Commodus  

177 - 31 December 192



177 - 31 December 192

Commodus

Commodus
Commodus
Roman-Germanic Museum, Cologne

The merit of Aurelius procured Commodus his son, an easy accession to the throne. He died by assassination, and was distinguished only by his vices.

Commodus went with his associates to taverns, and spent his time in abominable luxuries. He sometimes went about the market in a frolic with small wares, as a petty chapman; sometimes he imitated a horse courser, and at other times, drove his own chariot in a slave's habit.

If any person desired to be revenged on an enemy, by bargaining with Commodus for a sum of money, he was permitted to destroy him in such a manner as he thought proper. He commanded a person to be thrown to the wild beasts, for reading the life of Caligula. He ordered another to be thrown into a burning furnace for accidentally overheating his bath. He would, when in good humor, cut off men's noses under a pretence of shaving their beards; and yet he was so jealous of all mankind that he was obliged to be his own barber.

At the feast of Janus, resolving to fence naked as a common gladiator, three of his friends remonstrated to him upon such behaviour. These were Laetus, his general; Electus, his chamberlain, and Marcia, of whom he was excessively fond. Their advice incensing him against them, he resolved upon their destruction.

It was his method to write down the names of all such as he intended to put to death. Happening to lay the roll on the bed, it was taken up by a little boy, who brought it to Marcia. She discovered her terror to Laetus and Electus, who resolved the tyrant's death. This was performed by strangling him.

Commodus died in the thirty first year of his age, after an impious reign of about twelve years, A. D. 192.

Previous page                                                                         top of page                                                                                        Next page