COMMODUS 183AD Sestertius Big Ancient Roman Coin Felicitas Good luck Cult i53022
Item: i53022 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Commodus – Roman Emperor : 177-192 A. Bronze Sestertius 30mm (24.29 grams) Struck 183 A. Reference: RIC 370; Sear’88 #1650; Cohen 907. M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG PIVS, laureate head right TR P VIII IMP VI COS IIII P P S-C, Felicitas standing facing, head left, holding caduceus & cornucopiae. The cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae) or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form. Originating in classical antiquity , it has continued as a symbol in Western art , and it is particularly associated with the Thanksgiving holiday in North America. Allegorical depiction of the Roman goddess Abundantia with a cornucopia, by Rubens ca. Mythology offers multiple explanations of the origin of the cornucopia. One of the best-known involves the birth and nurturance of the infant Zeus , who had to be hidden from his devouring father Cronus. In a cave on Mount Ida on the island of Crete , baby Zeus was cared for and protected by a number of divine attendants, including the goat Amalthea (“Nourishing Goddess”), who fed him with her milk. The suckling future king of the gods had unusual abilities and strength, and in playing with his nursemaid accidentally broke off one of her horns , which then had the divine power to provide unending nourishment, as the foster mother had to the god. In another myth, the cornucopia was created when Heracles (Roman Hercules) wrestled with the river god Achelous and wrenched off one of his horns; river gods were sometimes depicted as horned. This version is represented in the Achelous and Hercules mural painting by the American Regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton. The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities , particularly those associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance, such as personifications of Earth (Gaia or Terra); the child Plutus , god of riches and son of the grain goddess Demeter ; the nymph Maia ; and Fortuna , the goddess of luck, who had the power to grant prosperity. In Roman Imperial cult , abstract Roman deities who fostered peace (pax Romana) and prosperity were also depicted with a cornucopia, including Abundantia , “Abundance” personified, and Annona , goddess of the grain supply to the city of Rome. Pluto , the classical ruler of the underworld in the mystery religions , was a giver of agricultural, mineral and spiritual wealth, and in art often holds a cornucopia to distinguish him from the gloomier Hades , who holds a drinking horn instead. In modern depictions, the cornucopia is typically a hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket filled with various kinds of festive fruit and vegetables. In North America, the cornucopia has come to be associated with Thanksgiving and the harvest. Cornucopia is also the name of the annual November Wine and Food celebration in Whistler , British Columbia, Canada. Two cornucopias are seen in the flag and state seal of Idaho. The Great Seal of North Carolina depicts Liberty standing and Plenty holding a cornucopia. The coat of arms of Colombia , Panama , Peru and Venezuela , and the Coat of Arms of the State of Victoria, Australia , also feature the cornucopia, symbolising prosperity. The horn of plenty is used on body art and at Halloween, as it is a symbol of fertility, fortune and abundance. Base of a statue of Louis XV of France. The caduceus from Greek “herald’s staff” is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology. The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris , the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents , sometimes surmounted by wings. In Roman iconography it was often depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury , the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, liars, and thieves. As a symbolic object it represents Hermes (or the Roman Mercury), and by extension trades, occupations or undertakings associated with the god. In later Antiquity the caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury. Thus, through its use in astrology and alchemy , it has come to denote the elemental metal of the same name. This association is ancient, and consistent from the Classical period to modern times. The caduceus is also used as a symbol representing printing, again by extension of the attributes of Mercury (in this case associated with writing and eloquence). The caduceus is sometimes mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine and/or medical practice , especially in North America , because of widespread confusion with the traditional medical symbol, the rod of Asclepius , which has only a single snake and no wings. The term kerukeion denoted any herald’s staff, not necessarily associated with Hermes in particular. Lewis Richard Farnell (1909) in his study of the cult of Hermes assumed that the two snakes had simply developed out of ornaments of the shepherd’s crook used by heralds as their staff. This view has been rejected by later