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Orichalcum coin of Commodus with Liberalitas on the reverse.
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Orichalcum coin of Commodus with Liberalitas on the reverse.
Work Type
coins (money); archaeological objects
2.74 x 2.35 x .40cm
Researcher's Comments:According to Jones, Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (see Bibliography), orichalcum is the English spelling of a Greek word known from ancient authors. The writers appear to not have known what exactly orichalcum was, except that it was a "marvelously bright metal of some kind." (228) The word is used by modern writers to describe an alloy similar to modern brass, containing 10-20% zinc. The obverse of this coin shows Commodus, who was emperor from 180 to 192 CE. The reverse shows Liberalitas, the embodiment of giving freely. AVG is the abbreviation for Augustus. S and C stand for senatus consulto, meaning by decree of the senate. (Wolfgang Alders, Undergraduate, Johns Hopkins University, 8/13/2013)
Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD;
Accession Number
Wright 31
Images and original data are from the JHU Archaeology Museum. To fulfill our mission as a teaching museum, students often complete basic object cataloging, therefore data provided are subject to change, may be incomplete, or contain errors. We welcome feedback on our catalog entries. Please send comments to
JHAM Collection
The Sidney Pointer Coin Collection
Inscription Language
Inscription Text
Reverse: ... AVG ...
Selected Bibliography
Klawans, Zander H., and Kenneth E. Bressett. Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins. Racine, Wis: Western Pub. Co, 1995.
Melville-Jones, John R. A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins. London: Seaby, 1990.
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