COMMODUS Marcus Aurelius son sacrificing over tripod Ancient Roman Coin i45630

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Seller: Top-Rated Seller highrating_lowprice (20,589) 100%, Location: Rego Park, New York, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 231440438306 Item: i45630 Authentic Ancient Coin of: Commodus - Roman Emperor : 177-192 A.D. Bronze As 25mm (8.82 grams) Rome mint: 184 A.D. Reference: RIC III 444a. Laureate head right Emperor, veiled and togate, standing left sacrificing over tripod. You are bidding on the exact item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity. A sacrificial tripod is a three-legged piece of religious furniture used for offerings or other ritual procedures. As a seat or stand, the tripod is the most stable furniture construction for uneven ground, hence its use is universal and ancient. It is particularly associated with Apollo and the Delphic oracle in ancient Greece , and the word "tripod" comes from the Greek meaning "three-footed." Apollo and Heracles struggle for the Delphic tripod (Attic black-figure hydria , c. 520 BC) Ancient Greece The most famous tripod of ancient Greece was the Delphic tripod from which the Pythian priestess took her seat to deliver the oracles of the deity. The seat was formed by a circular slab on the top of the tripod, on which a branch of laurel was deposited when it was unoccupied by the priestess. In this sense, by Classical times the tripod was sacred to Apollo . The mytheme of Heracles contesting with Apollo for the tripod appears in vase-paintings older than the oldest written literature. The oracle originally may have been related to the primal deity, the Earth. Priestess of Delphi (1891), as imagined by John Collier ; the Pythia is inspired by pneuma rising from below as she sits on a tripod Another well-known tripod in Delphi was the Plataean Tripod ; it was made from a tenth part of the spoils taken from the Persian army after the Battle of Plataea . This consisted of a golden basin, supported by a bronze serpent with three heads (or three serpents intertwined), with a list of the states that had taken part in the war inscribed on the coils of the serpent. The golden bowl was carried off by the Phocians during the Third Sacred War (356–346 BC); the stand was removed by the emperor Constantine to Constantinople in 324, where in modern Istanbul it still can be seen in the hippodrome , the Atmeydanı, although in damaged condition: the heads of the serpents have disappeared, however one is now on display at the nearby Istanbul Archaeology Museums. The inscription, however, has been restored almost entirely. Such tripods usually had three ears (rings which served as handles) and frequently had a central upright as support in addition to the three legs. Tripods frequently are mentioned by Homer as prizes in athletic games and as complimentary gifts; in later times, highly decorated and bearing inscriptions, they served the same purpose. They also were used as dedicatory offerings to the deities, and in the dramatic contests at the Dionysia the victorious choregus (a wealthy citizen who bore the expense of equipping and training the chorus) received a crown and a tripod. He would either dedicate the tripod to some deity or set it upon the top of a marble structure erected in the form of a small circular temple in a street in Athens , called the street of tripods, from the large number of memorials of this kind. One of these, the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates , erected by him to commemorate his victory in a dramatic contest in 335 BC, still stands. The form of the victory tripod, now missing from the top of the Lysicrates monument, has been rendered variously by scholars since the 18th century. An ancient Greek coin c. 330-300 BC. Laureate head of Apollo (left) and ornate tripod (right). Martin L. West writes that the sibyl at Delphi shows many traits of shamanistic practices, likely inherited or influenced from Central Asian practices. He cites her sitting in a cauldron on a tripod, while making her prophecies, her being in an ecstatic trance state, similar to shamans, and her utterings, unintelligible. According to Herodotus (The Histories, I.144), the victory tripods were not to be taken from the temple sanctuary precinct, but left there as dedications. Sometimes the tripod was used as a support for a lebes or cauldron or for supporting other items such as a vase. Delphic tripod (red-figured bell-krater , Paestum , c. 330 BC) Ancient China A ding from the late Shang Dynasty . Tripod pottery have been part of the archaeological assemblage in China since the earliest Neolithic cultures of Cishan and Peiligang in the 7th and 8th millennium BC. Sacrificial tripods were also found in use in ancient China usually cast in bronze but sometimes appearing in ceramic form. They are often referred to as "dings" and usually have three legs, but in some usages have four legs. The Chinese use sacrificial tripods in modern times, such as in 2005, when a "National Unity Tripod" made of bronze was presented by the central Chinese government to the government of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to mark its fiftieth birthday. It was described as a traditional Chinese sacrificial vessel symbolizing unity. A veil is an article of clothing or cloth hanging that is intended to cover some part of the head or face, or an object of some significance. It is especially associated with women and sacred objects. One view is that as a religious item, it is intended to show honor to an object or space. The actual sociocultural, psychological, and sociosexual functions of veils have not been studied extensively but most likely include the maintenance of social distance and the communication of social status and cultural identity. In Islamic society, various forms of the veil have been adopted from the Arab culture in which Islam arose. The Quran has no requirement that women cover their faces with a veil, or cover their bodies with the full-body burqua or chador . History The first recorded instance of veiling for women is recorded in an Assyrian legal text from the 13th century BC, which restricted its use to noble women and forbade prostitutes and common women from adopting it.