Crispina

Crispina married Commodus in 178, and her image appears on a number of coins minted in Rome and the provinces.  Interestingly, Crispina only appears on the Denarius and the Aureus on coins minted in Rome.  The coins are dated around the time of the marriage of Commodus and Crispina, but from the dating it appears that historians are not entirely sure what time after their marriage they were minted.  This raises questions to whether or not coins with Crispina’s face were minted only immediately after their marriage or throughout his reign.  In the two coins pictured below we see similar themes that popped up in the Commodus coins.  On the obverse we see a portrait of Crispina with the text “Crispina Augusta.”  On the reverse of the coin we see the goddess Venus holding an apple in her right hand.  On the Aureus is a similar theme.  The obverse contains an image of Crispina with the text “Crispina Augusta,” while the reverse has an image of a seated Venus holding Victory and a scepter.  This image of Venus mirrors coins of Commodus that depicted an image of Roma seated holding Victory and a scepter.  Some of the coins with Crispina’s image minted in Rome contained the abbreviation “SC,” which translates to “by decree of the Senate” suggesting approval or celebration of the emperor’s marriage.

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Denarius, Crispina, 178-191, Obverse

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Denarius, Crispina, 178-191, Reverse

(RIC III Commodus 286A)

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Aureus, Crispina, 178-191, Obverse

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Aureus, Crispina, 178-191, Reverse

(RIC III Commodus 287)

Images of Commodus and Crispina can also be seen outside of Rome in the provinces as well.  Below we a coin containing an image with both Commodus and his wife, which we did not see in the coins minted in Rome.  This coin in particular was found in Byzantium and contains Greek letters.  The text on the obverse of the coin refers to the pictured Crispina and Commodus, while the text on the reverse of the coin references from where the coin came.  The image on the reverse is of the goddess Artemis advancing holding a torch in each hand.  It is interesting to note that images of Crispina appear on coins throughout the Empire around the time of her marriage to Commodus.

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Drachma, Commodus and Crispina, 178, Obverse

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Drachma, Commodus and Crispina, 178, Reverse

(RPC 8714)