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859150

Commodus as Hercules

859150. Sold For $37500

Commodus. AD 177-192. Æ Sestertius (34mm, 27.77 g, 1h). Rome mint. Struck AD 192. L AEL AVREL CO MM AVG P FEL, laureate head right / PROVID ENTIAE AVG, Africa standing right, wearing elephant skin headdress and with lion at feet to right, holding sistrum and handing grain ears to Hercules standing left, with right foot on prow and holding club set on rock pile; S C in exergue. RIC III 641; MIR 18, 861-6/30; Banti 355. EF, wonderful green patina. Very rare reverse.


Ex Lanz 120 (18 May 2004), lot 366 (cover coin).

Attempting to separate himself with the philosophic nature of his father, Marcus Aurelius, and display his physical prowess, Commodus adopted the attire and persona of Hercules, believing himself to be the reincarnation of that deity. He would appear in the arena to fight not only other gladiators, but a variety of wild animals as well. Throughout his rule, Hercules was his symbol as the protector of the empire.