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Commodus
Commodus
(/ˈkɒmədəs/;[1] 31 August 161 – 31 December 192 AD), born Lucius Aurelius Commodus[2] and died Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, was Roman emperor
Roman emperor
with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 to his father's death in 180, and solely until 192. During his father's reign, he accompanied Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
during the Marcomannic Wars
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 later that year elevated to co-emperor with his father. His accession was the first time a son had succeeded his biological father since Titus succeeded Vespasian
Vespasian
in 79. He was also the first emperor to have both a father and grandfather (who had adopted his father) as the two preceding emperors. Commodus
Commodus
was the first (and until 337, the only) emperor "born in the purple", i.e. during his father's reign. During his solo reign, the Empire enjoyed a period of reduced military conflict compared with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, but intrigues and conspiracies abounded, leading Commodus
Commodus
to an increasingly dictatorial style of leadership that culminated in a God-like personality cult. His assassination in 192 marked the end of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty. He was succeeded by Pertinax, the first emperor in the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors.

Contents

1 Early life and rise to power (161–180)

1.1 Early life 1.2 Joint rule with father (177)

2 Solo reign (180–192)

2.1 Conspiracies of 182

2.1.1 Cleander

2.2 Dacia
Dacia
and Britain 2.3 Cleander's zenith and fall (185–190) 2.4 Megalomania
Megalomania
(190–192) 2.5 Assassination (192)

3 Character and physical prowess

3.1 Character and motivations 3.2 Changes of name 3.3 Commodus
Commodus
and Hercules 3.4 Commodus
Commodus
the gladiator

4 Media portrayals 5 Nerva–Antonine family tree 6 Ancestors 7 References

7.1 Citations 7.2 Bibliography

8 Further reading 9 External links

Early life and rise to power (161–180)[edit] Early life[edit]

A bust of Commodus
Commodus
as a youth (Roman-Germanic Museum, Cologne).

Commodus
Commodus
was born on 31 August AD 161, as Commodus, in Lanuvium, near Rome.[3] He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius's first cousin, Faustina the Younger, the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Antoninus Pius, who had died only a few months before. Commodus
Commodus
had an elder twin brother, Titus
Titus
Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus
Commodus
was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus.[4][5] The latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus
Commodus
as Marcus Aurelius's sole surviving son.[5] He was looked after by his father's physician, Galen,[6][7] in order to keep Commodus
Commodus
healthy and alive. Galen
Galen
treated many of Commodus' common illnesses. Commodus
Commodus
received extensive tutoring by a multitude of teachers with a focus on intellectual education.[8] Among his teachers Onesicrates, Antistius Capella, Titus
Titus
Aius Sanctus, and Pitholaus are mentioned.[8][9] Commodus
Commodus
is known to have been at Carnuntum, the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
during the Marcomannic Wars, in 172. It was presumably there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus, in the presence of the army. The title suggests that Commodus
Commodus
was present at his father's victory over the Marcomanni. On 20 January 175, Commodus
Commodus
entered the College of Pontiffs, the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius, Governor of Syria, declared himself Emperor following rumours that Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria, Judea and Egypt, Cassius carried on his rebellion even after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, Commodus
Commodus
assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood. Cassius, however, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus
Commodus
subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch. The Emperor and his son then traveled to Athens, where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. They then returned to Rome
Rome
in the Autumn
Autumn
of 176. Joint rule with father (177)[edit] Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
was the first emperor since Vespasian
Vespasian
to have a legitimate biological son and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors, each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
granted Commodus
Commodus
the rank of Imperator
Imperator
and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus, giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph, and Commodus
Commodus
was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus
Commodus
became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time. He subsequently married Bruttia Crispina
Bruttia Crispina
before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178, where Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
died on 17 March 180, leaving the 18-year-old Commodus
Commodus
sole emperor. Solo reign (180–192)[edit] Upon his ascension, Commodus
Commodus
devalued the Roman currency. He reduced the weight of the denarius from 105 per Roman pound
Roman pound
to 96 (3.85 grams to 3.35 grams). He also reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent – the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams respectively, being 108 to the Roman pound.[10] His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire's first devaluation during Nero's reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
had been marked by almost continuous warfare, that of Commodus
Commodus
was comparatively peaceful in the military sense but was marked by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius, a contemporary observer of the period, his accession marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust"[11] – a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbon, to take Commodus' reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire.[citation needed] Despite his notoriety, and considering the importance of his reign, Commodus' years in power are not well chronicled. The principal surviving literary sources are Dio Cassius (a contemporary and sometimes first-hand observer, but for this reign, only transmitted in fragments and abbreviations), Herodian and the Historia Augusta (untrustworthy for its character as a work of literature rather than history, with elements of fiction embedded within its biographies; in the case of Commodus, it may well be embroidering upon what the author found in reasonably good contemporary sources).

