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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|
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. Liberalitas holds a cornucopia to indicate the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.
RS99719. Silver denarius, Hunter II 6, BMCRE IV 53, RSC II 307, RIC III 22, SRCV II -, gF, well centered, light tone, radiating flow lines, small edge cracks, weight 3.293 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 180 - 181 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse LIB AVG IIII TR P VI IMP IIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing slightly left, head left, raising coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $120.00 (114.00)


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

|Cilicia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Tarsos,| |Cilicia||AE| |27|
The title Neokoros, designating a guardian of a temple of the imperial cult, was highly prized and advertised on the coins of many cities. Tarsos was the first city in Cilicia to receive the title, during the reign of Hadrian, not long after 130 A.D. This first temple dedicated to the cult of Hadrian is named in the reverse legend. A second imperial temple was dedicated to Commodus during his reign, before August 191. The B (the Greek number two) indicates this second neokorie. The Kommodeios isolympic worldwide festival was held in honor of this temple. Commodus probably honored Tarsos because its chief god was Hercules, and Commodus had come to believe he was Hercules reincarnated.
RP97264. Bronze AE 27, RPC Online IV.3 T5845, SNG Levante Supp. 260, SNG BnF 1466, SNGvA 5997, Waddington 4636, VF, nice green patina, uneven slightly off-center strike with parts of legends weak or unstruck, weight 11.189 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 30o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC AYP KOMO∆OC CEB, mantled bust right, wearing demiurgic crown; club of Hercules behind; reverse A∆P KOM - TAP MHO (Hadrianeia, Kommodeios - Tarsos Metropolis), agonistic crown inscribed KOMO∆EI, OIKO/VME (Kommodeios worldwide) in two lines above, B / NEWKO (two neokorie) in two lines below; ex Zeus Numismatics, auction 11 (01 Aug 2020), lot 453; $100.00 (95.00)


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||as|
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.
RB99432. Bronze as, RIC III MA1517 (S), MIR 18 304-17/14, BMCRE IV MA1519, Hunter II 20, Cohen III 294, SRCV II -, aF, brown patina, pitting, weight 10.650 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 172 - 173 A.D.; obverse L AVREL COMMODVS CAES AVG FIL GERM, bare-headed draped bust right; reverse LIBERALITAS AVG, Commodus seated to left on curule chair set on platform, attended by soldier behind, Liberalitas standing to left before, holding abacus and cornucopias, citizen mounting steps to accept coins, S - C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $120.00 (114.00)


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

|Bithynia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Cius,| |Bithynia||AE| |26|
Cius was an ancient Greek city bordering the Propontis, now known as the Sea of Marmara, in Bithynia and in Mysia in modern northwestern Turkey, and had a long history, being mentioned by Herodotus, Xenophon, Aristotle, Strabo and Apollonius Rhodius.
RP99435. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online IV.1 11689 (1 specimen, this coin), otherwise unpublished, F, well centered, brown patina, porous/light corrosion, weight 4.386 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 225o, Cius, Bithynia (near Gemlik, Turkey) mint, 180 - 182 A.D.; obverse A K M AV KO ANTΩNI, laureate (and cuirassed?) bust of Commodus right, with short beard; reverse KIANΩN, Hygieia standing half right, head right, feeding snake in right hand, from patera in left hand; from the M. Arslan Collection, extremely rare - this is the only known specimen of the type; $300.00 (285.00)


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

|Decapolis,| |Arabia| |&| |Syria|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Kanatha,| |Decapolis,| |Provincia| |Arabia||AE| |17|
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.
RP99613. Bronze AE 17, SNG ANS 1268; Sofaer p. 154 & pl. 132, 6 ff.; Spijkerman p. 92, 8; Rosenberger IV p. 18, 8, Nice VF, green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan, reverse a little off center, weight 2.960 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kanatha (Qanawat, Syria) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse KOMO ANTONC, 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; rare city and coin; $160.00 (152.00)


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||sestertius|
The "ship of state," famously expounded by Plato in the Republic, likens the governance of a state to the command of a vessel. The Romans believed that Fortuna, the goddess of luck and fortune, after deserting the Persians and Assyrians, saw Alexander perish as she flew over Syria and Egypt, and at last arriving on Mount Palatine, cast aside her wings to live in Rome forever. This coin was dedicated to Fortuna, depicting holding a rudder, for steering the Roman ship of state to prosperity, symbolized by the cornucopia.
RB98694. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 351 (S); Hunter II 99; BMCRE IV p. 782, *; Cohen III -; SRCV II -, F, green patina, irregular squared flan, scratches, porosity, legends mostly off flan or unstruck, flan cracks, weight 16.467 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 182 - Dec 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG PIVS, laureate head right; reverse TRP VIII IMP V COS IIII P P, Fortuna standing slightly left, head left, rudder on globe held by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; RIC lists this type only as scarce, but this is the first specimen we have handled, there is only one sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades, and both RIC and BMC refer to only one specimen from the Stiavelli Sale in 1908!; rare; $100.00 (95.00)


Roman Silver Coins, Volume II, Tiberius to Commodus

|Roman| |Books|, |Roman| |Silver| |Coins,| |Volume| |II,| |Tiberius| |to| |Commodus|
Roman Silver Coins, Volume II, Tiberius to Commodus by H.A. Seaby (With D.R. Sear)

Roman Silver Coins Volume II covers the years A.D. 14-192 and includes some of the most emotive emperors of Roman history - Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan and Hadrian. On the reverse of the Coins can be seen in all facets of Roman life including politics, religion and economics. A particular feature of interest is the changing fashion of the Imperial ladies' hairstyles. Most Roman emperors and many members of the imperial family are represented on the silver coinage. The 573 photographs of coins included here are taken from the renowned G R Arnold collection, supplemented by photographs from the British Museum.
BK21957. Roman Silver Coins, Volume II, Tiberius to Commodus by H.A. Seaby (With D.R. Sear), 3rd Edition revised by Robert Loosley, hardbound, international shipping at actual cost of shipping; $45.00 (42.75)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Ilion (Troy), Troas

|Troas|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Ilion| |(Troy),| |Troas||AE| |24|
In Greek and Roman mythology, Hector was a Trojan prince and the greatest warrior for Troy in the Trojan War. He acted as leader of the Trojans and their allies in the defense of Troy, killing countless Greek warriors. He was ultimately killed by Achilles.

Did Hector really live? The most valuable historical evidence for the Battle of Troy are treaties and letters mentioned in Hittite cuneiform texts of the same approximate era, which identify an unruly Western Anatolian warlord named Piyama-Radu (possibly Priam) and his successor Alaksandu (possibly Alexander, the nickname of Paris) both based in Wilusa (possibly Ilios), as well as the god Apaliunas (possibly Apollo). The name E-ko-to (along with 20 other names from the myth) is known from Linear B tablets, not referring to the hero, but proving that this name existed in Greek in Mycenaean times.
RP97548. Brass AE 24, cf. Bellinger Troy T192; SNG Mnchen XIX 254; SNG Cop 405, BMC Troas -, F, rough, parts of legends illegible, central dimple (as usual for the type) on reverse, weight 8.121 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ilion (Troy), Troas mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse AV K M (or Λ?) AY - KOMO∆OC, laureate and draped bust right; reverse E-KTOP, Hector of Troy galloping biga right, head turned back left, wearing helmet and military dress, transverse spear in right hand, shield and reins in left hand, IΛIEΩN in exergue; extremely rare, Coin Archives records only one sale of this type in the past two decades (also listed are a few specimens of the similar and also very rare AE36 and AE19 Hector reverse types struck for Commodus at Ilion); SOLD










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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