authors pointing to parallel iconography in the Ancient Near East. It has been argued that the staff or wand entwined by two snakes was itself representing a god in the pre-anthropomorphic era. Like the herm or priapus , it would thus be a predecessor of the anthropomorphic Hermes of the classical era. William Hayes Ward (1910) discovered that symbols similar to the classical caduceus sometimes appeared on Mesopotamian cylinder seals. He suggested the symbol originated some time between 3000 and 4000 BCE, and that it might have been the source of the Greek caduceus. Ward’s research into his own work, published in 1916, in which he suggested that the prototype of Hermes was an “Oriental deity of Babylonian extraction” represented in his earliest form as a snake god. From this perspective, the caduceus was originally representative of Hermes himself, in his early form as the Underworld god Ningishzida , “messenger” of the “Earth Mother”. The caduceus is mentioned in passing by Walter Burkert. As “really the image of copulating snakes taken over from Ancient Near Eastern tradition”. In Egyptian iconography, the Djed pillar is depicted as containing a snake in a frieze of the Dendera Temple complex. The rod of Moses and the brazen serpent are frequently compared to the caduceus, especially as Moses is acting as a messenger of God to the Pharaoh at the point in the narrative where he changes his staff into a serpent. The Homeric hymn to Hermes relates how Hermes offered his lyre fashioned from a tortoise shell as compensation for the cattle he stole from his half brother Apollo. Apollo in return gave Hermes the caduceus as a gesture of friendship. The association with the serpent thus connects Hermes to Apollo , as later the serpent was associated with Asclepius , the “son of Apollo”. The association of Apollo with the serpent is a continuation of the older Indo-European dragon -slayer motif. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1913) pointed out that the serpent as an attribute of both Hermes and Asclepius is a variant of the “pre-historic semi-chthonic serpent hero known at Delphi as Python “, who in classical mythology is slain by Apollo. One Greek myth of origin of the caduceus is part of the story of Tiresias , who found two snakes copulating and killed the female with his staff. Tiresias was immediately turned into a woman, and so remained until he was able to repeat the act with the male snake seven years later. This staff later came into the possession of the god Hermes, along with its transformative powers. Another myth suggests that Hermes (or Mercury) saw two serpents entwined in mortal combat. Separating them with his wand he brought about peace between them, and as a result the wand with two serpents came to be seen as a sign of peace. In Rome, Livy refers to the caduceator who negotiated peace arrangements under the diplomatic protection of the caduceus he carried. In some vase paintings ancient depictions of the Greek kerukeion are somewhat different from the commonly seen modern representation. These representations feature the two snakes atop the staff (or rod), crossed to create a circle with the heads of the snakes resembling horns. This old graphic form, with an additional crossbar to the staff, seems to have provided the basis for the graphical sign of Mercury used in Greek astrology from Late Antiquity. Use in alchemy and occultism. As the symbol of both the planet and the metal named for Mercury, the caduceus became an important symbol in alchemy. The crucified serpent was also revived as an alchemical symbol for fixatio , and John Donne (Sermons 10:190) uses “crucified Serpent” as a title of Jesus Christ. A simplified variant of the caduceus is to be found in dictionaries, indicating a commercial term entirely in keeping with the association of Hermes with commerce. In this form the staff is often depicted with two winglets attached and the snakes are omitted (or reduced to a small ring in the middle). Misuse as symbol of medicine. It is relatively common, especially in the United States, to find the caduceus, with its two snakes and wings, used as a symbol of medicine instead of the correct rod of Asclepius, with only a single snake. This usage is erroneous, popularised largely as a result of the adoption of the caduceus as its insignia by the US Army medical corps in 1902 at the insistence of a single officer though there are conflicting claims as to whether this was Capt. The rod of Asclepius is the dominant symbol for professional healthcare associations in the United States. One survey found that 62% of professional healthcare associations used the rod of Asclepius as their symbol. The same survey found that 76% of commercial healthcare organizations used the Caduceus symbol. The initial errors leading to its adoption and the continuing confusion it generates are well known to medical historians. The long-standing and abundantly attested historical associations of the caduceus with commerce, theft, deception, and death are considered by many to be inappropriate in a symbol used by those engaged in the healing arts. This has occasioned