Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus
Date: 180 AD
Reference: Reference: RIC III Commodus 5 var (laureate and draped)
OCRE Online: https://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.3.com.5
Provenance: Soler y Llach Numismatics Barcelona, Spain (Auction 1124, Lot 989)
Special: Variation laureate and draped
Obverse: Head of Commodus, laureate and draped, right
Inscription: M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG
Translation: Marcus Commodus Antoninus Augustus
Reverse: Roma, helmeted, draped, seated right, holding spear in right hand and parazonium in left hand
Inscription: TR P V IMP IIII COS II P P
Translation: Tribunicia Potestate Quinta, Imperator Quartum, Consul Secundum, Pater Patriae
Translation: Holder of tribunician power for the fifth time, Imperator for the fourth time, consul for the second time, father of the nation
Comment: A few days after his father’s death (17 March 180 AD), the high officials and commanders presented the new emperor to the army. Commodus gave a speech to the soldiers and granted them rich gifts of money. For a short time, everything was done according to the advice of the proven ministers, but then Commodus decided, despite the opposition of his brother-in-law Claudius Pompeianus, to break off the war and return home to Rome. Conquered partly by arms, partly by money, the Marcomanni and Quades conceded relatively favourable peace terms, and an honourable peace was also concluded with the Boers. Thereupon the Emperor believed himself entitled to renew the title of Emperor (IMP IIII). He then hurried as quickly as possible to the capital’s pleasures, pompously entering Rome on 22 October 180 AD. It is quite possible that the type of denarius presented here was issued in the context of this event. The reverse shows the city goddess Roma, seated, with a spear whose point is directed towards the ground. The spear with the tip pointing downwards is a symbol for times of peace or a concluded peace.
Exceptional – this is a RIC III 5 variant, which is not catalogued in the RIC. The Commodus denarius RIC 5 generally belongs to the rather rare pieces. The bust on the obverse is indicated as “Head of Commodus, laureate, right”, but what can be seen is “Head of Commodus, laureate and draped, right”. This variant presented here is extremely rare and has only been sold once at auction in the last 22 years.