A Denarius
Denarius
featuring Commodus

Commodus
Commodus
remained with the Danube
Danube
armies for only a short time before negotiating a peace treaty with the Danubian tribes. He then returned to Rome
Rome
and celebrated a triumph for the conclusion of the wars on 22 October 180. Unlike the preceding Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, he seems to have had little interest in the business of administration and tended throughout his reign to leave the practical running of the state to a succession of favourites, beginning with Saoterus, a freedman from Nicomedia
Nicomedia
who had become his chamberlain. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of conspiracies and attempted coups, which in turn eventually provoked Commodus
Commodus
to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, though the senatorial order came to hate and fear him, the evidence suggests that he remained popular with the army and the common people for much of his reign, not least because of his lavish shows of largesse (recorded on his coinage) and because he staged and took part in spectacular gladiatorial combats. 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...). Conspiracies of 182[edit]

Commodus
Commodus
with attributes of Helios, Apollo
Apollo
and Jupiter, late 2nd century AD, sardonyx cameo relief, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

At the outset of his reign, Commodus, aged 18, inherited many of his father's senior advisers, notably Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus
Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus
(the second husband of Commodus' sister Lucilla), his father-in-law Gaius Bruttius Praesens, Titus
Titus
Fundanius Vitrasius Pollio, and Aufidius Victorinus, who was Prefect of the City of Rome. He also had four surviving sisters, all of them with husbands who were potential rivals. His eldest sister, Lucilla, was over ten years his senior and held the rank of Augusta as the widow of her first husband, Lucius Verus. The first crisis of the reign came in 182, when Lucilla
Lucilla
engineered a conspiracy against her brother. Her motive is alleged to have been envy of the Empress Crispina. Her husband, Pompeianus, was not involved, but two men alleged to have been her lovers, Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus (the consul of 167, who was also her first cousin) and Appius Claudius
Claudius
Quintianus, attempted to murder Commodus
Commodus
as he entered a theater. They bungled the job and were seized by the emperor's bodyguard. Quadratus and Quintianus were executed. Lucilla
Lucilla
was exiled to Capri and later killed. Pompeianus retired from public life. One of the two praetorian prefects, Tarrutenius Paternus, had actually been involved in the conspiracy but his involvement was not discovered until later on, and in the aftermath, he and his colleague, Sextus Tigidius Perennis, were able to arrange for the murder of Saoterus, the hated chamberlain. Commodus
Commodus
took the loss of Saoterus badly, and Perennis now seized the chance to advance himself by implicating Paternus in a second conspiracy, one apparently led by Publius Salvius Julianus, who was the son of the jurist Salvius Julianus
Salvius Julianus
and was betrothed to Paternus' daughter. Salvius and Paternus were executed along with a number of other prominent consulars and senators. Didius Julianus, the future emperor and a relative of Salvius Julianus, was dismissed from the governorship of Germania
Germania
Inferior. Cleander[edit] Perennis took over the reins of government and Commodus
Commodus
found a new chamberlain and favourite in Cleander, a Phrygian freedman who had married one of the emperor's mistresses, Demostratia. Cleander was in fact the person who had murdered Saoterus. After those attempts on his life, Commodus
Commodus
spent much of his time outside Rome, mostly on the family estates at Lanuvium. Being physically strong, his chief interest was in sport: taking part in horse racing, chariot racing, and combats with beasts and men, mostly in private but also on occasion in public. Dacia
Dacia
and Britain[edit]

