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

|Cappadocia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Caesarea,| |Cappadocia||AE| |29|NEW
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.
RP93136. Bronze AE 29, Henseler 316d; RPC Online IV.3 T6889 (5 specs.); Sydenham 383; SNG Cop 255; SNG Lewis 1718; BMC Galatia p. 73, 218 corr. (Γ only in ex.), F, dark green patina, earthen deposits, bumps and marks, legends weak, weight 13.470 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 180o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, 191 - 192 A.D.; obverse A K M AV KOMO∆OC ANTΩNINOC, laureate head right; reverse MHTPOΠOΛ - KAICAPEIAC, agalma of Mount Argaeus placed on an altar, ET inscribed on altar, ΓI (year 13) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $80.00 (€73.60)

|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Curtis Clay suggests that this issue was struck in preparation for Commodus' proposed visit to Alexandria, prior to his assassination.
RS96923. Silver denarius, Bickford-Smith p. 54, note 7; RIC III -; MIR -; BMCRE -; RSC -, aVF, well centered on a tight flan, toned, small edge cracks, weight 2.588 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, late 192 A.D.; obverse IM COMM ANTONINVS PIVS TR P II, laureate head right; reverse LIB AVG P M TR P XVIII 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 upper left field; very rare; $500.00 (€460.00)

|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
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.
RS94666. Silver denarius, RIC III 66, BMCRE IV 113, Hunter II 18, RSC II 903 var. (obv legend, noted), SRCV II -, VF, tight flan with some legend off flan, flow lines, light marks, porosity, small edge cracks, weight 2.627 g, maximum diameter 16.7 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, Salus (goddess of health) standing facing, head left, with right hand feeding snake rising from altar on left, long scepter in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 (€110.40)

|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
In 175, Commodus, son of Marcus Aurelius and his wife Faustina, was made caesar. This coin was dedicated to the new caesar, the "Prince of Youth."
RS97089. Silver denarius, RIC III MA603, RSC II 608, BMCRE IV MA639, SRCV II 5540, Hunter II 3 var. (draped bust), aVF, well centered, light scratches, edge cracks, weight 3.058 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 175 A.D.; obverse COMMODO CAES AVG FIL GERM, youth's bare head right; reverse PRINC IVVENT (Prince of Youth), Commodus standing slightly left, head left, wearing short tunic and chlamys, branch downward in right hand, inverted spear vertical behind in left hand, trophy of captured arms with round shield and arms at base; $110.00 (€101.20)

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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
Ptolemy Soter integrated Egyptian religion with that of the Hellenic rulers by creating Serapis, a deity that would win the reverence of both groups. This was despite the curses of the Egyptian priests against the gods of previous foreign rulers (i.e Set who was lauded by the Hyksos). Alexander the Great had attempted to use Amun for this purpose, but Amum was more prominent in Upper Egypt, and not as popular in Lower Egypt, where the Greeks had stronger influence. The Greeks had little respect for animal-headed figures, and so an anthropomorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force). Ptolemy's efforts were successful - in time Serapis was held by the Egyptians in the highest reverence above all other deities, and he was adored in Athens and other Greek cities.
RX92519. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 2212; Milne 2655; SNG Cop 571; RPC Online IV.4 T14197; Dattari 3847 var. (obv. leg.); BMC Alexandria p. 178, 1432 var. (same), VF, dark patina, centered, edge chip, area of corrosion damage, edge splits, weight 10.905 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 183 - 28 Aug 184 A.D.; obverse M A KO ANTW CEB EYCEB, laureate head right; reverse on left: bust of Serapis right on short column, wearing kalathos; on right: Commodus standing left, wearing high round cap with tails and priestly robes, dropping incense on flaming altar (or thymiaterion), L in exergue, K − ∆ across fields (year 24 [of Marcus Aurelius]); from the Errett Bishop Collection; $60.00 (€55.20)

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 (€41.40)




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Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
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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)
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).

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