Yothr CRI.189.1a

Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus
Reign: Commodus
Mint: Rome
Date: 189 AD
Nominal: Denarius
Material: Silver
Diameter: 18mm
Weight: 2.53g

Reference: RIC III Commodus 190
OCRE Online: http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.3.com.190_denarius
Rare: R2
Provenance: Degussa Goldhandel Frankfurt, Germany
Pedigree: –

Obverse: Head of Commodus, laureate, right
Translation: Marcus Commodus Antoninus Pius Felix Augustus Britannicus Pater Patriae
Translation: Marcus Commodus Antoninus, the pious, the fortunate, Augustus, conqueror of the Britons, father of the nation

Reverse: Securitas, draped, seated left, holding globe in right hand
Translation: Securitas Orbis, Pontifex Maximus, Tribunicia Potestate Quarta Decima, Consul Quintum, Designatus Sextum
Translation: Safety of the world, high priest, holder of tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the fifth time, elect for the sixth time

Comment: Securitas is the Roman personification of security in the sense of (domestic) political calm and stability, based above all on a “secure” position of power for the emperor and the continuity of rule. It is a frequent motif in times of crisis. In the later years of Commodus’ reign, the representational repertoire of the Securitas, compared to his earlier issues, is expanded. On the reverse of coinages of the period 188 to 189 AD Securitas, again dressed in diadem, tunic and cloakcloth, is seated facing left on a throne with a high back, but now holding a globe in the hand of her right arm. The armrest of the throne appears to be in the shape of a sphinx, as can be seen on better preserved pieces. The accompanying legend SEC/SECVR/SECVRIT ORB with titular addition varies according to issue and nominal. That the Securitas coinage of 181/182 AD referred to the (Lucilla) conspiracy against the emperor is possible, but by no means certain, and could therefore also have been intended as an electoral promise of a calm and secure future. SECVRITAS ORBIS takes up a catchword that had already existed – at least as an idea – under Antoninus Pius. The concept of the secure circle of the earth certainly gained further relevance in the following years in view of the constant defensive battles on the borders of the empire, and Commodus himself allegedly called himself, among other things, “pacifier of the circle of the earth” (Cass. Dio 73, 15, 5). Thus, these Securitas Orbis issues of 189 AD are not directly related to the fall of Cleander, because this domestic crisis is in contrast to the catchword “orbis”. On the contrary, Commodus is said to have demonstratively taken over the steering of the empire again after the fall of Cleander. More than ever, Securitas now also referred to the security of the entire Roman Empire – guaranteed by the emperor! – security of the entire Roman Empire: all the land ruled by Commodus is safe from external and internal enemies.

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