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Up for auction is a Roman silver denarius coin of Commodus, minted in 184 AD.


MINT: Rome

-Laureate head right.

- Minerva advancing right, aiming spear and holding shield; owl to lower right.


177-192 AD
Commodus vies with Caligula and Nero as Roman history's most perverse and sadistic of rulers. Like Caligula and Nero before, Commodus was an ordinary (by imperial standards) ruler who succeeded Marcus Aurelius, his father, upon his death. In his one major positive deed, Commodus called off the expedition against the Germans which his father had commenced on terms favorable to Rome. He sped off to Rome where he much preferred living the perks of an emperor to the dirty business of waging wars. While he whiled away his time pursuing a hedonistic lifestyle he was happy to delegate administrative responsibilities to others. Unfortunately, his appointees never seemed to last long on the job. Whether through incompetence, bad luck or corruption, one by one these fell and needed replacement. Commodus little by little began gaining a taste for power as the shuffling of his foremen took place and, finally, he decided to manage the empire himself. It is starting with this period that Commodus began to act increasingly unpredictably and cruel. A botched conspiracy against him, orchestrated by no less than his beloved sister Lucilla, was discovered and his surviving the episode turned him afterwards into a highly paranoid individual who had countless officials executed for disloyalty imagined or real. In his final year of life he shocked Romans of all classes by personally moonlighting as a gladiator. Of course, these fights were arranged so that he could invariably come out the victor.

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  • Seller location: Auckland City, Auckland, NZ

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