A bust of Commodus
Commodus
(Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). According to Herodian[12] he was well proportioned and attractive, with naturally blond and curly hair.[13]

Commodus
Commodus
was inaugurated in 183 as consul with Aufidius Victorinus
Victorinus
for a colleague and assumed the title Pius. War broke out in Dacia: few details are available, but it appears two future contenders for the throne, Clodius Albinus
Clodius Albinus
and Pescennius Niger, both distinguished themselves in the campaign. Also, in Britain in 184, the governor Ulpius Marcellus re-advanced the Roman frontier northward to the Antonine Wall, but the legionaries revolted against his harsh discipline and acclaimed another legate, Priscus, as emperor.[14] Priscus refused to accept their acclamations, but Perennis had all the legionary legates in Britain cashiered. On 15 October 184 at the Capitoline Games, a Cynic philosopher publicly denounced Perennis before Commodus, who was watching, but was immediately put to death. According to Dio Cassius, Perennis, though ruthless and ambitious, was not personally corrupt and generally administered the state well.[14] However, the following year, a detachment of soldiers from Britain (they had been drafted to Italy to suppress brigands) also denounced Perennis to the emperor as plotting to make his own son emperor (they had been enabled to do so by Cleander, who was seeking to dispose of his rival), and Commodus
Commodus
gave them permission to execute him as well as his wife and sons. The fall of Perennis brought a new spate of executions: Aufidius Victorinus
Victorinus
committed suicide. Ulpius Marcellus was replaced as governor of Britain by Pertinax; brought to Rome
Rome
and tried for treason, Marcellus narrowly escaped death. Cleander's zenith and fall (185–190)[edit]

Remnants of a Roman bust of a youth with a blond beard, perhaps depicting emperor Commodus, National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Cleander proceeded to concentrate power in his own hands and to enrich himself by becoming responsible for all public offices: he sold and bestowed entry to the Senate, army commands, governorships and, increasingly, even the suffect consulships to the highest bidder. Unrest around the empire increased, with large numbers of army deserters causing trouble in Gaul
Gaul
and Germany. Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
mopped up the deserters in Gaul
Gaul
in a military campaign, and a revolt in Brittany
Brittany
was put down by two legions brought over from Britain. In 187, one of the leaders of the deserters, Maternus, came from Gaul intending to assassinate Commodus
Commodus
at the Festival of the Great Goddess in March, but he was betrayed and executed. In the same year, Pertinax unmasked a conspiracy by two enemies of Cleander – Antistius Burrus (one of Commodus' brothers-in-law) and Arrius Antoninus. As a result, Commodus
Commodus
appeared even more rarely in public, preferring to live on his estates. Early in 188, Cleander disposed of the current praetorian prefect, Atilius Aebutianus, and himself took over supreme command of the Praetorians at the new rank of a pugione ("dagger-bearer") with two praetorian prefects subordinate to him. Now at the zenith of his power, Cleander continued to sell public offices as his private business. The climax came in the year 190, which had 25 suffect consuls – a record in the 1,000-year history of the Roman consulship—all appointed by Cleander (they included the future Emperor Septimius Severus). In the spring of 190, Rome
Rome
was afflicted by a food shortage, for which the praefectus annonae Papirius Dionysius, the official actually in charge of the grain supply, contrived to lay the blame on Cleander. At the end of June, a mob demonstrated against Cleander during a horse race in the Circus Maximus: he sent the praetorian guard to put down the disturbances, but Pertinax, who was now City Prefect of Rome, dispatched the Vigiles Urbani
Vigiles Urbani
to oppose them. Cleander fled to Commodus, who was at Laurentum
Laurentum
in the house of the Quinctilii, for protection, but the mob followed him calling for his head. At the urging of his mistress Marcia, Commodus
Commodus
had Cleander beheaded and his son killed. Other victims at this time were the praetorian prefect Julius Julianus, Commodus' cousin Annia Fundania Faustina, and his brother-in-law Mamertinus. Papirius Dionysius was executed, too. The emperor now changed his name to Lucius Aelius
Lucius Aelius
Aurelius Commodus. At 29, he took over more of the reins of power, though he continued to rule through a cabal consisting of Marcia, his new chamberlain Eclectus, and the new praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus, who about this time also had many Christians freed from working in the mines in Sardinia. Marcia, the widow of Quadratus, who had been executed in 182, is alleged to have been a Christian. Megalomania
Megalomania
(190–192)[edit]