significant criticism of the use of the caduceus in a medical context. In ancient Roman culture , felicitas (from the Latin adjective felix , “fruitful, blessed, happy, lucky”) is a condition of divinely inspired productivity, blessedness, or happiness. Felicitas could encompass both a woman’s fertility, and a general’s luck or good fortune. The divine personification of Felicitas was cultivated as a goddess. Although felicitas may be translated as “good luck, ” and the goddess Felicitas shares some characteristics and attributes with Fortuna , the two were distinguished in Roman religion. Fortuna was unpredictable and her effects could be negative, as the existence of an altar to Mala Fortuna (“Bad Luck”) acknowledges. Felicitas, however, always had a positive significance. She appears with several epithets that focus on aspects of her divine power. Felicitas had a temple in Rome as early as the mid-2nd century BC, and during the Republican era was honored at two official festivals of Roman state religion , on July 1 in conjunction with Juno and October 9 as Fausta Felicitas. Felicitas continued to play an important role in Imperial cult , and was frequently portrayed on coins as a symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire. Her primary attributes are the caduceus and cornucopia. The English word “felicity” derives from felicitas. As virtue or quality. Phallic relief with the inscription “Felicitas dwells here”. In its religious sense, felix means blessed, under the protection or favour of the gods; happy. That which is felix has achieved the pax divom , a state of harmony or peace with the divine world. The word derives from Indo-European dhe(i)l, meaning happy, fruitful, productive, full of nourishment. ” Related Latin words include femina , “woman” (a person who provides nourishment or suckles); felo , “to suckle” in regard to an infant; filius , “son” (a person suckled); and probably fello, fellare , “to perform fellatio “, with an originally non-sexual meaning of “to suck. The continued magical association of sexual potency, increase, and general good fortune in productivity is indicated by the inscription Hic habitat Felicitas (“Felicitas dwells here”). On an apotropaic relief of a phallus at a bakery in Pompeii. In archaic Roman culture, felicitas was a quality expressing the close bonds between religion and agriculture. Felicitas was at issue when the suovetaurilia sacrifice conducted by Cato the Elder as censor in 184 BC was challenged as having been unproductive, perhaps for vitium , ritual error. In the following three years Rome had been plagued by a number of ill omens and prodigies (prodigia) , such as severe storms, pestilence, and “showers of blood, ” which had required a series of expiations (supplicationes). The speech Cato gave to justify himself is known as the Oratio de lustri sui felicitate , “Speech on the Felicitas of his Lustrum “, and survives only as a possible quotation by a later source. Cato says that a lustrum should be found to have produced felicitas “if the crops had filled up the storehouses, if the vintage had been abundant, if the olive oil had flowed deliberately from the groves”, regardless of whatever else might have occurred. The efficacy of a ritual might be thus expressed as its felicitas. The ability to promote felicitas became proof of one’s excellence and divine favor. Felicitas was simultaneously a divine gift, a quality that resided within an individual, and a contagious capacity for generating productive conditions outside oneself: it was a form of ” charismatic authority”. Cicero lists felicitas as one of the four virtues of the exemplary general, along with knowledge of military science (scientia rei militaris) , virtus (both “valor” and “virtue”), and auctoritas , authority. Virtus was a regular complement to felicitas , which was not thought to attach to those who were unworthy. Cicero attributed felicitas particularly to Pompeius Magnus (“Pompey the Great”) , and distinguished this felicitas even from the divine good luck enjoyed by successful generals such as Fabius Maximus , Marcellus , Scipio the Younger and Marius. The sayings (sententiae) of Publilius Syrus are often attached to divine qualities, including Felicitas: “The people’s Felicitas is powerful when she is merciful” (potens misericors publica est Felicitas). Epithets of Felicitas include. Augusta , the goddess in her association with the emperor and Imperial cult. Fausta (“Favored, Fortunate”), a state divinity cultivated on October 9 in conjunction with Venus Victrix and the Genius Populi Romani (” Genius ” of the Roman People, also known as the Genius Publicus). Publica , the “public” Felicitas; that is, the aspect of the divine force that was concerned with the res publica or commonwealth, or with the Roman People (Populus Romanus). Temporum , the Felicitas “of the times”, a title which emphasize the felicitas being experienced in current circumstances. The cult of Felicitas is first recorded in the mid-2nd century BC, when a temple was dedicated to her by Lucius Licinius Lucullus , grandfather of the famous Lucullus , using booty from