[citation needed] The Mycenaean Greek term a-pu-ko-wo-ko meaning "craftsman of horse veil" written in Linear B syllabic script is also attested since ca. 1300 BC. In ancient Greek the word for veil was "καλύπτρα" (kaluptra, Ionic Greek "καλύπτρη" - kaluptrē, from the verb "καλύπτω" - kaluptō, "I cover") and is first attested in the works of Homer . Classical Greek and Hellenistic statues sometimes depict Greek women with both their head and face covered by a veil. Caroline Galt and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones have both argued from such representations and literary references that it was commonplace for women (at least those of higher status) in ancient Greece to cover their hair and face in public. For many centuries, until around 1175, Anglo-Saxon and then Anglo-Norman women, with the exception of young unmarried girls, wore veils that entirely covered their hair, and often their necks up to their chins (see wimple ). Only in the Tudor period (1485), when hoods became increasingly popular, did veils of this type become less common. For centuries, women have worn sheer veils, but only under certain circumstances. Sometimes a veil of this type was draped over and pinned to the bonnet or hat of a woman in mourning , especially at the funeral and during the subsequent period of "high mourning". They would also have been used, as an alternative to a mask, as a simple method of hiding the identity of a woman who was traveling to meet a lover, or doing anything she didn't want other people to find out about. More pragmatically, veils were also sometimes worn to protect the complexion from sun and wind damage (when un-tanned skin was fashionable), or to keep dust out of a woman's face, much as the keffiyeh is used today. Religion In Judaism , Christianity and Islam the concept of covering the head is or was associated with propriety and modesty. Most traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary , the mother of Christ , show her veiled. During the Middle Ages most European and Byzantine married women covered their hair rather than their face, with a variety of styles of wimple , kerchiefs and headscarfs. Veiling, covering the hair rather than the face, was a common practice with church-going women until the 1960s, typically using lace, and a number of very traditional churches retain the custom. Lace face-veils are still often worn by female relatives at funerals. In North India, Hindu women may often veil for traditional purposes, it is often the custom in rural areas to veil in front of male elders. This veil is called the Ghoonghat or Laaj. This is to show humility and respect to those elder to the woman, in particular elder males. The ghoonghat is customary especially in the westerly states of Gujarat and Rajasthan . Although religion stands as a commonly held reason for choosing to veil, it has also reflects on political regimes and personal conviction, allowing it to serve as a medium through which personal character can be revealed. Praying Jewish woman wearing Tichel Judaism After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem , the synagogues that were established took the design of the Tabernacle as their plan. The Ark of the Law , which contains the scrolls of the Torah , is covered with an embroidered curtain or veil called a parokhet . (See also below regarding the veiling – and unveiling – of the bride.) The Veil of our Lady is a liturgical feast celebrating the protection afforded by the intercessions of the Virgin Mary. Traditionally, in Christianity, women were enjoined to cover their heads in church, just as it was (and still is) customary for men to remove their hat as a sign of respect. This practice is based on 1 Corinthians 11:4–16 , where St. Paul writes: Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head. But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved. For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil. A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; nor was man created for woman, but woman for man; for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord. For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears his hair long it is a disgrace to him, whereas if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because long hair has been given (her) for a covering? But if anyone is inclined to be argumentative, we do not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God (New American Bible translation) In many traditional Eastern Orthodox Churches , and in some very conservative Protestant churches as well, the custom continues of women covering their heads in church (or even when praying privately at home). In the Roman Catholic Church , it was customary in most places before the 1960s for women to wear a headcovering in the form of a scarf, cap, veil or hat when entering a church. The practice now continues where it is seen as a matter of etiquette, courtesy, tradition or fashionable elegance rather than strictly of canon law. Traditionalist Catholics also maintain the practice. The wearing of a headcovering was for the first time mandated as a universal rule for the Latin Rite by the Code of Canon Law of 1917 , which code was abrogated by the advent