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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.


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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; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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Year 184 was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Eggius and Aelianus or, less frequently, year 937 Ab urbe condita (from the founding of the city [Rome]).
RB91579. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC III 443, Cohen III 462, BMCRE IV p. 797, - († note), cf. SRCV II 5842 (IMP VI), Hunter II -, aF, irregular shaped flan, cleaning scratches, weight 12.650 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 183 - Dec 184 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT-ON AVG PIVS BRIT, radiate head right; reverse P M TR P VIIII IMP VII COS IIII P P, Roma seated left, helmeted and draped, Victory offering her a wreath in her right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, shield leaning against near side of chair, S - C (senatus consulto) low across field; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $38.00 (€33.44)
 


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The Roman curule chair was for senior magistrates including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, censors, and the curule aediles. As a form of a throne, it might be given as an honor to foreign kings recognized formally as a friend (amicus) by the Roman people or senate. Designed for use by commanders in the field, the curule chair could be folded for easy transport. In Gaul, the Merovingian successors to Roman power employed the curule seat as an emblem of their right to dispense justice. Their Capetian successors also retained the iconic seat. The "Throne of Dagobert," of cast bronze retaining traces of gilding, is conserved in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. First mentioned in the 12th century, it was already a treasured relic on which the Frankish kings sat to receive the homage of their nobles after they had assumed power. The "Throne of Dagobert" was used for the coronation of Napoleon.Throne of Dagobert
RB91588. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 463, BMCRE IV 573, Cohen III 506, MIR 18 699, SRCV 5782, Hunter II 26 var. (...FEL AVG...), aF, glossy sea-green patina with old edge flaking, bumps, pit on obverse, light earthen deposits, weight 23.724 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 186 A.D., first issue; obverse M COMMODVS ANT P F-ELIX AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XI IMP VII COS V P P, Commodus seated left on curule chair, togate, feet on footstool, globe in extended right hand, roll in left, crowned by Victory above flying left, S - C flanking below center; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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The reverse depicts a Commodus' forth liberalitas, a gift distribution of money to the people of Rome. A citizen is using his drapery to catch coins thrown from above - the coins are depicted by four pellets. Liberalitas holds a counting board, a money shovel with shallow holes in it, used to quickly distribute a specific number of coins to each recipient.
RB92465. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 563, Cohen III 320, BMCRE IV 650, Hunter II 163, SRCV II -, VF/F, excellent portrait, highlighting green and brown patina, tight flan, edge flaw, weight 19.715 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 190 A.D.; obverse M COMMOD ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT P P, laureate bust right; reverse LIBERAL AVG VII TR P XV IMP VIII COS VI, Liberalitas standing slightly left, head left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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Felicitas was the goddess of good luck and success. She was a prominent symbol of wealth and prosperity and, during the Empire, she played an important role in Rome's state religion. Since it was considered the duty of the emperor to promote public happiness, almost every emperor struck coins dedicated to Felicitas.
RS92466. Silver denarius, RIC III 65, BMCRE IV 111, RSC II 905, Hunter II -, SRCV II -, Choice gVF, nice portrait, dark old collection toning, flow lines, edge cracks, weight 2.611 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTON AVG PIVS, laureate head right; reverse TR P VIII IMP VI COS IIII P P, Providentia standing slightly left, head left, wand in right hand held over globe at feet on left, long scepter vertical in left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $185.00 (€162.80)
 


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Felicitas was the goddess of good luck and success. She was a prominent symbol of wealth and prosperity and, during the Empire, she played an important role in Rome's state religion. Since it was considered the duty of the emperor to promote public happiness, almost every emperor struck coins dedicated to Felicitas.
RB92467. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 311a, BMCRE IV 457 var. (slight drapery), Hunter II 85 var. (same), Cohen III 335 var. (draped), SRCV II -, aF, scratches, porous, edge cracks, weight 21.700 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 181 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse LIBERTAS AVG TR P VI IMP IIII COS III 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; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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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)
 


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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)
 


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 II 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)
 


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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)
 




  






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).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, 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 frappées 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 Münzprägung 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, October 15, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Commodus