Commodus

Reece Period attributed: Period 9

Obverse image of a coin of Commodus

Member of the The Antonines dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 175 until 192.

Lucius Aurelius Commodus was born in AD 161. He was the only son among Marcus Aurelius’ fourteen children to survive infancy. In 175, Commodus was made Caesar and in 177, his father elevated him to be joint ruler, and they fought together on the Danube front. On Marcus Aurelius’ death, his son broke off hostilities and ended the northern war in what was considered a shameful settlement, but there was no more trouble on that border for several decades. On the Database, there is a ruler dropdown of 'Commodus under Marcus Aurelius' for coins of Commodus struck between 175 and 180.

Commodus had little interest in government and ruled via a series of powerful administrative officials. This method led to many conspiracies against the emperor, and he reacted violently—exiling and eventually killing his sister and niece, among others. Perennis, the leader of the Praetorian Guard, assumed control and Commodus sought only debauchery and pleasure. However, Perennis started plotting to make his own son emperor, and a large force of troops marched into Rome to alert Commodus to the danger.

Cleander succeeded Perennis as controller of ther government. He too fell, though probably due to a conspiracy by his own enemies. At this point Commodus showed signs of megalomania and general mental instability. He renamed Rome “Colonia Commodiana” and commissioned statues of himself dressed as Hercules. He also fought in the gladiatorial games, unprecedented behaviour for an emperor.

Commodus was poisoned by his favourite concubine, Marcia; when the poison failed to do him in, the emperor was strangled by a young athlete. Commodus’ name was taken out of all documents, though Septimius Severus deified him four years later. The emperor is remembered as a cruel megalomaniac who renamed all the months after himself.

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Record: SUR-576499
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
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Record: LVPL-740CE6
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A silver Roman denarius of Commodus&n…
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Record: CAM-A32066
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Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper-alloy Sestertius of Commodus…
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Record: HAMP-A1C22C
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Information from Wikipedia

  • Preferred label: Commodus
  • Full names:
    • Commodus
  • Title: Consul of the Roman Empire
  • Predecessor: Marcus Aurelius
  • Successor: Pertinax
  • Definition: Commodus (/ˈkɒmədəs/; 31 August 161 – 31 December 192) was a Roman emperor serving jointly with his father Marcus Aurelius from 176 until his father's death in 180, and solely until 192. The tenure of his reign is commonly thought as marking the end of a golden period of peace in the history of the Roman Empire, known as the Pax Romana. Commodus accompanied his father during the Marcomannic Wars in 172, and on a tour of the Eastern provinces in 176. He was made the youngest consul in Roman history in 177 and had been elevated to co-augustus with his father; he was further given the title imperator in 176. During his solo reign, the Roman Empire enjoyed reduced military conflict compared with the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Intrigues and conspiracies abounded, leading Commodus to revert to an increasingly dictatorial style of leadership, culminating in him creating deific personality cult, with his performing as a gladiator in the Colosseum. Throughout his reign, Commodus entrusted the management of affairs to his palace chamberlain and Praetorian prefects, named Saoterus, Perennis and Cleander. Commodus' assassination in 192, by a wrestler in the bath, marked the end of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty. He was succeeded by Pertinax, the first emperor in the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors.
  • Parents:
  • Birth place:
  • Death place: Roman Italy, Rome
  • Spouse:
  • Other title(s):
    • Consul of the Roman Empire
    • List of Roman emperors
  • Came After:
    • and Apuleius Rufinus
    • and Domitius Velius Rufus
    • and Lucius Aemilius Iuncus
    • and ignotus
    • and Quintus Tineius Rufus
    • Quintus Pompeius Sosius Falco
    • and Gaius Julius Erucius Clarus Vibianus
    • Septimus Severus
    • and Lucius Annius Ravus
    • Lucius Tutilius Pontianus Gentianus
    • Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus (consul 178)
    • Titus Flavius Claudianus
    • Lucius Novius Rufus
    • Marcus Petronius Sura Mamertinus
  • Came before:
    • and Domitius Velius Rufus
    • and Quintus Tineius Rufus
    • and Marcus Valerius Bradua Mauricus
    • and Quintus Servilius Silanus
    • and Sextus Quintilius Condianus
    • Lucius Fulvius Rusticus Gaius Bruttius Praesens II,
    • Titus Pomponius Proculus Vitrasius Pollio
    • Popilius Pedo Apronianus
    • Marcus Petronius Sura Mamertinus,
    • M. Flavius Aper II
    • Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus,
    • Domitius Iulius Silanus
  • Subjects on wikipedia:

Types issued

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