of the present (1983) Code of Canon Law. Traditionalist Catholics majorly still follow it, generally as a matter of ancient custom and biblically approved aptness, some also supposing St. Paul's directive in full force today as an ordinance of its own right, without a canon law rule enforcing it. The photograph here of Mass in the Netherlands in about 1946, two decades before the changes that followed the Second Vatican Council , shows that, even at that time, when a hat was still considered part of formal dress for both women and men, wearing a headcovering at Mass was not a universal practice for Catholic women. A veil over the hair rather than the face forms part of the headdress of some religiouss of nuns or religious sisters; this is why a woman who becomes a nun is said "to take the veil". In medieval times married women normally covered their hair outside the house, and nun's veils are based on secular medieval styles, reflecting nuns position as "brides of Christ". In many institutes, a white veil is used as the "veil of probation" during novitiate , and a dark veil for the "veil of profession" once religious vows are taken – the color scheme varies with the color scheme of the habit of the order. A veil of consecration , longer and fuller, is used by some orders for final profession of solemn vows . Nuns also wear veils Nuns are the female counterparts of monks, and many monastic orders of women have retained the veil. Regarding other institutes of religious sisters who are not cloistered but who work as teachers, nurses or in other "active" apostolates outside of a nunnery or monastery, some wear the veil, while some others have abolished the use of the veil, a few never had a veil to start with, but used a bonnet-style headdress even a century ago, as in the case of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton . The fullest versions of the nun's veil cover the top of the head and flow down around and over the shoulders. In Western Christianity, it does not wrap around the neck or face. In those orders that retain one, the starched white covering about the face neck and shoulders is known as a wimple and is a separate garment. The Catholic Church has revived the ancient practice of allowing women to profess a solemn vow as consecrated virgins . These women are set aside as sacred persons who belong only to Christ and the service of the church. They are under the direct care of the local bishop , without belonging to a particular order and receive the veil as a sign of consecration . There has also been renewed interest in the last half century in the ancient practice of women and men dedicating themselves as anchorites or hermits , and there is a formal process whereby such persons can seek recognition of their vows by the local bishop – a veil for these women would also be traditional. Some Anglican women's religious orders also wear a veil, differing according to the traditions of each order. In Eastern Orthodoxy and in the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, a veil called an epanokamelavkion is used by both nuns and monks, in both cases covering completely the kamilavkion , a cylindrical hat they both wear. In Slavic practice, when the veil is worn over the hat, the entire headdress is referred to as a klobuk . Nuns wear an additional veil under the klobuk, called an apostolnik , which is drawn together to cover the neck and shoulders as well as their heads, leaving the face itself open. Islam A variety of headdresses worn by Muslim women and girls in accordance with hijab (the principle of dressing modestly) are sometimes referred to as veils. The principal aim of the Muslim veil is to hide that which men find sexually attractive. Many of these garments cover the hair, ears and throat, but do not cover the face. The khimar is a type of headscarf . The niqāb and burqa are two kinds of veils that cover most of the face except for a slit or hole for the eyes. The Afghan burqa covers the entire body, obscuring the face completely, except for a grille or netting over the eyes to allow the wearer to see. The boshiya is a veil that may be worn over a headscarf; it covers the entire face and is made of a sheer fabric so the wearer is able to see through it. It has been suggested that the practice of wearing a veil – uncommon among the Arab tribes prior to the rise of Islam – originated in the Byzantine Empire , and then spread. The wearing of head and especially face coverings by Muslim women has raised political issues in the West; see for example Hijab controversy in Quebec , Islamic dress controversy in Europe , Islamic scarf controversy in France , and United Kingdom debate over veils . There is also high debate of the veil in Turkey , a Muslim majority country but secular, which banned the headscarves in universities and government buildings, due to the türban (a Turkish styled headscarf) being viewed as a political symbol of Islam , see Headscarf controversy in Turkey . Frances Perkins wearing a veil after the death of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt Hats Veils pinned to hats have survived the changing fashions of the centuries and are still common today on formal occasions that require women to wear a hat. However, these veils are generally made of netting or another material not actually designed to hide the face from view, even if the veil can be pulled down. Wedding veils An occasion on which a Western woman is likely to wear a veil is on her white wedding day. Brides once used to wear their hair flowing down their back at their wedding to symbolise their virginity. Veils covering the hair and face became a symbolic reference to the virginity of the bride thereafter. Often in modern weddings, the ceremony of removing