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    Description

    Breathtaking Commodus Aureus, Gem MS

    Commodus (AD 177-192). AV aureus (21mm, 7.14 gm, 6h). NGC Gem MS 5/5 - 5/5. Rome, AD 181. M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate and draped bust of Commodus right, with short beard / SECVRITAS PVBLICA TR P VI IMP IIII, COS III P P in exergue, Securitas, draped, seated right, resting head on right hand and holding transverse scepter in left. RIC 23c. Calic├│ 2325a. Rare. A simply breathtaking aureus, fully struck from dies of exemplary style on a perfect flan, with blazing mirror luster in fields.

    Ex Egon Beckenbauer Collection (Kunker 273, 14 March 2016), lot 806.

    The sole reign of Commodus, AD 180-192, is often viewed as the tipping point where the Roman Empire's long decline began. Commodus has thus been featured in novels, plays, and feature films as a villain, most recently in the cinema epics "Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964) and "Gladiator" (2001). Son of the greatly revered "Philosopher Emperor" Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180), Commodus was the first emperor born "in the purple" in AD 161. Marcus made him co-Augustus in AD 177. He accompanied Marcus on a military campaign against the Germans in 178; worn out by his exertions, Marcus died on 17 March AD 180. Freed of his dutiful father's control, Commodus immediately cut a deal with the Germans and abandoned all further plans of military conquest. Returning to Rome, he plunged into sensual pursuits and left governing to a succession of favorites who plundered the public purse and aggrandized themselves. While Commodus continued and worsened the debasement of Roman silver coinage begun by his father, the gold coinage remained of high purity, weight and artistry. This beautiful aureus, struck early in his sole reign, depicts him as a young man very much in the image of his father. The historians Dio and Herodian both describe him as exceptionally handsome, a picture borne out by his coin portraits and sculpture. The reverse evokes the "Security of the Public" in an uncertain age. 




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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