Commodus

Reece Period attributed: Period 9

Obverse image of a coin of Commodus

Member of the The Antonines dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 175 until 192.

Lucius Aurelius Commodus was born in AD 161. He was the only son among Marcus Aurelius’ fourteen children to survive infancy. In 175, Commodus was made Caesar and in 177, his father elevated him to be joint ruler, and they fought together on the Danube front. On Marcus Aurelius’ death, his son broke off hostilities and ended the northern war in what was considered a shameful settlement, but there was no more trouble on that border for several decades. On the Database, there is a ruler dropdown of 'Commodus under Marcus Aurelius' for coins of Commodus struck between 175 and 180.

Commodus had little interest in government and ruled via a series of powerful administrative officials. This method led to many conspiracies against the emperor, and he reacted violently—exiling and eventually killing his sister and niece, among others. Perennis, the leader of the Praetorian Guard, assumed control and Commodus sought only debauchery and pleasure. However, Perennis started plotting to make his own son emperor, and a large force of troops marched into Rome to alert Commodus to the danger.

Cleander succeeded Perennis as controller of ther government. He too fell, though probably due to a conspiracy by his own enemies. At this point Commodus showed signs of megalomania and general mental instability. He renamed Rome “Colonia Commodiana” and commissioned statues of himself dressed as Hercules. He also fought in the gladiatorial games, unprecedented behaviour for an emperor.

Commodus was poisoned by his favourite concubine, Marcia; when the poison failed to do him in, the emperor was strangled by a young athlete. Commodus’ name was taken out of all documents, though Septimius Severus deified him four years later. The emperor is remembered as a cruel megalomaniac who renamed all the months after himself.

Latest examples recorded with images

We have recorded 750 examples.

Record: NARC-AB669F
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A complete silver denarius of Commodus dat…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Record: FASAM-D9A05E
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: Copper alloy sestertius of Commodus (AD 17…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Record: PUBLIC-C9EE1C
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: An incomplete silver Roman denarius of Com…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Record: NLM-FB5FD9
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: Silver coin. Denarius, possibly of the lat…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Other resources about Commodus

View all coins recorded by the scheme attributed to Commodus.

Information from Wikipedia

Types issued

Other formats: this page is available as xml json rdf representations.