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Rites Of A Hasty Peace


MYSIA, Pergamum. Commodus. AD 177-192. Æ Medallion (44mm, 50.85 g, 6h). M. Ai(lios) Glykonianos, strategos. Struck circa AD 180-182. ΑYΤΟ ΚΑΙ Μ ΑYΡΗ ΚΟΜΟΔΟC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / ΕΠ[Ι CΤ]Ρ Μ [Α]Ι Γ ΛV ΚΩΝΙΑΝΟY, ΠΕΡΓΑΜΗΝΩΝ/Β ΝΕΟΚΟΡΩΝ in two lines in exergue, Commodus, in military outfit, standing right on stepped podium, holding spear and erecting trophy before bound captive seated left; in foreground, victimarius standing right about to sacrifice bull left chained to podium. RPC IV.2 Online 3255; von Fritze, Pergamon, pp. 72-3 and pl. VII, 16 (only rev. illustrated – same die); SNG BN 2166 (same dies); SNG Leypold 423; SNG von Aulock –. Green patina, slight double strike on reverse, light smoothing. VF. Extremely rare, RPC cites nine examples, six of which are in public collections.

This unusual reverse type celebrates sacrifices to mark a great Roman victory, indicated by the presence of a trophy and bound captive. With a likely date of issue circa AD 181-182, shortly after the start of Commodus’s sole reign, this type surely marks the conclusion of peace with the Germanic tribes ending of the Marcomannic Wars fought by his father and predecessor, Marcus Aurelius. Interesting details include the chain securing the sacrificial bull and the ax-wielding victimarius about to perform the sacrifice, who in this instance appears to be female. In fact the peace was hastily patched up by Commodus, who was anxious to return to Rome, and the Germanic wars would renew with greater intensity in the following century.