Roma Numismatics Ltd > E-Sale 116Auction date: 18 January 2024
Lot number: 813

Price realized: 80 GBP   (Approx. 101 USD / 93 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:

Commodus AR Denarius. Rome, AD 191-192. L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, bust to right, wearing lion skin headdress / HERCVL ROMAN AVGV, written in three lines across club within wreath. RIC III 251; BMCRE 339. RSC 190. 2.84g, 18mm, 6h.

Very Fine.

Commodus is often credited by ancient sources with the near destruction of the Roman Empire, through a combination of disinterest in governance and an all-consuming belief that he was of god-like status. With his accession, says the contemporary historian Cassius Dio, the history of the Roman Empire descended from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust, as affairs did for the Romans of that day (LXXII.36.4).

By the latter years of his reign when this denarius was struck, Commodus believed Hercules was his divine patron, and he worshipped him so intensely that eventually he came to believe himself an incarnation of the mythological hero, thus reinforcing the image he was cultivating of himself as a demigod who, as the son of Jupiter, was the representative of the supreme god of the Roman pantheon. The growing megalomania of the emperor permeated all areas of Roman life, as is witnessed in the material record by the innumerable statues erected around the empire portraying him in the guise of Hercules (including the famous 'Commodus as Hercules' sculpture now located in the Capitoline Museums), and his coinage.

Estimate: 50 GBP