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Additional References: BMC 116 var.; Calicó 2299 var.
Notes: Laureate and cuirassed bust right / Jupiter standing to left, holding scepter and thunderbolt; at his feet, an eagle standing to left with head reverted.
Obverse: Commodus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus; 31 August 161 AD – 31 December 192 AD), was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father’s death in 180.
His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded his father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79. He was also the first emperor to have both a father and grandfather (who had adopted his father) as the two preceding emperors. Commodus was the first (and until 337, the only) emperor "born in the purple", i.e., during his father’s reign.
Commodus was assassinated in 192.
Reverse: Jupiter (also Jove) is the god of sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as sacrifice.
Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as a sky god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army (see Aquila). The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins. As the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline Hill, where the citadel was located. He was the chief deity of the early Capitoline Triad with Mars and Quirinus. In the later Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Juno and Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak.
The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually but not always identified with Jupiter. Tinia is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart.
Denomination: The aureus (pl. aurei - "golden") was a gold coin of ancient Rome valued at 25 silver denarii. The aureus was regularly issued from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD, when it was replaced by the solidus. The aureus was about the same size as the denarius, but heavier due to the higher density of gold (as opposed to that of silver.)
Before the time of Julius Caesar the aureus was struck very infrequently, usually to make large payments from captured booty. Caesar struck the coin more frequently and standardized the weight at 1/40 of a Roman pound (about 8 grams). Augustus (r. 29 BC - 9 AD) tariffed the value of the sestertius as 1/100 of an aureus. The mass of the aureus was decreased to 1/45 of a pound (7.3 g) during the reign of Nero (r. 54 - 68).
After the reign of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161 - 180) the production of aurei decreased, and the weight was further decreased to 1/50 of a pound (6.5 g). During the 3rd century, gold pieces were introduced in a variety of fractions and multiples, making it hard to determine the intended denomination of a gold coin.
Period: Imperial Rome. As the Roman Republic began to implode because of corruption and infighting among powerful members of the Roman Senate, a new type of Roman Republican coinage emerges, that of the military strongmen who dominated and fought among each other before the final fall of the Republic. The drama surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic is a story full of political intrigue, military action, betrayal, murder and sex scandals. Different parts of this story have been told and retold by ancient historians, modern day scholars, dozens of Hollywood movies and even an HBO miniseries. All of the actors in this great drama, Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and the last man standing at the end of it all, Octavian (later known as the first emperor of Rome, Emperor Augustus) all minted coins during this time bearing their names and propaganda images supporting their factions and political ideals.
Culture: Ancient Rome. A famous catch phrase "Rome was not built in a day" definitely applies to the Roman civilization. Rome stated as a series of small villages among the famous seven hills of Rome along the river Tiber. Eventually through conquest, diplomacy, wise policies of indirect rule and assimilation, the Romans were able to not only unify the Italian peninsula, but though a series of brutal wars against regional powers established a great Empire that spanned Europe, Asia and Africa, making the Mediterrean Sea and "Roman Lake."
All Roman coinage can generally be divided into eight time periods as described below. An interesting thing about Roman coins minted during these eight time periods is that you can literally see the "Rise and Fall" of the Roman Empire on its coinage as the sharp imagery and pure silver and gold coins of the Roman Republic and Early Imperial Period gradually devolves into crude, illegible and heavily debased coins of the "Barracks Emperors" and "Barbarian" Period.
Item created by: gdm on 2016-08-14 16:58:17
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