A Denarius
Denarius
of Commodus

In opposition to the Senate, in his pronouncements and iconography, Commodus
Commodus
had always laid stress on his unique status as a source of god-like power, liberality and physical prowess. Innumerable statues around the empire were set up portraying him in the guise of Hercules, reinforcing the image of him as a demigod, a physical giant, a protector and a battler against beasts and men (see " Commodus
Commodus
and Hercules" and " Commodus
Commodus
the Gladiator" below). Moreover, as Hercules, he could claim to be the son of Jupiter, the representative of the supreme god of the Roman pantheon. These tendencies now increased to megalomaniacal proportions. Far from celebrating his descent from Marcus Aurelius, the actual source of his power, he stressed his own personal uniqueness as the bringer of a new order, seeking to re-cast the empire in his own image. During 191, the city of Rome
Rome
was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax, the Temple of Vesta
Temple of Vesta
and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus, ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. All the months of the year were renamed to correspond exactly with his (now twelve) names: Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius. The legions were renamed Commodianae, the fleet which imported grain from Africa was termed Alexandria Commodiana Togata, the Senate was entitled the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people themselves were all given the name Commodianus, and the day on which these reforms were decreed was to be called Dies Commodianus.[15] Thus he presented himself as the fountainhead of the Empire and Roman life and religion. He also had the head of the Colossus of Nero adjacent to the Colosseum
Colosseum
replaced with his own portrait, gave it a club and placed a bronze lion at its feet to make it look like Hercules
Hercules
Romanus, and added an inscription boasting of being "the only left-handed fighter to conquer twelve times one thousand men".[16] Assassination (192)[edit]

Damnatio memoriae
Damnatio memoriae
of Commodus
Commodus
on an inscription in the Museum of Roman History Osterburken. The abbreviation "CO" has been restored with paint.

In November 192, Commodus
Commodus
held Plebeian Games, in which he shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins every morning, and fought as a gladiator every afternoon, winning all the fights. Also in December he announced his intention to inaugurate the year 193 as both consul and gladiator on 1 January. At this point, the prefect Laetus formed a conspiracy with Eclectus to supplant Commodus
Commodus
with Pertinax, taking Marcia into their confidence. On 31 December Marcia poisoned his food but he vomited up the poison; so the conspirators sent his wrestling partner Narcissus to strangle him in his bath. Upon his death, the Senate declared him a public enemy (a de facto damnatio memoriae) and restored the original name to the city of Rome
Rome
and its institutions. Commodus' statues were thrown down. His body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Commodus' death marked the end of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty. Commodus
Commodus
was succeeded by Pertinax, whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors. In 195, the emperor Septimius Severus, trying to gain favour with the family of Marcus Aurelius, rehabilitated Commodus' memory and had the Senate deify him.[17] Character and physical prowess[edit] Character and motivations[edit]

