The Roman Emperor Commodus

The Roman Emperor, Commodus, had ruled from 180-192 A.D. He managed to create himself to be a god-like image.

From 161-180 there were two emperors, ruling together from 161-169 A.D. Lucius Verus ruled only until 169 A.D. when he was killed on a march home from conquering Armenia. Marcus Aurelius ruled alone until 180 A.D. Then he turned the throne over to his son, Commodus.

In 161 A.D. Marcus Aurelins Commodus Antorinus was born to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife Faustina, in Lanuvium. At the young age of five, Commodus was named Caesar. He was busy going with his father on his campaigns against Quandi and the Marcomanni along the Danbian frontier. At the tender age of seventeen he became co-Augustus. Soon after he had become emperor he changed his name to Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. It is believed that his father died of the plague when he was nineteen leaving him the throne. Once his father died he made concessions to the northern tribes and quickly came to terms with the Germans; so that he could make the preparations for his father's funeral. While at home he could finally enjoy peace after twenty years of war. The people of Rome happily greeted him, because they believed he would rule just as his father had.

Looking through the Roman coins, it is easy to see how popular the general was his first year. The coins showed a triumphant general, a man who had brought victory to the citizens of Rome. The emperor had been quit generous. The legend of Munificentia Augusta began to surface around the 183 coins. Also the legend showed that the generosity was all part of the imperial program. Overall there were nine coins showing Commodus gave largesses, but on seven of them he was the only one on the coin. It is believed that the funding for these coins was from taxing the senatorial class. The new policy made the tension between Commodus and the Senate grow. There was an official Actus Urbis in 191 A.D. that said the gods had given Commodus to Populus Senatusque Romanus. The lower class and army still loved Commodus. The lower class did not know of the tension between the Senate and Commodus because it was a senatorial conspiracy.



Commodus had given Rome a new name of Colonia Commodiana, the colony of Commodus. He had even begun to dress like the god Hercules, caring a club and wearing fur robes. The public could see how Commodus was acting when he assumed consulship. It is believed that he officially took the title of Hercules before September of 192 A.D.

The big thing Rome saw from Commodus was him showing the god like image he created of himself. He mainly acted like a god by taking part in spectacles at the amphitheater. Commodus would fight the most talented gladiators and even beasts to show his strengths and talent. He would win all his battles, making himself into the mythical symbol he wanted.

When Commodus began to get older he declared these years to be the "Golden Ages." He wanted everything to be peaceful and full of happiness in his age of glory, it was his actions as Nobilissimus Princeps. The new day and age was reflected by the coins showing Commodus as the new founder. Commodus feeling powerful again at this time felt he needed to rename the months based off his titles. It was changed from January on: Lucius, Aelius Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Hercules, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, and Puis. Commodus had been the first and last of the Antonine dynasty to change the names of the months. IN 192 A.D. Commodus advisers had him strangled by a champion wrestler. After that he felt it was time to change some more names, the people of Rome were named Commodianus, the senate name the Commodian Fortunate Senate, the legions name Commodianae, the imported grain from Africa was name Alexandria Commodiana Togate, finally he named the day he had given all the new names as Dies Commodianus. New religions ideals had started to overcome the highest level of imperial power. Commodus had not been like his father, fighting the prohibitions of Christianity. He is believed to have not truly fought so that the "Golden Age" could stay peaceful.

The Antonine Dynasty would have to come to an end. Over the time of Commodus reign there had been several attempts on his life. Finally there was a plan that had been aided by his mistress, Marcia. On December 31 192 A.D. Narcisssus strangled Commodus in his bath.

New Year's Day 193 A.D. Pertinax had been named emperor. This man was very popular among the people. The new emperor was going to have to fix all the damaged that had been caused by Commodus. Pertinax had to remove all the corrupt officials and the money that they had obtained. He had completely turned around Commodus actions by promoting trade and increasing the tax revenues, which in turn reduced the custom duties. He even gave a large tax break to the farmers who were willing to work with the poor land. Next he stared to build new programs to improve the military. It was not long before the people could see how much the new emperor had been needed and how Commodus greatness had simply been an illusion.

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