ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Roman Emperor - Commodus

Updated on December 9, 2016
Commodus as Hercules Photo by Jastrow (2006)
Commodus as Hercules Photo by Jastrow (2006)

"...and when Commodus had once tasted human blood, he became incapable of pity or remorse."

Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Page 36 (Encyclopaedia Brittanica Inc., 1952)

AD 161 - 192

Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, known also as Marcus Antoninus, was born at Lanuvium on 31 August 161 AD. The son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, whom he succeeded in 180.

Commodus, at only 18, was still on the Danube when his father died on 17th March 180 AD.

None of the four previous emperors had been survived by a son. Despite this, or because of it, the army and other high ranked officials of the empire, preferred a hereditary succession, rather than risk a civil war that came with a doubtful succession.

With the dictatorship he also inherited a protracted and costly war and the aftermath of a devastating plague.

He was a tyrant, spending lavishly on gladiatorial combats, confiscating the property of the wealthy, and indulged in fierce persecution of the Senate.

Toward the end of his reign his eccentricities turned to insanity. In AD 190, Commodus took advantage of the fire that had burned part of Rome. He rebuilt the city and turning up at the Senate dressed as Hercules he renamed Rome "the colony of Commodus" (Colonia Commodiana). He also changed the months of the year after himself, and renamed the senate to Commodian Fortunate Senate.

He spent much of his time with gladiators and in the arena of the Colosseum. Commodus proposed to assume the consulship on 1st January 193 AD armed as a gladiator. The procession was to start at the gladiators' barracks. The offense to public decency was enormous.

In 191 he came under the influence of his concubine, Marcia, and the praetorian prefect, Laetus. There had been many attempts against his life, and when his mistress Marcia and his advisers, who had discovered themselves on the emperor's death list, they had him strangled by an athlete, Narcissus during the night of 31 December 192, and a grateful senate proclaimed Pertinax emperor before the imperial guards woke at dawn.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Always a lot of drama with these Roman emperors!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)