Denarius
Denarius
of Commodus

Bust of Commodus
Commodus
from the Capitoline Museum

Cassius Dio, a first-hand witness, describes him as "not naturally wicked but, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived. His great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the better life and then was led on into lustful and cruel habits, which soon became second nature."[18] His recorded actions do tend to show a rejection of his father's policies, his father's advisers, and especially his father's austere lifestyle, and an alienation from the surviving members of his family. It seems likely that he was brought up in an atmosphere of Stoic asceticism, which he rejected entirely upon his accession to sole rule. After repeated attempts on Commodus' life, Roman citizens were often killed for making him angry. One such notable event was the attempted extermination of the house of the Quinctilii. Condianus and Maximus were executed on the pretext that, while they were not implicated in any plots, their wealth and talent would make them unhappy with the current state of affairs.[19] Changes of name[edit]

Bust of Commodus
Commodus
from the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

On his accession as sole ruler, Commodus
Commodus
added the name Antoninus to his official nomenclature, presumably to honor his grandfather, Antoninus Pius. In October 180 he changed his praenomen from Lucius to Marcus, presumably in honour of his father. He later took the title of Felix in 185. In 191 he restored his praenomen to Lucius and added the family name Aelius, apparently linking himself to Hadrian
Hadrian
and Hadrian's adopted son Lucius Aelius
Lucius Aelius
Caesar, whose original name was also Commodus. Later that year he dropped Antoninus and adopted as his full style Lucius Aelius
Lucius Aelius
Aurelius Commodus
Commodus
Augustus
Augustus
Herculeus Romanus Exsuperatorius Amazonius Invictus Felix Pius (the order of some of these titles varies in the sources). "Exsuperatorius" (the supreme) was a title given to Jupiter, and "Amazonius" identified him again with Hercules. An inscribed altar from Dura-Europos
Dura-Europos
on the Euphrates shows that Commodus' titles and the renaming of the months were disseminated to the furthest reaches of the Empire; moreover, that even auxiliary military units received the title Commodiana, and that Commodus claimed two additional titles: Pacator Orbis (pacifier of the world) and Dominus Noster (Our Lord). The latter eventually would be used as a conventional title by Roman emperors, starting about a century later, but Commodus
Commodus
seems to have been the first to assume it.[20] Commodus
Commodus
and Hercules[edit] Disdaining the more philosophic inclinations of his father, Commodus was extremely proud of his physical prowess. The historian Herodian, a contemporary, described Commodus
Commodus
as an extremely handsome man.[21] As mentioned above, he ordered many statues to be made showing him dressed as Hercules
Hercules
with a lion's hide and a club. He thought of himself as the reincarnation of Hercules, frequently emulating the legendary hero's feats by appearing in the arena to fight a variety of wild animals. He was left-handed and very proud of the fact.[22] Cassius Dio and the writers of the Augustan History
Augustan History
say that Commodus was a skilled archer, who could shoot the heads off ostriches in full gallop, and kill a panther as it attacked a victim in the arena. Commodus
Commodus
the gladiator[edit] Commodus
Commodus
also had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a secutor.[23] The Romans found Commodus' naked gladiatorial combats to be scandalous and disgraceful.[24] It was rumoured that he was actually the son, not of Marcus Aurelius, but of a gladiator whom his mother Faustina had taken as a lover at the coastal resort of Caieta.[25] In the arena, Commodus
Commodus
always won since his opponents always submitted to the emperor. Thus, these public fights would not end in death. Privately, it was his custom to slay his practice opponents.[26][clarification needed] For each appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome
Rome
a million sesterces, straining the Roman economy. Commodus
Commodus
raised the ire of many military officials in Rome
Rome
for his Hercules
Hercules
persona in the arena. Often, wounded soldiers and amputees would be placed in the arena for Commodus
Commodus
to slay with a sword.[citation needed] Citizens of Rome
Rome
missing their feet through accident or illness were taken to the arena, where they were tethered together for Commodus
Commodus
to club to death while pretending they were giants.[27] Commodus
Commodus
was also known for fighting exotic animals in the arena, often to the horror of the Roman people. According to Gibbon, Commodus once killed 100 lions in a single day.[28] Later, he decapitated a running ostrich with a specially designed dart[29] and afterwards carried the bleeding head of the dead bird and his sword over to the section where the Senators sat and gesticulated as though they were next.[30] Dio notes that the targeted senators actually found this more ridiculous than frightening, and chewed on laurel leaves to conceal their laughter.[31] On another occasion, Commodus
Commodus
killed three elephants on the floor of the arena by himself.[32] Finally, Commodus killed a giraffe, which was considered to be a strange and helpless beast.[33] Media portrayals[edit]