his military campaigns in Spain in 151150 BC. Predecessor to a noted connoisseur of art, Lucullus obtained and dedicated several statues looted by Mummius from Greece , including works by Praxiteles : the Thespiades, a statue group of the Muses brought from Thespiae , and a Venus. This Temple of Felicitas was among several that had a secondary function as art museums, and was recommended by Cicero along with the Fortuna Huiusce Diei Temple of for those who enjoyed viewing art but lacked the means to amass private collections. The temple was located in the Velabrum in the Vicus Tuscus of the Campus Martius , along a route associated with triumphs : the axle of Julius Caesar’s triumphal chariot in 46 BC is supposed to have broken in front of it. The temple was destroyed by a fire during the reign of Claudius , though the Muses were rescued. It was not rebuilt at this site. Sulla identified himself so closely with the quality of felicitcas that he adopted the agnomen (nickname) Felix. His domination as dictator resulted from civil war and unprecedented military violence within the city of Rome itself, but he legitimated his authority by claiming that the mere fact of his victory was proof he was felix and enjoyed the divine favor of the gods. Republican precedent was to regard a victory as belonging to the Roman people as a whole, as represented by the triumphal procession at which the honored general submitted public offerings at the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus at the Capitol , and Sulla thus established an important theological element for the later authority of the emperor. Although he established no new temple for Felicitas, he celebrated games (ludi circenses) in her honor. On July 1 and October 9, Felicitas received a sacrifice in Capitolio, on the Capitoline Hill , on the latter date as Fausta Felicitas in conjunction with the Genius Publicus (“Public Genius “) and Venus Victrix. These observances probably took place at an altar or small shrine (aedicula) , not a separate temple precinct. The Acts of the Arval Brothers (1st century AD) prescribe a cow as the sacrifice for Felicitas. Pompey established a shrine for Felicitas at his new theater and temple complex , which used the steps to the Temple of Venus Victrix as seating. Felicitas was cultivated with Honor and Virtue, and she may have shared her shrine there with Victory , as she did in the Imperial era as Felicitas Caesaris (Caesar’s Felicitas) at Ameria. Pompey’s collocation of deities may have been intended to parallel the Capitoline grouping. A fourth cult site for Felicitas in Rome had been planned by Caesar, and possibly begun before his death. Work on the temple was finished by Lepidus on the site of the Curia Hostilia , which had been restored by Sulla, destroyed by fire in 52 BC, and demolished by Caesar in 44 BC. This temple seems not to have existed by the time of Hadrian. Its site probably lies under the church of Santi Luca e Martina. V It has been suggested that an Ionic capital and a tufa wall uncovered at the site are the only known remains of the temple. Felicitas was a watchword used by Julius Caesar’s troops at the Battle of Thapsus , the names of deities and divine personifications being often recorded for this purpose in the late Republic. Felicitas Iulia (“Julian Felicitas”) was the name of a colony in Roman Spain that was refounded under Caesar and known also as Olisipo , present-day Lisbon , Portugal. During the Republic, only divine personifications known to have had a temple or public altar were featured on coins, among them Felicitas. On the only extant Republican coin type, Felicitas appears as a bust and wearing a diadem. Felicitas Temporum represented by a pair of cornucopiae on a denarius (193-194 AD) issued under Pescennius Niger. A calendar from Cumae records that a supplicatio was celebrated on April 16 for the Felicitas of the Empire, in honor of the day Augustus was first acclaimed imperator. In extant Roman coinage, Felicitas appears with a caduceus only during the Imperial period. The earliest known example is Felicitas Publica on a dupondius issued under Galba. Felicitas Temporum (“Prosperity of the Times”), reflecting a Golden Age ideology, was among the innovative virtues that began to appear during the reigns of Trajan and Antoninus Pius. Septimius Severus , whose reign followed the exceedingly brief tenure of Pertinax and unsatisfactory conditions under Commodus , used coinage to express his efforts toward restoring the Pax Romana , with themes such as Felicitas Temporum and Felicitas Saeculi, “Prosperity of the Age” (saeculum) , prevalent in the years 200 to 202. Some Imperial coins use these phrases with images of women and children in the emperor’s family. When the Empire came under Christian rule, the personified virtues that had been cultivated as deities could be treated as abstract concepts. Felicitas Perpetua Saeculi (“Perpetual Blessedness of the Age”) appears on a coin issued under Constantine , the first emperor to convert to Christianity. Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus. 31 August, 161 AD 31 December, 192 AD, was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father’s death in 180. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded his father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79. He was also the first Emperor to have both a father and grandfather as the two preceding Emperors. Commodus was the first (and until 337 the only) emperor ” born in the purple “; i. During his father’s reign. Commodus was assassinated in 192. Early life and rise to power (161180). Commodus was born on 31 August 161, as Commodus, in Lanuvium , near Rome. He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius’s first cousin, Faustina the Younger; the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor Antonius Pius. Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus. The latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus Aurelius’ sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father’s physician, Galen , in order to keep Commodus healthy and alive. Galen treated many of Commodus’ common illnesses. Commodus received extensive tuition at the hands of what Marcus Aurelius called an abundance of good masters. The focus of Commodus’ education appears to have been intellectual, possibly at the expense of military training. Commodus is known to have been at Carnuntum , the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars , in 172. It was presumably there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus , in the presence of the army. The title suggests that Commodus was present at his father’s victory over the Marcomanni. On 20 January 175, Commodus entered the College of Pontiffs , the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius , Governor of Syria , declared himself Emperor following rumors that Marcus Aurelius had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria, Palestine and Egypt , Cassius carried on his rebellion even after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, the Prince assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood. Cassius, however, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch. The Emperor and his son then traveled to Athens , where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. Joint rule with father (177). Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor since Vespasian to have a biological son of his own and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors , each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius granted Commodus the rank of Imperator and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus , giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph , and Commodus was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time. He subsequently married Bruttia Crispina before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178, where Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, leaving the 18-year-old Commodus sole emperor. Upon his accession Commodus devalued the Roman currency. He reduced the weight of the denarius from 96 per Roman pound to 105 (3.85 grams to 3.35 grams). He also reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams respectively, being 108 to the Roman pound. His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire’s first devaluation during Nero’s reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by almost continuous warfare, that of Commodus was comparatively peaceful in the military sense but was marked by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius , a contemporary observer, his accession marked the descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron” a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbon , to take Commodus’s reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire. Despite his notoriety, and considering the importance of his reign, Commodus’s years in power are not well chronicled. The principal surviving literary sources are Dio Cassius (a contemporary and sometimes first-hand observer, but for this reign, only transmitted in fragments and abbreviations), Herodian and the Historia Augusta (untrustworthy for its character as a work of literature rather than history, with elements of fiction embedded within its biographies; in the case of Commodus, it may well be embroidering upon what the author found in reasonably good contemporary sources). Commodus remained with the Danube armies for only a short time before negotiating a peace treaty with the Danubian tribes. Unlike the preceding Emperors Trajan , Hadrian , Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, he seems to have had little interest in the business of administration and tended throughout his reign to leave the practical running of the state to a succession of favourites, beginning with Saoterus , a freedman from Nicomedia who had become his chamberlain. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of conspiracies and attempted coups, which in turn eventually provoked Commodus to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, though the senatorial order came to hate and fear him, the evidence suggests that he remained popular with the army and the common people for much of his reign, not least because of his lavish shows of largesse (recorded on his coinage) and because he staged and took part in spectacular gladiatorial combats. The conspiracies of 182. A bust of Commodus as a youth (Roman-Germanic Museum , Cologne). At the outset of his reign, Commodus, age 18, inherited many of his father’s senior advisers, notably Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus (the second husband of Commodus’s sister Lucilla), his father-in-law Gaius Bruttius Praesens , Titus Fundanius Vitrasius Pollio, and Aufidius Victorinus , who was Prefect of the City of Rome. He also had five surviving sisters, all of them with husbands who were potential rivals. Four of his sisters were considerably older than he; the eldest, Lucilla, held the rank of Augusta as the widow of her first husband, Lucius Verus. The first crisis of the reign came in 182, when Lucilla engineered a conspiracy against her brother. Her motive is alleged to have been envy of the Empress Crispina. Her husband, Pompeianus, was not involved, but two men alleged to have been her lovers, Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus (the consul of 167, who was also her first cousin) and Appius Claudius Quintianus , attempted to murder Commodus as he entered the theatre. They bungled the job and were seized by the emperor’s bodyguard. Quadratus and Quintianus were executed. Lucilla was exiled to Capri and later killed. Pompeianus retired from public life. One of the two praetorian prefects , Tarrutenius Paternus , had actually been involved in the conspiracy but was not detected at this time, and in the aftermath, he and his colleague Sextus Tigidius Perennis were able to arrange for the murder of Saoterus, the hated chamberlain. Commodus took the loss of Saoterus badly, and Perennis now seized the chance to advance himself by implicating Paternus in a second conspiracy, one apparently led by Publius Salvius Julianus , who was the son of the jurist Salvius Julianus and was betrothed to Paternus’s daughter. Salvius and Paternus were executed along with a number of other prominent consulars and senators. Didius Julianus , the future emperor, a relative of Salvius Julianus, was dismissed from the governorship of Germania Inferior. Perennis took over the reins of government and Commodus found a new chamberlain and favourite in Cleander , a Phrygian freedman who had married one of the emperor’s mistresses, Demostratia. Cleander was in fact the person who had murdered Saoterus. After those attempts on his life, Commodus spent much of his time outside Rome, mostly on the family estates at Lanuvium. Being physically strong, his chief interest was in sport: taking part in horse racing , chariot racing , and combats with beasts and men, mostly in private but also on occasion in public. A bust of Commodus (Kunsthistorisches Museum , Vienna). According to Herodian he was well proportioned and attractive, with naturally blonde and curly hair. Commodus was inaugurated in 183 as consul with Aufidius Victorinus for a colleague and assumed the title Pius. War broke out in Dacia : few details are available, but it appears two future contenders for the throne, Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger , both distinguished themselves in the campaign. Also, in Britain in 184, the governor Ulpius Marcellus re-advanced the Roman frontier northward to the Antonine Wall , but the legionaries revolted against his harsh discipline and acclaimed another legate, Priscus, as emperor. Priscus refused to accept their acclamations, but Perennis had all the legionary legates in Britain cashiered. On 15 October 184 at the Capitoline Games , a Cynic philosopher publicly denounced Perennis before Commodus, who was watching, but was immediately put to death. According to Dio Cassius, Perennis, though ruthless and ambitious, was not personally corrupt and generally administered the state well. However, the following year, a detachment of soldiers from Britain (they had been drafted to Italy to suppress brigands) also denounced Perennis to the emperor as plotting to make his own son emperor (they had been enabled to do so by Cleander, who was seeking to dispose of his rival), and Commodus gave them permission to execute him as well as his wife and sons. The fall of Perennis brought a new spate of executions: Aufidius Victorinus committed suicide. Ulpius Marcellus was replaced as governor of Britain by Pertinax ; brought to Rome and tried for treason, Marcellus narrowly escaped death. Cleander’s zenith and fall (185190). Unrest around the empire increased, with large numbers of army deserters causing trouble in Gaul and Germany. Pescennius Niger mopped up the deserters in Gaul in a military campaign, and a revolt in Brittany was put down by two legions brought over from Britain. In 187, one of the leaders of the deserters, Maternus, came from Gaul intending to assassinate Commodus at the Festival of the Great Goddess in March, but he was betrayed and executed. In the same year, Pertinax unmasked a conspiracy by two enemies of Cleander Antistius Burrus (one of Commodus’s brothers-in-law) and Arrius