Commodus (161-192) was the son of Marcus Aurelius. After the assassination of Roman Emperor Commodus on December 31, 192 CE, the empire’s throne was left vacant. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. He was also known for imagining that he was the god Hercules, entering the arena to fight as a gladiator or to kill lions with bow and arrow. Among those conspiring against him: his older sister Lucilla. As the son of emperor Marcus Aurelius, Commodus was the first Roman emperor to have been "born in the purple," and thus dynastically selected to be his successor. Born the son of a freed slave, Pertinax became an officer in the army. He led a truly 'rags to riches' story as his father went from slavery to success and wealth in the wool trade, allowing his son to receive a classical education which, in turn, permitted Pertinax to lead a quiet and uneventful life as a teacher of grammar. Later, he fought alongside the future emperor Marcus Aurelius on the Danube frontier. Written by Donald L. Wasson, published on 19 September 2013 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Caesar M. Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus) 176-192: Pertinax (Imp. Cassius Dio wrote, “… he (Pertinax) at once reduced to order everything that had previously been irregular and confused; for he showed not only humaneness and integrity in the imperial administration, but also the most economical management and the most careful consideration for the public welfare.” To begin with, he reduced the extravagances that had been awarded the Guard by Commodus. Commodus's death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty, and the beginning of the end for the Western Roman Empire. Commodus was appointed as a co-ruler, at the age of 16, after fighting alongside his father and emperor, Marcus Aurelius, during the ‘Marcomannic Wars.’ His historical reputation has largely been a positive one, in line with Cassius Dio's assessment. [11], When Commodus' behaviour became increasingly erratic throughout the early 190s, a conspiracy led to his assassination on 31 December 192. And in AD 177, after the revolt of Cassius, Marcus Aurelius made him Augustus and thereby joint emperor. Dio refers to him as "an excellent and upright man"[35] who displayed "not only humaneness and integrity in the imperial administrations, but also the most economical management and the most careful consideration for the public welfare". Commodus in popular culture Pertinax would be the first of what became known as the Year of the Five Emperors. He was supreme commander of Rome's armies and personal commander of the VI Legion. After only eighty-seven days on the imperial throne, he would be dead. Aurelius’ physician, Galen, was tasked with looking after Commodus to ensure that he stayed healthy and well. [23] In early March he narrowly averted one conspiracy by a group to replace him with the consul Quintus Sosius Falco while he was in Ostia inspecting the arrangements for grain shipments. In 177 AD following Cassius’ rebellion, Emperor Aurelius announced Commodus as Augustus and co-emperor. Wasson, Donald L. Biography. He attempted to institute several reform measures, although the short length of his time as emperor prevented the success of those attempts. The latter died in 169 having failed to recover fr… He was a member of the Roman Senate, serving at the same time as the historian Cassius Dio. [33] For some time, he held games on the anniversary of Pertinax's ascension and his birthday. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 19 Sep 2013. Ancient History Encyclopedia. See, D. Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West (Leiden, 1987-91), 473. However, his reign was short-lived because of the resentment he created through his reforms. [36], Pertinax is discussed in The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli. "He failed to comprehend, though a man of wide practical experience, that one cannot with safety reform everything at once, and that the restoration of a state, in particular, requires both time and wisdom". [37], Pertinax is described by David Hume's essay Of the Original Contract as an "excellent prince" possessing an implied modesty when, on the arrival of soldiers who had come to proclaim him emperor, he believed that Commodus had ordered his death. He received an excellent education as a child as his father was known for his philosophical musings and is, to this day, remembered as a philosopher. Commodus was born on 31 August 161, the son of Marcus Aurelius.He was a member of the pagan Roman House of Aurelius.Commodus was ambitious, brave (although not on the battlefield), and loyal to his family. The accession of the 19 year old Commodus upon the death of his father Marcus Aurelius on March 17, AD 180 is often considered a catalyst that sparked the initial decline of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, his lack of skill in appeasing those around him (such as the Senate, the Guard, and the citizenry) would bring about his demise. From there, Pertinax went to meet the Senate in the middle of the night. However, the former teacher, as well as putting in order the affairs of state, also embarked on a series of state spending cuts which led to his general unpopularity and eventual downfall at the hands of the Praetorian Guard. He took the throne as regent, but was killed by Maximus in the Colosseum. Commodus (31 August 161-31 