Dupondius Commodus - Pater Senatus
COMMODUS. Æ As. Rome, 186-187 AD.
Obv. M COMM ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT Radiated head right
Rev. PATER SENAT PM TR P XII / IMP VIII / COS V / SC Commodus, togate, standing left, holding branch in right hand and sceptre in left hand.
RIC -; Cohen -; BM 1972,0711.6 (wrongly described legend as 'SENATVS)
The honorary title of Pater Senatus on this issue is almost pure irony! The relationship between the Senate and the emperor was as troubled as with no other emperor. Already at the beginning of the reign the emperor's sister Lucilla, widow of Lucius Verus, initiated a plot of Senators against him. The attempted assassination failed because the assasin, a nephew of Lucilla, made a stirring appeal against tyranny before stabing the emperor, thus allowing the body-guards of the emperor to arrest him and the conspirators. They were executed and a number of Senators were exiled. As a result of that event the relationship between emperor and Senate was rather strained. Commodus recruited his staff within the class of slaves and emancipates, guessing that they would be loyal to him depending totally on him. The Senators took revenge in their own way: during the memorable meeting of the Senate following Commodus' assassination on Dec. 31, AD 192, they issued the following decree: "The memory of the parricide, the gladiator shall be erased; the statues of the parricide, the gladiator, shall be demolished. The executor of the Senate shall be hooked and dragged, as it was customary for our ancestors. We were slaves of slaves. Throw the spies out of the Senate! Throw the informers out of the Senate! Throw the instigators out of the Senate!" [M&M AG Basel]
Very rare type known only for large bronze by Cohen and RIC authors; entered in the BM collection in 1972. Same reverse die as BM ex: