Roman Empire

Commodus, Emperor AD 177-192

RIC 23c; BMC 54; Calicó 2325a, Superb Mint State

Rome, AD 181. M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate and draped bust of Commodus right. Reverse: SECVRITAS PVBLICA TR P VI IMP IIII around, COS III P P in exergue, Securitas, draped, seated right, resting head on hand and holding scepter.

Ex Heritage 3061 (7 January 2018), 32104; Egon Beckenbauer Collection (Künker 273, 14 March 2016), 806

Although previous emperors of the Antonine dynasty had been adopted and trained for rule, Commodus succeeded by virtue of his birth. Unlike his father, Marcus Aruelius, Commodus was not a contemplative, thoughtful ruler, but rather an Emperor devoted to luxury and the gladiatorial arena who became increasingly out of touch with reality. In the last years of his reign, Commodus began to fancy himself a god and appeared in public dressed as a Roman Hercules. He declared a new golden age, renamed the months of the year after himself, and refounded Rome as his own personal colony, Colonia Commodiana. Faced with such megalomania, a court plot was hatched to kill Commodus on December 31, AD 193. Marcia, his favorite concubine, poisoned his food, but when he vomited it up, the professional wrestler narcissus was brought in to strangle him in his bath.