Antoninus. As a result, Commodus appeared even more rarely in public, preferring to live on his estates. Early in 188, Cleander disposed of the current praetorian prefect, Atilius Aebutianus , and himself took over supreme command of the Praetorians at the new rank of a pugione (“dagger-bearer”) with two praetorian prefects subordinate to him. Now at the zenith of his power, Cleander continued to sell public offices as his private business. The climax came in the year 190, which had 25 suffect consuls a record in the 1000-year history of the Roman consulshipall appointed by Cleander (they included the future Emperor Septimius Severus). In the spring of 190, Rome was afflicted by a food shortage, for which the praefectus annonae Papirius Dionysius , the official actually in charge of the grain supply , contrived to lay the blame on Cleander. At the end of June, a mob demonstrated against Cleander during a horse race in the Circus Maximus : he sent the praetorian guard to put down the disturbances, but Pertinax, who was now City Prefect of Rome, dispatched the Vigiles Urbani to oppose them. Cleander fled to Commodus, who was at Laurentum in the house of the Quinctilii , for protection, but the mob followed him calling for his head. At the urging of his mistress Marcia , Commodus had Cleander beheaded and his son killed. Other victims at this time were the praetorian prefect Julius Julianus, Commodus’s cousin Annia Fundania Faustina , and his brother-in-law Mamertinus. Papirius Dionysius was executed too. The emperor now changed his name to Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. At 29, he took over more of the reins of power, though he continued to rule through a cabal consisting of Marcia, his new chamberlain Eclectus, and the new praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus , who about this time also had many Christians freed from working in the mines in Sardinia. Marcia, the widow of Quadratus, who had been executed in 182, is alleged to have been a Christian. In opposition to the Senate, in his pronouncements and iconography , Commodus had always laid stress on his unique status as a source of god-like power, liberality and physical prowess. Innumerable statues around the empire were set up portraying him in the guise of Hercules , reinforcing the image of him as a demigod, a physical giant, a protector and a battler against beasts and men (see “Commodus and Hercules” and “Commodus the Gladiator” below). Moreover, as Hercules, he could claim to be the son of Jupiter , the representative of the supreme god of the Roman pantheon. These tendencies now increased to megalomaniac proportions. Far from celebrating his descent from Marcus Aurelius, the actual source of his power, he stressed his own personal uniqueness as the bringer of a new order, seeking to re-cast the empire in his own image. During 191, the city of Rome was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax , the Temple of Vesta and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus , ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. All the months of the year were renamed to correspond exactly with his (now twelve) names: Lucius , Aelius , Aurelius , Commodus , Augustus , Herculeus , Romanus , Exsuperatorius , Amazonius , Invictus , Felix , Pius. The legions were renamed Commodianae , the fleet which imported grain from Africa was termed Alexandria Commodiana Togata , the Senate was entitled the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people themselves were all given the name Commodianus , and the day on which these reforms were decreed was to be called Dies Commodianus. Thus he presented himself as the fountainhead of the Empire and Roman life and religion. He also had the head of the Colossus of Nero adjacent to the Colosseum replaced with his own portrait, gave it a club and placed a bronze lion at its feet to make it look like Hercules, and added an inscription boasting of being “the only left-handed fighter to conquer twelve times one thousand men”. Character and physical prowess. Dio Cassius, a first-hand witness, describes him as not naturally wicked but, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived. His great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the better life and then was led on into lustful and cruel habits, which soon became second nature. His recorded actions do tend to show a rejection of his fathers policies, his fathers advisers, and especially his fathers austere lifestyle, and an alienation from the surviving members of his family. It seems likely that he was brought up in an atmosphere of Stoic asceticism , which he rejected entirely upon his accession to sole rule. After repeated attempts on Commodus’ life, Roman citizens were often killed for raising his ire. One such notable event was the attempted extermination of the house of the Quinctilii. Condianus and Maximus were executed on the pretext that, while they were not implicated in any plots, their wealth and talent would make them unhappy with the current state of affairs. On his accession as sole ruler, Commodus added the name Antoninus to his official