan ragged with edge splits, weight 2.244 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 180 - 182 A.D.; obverse CRISPINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse IVNO, Juno standing facing, veiled, head left, patera in right hand, long scepter in left hand, peacock left at feet on left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.|, |denarius|
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.
RS94703. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV 309 (also star right), RIC III 241, RSC II 288, Hunter V -, SRCV II -, aVF, well centered on a tight flan, toned, scattered mild porosity, reverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 1.806 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, 192 A.D.; obverse L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, laureate head right; reverse LIB AVG P M TR P XVII COS VII P P, Libertas standing slightly left, head left, pileus (freedom cap - worn by freed slaves) in right hand, vindicta (rod) in vertical in left hand, star right field; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.|, |denarius|
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).
RS94704. Silver denarius, RIC III 95, RSC II 17, BMCRE IV 144, MIR 18 647, SRCV II 5627, Hunter II - (p. clii), VF, centered on a tight flan, some mint luster, flow lines, part of edge ragged with splits and cracks, weight 2.770 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 184 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 slightly left, head left, statuette of Concordia holding patera and scepter in Annona's right hand, cornucopia in her left hand, modius overflowing with grain at feet on left, two persons on prow at feet on right, ANN in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


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

|Amphipolis|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Amphipolis,| |Macedonia|, |AE| |24|
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; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00




  



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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).

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