Roman Empire, Commodus, 177-192, AE Sestertius (179)
TRP IIII = 179 (under Marcus Aurelius)
Obv.Laur. head r.
Rev.Minerva at an altar with spear and shield
Commodus (* 161 in Lanuvium; † 192 in Rome). He was Roman emperor from 180 to 192.
His parents were Marcus Aurelius and Faustina Minor.
During the revolt by Avidius Cassius (Roman usurper who briefly ruled Egypt and Syria in 175), Commodus was strengthened and increasingly brought to bear on the duties of government and designated as successor.
As early as 175 he became princeps iuventutis, followed by his first acclamation as emperor in November 176; shortly afterwards he conducted a triumphal procession through Rome together with Marcus Aurelius, and in the summer of 177 he was finally proclaimed emperor (Augustus) on an equal footing with his father. With his father, he went to the Danube in August 178 to fight Germanic tribes again and to gain military prestige.
On 17 March 180, his father died in a military camp on the Danube. Commodus was thus sole ruler. He prepared his father's funeral and quickly made peace with the Germanic tribes.
Commodus was apparently popular with the Roman people at first.
He was generous and provided enough bread and games (panem et circenses). Since he tried to reorganise the state finances, which had been strained by his father's wars, by increasing the taxation of the senators and giving the commanders of the praetorian guard (the praetorian prefects) a lot of influence, there were obviously tensions with the senate.
By the end of his reign, Commodus seemed to have lost all touch with reality. His exaggerated self-promotion ultimately led to alienation in senatorial circles. In the end, a conspiracy against him arose, in which the Praetorian Praefect, Pertinax and the imperial mistress Marcia are said to have been involved.
On 31 December 192 Commodus was found strangled in his bath.
Notes for collectors: Under Commodus, coins were minted only in Rome. Only a few coins are undated and most can be classified on the basis of his tribunicia potestas. Consequently, the most popular and also rarest coins are those showing the portrait of Commodus in a lion's scalp.