A reduction in conflict on the frontiers of the empire was not matched by peace within the empire. This happed to the cultured Quintilii brothers, whose palatial villa on the Via Appia to the southeast of Rome was seized by the emperor. Papirius Dionysius was executed, too. The reason for this degeneration, the historian asserted, was the death of Marcus Aurelius, the paragon of imperial rule, and the passing of imperial power to his son, Commodus. Sister of Trajan's father: Giacosa (1977), p. 7. At the urging of his mistress Marcia, Commodus had Cleander beheaded and his son killed. Infamously, Commodus was the gladiator emperor (made famous by Joaquin Phoenix in the 2000 film Gladiator), fighting frequently in the arena, much to the shame of the gathered senatorial spectators. In December, he announced his intention to inaugurate the year 193 as both consul and gladiator on 1 January. Commodus was thus born into the very epicenters of imperial power in the second century. By late 192, he was finishing up another performance in the arena, this time for the Plebian Games, in which he massacred scores of wild animals and fought as a gladiator. Commodus, in full Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus, original name (until 180 ce) Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, (born August 31, 161 ce, Lanuvium, Latium [now Lanuvio, Italy]—died December 31, 192), Roman emperor from 177 to 192 (sole emperor after 180) Commodus was Roman emperor from 180 to 192 CE.With the death of Roman Emperor Marcus … They bungled the job and were seized by the emperor's bodyguard. During 191, the city of Rome was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax, the Temple of Vesta, and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. He renamed Rome Colonia Commodiana, the “Colony of Commodus”, and renamed the months of the year after titles held in his honour, namely, Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, and Pius. [16], Priscus refused to accept their acclamations, and Perennis had all the legionary legates in Britain cashiered. After Commodus was murdered, the Senate met before daybreak, and declared sixty-six year old Pertinax, who was the son of a former slave, emperor. At this point, the prefect Laetus formed a conspiracy with Eclectus to supplant Commodus with Pertinax, taking Marcia into their confidence. One of the two praetorian prefects, Publius Tarrutenius Paternus, had actually been involved in the conspiracy but his involvement was not discovered until later on, and in the aftermath, he and his colleague, Sextus Tigidius Perennis, were able to arrange for the murder of Saoterus, the hated chamberlain. It was time to full-on mad bat crazy. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of conspiracies and attempted coups, which in turn eventually provoked Commodus to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Such was the vehement dislike felt by the senate at having had to suffer the abuse and threats of the emperor over the 12 years, that they condemned the memory of Commodus; his images were destroyed and his names scratched from inscriptions around the empire. He who slew the senate, let him be dragged with the hook… Let the murderer be dragged in the dust!”, Portrait of Septimius Severus, 200-06 AD, via Museo Arqueológico Nacional Madrid. The iconography of Commodus displays a consistent emphasis on presenting the emperor as Hercules. The attempts to restore stability would lead to a protracted series of civil wars lasting 4 years. Just in case anyone living in the city had not grasped his sense of importance, he also had the Colossal statue adjacent to the Colosseum (hence the name) which had been originally erected by Nero, remodeled to look like himself; wielding a club and standing over a bronze lion, it again presented the emperor as Hercules. [5] He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius's first cousin, Faustina the Younger, the youngest daughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius, who had died only a few months before. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus. Commodus was born in 161 AD near Rome, the son of Marcus Aurelius, the wise ruling emperor. One such notable event was the attempted extermination of the house of the Quinctilii. From the province of Syria, where he was acting as Governor, Cassius declared himself emperor, and the provinces of Judea and Egypt declared their allegiance. Commodus’ father was the last of the “5 good emperors,” however he didn’t follow in his footsteps. Upon his ascension, Commodus devalued the Roman currency. Far from celebrating his descent from Marcus Aurelius, the actual source of his power, he stressed his own personal uniqueness as the bringer of a new order, seeking to re-cast the empire in his own image. Commodus was named Caesar at the age of 5, and co-Augustus at the age of 17, spending most of his early life accompanying his father … Lucius Aurelius Commodus and his twin brother Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus were born on the 31st of August in the Roman year 914, nowadays better known as 161 AD. Her motive is alleged to have been envy of the Empress Crispina. Roman History: Epitome of Book LXXIII pp 111. