Chaponnière & Firmenich SA
Auction 15  21 May 2022
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Lot 51

Starting price: 100 000 CHF
Price realized: 100 000 CHF
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ROMAN EMPIRE. Commodus, 177-192. Bimetallic medallion 191, Rome. Obv. COMMODVS ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG BRIT Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. Rev. Sol right, holding whip, about to climb into quadriga rising r., raising over waves; in upper field right, Phosphorus and below, Tellus reclining right on ground, holding cornucopiae. In exergue, COS VI P P. Gnecchi p. 52, 3 and pl. 78, 3. BR. 60.22 g. Nice AU
Extremely rare and in exceptional condition for this type.
The 2nd century AD saw the rise of solar cults (Mithra, Sol, etc.). These mystery cults were taking more and more place in the daily life of the Roman world, especially within the army. Although still not very present on monetary themes, the first coin issues, in particular aurei with a representation of Sol, date from the last years of the reign of Trajan.
Sol and Phosphoros are particularly linked to the cycle of the day (Phosphoros is the personification of Venus, the morning star) and more generally to the allegory of the cycle of life, emphasizing the iterative aspect of the latter. On the reverse of this medallion Phosphoros or Lucifer uses the chariot of the Sun to symbolize the Dawn of the day illuminating Tellus.
Life is an eternal commencement, and Commodus, using this allegory, presides over the destiny of the human race, of the "orbis terrarium".
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