a face veil after the wedding to present the groom with a virgin bride is skipped, since many couples have already entered into conjugal relations prior to their wedding day – the bride either wears no face veil, or it is lifted before the ceremony begins, but this is not always the case. Further, if a bride is a virgin, she often wears the face veil through the ceremony, and then either her father lifts the veil, presenting the bride to her groom, or the groom lifts the veil to symbolically consummate the marriage, which will later become literal. Brides who are virgins may make use of the veil to symbolize and emphasize their status of purity during their wedding however, and if they do, the lifting of the veil may be ceremonially recognized as the crowning event of the wedding, when the beauty of the bride is finally revealed to the groom and the guests. It is not altogether clear that the wedding veil is a non-religious use of this item, since weddings have almost always had religious underpinnings, especially in the West. Veils, however, had been used in the West for weddings long before this. Roman brides, for instance, wore an intensely flame-colored and fulsome veil, called the flammeum, apparently intended to protect the bride from evil spirits on her wedding day. Later, the so-called velatio virginum became part of the rite of the consecration of virgins , the liturgical rite in which the church sets aside the virgin as a sacred person who belongs only to Christ. In the 19th century, wedding veils came to symbolize the woman's virginity and modesty . The tradition of a veiled bride's face continues even today wherein, a virgin bride, especially in Christian or Jewish culture, enters the marriage ritual with a veiled face and head, and remains fully veiled, both head and face, until the ceremony concludes. After the full conclusion of the wedding ceremony, either the bride's father lifts the veil giving the bride to the groom who then kisses her, or the new groom lifts her face veil in order to kiss her, which symbolizes the groom's right to enter into conjugal relations with his bride. The lifting of the veil was often a part of ancient wedding ritual, symbolizing the groom taking possession of the wife, either as lover or as property, or the revelation of the bride by her parents to the groom for his approval. A bride wearing a typical wedding veil In Judaism, the tradition of wearing a veil dates back to biblical times. According to the Torah in Genesis 24:65 , Isaac is brought Rebekah to marry by his father Abraham's servant. It is important to note that Rebekah did not veil herself when traveling with her lady attendants and Abraham's servant and his men to meet Isaac, but she only did so when Isaac was approaching. Just before the wedding ceremony the badeken or bedeken is held. The groom places the veil over the bride's face, and either he or the officiating Rabbi gives her a blessing. The veil stays on her face until just before the end of the wedding ceremony – when they are legally married according to Jewish law – then the groom helps lift the veil from off her face. The most often cited interpretation for the badeken is that, according to Genesis 29 , when Jacob went to marry Rachel, his father in law Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, Rachel's older and homlier sister. Many say that the veiling ceremony takes place to make sure that the groom is marrying the right bride. Some say that as the groom places the veil over his bride, he makes an implicit promise to clothe and protect her. Finally, by covering her face, the groom recognizes that he his marrying the bride for her inner beauty; while looks will fade with time, his love will be everlasting. In some ultra-orthodox traditions the bride wears an opaque veil as she is escorted down the aisle to meet her groom. This shows her complete willingness to enter into the marriage and her absolute trust that she is marrying the right man. In Judaism, a wedding is not considered valid unless the bride willingly consents to it. In ancient Judaism the lifting of the veil took place just prior to the consummation of the marriage in sexual union. The uncovering or unveiling that takes place in the wedding ceremony is a symbol of what will take place in the marriage bed. Just as the two become one through their words spoken in wedding vows, so these words are a sign of the physical oneness that they will consummate later on. The lifting of the veil is a symbol and an anticipation of this. In the Western world , St. Paul's words concerning how marriage symbolizes the union of Christ and His Church may underlie part of the tradition of veiling in the marriage ceremony. Dance Veils are part of the stereotypical images of courtesans and harem women. Here, the mysterious veil hints at sensuality, an example being the dance of the seven veils. This is the context into which belly dancing veils fall, with a large repertoire of ways to wear and hold the veil, framing the body and accentuating movements. Dancing veils can be as small as a scarf or two, silk veils mounted on fans, a half circle, three-quarter circle, full circle, a rectangle up to four feet long, and as large as huge Isis wings with sticks for extensions. There is also a giant canopy type veil used by a group of dancers. Veils are made of rayon, silk, polyester, mylar and other fabrics (never wool, though). Rarely used in Egyptian cabaret style, veil dancing has always played an important part in the international world of belly dance, extending the range of the dance and offering lovely transitory imagery. Courtesans Conversely, veils are often part of the stereotypical image of the courtesan and harem woman. Here, rather than the virginity of