Roman Empire: bronze sestertius of Commodus, ca. 177-192 AD

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lordmarcovan, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Numismatic jack of all trades & specialist in none Moderator

    Roman Empire: bronze sestertius of Commodus, ca. 177-192 AD

    A lower grade but relatively larger bronze. 28 mm, 18.58 g. Ex-David Connors, August 2019.

    In a bit of pop culture trivia that most folks on this forum will already know, the cruel and megalomaniacal emperor Commodus was portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix (incorrectly beardless) as the villain in the 2000 Ridley Scott film, "Gladiator".

    One doesn't too often find Roman sestertius coins for around ten bucks, so I scooped this one up. It is low grade but has a decent portrait. In hand, the patina looks a bit more dark brown than greenish, as it appears in the photos.

    This was posted here primarily for the purpose of uploading the pictures, but feel free to comment or post your own relevant coins if you like.







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  3. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

    Two thumbs up from me! Nice score! Nice Patina.
    I don't have a Commodus Sestertius but I do have a large bronze Sestertius of Septimius Severus that I think will fit the occasion.
    SepimiusSeverusSest339O1_edited-1.jpg SeptimiusSevSestertius339R1_edited-1.jpg
    Septimius Severus, Sestertius
    Rx: Fides holding Victory and a Standard
    23.4 grams. 29mm
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  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's one of the last sestertii minted under Commodus:

    Commodus, AD 177-192.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 22.51 g, 29.2 mm, 1 h.
    Rome, AD 192.
    Obv: L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, laureate bust of Commodus, right, with slight drapery on left shoulder.
    Rev: LIB AVG P M TR P XVII COS VII P P, Libertas standing facing, head left, holding pileus in right hand and vindicta in left hand; S C l. and r., low in field; star, mid right, in field.
    Refs: RIC 619b; BMCRE 692 var. (bust); Cohen 290; Sear 5764; ERIC II 573 var. (bust).
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  5. Bradley Trotter

    Bradley Trotter Well-Known Member

    I don't own a Sestertius of Commodus. However, one of my more recent purchases was a well-circulated Sestertius bearing the image of his father, Marcus Aurelius.


    Marcus Aurelius, Sesterius 178 AD.JPG


    Marcus Aurelius, Sesterius 178 AD Reverse.JPG

    Marcus Aurelius
    177-178 A.D.
    Obverse: M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXXII, laureate head right
    Reverse: IMP VIIII COS III PP SC, Aequitas standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae
    Rome Mint
    RIC 1230
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
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  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I have sort of a Commodus problem - I chase 'em down no matter how ugly.

    This one is similar to (or same as?) the OP - I say this because of the curule chair, though there are probably others.

    Commodus - Sest seated curule lot Aug 2018(0).jpg
    Commodus Æ Sestertius
    (190 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    M COMMOD ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT PP, laureate head right / PM TR [P XV IMP] VIII COS VI, Commodus seated left on curule chair, holding branch and sceptre. S-C across fields.
    RIC 557; Cohen 556; Sear 5786.
    (23.20 grams / 28 mm)

    Here's my latest one. It also came in an eBay lot and didn't cost very much. I had some trouble attributing it, but came as close as I could:
    Commodus - Sest. IOVI IVVENTI lot Jul 2020 (0).JPG
    Commodus Æ Sestertius
    (189 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [M] COM[MOD ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT P P], laureate head r. / IO[VI IVV]ENI P M TR P XII[II IMP VIII COS V DES VI] S C: Jupiter standing left, holding thunderbolt & sceptre, eagle left.
    RIC III 542.
    (15.07 grams / 26 x 24 mm)

    Attribution Note:

    There are several IOVI IVVENI types from this era:
    RIC 499: TR P XII
    Based on other examples, layout of visible reverse legend seems to best match RIC III 542.