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by almost continuous warfare, Commodus' rule was comparatively peaceful in the military sense, but was also characterised by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. Commodianus. In popular culture Film. Suetonius a possible lover of Sabina: One interpretation of, Lover of Hadrian: Lambert (1984), p. 99 and. He ruled as junior co-e… He was succeeded by Pertinax, the first emperor in the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. 13 Most Important Greek Philosophers Before Socrates (Presocratics), 12 Facts You Did Not Know About The Acropolis of Athens, Cubist Art For Dummies: A Beginner’s Guide, The Cathars: Persecuting Heretical Christians In The 13th Century, Op Art Defined in 7 Mind-Blowing Illusions, 11 Facts About The Great Wall of China You Don’t Know, The Influence Of Illustration On Modern Art, 15 Facts About Filippo Lippi: The Quattrocento Painter from Italy. His titles quickly came to reflect Marcus’ commitment to ensuring the succession of his son; by 176 Commodus was recognized as Imperator, and by 177 as Augustus, confirming that rule of the empire was not shared between father and son. This would not be the end of Commodus’ disgrace. His body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian. On New Year’s Eve 192, Marcia slipped a powerful poison into the emperor’s wine. To subdue any residual unrest, Marcus ensured that the question of succession had a definitive answer. Pompeianus retired from public life. One of the ways he paid for his donatives (imperial handouts) and mass entertainments was to tax the senatorial order, and on many inscriptions, the traditional order of the two nominal powers of the state, the Senate and People (Senatus Populusque Romanus) is provocatively reversed (Populus Senatusque...). The emperor fell well short of the standards of behavior set by his father. In October of that year, Commodus was bestowed with the title Germanicus alongside his father. Pertinax thus became emperor on January 1st, but he was murdered by a group of soldiers the following March, after less than three months in power. It was beginning of a decline that was to last … The climax came in the year 190, which had 25 suffect consuls – a record in the 1,000-year history of the Roman consulship—all appointed by Cleander (they included the future Emperor Septimius Severus). – E. Mer-ten, Bäder und Badegepflogenheiten in der Darstel-lung der Historia Augusta (Antiquitas. Although it was ultimately unsuccessful, this tale of derring-do against the villainy of the depraved emperor makes for one of the more entertaining passages of ancient history. Commodus was inaugurated in 183 as consul with Aufidius Victorinus for a colleague and assumed the title Pius. In an effort to foreshadow the depravities that would follow, some of the later sources, particularly the luridly entertaining, but historically questionable Historia Augusta, are keen to portray Commodus’ youth as the period when the first tendencies were evident. Commodus, however, crossed into the ridiculous. “For our history now descends from one a kingdom of gold, to one of iron and rust.” With this particularly enduring metallurgical metaphor, the historian Cassius Dio set forth an understanding of Roman history that has proved particularly difficult to dislodge. He who slew the senate, let him be dragged with the hook… Let the murderer be dragged in the dust! The fall of Perennis brought a new spate of executions: Aufidius Victorinus committed suicide. Virtual Catalog of Roman Coins. Commodus 31 August 161 - 31 December 192), was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. Husband of Ulpia Marciana: Levick (2014), p. 161. Also, in Britain in 184, the governor Ulpius Marcellus re-advanced the Roman frontier northward to the Antonine Wall, but the legionaries revolted against his harsh discipline and acclaimed another legate, Priscus, as emperor. The latter eventually would be used as a conventional title by Roman emperors, starting about a century later, but Commodus seems to have been the first to assume it.[25]. Trump … The future emperor was born not in Rome, but in Lanuvium, much like Antoninus Pius, another exalted imperial predecessor against whom history would judge him. However, he would eventually fall foul of popular discontent. He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius' first cousin, Faustina the Younger; the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, who had died only a few months before.Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. Quadratus and Quintianus were executed. So much was expected of this “most nobly born of all the emperors,” that the man beneath the expectations was surely doomed to fail: “he fell to earth of his own accord, because he could keep on his feet of accompanying the heroes.” He was after all, underneath it all, just another man. Commodus was one fo 14 siblings and the reason he made it to the throne, was because he was the only one to survive. Portrait bust of Commodus, 180-85 AD, via the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Political strife beset the reign of Commodus from its earliest days, and the emperor was compelled to counter several attempted conspiracies. His recorded actions do tend to show a rejection of his father's policies, his father's advisers, and especially his father's austere lifestyle, and an alienation from the surviving members of his family. Harvard University Press, 1961, 73.10.3, Dio Cassius 73.20.3, Loeb edition translated E. Cary, Gibbon p.. 106 "disgorged at once a hundred lions; a hundred darts". He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180. Leading men in the Empire were viewed with suspicion and often removed from the picture, regardless of their loyalty or not. His name changed throughout his reign; see changes of name for earlier and later forms. Born the son of a freed slave, Pertinax became an officer in the army. He was the first emperor to be ‘born in the purple’, that is, during the reign of his father. Commodus immediately began to treat with the Marcomanni in order to bring the decade's long wars of his father to a close. The story of Commodus then is the story of a man who fell from exalted heights. Landscape from Rome, Villa dei Quintili near Via Appia by Harald Jerichau, 1870 via the Nivaagaard Collection, Nivå. Vol. Commodus also had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a secutor. Kieren is a UK based contributing writer currently studying for a PhD in Classics and Ancient History, investigating the representation and authority of the Severan emperors. This was acting as the emperor’s headquarters during the Marcomannic War, as the emperor fought against incursions made by a series of Germanic tribes. The emperor Marcus Aurelius died in March AD 180, in the city of Vindobona (modern Vienna) as he was overseeing the Romans’ ongoing campaigns on the Danubian frontier. Ever Wondered Who Turned Medusa Into a Gorgon and How? Gibbon, Edward. Pescennius Niger mopped up the deserters in Gaul in a military campaign, and a revolt in Brittany was put down by two legions brought over from Britain. Commodus (/ ˈkɒmədəs /; 31 August 161 – 31 December 192) was Roman emperor jointly with his father Marcus Aurelius from 176 until his father's death in 180, and solely until 192. Written by Edward Whelan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom The Roman Emperor Commodus (161-192 AD) is widely regarded as one of the ‘bad emperors’ and a bloody tyrant. more entertaining passages of ancient history. This heroic, mythological association connected Commodus to the Roman Pantheon (Hercules was the son of Jupiter, King of the gods) and fuelled his sense of self-importance. The Emperor Commodus Leaving the Arena at the Head of the Gladiators (detail) by Edwin Howland Blashfield (1848–1936), Hermitage Museum and Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia. [10] Among his teachers, Onesicrates, Antistius Capella, Titus Aius Sanctus, and Pitholaus are mentioned.[10][11]. Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. ), and Earnest Cary. The title suggests that Commodus was present at his father's victory over the Marcomanni. When Commodus was only 19 years of age, Marcus Aurelius (just shy of his 59th birthday) died in AD 180 and the control of the empire was left to the a young man with a great deal to prove. Commodus’ bodyguards seized the foolish assassin, and the plot was foiled. The sources present some of the most vivid accounts of the emotions that came rushing out as part of these material assaults on memory, known today as damnatio memoriae. 16. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus, ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. On 23 December 176, the two imperatores celebrated a joint triumph, and Commodus was given tribunician power. It is a legacy that endures to this day. It was presumably there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus, in the presence of the army. S wine Empress Crispina CE ) was a great emperor, Didius,... 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