the bride's veil, modesty of the Muslim scarf or the piety of the nun's headdress, the mysterious veil hints at sensuality and the unknown. An example of the veil's erotic potential is the dance of the seven veils . In this context, the term may refer to a piece of sheer cloth approximately 3 x 1.5 metres, sometimes trimmed with sequins or coins, which is used in various styles of belly dancing . A large repertoire of ways to wear and hold the veil exists, many of which are intended to frame the body from the perspective of the audience. Veils for men Among the Tuareg , Songhai , Moors , Hausa . and Fulani of West Africa , women do not traditionally wear the veil, while men do. The men's facial covering originates from the belief that such action wards off evil spirits, but most probably relates to protection against the harsh desert sands as well; in any event, it is a firmly established tradition. Men begin wearing a veil at age 25 which conceals their entire face excluding their eyes. This veil is never removed, even in front of family members. In India , Pakistan , Bangladesh , and Nepal , men wear a sehra on their wedding day. This is a male veil covering the whole face and neck. The sehra is made from either flowers, beads, tinsel, dry leaves, or coconuts. The most common sehra is made from fresh marigolds. The groom wears this throughout the day concealing his face even during the wedding ceremony. In India today you can see the groom arriving on a horse with the sehra wrapped around his head. Etymology "Veil" came from Latin vēlum, which also means "sail". There are two theories about the origin of the word vēlum:- Via the "covering" meaning, from (Indo-European root ) *wel- = "to cover, to enclose". Via the "sail" meaning, from Indo-European *weghslom, from root *wegh- = "way" or "carry in a vehicle", because it makes the ship move. 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 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. Early life and rise to power (161–180) Early life Commodus was born on 31 August 161, as Commodus, in Lanuvium , near Rome . He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius's first cousin, Faustina the Younger; the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor Antonius Pius . Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus . The latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus Aurelius' sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father's physician, Galen , in order to keep Commodus healthy and alive. Galen treated many of Commodus' common illnesses. Commodus received extensive tuition at the hands of what Marcus Aurelius called "an abundance of good masters." The focus of Commodus' education appears to have been intellectual, possibly at the expense of military training. Commodus is known to have been at Carnuntum , the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars , in 172. It was presumably there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus, in the presence of the army . The title suggests that Commodus was present at his father's victory over the Marcomanni . On 20 January 175, Commodus entered the College of Pontiffs , the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius , Governor of Syria , declared himself Emperor following rumors that Marcus Aurelius had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria, Palestine and Egypt , Cassius carried on his rebellion even after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, the Prince assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood . Cassius, however, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch . The Emperor and his son then traveled to Athens , where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries . They then returned to Rome in the Autumn of 176. Joint rule with father (177) Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor since Vespasian to have a biological son of his own and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors , each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius granted Commodus the rank of Imperator and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus , giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph , and Commodus was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time. He subsequently married Bruttia Crispina before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178, where Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, leaving the 18-year-old Commodus sole emperor. Sole reign (180–192) Upon his accession Commodus devalued the Roman currency . He reduced the weight of the denarius from 96 per Roman pound to 105 (3.85 grams to 3.35 grams). He also reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent – the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams respectively, being 108 to the Roman pound. His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire's first devaluation during Nero's reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by almost continuous warfare, that of Commodus was comparatively peaceful in the military sense but was marked by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius , a contemporary observer, his accession marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron" – a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbon , to take Commodus's reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire . Despite his notoriety, and considering the importance of his reign, Commodus's years in power are not well chronicled. The principal surviving literary sources are Dio Cassius (a contemporary and sometimes first-hand observer, but for this reign, only transmitted in fragments and abbreviations), Herodian and the Historia Augusta (untrustworthy for its character as a work of literature rather than history, with elements of fiction embedded within its biographies; in the case of Commodus, it may well be embroidering upon what the author found in reasonably good contemporary sources). Commodus remained with the Danube armies for only a short time before negotiating a peace treaty with the Danubian tribes. He then returned to Rome and celebrated a triumph for the conclusion of the wars on 22 October 180. Unlike the preceding Emperors Trajan , Hadrian , Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, he seems to have had little interest in the business of administration and tended throughout his reign to leave the practical running of the state to a succession of favourites, beginning with Saoterus , a freedman from Nicomedia who had become his chamberlain . Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of conspiracies and attempted coups, which in turn eventually provoked Commodus to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, though the senatorial order came to hate and fear him, the evidence suggests that he remained popular with the army and the common people for much of his reign, not least because of his lavish shows of largesse (recorded on his coinage) and because he staged and took part in spectacular gladiatorial combats. One of the ways he paid for his donatives and mass entertainments was to tax the senatorial order, and on many inscriptions, the traditional order of the two nominal powers of the state, the Senate and People (Senatus Populusque Romanus) is provocatively reversed (Populus Senatusque...). The conspiracies of 182 A bust of Commodus as a youth (Roman-Germanic Museum, Cologne). At the outset of his reign, Commodus, age 18, inherited many of his father's senior advisers, notably Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus (the second husband of Commodus's sister Lucilla ), his father-in-law Gaius Bruttius Praesens , Titus Fundanius Vitrasius Pollio, and Aufidius Victorinus , who was Prefect of the City of Rome . He also had five surviving sisters, all of them with husbands who were potential rivals. Four of his sisters were considerably older than he; the eldest, Lucilla, held the rank of Augusta as the widow of her first husband, Lucius Verus . The first crisis of the reign came in 182, when Lucilla engineered a conspiracy against her brother. Her motive is alleged to have been envy of the Empress Crispina. Her husband, Pompeianus, was not involved, but two men alleged to have been her lovers, Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus (the consul of 167, who was also her first cousin) and Appius Claudius Quintianus , attempted to murder Commodus as he entered the theatre. They bungled the job and were seized by the emperor's bodyguard. Quadratus and Quintianus were executed. Lucilla was exiled to Capri and later killed. Pompeianus retired from public life. One of the two praetorian prefects , Tarrutenius Paternus , had actually been involved in the conspiracy but was not detected at this time, and in the aftermath, he and his colleague Sextus Tigidius Perennis were able to arrange for the murder of Saoterus, the hated chamberlain. Commodus took the loss of Saoterus badly, and Perennis now seized the chance to advance himself by implicating Paternus in a second conspiracy, one apparently led by Publius Salvius Julianus , who was the son of the jurist Salvius Julianus and was betrothed to Paternus's daughter. Salvius and Paternus were executed along with a number of other prominent consulars and senators. Didius Julianus , the future emperor, a relative of Salvius Julianus, was dismissed from the governorship of Germania Inferior . Cleander Perennis took over the reins of government and Commodus found a new chamberlain and favourite in Cleander , a Phrygian freedman who had married one of the emperor's mistresses, Demostratia. Cleander was in fact the person who had murdered Saoterus. After those attempts on his life, Commodus spent much of his time outside Rome, mostly on the family estates at Lanuvium. Being physically strong, his chief interest was in sport: taking part in horse racing , chariot racing , and combats with beasts and men, mostly in private but also on occasion in public. Dacia and Britain A bust of Commodus (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). According to Herodian he was well proportioned and attractive, with naturally blonde and curly hair. Commodus was inaugurated in 183 as consul with Aufidius Victorinus for a colleague and assumed the title Pius. War broke out in Dacia : few details are available, but it appears two future contenders for the throne, Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger , both distinguished themselves in the campaign. Also, in Britain in 184, the governor Ulpius Marcellus re-advanced the Roman frontier northward to the Antonine Wall , but the legionaries revolted against his harsh discipline and acclaimed another legate, Priscus, as emperor. Priscus refused to accept their acclamations, but Perennis had all the legionary legates in Britain cashiered . On 15 October 184 at the Capitoline Games , a Cynic philosopher publicly denounced Perennis before Commodus, who was watching, but was immediately put to death. According to Dio Cassius, Perennis, though ruthless and ambitious, was not personally corrupt and generally administered the state well. However, the following year, a detachment of soldiers from Britain (they had been drafted to Italy to suppress brigands) also denounced Perennis to the emperor as plotting to make his own son emperor (they had been enabled to do so by Cleander, who was seeking to dispose of his rival), and Commodus gave them permission to execute him as well