Roman Imperial coin, bronze (orichalcum), sestertius. Struck during the joint reign of Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus with his father Marcus Aurelius in Rome, 178 C.E. The laureate head of Commodus faces right in profile, on obverse with the inscriptions "L AVREL COMM-ODVS AVG TR P III" left and right of image. On reverse, the standing figure of Libertas, the goddess and personification of liberty, faces left and holds a pileus in her left hand and a scepter in her right with the inscriptions "LIBERTAS AVG IMP II COS P P" surrounding image and "S-C" left and right of image. Reverse inscriptions based on Sear reference; inscriptions faded and difficult to decipher.
Date: 178 C.E.
Remarks: Born in Lanuvium in 161 C.E., he was the son of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina Junior and was made Augustus and co-emperor in 177 C.E. On the death of his father in 180 C.E., Commodus concluded a piece with the German and Sarmatian tribes and hurried back to Rome. There were great hopes that he might continue the fine tradition of Antonine government, but he proved a most unworthy son of a noble father. During his last years he seems to have become quite insane: he disgraced "the purple" by fighting wild beasts in the amphitheatre, and his megalomania caused him to believe the reincarnation of Hercules and to demand the worship of the people. After numerous unsuccessful plots against his life, he was eventually murdered on the night of December 31st, 192 C.E. Commodus' coins were minted in Rome.
Reference: David Sear, Roman Coins and their Values (1970), #1508.
|Credit line||Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas|
|Place of Origin||Europe/Italy/Rome|