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Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Commodus

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.

Date:

180, issued by Commodus

Artist:

Roman; minted in Rome

About this artwork

During the period of the five “Good Emperors,” succession was not hereditary. It was instead based on merit, with the current ruler formally adopting his successor. This pattern ended with Marcus Aurelius’s son, Commodus (reigned 177–92), who inherited the crown. He promptly abused his power and died a tyrant’s death. The Severan dynasty followed with the rise to power of Septimius Severus. His two sons, Caracalla and Geta, were proclaimed co-emperors upon his death. Within a year the conflict between the brothers resulted in Caracalla (reigned 211–17) killing Geta in order to rule alone.

The front (obverse) of this coin portrays Emperor Commodus facing right. He is laureate and wears a cuirass and paludamentum (breastplate and miiltary cloak). The back (reverse) of the coin depicts Liberalitas holding an abacus in right hand, a cornucopia in left.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 153

Culture

Ancient Roman

Title

Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Commodus

Origin

Rome

Date

Struck 180 CE

Medium

Gold

Inscriptions

Obverse: M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG Reverse: LIB AVG TR P V.IMP IIII COS II PP

Dimensions

Diam. 2 cm; 7.14 g

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number

1922.4879

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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