December 192) was the Emperor of the Roman Empire from 180 to 192, succeeding Marcus Aurelius and preceding Pertinax.. After serving in battle on the northern frontier in 178 and 179, together with Aurelius, Commodus returned to Rome in 180 after his father’s death. Learn how and when to remove this template message, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pertinax&oldid=992934694, Roman emperors murdered by the Praetorian Guard, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles lacking reliable references from June 2019, Articles incorporating a citation from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Imperator Caesar Publius Helvius Pertinax Augustus, This page was last edited on 7 December 2020, at 22:13. Commodus was the tenth of fourteen children born to Aurelius, and was ultimately the only surviving son. 1 Biography 2 What … [3] Pertinax through the help of patronage was commissioned an officer in a cohort. As an emperor, Commodus soon became a disappointment to Marcus Aurelius. [27] Ancient sources suggest that they had received only half their promised pay. [15], After Pertinax's death, the Praetorians auctioned off the imperial title; the winner was the wealthy senator Didius Julianus, whose reign would end by his assassination on 1 June 193. The senate acclaimed Pertinax as emperor, damned the memory of Commodus, and undid all his ambitious renaming. Cite This Work Web. Although he eventually gave the Praetorian Guard the bonuses he had promised, he would never win their loyalty. Born Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus in 161 A.D., he was one of fourteen children born to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and Faustina the Younger, daughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius. Despite his education, he did not inherit any of his father’s work. His brutal misrule precipitated civil strife that ended 84 years of stability and prosperity within the empire. He fought in the Roman–Parthian War of 161–166, where his success led him to be promoted to higher-ranking positions in both the military and political spheres. [34], Pertinax's historical reputation is largely a positive one, beginning with the assessment of Cassius Dio, a historian and senator who was a colleague of Pertinax. He is often regarded as one of the Roman Empire's worst emperors since he brought Rome to decadence, leading to the Crisis of Third Century. His reign was nothing like his predecessors in bloodletting, at least in Rome. Dio, 74:10. He acknowledges that while some would call Pertinax's decision to confront the soldiers that would wind up killing him "noble", others would call it "senseless". The empire was thrown into a civil war, and it would be four years before the dust would clear. Although he was eventually able to give the Guard the bonuses he had promised, he would never win their loyalty. He was fighting alongside his father on the Danube frontier when the Emperor died, but immediately returned to Rome after securing a favourable peace treaty. [20][21] He reformed the Roman currency dramatically, increasing the silver purity of the denarius from 74% to 87% – the actual silver weight increasing from 2.22 grams to 2.75 grams. He would be the first emperor born while his father was the emperor and the last to inherit the throne as the previous five emperors (including Marcus) had obtained the throne through adoption. Lv 7. Reign. Following the death of Commodus, Pertinax was acclaimed emperor. [12], He served as proconsul of Africa from 188–189,[13] and followed this term of service with the urban prefecture of Rome,[14] and a second consulship as ordinarius with the emperor Commodus as his colleague. The Colosseum, Rome. Commodus, Emperor of Rome. To rebuild the empire’s finances - and pay the Guard their bonuses - he sold everything he could; he cleaned house. Tiberius (Ti. 8 years ago. Born on August 31, 161 AD, to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife … He achieved the rank of provincial governor and urban prefect. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. 5. After the death of Commodus, Pertinax became emperor. Related Content Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax, whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors. Though describing him as a good man, Machiavelli considered Pertinax's attempt to reform a soldiery that had become "accustomed to live licentiously" a mistake, as it inspired their hatred of him, which led to his overthrow and death. In 180 AD, Marcus Aurelius died, leaving Commodus as sole Emperor of Rome. He had simply tried too much, too soon. Despite some early friction, his close ties to Marcus Aurelius eventually helped him become a senator, a consul in 175 CE, the governor of Dacia and later Syria in 181 CE, and prefect of Rome in 189 CE. After the removal of the emperor’s body (it was later interred in Hadrian’s Mausoleum), Laetus, the commander of the Praetorian Guard and one of the conspirators in Commodus’s death, and Electus, chamberlain to Commodus, made their way to the home of Pertinax and offered him the throne. He was portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, who would later portray Arthur Fleck in Joker. Although he had no previous military experience, his education and family’s money granted him the luxury of becoming the commander of a small legion of Gallic soldiers in Syria. Even provincial governors failed to support their new emperor; the madness of Commodus had taught them to be cautious of whoever sat on the throne. Gaius / Caligula (C. Caesar Augustus Germanicus) Updated October 06, 2019. [30] Julianus was succeeded by Septimius Severus. 