An impressive bimetallic medallion of Commodus pedigreed to 1992
Lot 2216
Commodus, 177-192. Medallion (Bimetallic, 36 mm, 42.86 g, 11 h), Rome, 185-186. M COMMODVS ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG BRIT Laureate bust of Commodus to left, heroically nude and seen from behind, holding spear in his right hand and wearing aegis on his left shoulder. Rev. P M TR P XI IMP VII COS V P P / FIDES EXERCIT Commodus, in military attire, standing front on platform, head to left, holding scepter in his left hand and raising his right hand toward six soldiers standing in front of the platform, helmeted and holding shields; in background, three standards and legionary eagle; behind the emperor, officer standing left, holding spear in his left hand. Gnecchi II, p. 53, 12 and pl. 78, 8 (same dies). MIR 1115-3/41. Extremely rare. An incredibly impressive medallion with a bold heroic portrait and a wonderful reverse composition. Repatinated and with filled corrosion spots on the portrait and in the left obverse field, otherwise, good very fine.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 46, 2 April 2008, 609, from the collection of a 'Friend of the Romans' (C. Gollnow), Münzen & Medaillen AG 92, 22 November 2002, 112 and ex Numismatica Ars Classica 5, 25 February 1992, 510.

The coinage of Commodus from the year 186 is characterized by a variety of impressive military types. We find the legends FID(es) EXERC(itus) and CONC(ordia) MIL(itum), and we see the emperor during the adlocutio, the address to the troops, as on our impressive medallion. In contrast, there is a complete absence of contemporary reports about victories against external enemies. However, Herodian, who is our only source about the events, reports about a major uprising (the so-called Bellum Desertorum) led by the deserter Maternus, who took the lead in social unrest in Germania Superior and declared himself emperor. The revolt apparently spread widely and is said to have spilled over into Gaul and Iberia. Potentially, an inscription from the Legio VIII Augusta in Urbinum, referencing a nova obsidio (a 'new siege'), along with a wax tablet from Rottweil noting the 'liberation' of the Legio VIII, may also allude to the activities of Maternus. Should this be accurate, it underscores the immense challenge faced by Roman authorities in quelling the revolt. It was only a massive military counterstrike under the future Emperor Pescennius Niger that spelled doom for Maternus, who fled to Italy and was executed in March 187 after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Commodus.

Furthermore, we know of unrest in Britain, where the three legions stationed there mutinied after the victorious conclusion of the Bellum Britannicum in 184 and offered the imperial title to the new legate, Pertinax. However, the future emperor managed to prevent a general uprising among the soldiers and swore them once again to the legitimate Princeps Commodus. In light of this context, it becomes apparent that the coinage of Commodus from the year 186 primarily addresses his own troops. The emperor's appeal in a symbolic adlocutio to the loyalty of the army and the unity of the soldiers aims to simultaneously encourage the severely pressed units in Germania and the mutinous legionnaires in Britannia, while the portrayal of Commodus as a triumphant conqueror recalls the successes achieved under his auspices in the Bellum Britannicum, which earned him the victory title Britannicus mentioned on the obverse.
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2500 CHF
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14000 CHF
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Closing time: 14-Jul-24, 20:12:00 CEST
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