  7. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Commodus is a great one for portrait and beard:
    Commodus Sestertius.jpg
    Commodus, 180-192 AD, Æ Sestertius, Struck 190 AD
    Obv: M COMMOD ANT P F-ELIX AVG BRIT PP, laureate head right
    Rev: MART PACAT P M TR P XIIII IMP VIII COS V DES VI, S C across field, Mars, helmeted, standing left, holding branch in extended right hand and sceptre in left hand
    Ref: RIC III Commodus 543
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    That is an absolutely superb portrait, Sulla80. This is why I like Commodus' coins so much. Despite the "decadence" of his reign, I think the portraiture is among the best of that era.

    Another nice thing is that you can find him as a beardless kid as well:

    Commodus - Sest Trophy DE GERM May 2020 lot (0a).jpg
    Commodus Æ Sestertius
    (177 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    IM[P L A]VREL C[OM]MODVS AV[G GERM SARM], laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right / [TR P II COS P P S-C], [D]E GERM in exergue, two captives seated at foot of trophy.
    RIC 1556 (Aurelius).
    (21.71 grams / 31 x 29 mm)
  9. Ignoramus Maximus

    Ignoramus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Here's my one and only Commodus.
    I like the obverse, the Hercules reverse is of course hopeless.

    There are denarii and an as where he is depicted as the Roman Hercules, lion skin and all, club on the reverse. I'd love to get my hands on one of them someday. Meanwhile, I'll happily settle for this one.

    Sestertius Commodus AD 183.png fff.png
    RIC 365.
  10. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Here are three sestertii of Commodus; The first has Cybele riding on the back of a lion. She was known to the Romans as Magna Mater, protector of Rome. Often she was portrayed as a Vestal, and referred to as "castissima mater" or purest mother. I believe Vergil mentions that she protected the ships leaving Troy for Italy's shore. I have also posted a Roman lamp c. 1st century AD depicting the same scene with Cybele.

    2970414.jpg 3717272l.jpg 943216.jpg Y00487LG.jpg
  11. Pishpash

    Pishpash Supporter! Supporter

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Commodus (Augustus)
    Coin: Brass Sestertius
    M COMMODVS ANT [P FELIX] AVG BRIT - laureate head right
    LIBERAL AVG VI [P M TR P XI IMP VII COS V P P] S C - Commodus seated left on curule chair atop platform, officer standing left behind him, Liberalitas standing left before him, holding abacus and cornucopiae, citizen mounting stepsof platform on left, about to receive largess
    Mint: Rome (186 AD)
    Wt./Size/Axis: 21.00g / 31mm / -
    Rarity: Scarce
    Reference RIC 471a
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  12. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    RIC II, COMMODUS, Sestertius, No. 452
    Obverse: Commodus, Laureate head facing right
    Inscription clockwise from bottom: M COMMODVS ANTON AVG PIVS BRIT
    Reverse: Victory (Britannia?) seated right, writing on shield
    Inscription: S C (left and right) VICT BRIT (exergue)
  13. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    A young(er) Commodus:
    Commodus. As Caesar, 166-177 AD. Æ Sestertius. (31mm; 26.52 gm; 12h). Rome mint. Struck under Marcus Aurelius 175-176 AD. Obv: Bare headed and draped bust right. Rev: SPES PVBLICA - S-C; Spes advancing left, holding flower and raising hem. RIC III 1530 (Aurelius); MIR 18, 344-16/13; Banti 385.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  14. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    OK OK, I admit it, it's provincial and not a "real" sestertius, but at 30mm and 18.31g it deserves to be in the HEAVY WEIGHT category, doesn't it ?
    Commodus Ae
    Cappadocia, Ceasaraea
  15. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I feel embarrassed posting this coin after seeing so many large, handsome sestertii, but my humble denarius has a nice portrait :shame:.

    Commodus Denarius.jpg
    Commodus, AD 177-192 (struck AD 189), Rome Mint. AR Denarius, 18 mm, 11 h. Reverse: Fortuna holding caduceus & cornucopia, foot on ship's prow. RIC 186
  16. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Numismatic jack of all trades & specialist in none Moderator

    "Humble". LOL

    Have you compared your relatively high grade, certified denarius to the $10 sestertius I opened this thread with? ;)
  17. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

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