Coins of Commodus

Roman Emperor (AD 180-192)

Lucius Aurelius Commodus was born the son of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger in 161. During his father’s reign he was continuously advanced until he was made co-emperor to Aurelius in 177 and received the title Augustus. In this same year he married Crispina and accompanied his father in the second German-Samartian War. Commodus succeeded Aurelius as sole emperor upon his father’s death in 180.

Despite maintaining peace on the German frontiers, Commodus was known as a cruel and tyrannical emperor. He replaced members in government with those whom he favored and he required that everything be done according to his will, showing continuous hostility towards the Senate. Commodus’ thirst for power appears to have corrupted his mind since he renamed Rome “Colonia Commodiana” after himself and regarded himself as the incarnation of Hercules. He even went so far as to present himself as both gladiator and consul before the people. This outraged his advisors and provoked them to hire an athlete, Narcissus, to strangle him.

AE Sestertius, Rome
AD 179-180

Obverse:
Laureate head of Commodus facing r. encircled by L AVREL COMMODVS AVG TR P V

Reverse:
Jupiter, naked to waist, seated l. on throne holding Victory on r.hand, and vertical sceptre in l. <IOVI VICTORI> upwards l. COS II P P downwards r. S C to l. and r. in field.

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AE As, Rome
AD 183-184

Obverse:
Laureate head of Commodus facing r. encircled by M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG

Reverse:
Fortuna standing front, draped, holding rudder on globe in r. hand and cornucopia in l. TR P VIII upwards l. <IMP> VI <COS> <I>III P P downwards r.; S C to l. and r. in field.