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Silver denarius, RIC 160, BMC 227, RSC 966, Fair, 1.720g, 16.6mm, 180o, 187 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT - P FEL AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVT AVG PMTR P XII IMP VIII COS V P P, Virtus standing left, Victory in right, resting left hand on shield, spear leaning on left arm;L Aelius Aurelius.
Commodus was the son of emperor Marcus Aurelius and empress Faustina II. Caesar in 177 A.D., Commodus succeeded his father as Augustus in 180. His rule of twelve years quickly degenerated into debauchery, paranoia and insanity. He actually believed he was Hercules reincarnated and participated in gladiatorial contests. The empire was directed by his unscrupulous favorites while the emperor amused himself in whatever decadent way he saw fit. His assassination in 192 A.D. was viewed as a blessing by most Romans of the day.


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