nomenclature. In October 180 he changed his praenomen from Lucius to Marcus, presumably in honour of his father. He later took the title of Felix in 185. In 191 he restored his praenomen to Lucius and added the family name Aelius, apparently linking himself to Hadrian and Hadrian’s adopted son Lucius Aelius Caesar , whose original name was also Commodus. Later that year he dropped Antoninus and adopted as his full style Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus Augustus Herculeus Romanus Exsuperatorius Amazonius Invictus Felix Pius (the order of some of these titles varies in the sources). “Exsuperatorius” (the supreme) was a title given to Jupiter, and “Amazonius” identified him again with Hercules. An inscribed altar from Dura-Europos on the Euphrates shows that Commodus’s titles and the renaming of the months were disseminated to the furthest reaches of the Empire; moreover, that even auxiliary military units received the title Commodiana, and that Commodus claimed two additional titles: Pacator Orbis (pacifier of the world) and Dominus Noster (Our Lord). The latter eventually would be used as a conventional title by Roman emperors, starting about a century later, but Commodus seems to have been the first to assume it. Disdaining the more philosophic inclinations of his father, Commodus was extremely proud of his physical prowess. He was generally acknowledged to be extremely handsome. As mentioned above, he ordered many statues to be made showing him dressed as Hercules with a lion’s hide and a club. He thought of himself as the reincarnation of Hercules, frequently emulating the legendary hero’s feats by appearing in the arena to fight a variety of wild animals. He was left-handed, and very proud of the fact. Cassius Dio and the writers of the Augustan History say that Commodus was a skilled archer, who could shoot the heads off ostriches in full gallop, and kill a panther as it attacked a victim in the arena. Commodus also had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a gladiator. The Romans found Commodus’s naked gladiatorial combats to be scandalous and disgraceful. It was rumoured that he was actually the son, not of Marcus Aurelius, but of a gladiator whom his mother Faustina had taken as a lover at the coastal resort of Caieta. In the arena, Commodus always won since his opponents always submitted to the emperor. Thus, these public fights would not end in death. Privately, it was his custom to slay his practice opponents. For each appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces , straining the Roman economy. Commodus raised the ire of many military officials in Rome for his Hercules persona in the arena. Often, wounded soldiers and amputees would be placed in the arena for Commodus to slay with a sword. Commodus’s eccentric behaviour would not stop there. Citizens of Rome missing their feet through accident or illness were taken to the arena, where they were tethered together for Commodus to club to death while pretending they were giants. These acts may have contributed to his assassination. Commodus was also known for fighting exotic animals in the arena, often to the horror of the Roman people. According to Gibbon, Commodus once killed 100 lions in a single day. Later, he decapitated a running ostrich with a specially designed dart and afterwards carried the bleeding head of the dead bird and his sword over to the section where the Senators sat and gesticulated as though they were next. On another occasion, Commodus killed three elephants on the floor of the arena by himself. Finally, Commodus killed a giraffe , which was considered to be a strange and helpless beast. In November 192 Commodus held Plebian Games, in which he shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins every morning, and fought as a gladiator every afternoon, winning all the bouts. In December he announced his intention to inaugurate the year 193 as both consul and gladiator on 1 January. At this point, the prefect Laetus formed a conspiracy with Eclectus to supplant Commodus with Pertinax, taking Marcia into their confidence. On 31 December Marcia poisoned his food but he vomited up the poison; so the conspirators sent his wrestling partner Narcissus to strangle him in his bath. Upon his death, the Senate declared him a public enemy (a de facto damnatio memoriae) and restored the original name to the city of Rome and its institutions. Commodus’s statues were thrown down. His body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian. In 195 the emperor Septimius Severus , trying to gain favour with the family of Marcus Aurelius, rehabilitated Commodus’s memory and had the Senate deify him. Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax , whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors. Commodus’s death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. The item “COMMODUS 183AD Sestertius Big Ancient Roman Coin Felicitas Good luck Cult i53022″ is in sale since Thursday, November 19, 2015. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
- Ruler: Commodus
- Denomination: Denomination_in_description
- Year: Year_in_description