Roman Imperial coin, silver, AR denarius. Struck during the reign of emperor Commodus (Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus), 191-192 CE. The head of Commodus as Hercules in a lion-skin faces right in profile, on obverse with the inscriptions "L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL" surrounding image. On reverse, the inscriptions "HERCVL ROMAN AV GV" are arranged in four lines divided by the club of Hercules, all within a laurel wreath. Coin irregularly shaped.
Date range: 191-192 C.E.
Remarks: Born in Lanuvium in 161 C.E., Commodus 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 peace 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 he was 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", London 2002 (Vol II), #5644, pg 397; compare Harold Mattingly, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, IV, #341, Pl. 99, 18.
|Credit line||Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas|
|Place of Origin||Europe/Italy/Rome|