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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., 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 KOMOΔOC CEB, mantled bust right, wearing demiurgic crown; club of Hercules behind; reverse AΔP KOM - TAP MHO (Hadrianeia, Kommodeios - Tarsos Metropolis), agonistic crown inscribed KOMOΔEI, 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; $80.00 (75.20)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Akrasos, Lydia

|Other| |Lydia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Akrasos,| |Lydia||AE| |26|
Akrasos was probably located on the upper course of the Caicus River. The site remains unknown. Even which river was once called the Caicus is uncertain. It is believed to be the modern Bakircay River in Turkey. Nothing is known of the city beyond its coinage.
RP111751. Bronze AE 26, GRPC Lydia Acrasus 27, RPC Online IV.2 T2794, SNG Mun 19, BMC Lydia -, SNGvA -, Choice F, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, porosity, weight 9.202 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, Acrasus (site unknown) mint, under Marcus Aurelius, c. 177 - 179 A.D.; obverse AV KAI Λ AVP KOMOΔ, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse EΠI CTPA BACCOV AKPACIΩTΩ (authority of strategos Bassos, Akrasos), Hygieia on left, standing half right, feeding serpent from patera held in her arms; Asclepius on right, standing facing, head left, leaning on serpent-entwined staff; ex CNG e-auction 510 (23 Feb 2022), lot 405; ex Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection ; $80.00 (75.20)


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||medallion|
Giovanni Dattari (1853 - 1923) was a self-taught collector and successful trader of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities. He held a near monopoly in the antiquities trade in Cairo, Egypt. He also shared his expertise and first-hand knowledge of Egypt with the foremost scholars of his time. Dattari assembled a collection of over 25,000 ancient coins. His 1901 work, Numi Augg. Alexandrini, cataloged 6411 of his coins from Roman Alexandria, and is still a primary reference for the coinage of Roman Egypt. Dattari also made pencil rubbings of more than 13,000 coins from Roman Alexandria in his collection; these were finally published in 2007 by Adriano Savio. In 1920, Dattari donated large parts of his collection to the Museo Nazionale Romano. After his death, the remainder of his collection was sold.
SL96389. Bronze medallion, Gnecchi II p. 51, 1 & tav. 78, 1, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 2/5, Fine Style (ex Coin Gall., 2/95, 1865; The Morris Collection; 4632497-011), weight 53.33 g, maximum diameter 39.5 mm, die axis 345o, Rome mint, 190 - 192 A.D.; obverse COMMODVS ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse APOL PALATINO P M TR P XVI IMP VIII, Apollo Palatine on left, standing facing, head right, plectrum in right hand, Victory on right, standing left, presenting kithara (lyre) to Apollo, COS VI P P in exergue; ex Heritage NYINC auction 3071 (6-7 Jan 2019), lot 32133; ex Morris Collection; ex Coin Galleries (15 Feb 1995), lot 1865; ex Spink & Sons (1950's); ex Dattari Collection; NGC| Lookup; extremely rare; SOLD


Commodus and Crispina, 177 - 192 A.D.

|Commodus|, |Commodus| |and| |Crispina,| |177| |-| |192| |A.D.||medallion|
Crispina was married to emperor Commodus in 177A.D., in an effort to foster some virtue in the young Caesar. Unfortunately, Crispina was a vain and haughty, if beautiful, and did little to improve Commodus' character. She was implicated in a plot to kill Commodus in 182. She was exiled to Capri with Commodus' sister Lucilla and murdered soon after.
SH34908. Bronze medallion, Gnecchi II, p. 72, 2 and Pl 91, 9 (same dies); Gbl MIR 1078; Cohen III 3, Fine/Fair, weight 41.742 g, maximum diameter 35.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 177 A.D.; obverse IMP COMMODVS AVG GERM SARM CRISPINA AVG, draped bust of Crispina right facing laureate and draped bust of young Commodus left; reverse VOTA PVBLICA (Vows (prayers) of the Roman people), Commodus (on left) and Crispina (on right, veiled) standing confronted, clasping hands, Concordia stands behind them in the center with her arms around their shoulders; ex Spink; very rare; SOLD


|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||sestertius|
This coin refers to Commodus' belief that he was Hercules reincarnated. According to the historian Herodian, "he issued orders that he was to be called not Commodus, son of Marcus, but Hercules, son of Jupiter. Abandoning the Roman and imperial mode of dress, he donned the lion-skin, and carried the club of Hercules."
SH27024. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 639, RSC II 199, SRCV II 5753, VF, weight 24.362 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 192 A.D.; obverse L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, Commodus as Hercules, head right wearing lion-skin; reverse HERCVL ROMANO AVGV S C, bow, club and quiver with arrows; nice green patina; scarce; SOLD


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

|Philippopolis|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |Dec| |192| |A.D.,| |Philippopolis,| |Thrace||assarion|
This is only the second example of this type known to Forum. All three references we list for this type actually refer to the same coin, described as having a completely uncertain obverse legend. That coin is now in the Archaeological Museum Sophia.
RP63215. Bronze assarion, RPC Online 7559, Varbanov III 1061 (R5), Mouchmov Philip 207, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, SNG Fitz -, SNG Hunterian -, et al. -, www -, VF, perhaps the finest of the type, weight 4.338 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AY KAI M ANT - KOMMOΔOC, laureate head right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛITΩN, Hera standing facing in long drapery, head left, veiled, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; 2nd known to Forum; USA import restricted type, from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; extremely rare; SOLD


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

|Philippopolis|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |Dec| |192| |A.D.,| |Philippopolis,| |Thrace||assarion|
The Greeks and Romans did not view snakes as evil creatures but rather as symbols and tools for healing and fertility. Asclepius, the son of Apollo and Koronis, 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.
RP67767. Bronze assarion, RPC online 10621 (1 spec., Oxford), Varbanov 1104 ff. var. (obv leg), Mouchmov Philip 241 ff. var. (same), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, Lindgren -, Choice gVF, nice green patina, weight 4.167 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 225o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AY M AY KOMOΔOC, laureate head right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛITΩN, tripod lebes, snake coiled around center leg, head above bowl; USA import restricted type, acquired by Forum from a Florida based dealer at NYINC 2014; very rare variety; SOLD


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

|Philippopolis|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Philippopolis,| |Thrace||AE| |20|
 
RP16069. Bronze AE 20, Moushmov -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, SNG Righetti -, SNG Cop -, SNG Lewis -, F, obverse legend off flan and worn illegible, weight 5.386 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse [AV K A AVP KOMOΔOC] (or similar), laureate head right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛEI-TΩN, crescent and three stars; very rare; SOLD







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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. Moneta Imperii Romani, 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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