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3 assaria - Commodus - Tomis
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3 assaria - Commodus - Greek imperial coin from Tomis - obverse 3 assaria - Commodus - Greek imperial coin from Tomis - reverse
24 mm diameter, 8.5 grams, AE
Obverse: laureate bust of Commodus to the right, wearing paludamentum (chlamis, a mantle worn by Roman generals); centration dimple at the base of the jaw
legend [AVT K Λ AIΛ AVP KOMOΔOC]
Reverse: Nike walking right, mantle weaving behind, holding laurel wreath in the right hand and carrying a military trophy on the left shoulder, in the field digit 3 (Greek letter Γ, marking the face value of 3 assaria);
legend [MHTPOΠ] [Π]ONTOY [TOMETΩC]

The coin corresponds to the description at number 1856 in the Moushmov catalog and is described in AMNG I at position 2714 (AMNG = Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, B. Pick, 1898).

About emperor Commodus

Emperor Commodus (Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus), the last of the Antoninian dynasty, ruled the Roman Empire between 180 and 192. In 166 A.D. he received from his father, emperor Marcus Aurelius, the title of Caesar, and in 177 the title of Augustus. Following his assassination on January first 193, rule of the Roman Empire was asserted by Pertinax.

About the legends on the coin

The Greek inscription on the coin reverse should read MHTPOΠ ΠONTOY TOMETΩC, or METROP PONTOY TOMEOS, after replacing the Greek with Latin letters. A good translation for this legend would probably be Tomis, Metropolis of Pontus.

The legend on the reverse is AVT K Λ AIΛ AVP KOMOΔOC, representing the translation into Greek of the Latin legend IMP(erator) C(AESAR) L(ucius) AEL(ius) AUR(elius) COMMOD(us). The word imperator was translated by autocrator (autokrates in Greek meaning governing by one's self), IMP being replaced by AVT. Letter K following AVT is most probably short for Kaisar, Caesar.

Unfortunately on this coin the obverse legend is practically completely wiped out, the state of preservation of the coin being only VG - Very Good. A VG coin keeps the outlines of the main design elements - the bust of the emperor, in this particular case - but with very few details inside the contour lines.

About the dating of the coin

Commodus has changed his name for several times. In 180 AD he changed his given name from Lucius to Marcus. In 191 AD Commodus has returned to Lucius as first name. Also in 191 AD he added Aelius to his name (in order to pretend a kinship with emperor Hadrian), renouncing the name Antoninus - name adopted in 180 AD.

In conclusion, the coin was struck in 191-192, since Aelius appears in emperor's name.


The History of Tomis
and More
The Ancient Pontic World
and Its Connection to Romanians (with Map)
About Nike


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