as his wife and sons. The fall of Perennis brought a new spate of executions: Aufidius Victorinus committed suicide. Ulpius Marcellus was replaced as governor of Britain by Pertinax ; brought to Rome and tried for treason, Marcellus narrowly escaped death. Cleander's zenith and fall (185–190) Cleander proceeded to concentrate power in his own hands and to enrich himself by becoming responsible for all public offices: he sold and bestowed entry to the Senate, army commands, governorships and, increasingly, even the suffect consulships to the highest bidder. Unrest around the empire increased, with large numbers of army deserters causing trouble in Gaul and Germany . Pescennius Niger mopped up the deserters in Gaul in a military campaign, and a revolt in Brittany was put down by two legions brought over from Britain. In 187, one of the leaders of the deserters, Maternus, came from Gaul intending to assassinate Commodus at the Festival of the Great Goddess in March, but he was betrayed and executed. In the same year, Pertinax unmasked a conspiracy by two enemies of Cleander – Antistius Burrus (one of Commodus's brothers-in-law) and Arrius Antoninus. As a result, Commodus appeared even more rarely in public, preferring to live on his estates. Early in 188, Cleander disposed of the current praetorian prefect, Atilius Aebutianus , and himself took over supreme command of the Praetorians at the new rank of a pugione ("dagger-bearer") with two praetorian prefects subordinate to him. Now at the zenith of his power, Cleander continued to sell public offices as his private business. The climax came in the year 190, which had 25 suffect consuls – a record in the 1000-year history of the Roman consulship—all appointed by Cleander (they included the future Emperor Septimius Severus ). In the spring of 190, Rome was afflicted by a food shortage, for which the praefectus annonae Papirius Dionysius , the official actually in charge of the grain supply , contrived to lay the blame on Cleander. At the end of June, a mob demonstrated against Cleander during a horse race in the Circus Maximus : he sent the praetorian guard to put down the disturbances, but Pertinax, who was now City Prefect of Rome, dispatched the Vigiles Urbani to oppose them. Cleander fled to Commodus, who was at Laurentum in the house of the Quinctilii , for protection, but the mob followed him calling for his head. At the urging of his mistress Marcia , Commodus had Cleander beheaded and his son killed. Other victims at this time were the praetorian prefect Julius Julianus, Commodus's cousin Annia Fundania Faustina , and his brother-in-law Mamertinus. Papirius Dionysius was executed too. The emperor now changed his name to Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. At 29, he took over more of the reins of power, though he continued to rule through a cabal consisting of Marcia, his new chamberlain Eclectus, and the new praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus , who about this time also had many Christians freed from working in the mines in Sardinia . Marcia, the widow of Quadratus, who had been executed in 182, is alleged to have been a Christian. Megalomania (190–192) In opposition to the Senate, in his pronouncements and iconography , Commodus had always laid stress on his unique status as a source of god-like power, liberality and physical prowess. Innumerable statues around the empire were set up portraying him in the guise of Hercules , reinforcing the image of him as a demigod, a physical giant, a protector and a battler against beasts and men (see "Commodus and Hercules" and "Commodus the Gladiator" below). Moreover, as Hercules, he could claim to be the son of Jupiter , the representative of the supreme god of the Roman pantheon . These tendencies now increased to megalomaniac proportions. Far from celebrating his descent from Marcus Aurelius, the actual source of his power, he stressed his own personal uniqueness as the bringer of a new order, seeking to re-cast the empire in his own image. During 191, the city of Rome was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax , the Temple of Vesta and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus , ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. All the months of the year were renamed to correspond exactly with his (now twelve) names: Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius. The legions were renamed Commodianae, the fleet which imported grain from Africa was termed Alexandria Commodiana Togata, the Senate was entitled the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people themselves were all given the name Commodianus, and the day on which these reforms were decreed was to be called Dies Commodianus. Thus he presented himself as the fountainhead of the Empire and Roman life and religion. He also had the head of the Colossus of Nero adjacent to the Colosseum replaced with his own portrait, gave it a club and placed a bronze lion at its feet to make it look like Hercules, and added an inscription boasting of being "the only left-handed fighter to conquer twelve times one thousand men". Character and physical prowess Character and motivations Dio Cassius, a first-hand witness, describes him as "not naturally wicked but, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived. His great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the better life and then was led on into lustful and cruel habits, which soon became second nature."