4 He Didn’t Actually Do Any Of His Duties. Silver Spoon in Mouth. Realizing he needed to ensure the Guard’s support, Pertinax hurried to the Praetorian Guard’s camp where he guaranteed each soldier a bonus of 12,000 sesterces. 23 Dec 2020. Since there were no familial candidates, they chose a former teacher and military commander, Publius Helvius Pertinax. [6], During the 180s, Pertinax took a pivotal role in the Roman Senate until the praetorian prefect Sextus Tigidius Perennis forced him out of public life. Cleander comes across as something of a neo-Sejanus. 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...). Caesar Augustus) AD 14-37. Unfortunately Pertinax miscalculated when he tried to reign in the Praetorian Guard. As in the past - such as in the death of Emperor Caligula - the choice of a successor fell to the Praetorian Guard. Marcus "Aurelius" Commodus is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the 2000 Oscar winner historic action film Gladiator. Commodus in 180 AD. Pertinax sent Laetus to meet them, but he chose to side with the insurgents instead and deserted the emperor. [2] In 175, he received the honor of a suffect consulship[8] and until 185, Pertinax was governor of the provinces of Upper and Lower Moesia, Dacia, Syria and finally governor of Britain. Books Lucius Aurelius Commodus, born 161 A.D., was appointed co-emperor by his father Marcus Aurelius in 177 A.D. when he was just 16 years old. The Purple Prince: Emperor Commodus’ Early Years. Emperor. In conclusion, the emperor’s time on the throne had been a disaster, for he had been too harsh and too much of an authoritarian. After Maximus killed Commodus in the Colloseum, the emperor was chosen from the winner of a gladiator fight between two emperor wannabes. 4. At first, events after the emperor’s death went exactly according to plan. "Pertinax." [39][40], Pertinax was the pseudonym of the French journalist André Géraud (1882–1974). As in the past - such as in the death of Emperor Caligula - the choice of a successor fell to the Praetorian Guard. Augustus (Imp. He succeeded his father as Augustus after he killed him. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. The excesses of Commodus had come to an end as the finances of the empire were now in ruin. Italics indicates a junior co-emperor, while underlining indicates a usurper. Commodus was a bloody tyrant and his reign was also a disaster and contributed to the decline of the greatest Classical Empire. However, in 161 CE, at the age of thirty-five, he tired of the low pay and left teaching to enter the military. Portrait bust of Commodus as a Child photographed by the author, in the Ostia Archaeological Museum . Despite this, Commodus seemed to have been a lazy student and would be an even lazier … [25], On 28 March 193, Pertinax was at his palace when, according to the Historia Augusta, a contingent of some three hundred soldiers of the Praetorian Guard rushed the gates[26] (two hundred according to Cassius Dio). He also … Commodus indeed led the troops in the wars on the Danube together with his father from AD 178, until the death of Marcus Aurelius in AD 180. Caesar Augustus) 27 BC-AD 14. Pertinax would be deified by the emperor Septimius Severus. [28], Although advised to flee, he then attempted to reason with them, and was almost successful before being struck down by one of the soldiers. Pertinax was born on August 1, 126 CE at Alba Pompeia in Liguria to a freed slave Helvius Successus; his mother’s name is unknown. He was of low birth (he was an ex-slave), ambitious, and cunning—and during his ascendancy, which stretched from approximately 182 to 189, he was practically emperor while Commodus indulged his private pursuits. Commodus didn’t really bother with the duties of being an … [9] He was recalled after three years to Britain, where the Roman army was in a state of mutiny. Wasson, D. L. (2013, September 19). At some pont before the events of Ryse, he was appointed by his father as governor of Britannia. He was born in Alba Pompeia in Italy,[2] the son of freedman Helvius Successus. Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus, or just Commodus for short, is the main antagonist of the 2000 historic action film Gladiator. One of those reforms, the restoration of discipline among the Praetorian Guard, led to conflict that eventually culminated in Pertinax's assassination by the Guard. Born Lucius Aurelius Commodus, he is known as a ruler who designed a major turning point in Roman history. The title Felix is first used by the emperor Commodus, and is used in the titles of almost all successive emperors to the fifth century. Pertinax succeeded him but only for about three months. He even accused one palace official of embezzlement. Commodus was born in 161 AD near Rome, the son of Marcus Aurelius, the wise ruling emperor. "Pertinax." Pertinax was Roman Emperor for three months in 193 CE and, as successor to Commodus, it was hoped that he would restore much needed sobriety to the office of emperor. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. 16 ] [ 40 ], Pertinax was the tenth of fourteen born. 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