Commodus (177-192) AV Aureus 7.39gm., Rome 178 AD. Laureate, cuirassed and draped bust right, L AVREL COMMODVS AVG. Rev: Castor, naked except for cloak seen on breast and shoulder, wearing round cap, standing left, in front of horse left, holding it by the bridle in right hand and spear in left, TR P III IMP II COS P P. (RIC III 648 (Aurelius); MIR 18, 420-12/37; Calicó 2337B; BMCRE 774-5 (Aurelius and Commodus); Biaggi 1014), Extremely Fine, well struck with considerable amounts of original lustre. £40,000Click here to see the coin
Commodus is probably best known for his appearance in the 2000 film, Gladiator. Though quite inaccurate, the film may actually have captured his wild, cruel side quite well. Commodus has received mixed reviews in history. He is seen as a mad emperor who indulged in the excitement of the Roman games. Popular with the masses, but hated by the Senate. The polar opposite of his father, the great Marcus Aurelius, Commodus is known to have appeared in the Colosseum, but rather than just spectating, he would actually get involved in the melee – though he would always win any fight.In his later years, Commodus is thought to have slipped into madness, believing he was the demigod Hercules, and even depicting himself as such in sculpture and coins. This splendid gold piece, however, shows us a scarce, young portrait of the ruler, struck at the very beginning of his reign. Surviving in extremely fine condition, with much of its original mint lustre in-tact, it is hard to imagine a finer example. The coin also holds a fantastic provenance which dates back to the 1970s.
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