[8] His recorded actions do tend to show a rejection of his father’s policies, his father’s advisers, and especially his father’s austere lifestyle, and an alienation from the surviving members of his family. It seems likely that he was brought up in an atmosphere of Stoic asceticism , which he rejected entirely upon his accession to sole rule. After repeated attempts on Commodus' life, Roman citizens were often killed for raising his ire. One such notable event was the attempted extermination of the house of the Quinctilii. Condianus and Maximus were executed on the pretext that, while they were not implicated in any plots, their wealth and talent would make them unhappy with the current state of affairs. Changes of name On his accession as sole ruler, Commodus added the name Antoninus to his official nomenclature. In October 180 he changed his praenomen from Lucius to Marcus, presumably in honour of his father. He later took the title of Felix in 185. In 191 he restored his praenomen to Lucius and added the family name Aelius, apparently linking himself to Hadrian and Hadrian's adopted son Lucius Aelius Caesar , whose original name was also Commodus. Later that year he dropped Antoninus and adopted as his full style Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus Augustus Herculeus Romanus Exsuperatorius Amazonius Invictus Felix Pius (the order of some of these titles varies in the sources). "Exsuperatorius" (the supreme) was a title given to Jupiter, and "Amazonius" identified him again with Hercules. An inscribed altar from Dura-Europos on the Euphrates shows that Commodus's titles and the renaming of the months were disseminated to the furthest reaches of the Empire; moreover, that even auxiliary military units received the title Commodiana, and that Commodus claimed two additional titles: Pacator Orbis (pacifier of the world) and Dominus Noster (Our Lord). The latter eventually would be used as a conventional title by Roman emperors, starting about a century later, but Commodus seems to have been the first to assume it. Commodus and Hercules Disdaining the more philosophic inclinations of his father, Commodus was extremely proud of his physical prowess. He was generally acknowledged to be extremely handsome. As mentioned above, he ordered many statues to be made showing him dressed as Hercules with a lion's hide and a club. He thought of himself as the reincarnation of Hercules, frequently emulating the legendary hero's feats by appearing in the arena to fight a variety of wild animals. He was left-handed, and very proud of the fact. Cassius Dio and the writers of the Augustan History say that Commodus was a skilled archer, who could shoot the heads off ostriches in full gallop, and kill a panther as it attacked a victim in the arena. Commodus the gladiator Commodus also had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a gladiator. The Romans found Commodus's naked gladiatorial combats to be scandalous and disgraceful. It was rumoured that he was actually the son, not of Marcus Aurelius, but of a gladiator whom his mother Faustina had taken as a lover at the coastal resort of Caieta . In the arena, Commodus always won since his opponents always submitted to the emperor. Thus, these public fights would not end in death. Privately, it was his custom to slay his practice opponents. For each appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces , straining the Roman economy. Commodus raised the ire of many military officials in Rome for his Hercules persona in the arena. Often, wounded soldiers and amputees would be placed in the arena for Commodus to slay with a sword. Commodus's eccentric behaviour would not stop there. Citizens of Rome missing their feet through accident or illness were taken to the arena, where they were tethered together for Commodus to club to death while pretending they were giants. These acts may have contributed to his assassination. Commodus was also known for fighting exotic animals in the arena, often to the horror of the Roman people. According to Gibbon, Commodus once killed 100 lions in a single day. Later, he decapitated a running ostrich with a specially designed dart and afterwards carried the bleeding head of the dead bird and his sword over to the section where the Senators sat and gesticulated as though they were next. On another occasion, Commodus killed three elephants on the floor of the arena by himself. Finally, Commodus killed a giraffe , which was considered to be a strange and helpless beast. Assassination (192) In November 192 Commodus held Plebian Games, in which he shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins every morning, and fought as a gladiator every afternoon, winning all the bouts. In December he announced his intention to inaugurate the year 193 as both consul and gladiator on 1 January. At this point, the prefect Laetus formed a conspiracy with Eclectus to supplant Commodus with Pertinax, taking Marcia into their confidence. On 31 December Marcia poisoned his food but he vomited up the poison; so the conspirators sent his wrestling partner Narcissus to strangle him in his bath. Upon his death, the Senate declared him a public enemy (a de facto damnatio memoriae ) and restored the original name to the city of Rome and its institutions. Commodus's statues were thrown down. His body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian . In 195 the emperor Septimius Severus , trying to gain favour with the family of Marcus Aurelius, rehabilitated Commodus's memory and had the Senate deify him. Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax , whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors . Commodus's death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty . Frequently Asked Questions How long until my order is shipped? Depending on the volume of sales, it may take up to 5 business days for shipment of your order after the receipt of payment. How will I know when the order was shipped? 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