In 1964's The Fall of the Roman Empire, a fictionalized Commodus
Commodus
who serves as the main antagonist of the film is portrayed by Christopher Plummer. In 2000's Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, Gladiator, a fictionalized Commodus
Commodus
serves as the main antagonist of the film. He is played by Joaquin Phoenix.[34] A character in the 2013 video game Ryse: Son of Rome
Rome
is named Commodus and is one of the main antagonists of the game. The son of Emperor Nero, he shares several traits with the historic Commodus. Commodus
Commodus
is the main character in the 2016 Netflix series Roman Empire: Reign of Blood. In Rick Riordan's book series The Trials of Apollo, Commodus
Commodus
appears as one of the main antagonists, being part of the evil Triumvirate of deified Roman emperors.

Nerva–Antonine family tree[edit]

v t e

Nerva–Antonine family tree

Q. Marcius Barea Soranus

Q. Marcius Barea Sura

Antonia Furnilla

M. Cocceius Nerva

Sergia Plautilla

P. Aelius Hadrianus

Titus (r. 79–81)

Marcia Furnilla

Marcia

Trajanus Pater

Nerva (r. 96–98)

Ulpia[i]

Aelius Hadrianus Marullinus

Julia Flavia[ii]

Marciana[iii]

C. Salonius Matidius[iv]

Trajan (r. 98–117)

Plotina

P. Acilius Attianus

P. Aelius Afer[v]

Paulina Major[vi]

Lucius Mindius (2)

Libo Rupilius Frugi (3)

Matidia[vii]

L. Vibius Sabinus (1)[viii]

Paulina Minor[vi]

L. Julius Ursus Servianus[ix]

Matidia Minor[vii]

Suetonius?[x]

Sabina[iii]

Hadrian[v][xi][vi] (r. 117–138)

Antinous[xii]

Julia Balbilla?[xiii]

C. Fuscus Salinator I

Julia Serviana Paulina

M. Annius Verus[xiv]

Rupilia Faustina[xv]

Boionia Procilla

Cn. Arrius Antoninus

L. Ceionius Commodus

Appia Severa

C. Fuscus Salinator II

L. Caesennius Paetus

Arria Antonina

Arria Fadilla[xvi]

T. Aurelius Fulvus

L. Caesennius Antoninus

L. Commodus

Fundania Plautia

ignota[xvii]

C. Avidius Nigrinus

M. Annius Verus[xv]

Domitia Lucilla[xviii]

Fundania[xix]

M. Annius Libo[xv]

FAUSTINA[xvi]

Antoninus Pius (r. 138–161)[xvi]

L. Aelius Caesar[xvii]

Avidia Plautia[xvii]

Cornificia[xv]

MARCUS AURELIUS (r. 161–180)[xx]

FAUSTINA Minor[xx]

C. Avidius Cassius[xxi]

Aurelia Fadilla[xvi]

LUCIUS VERUS (r. 161–169)[xvii] (1)

Ceionia Fabia[xvii]

Plautius Quintillus[xxii]

Q. Servilius Pudens

Ceionia Plautia[xvii]

Cornificia Minor[xxiii]

M. Petronius Sura

COMMODUS (r. 177–192)[xx]

Fadilla[xxiii]

M. Annius Verus Caesar[xx]

Ti.  Claudius
Claudius
Pompeianus (2)

Lucilla[xx]

M. Plautius Quintillus[xvii]

Junius Licinius
Licinius
Balbus

Servilia Ceionia

Petronius Antoninus

L. Aurelius Agaclytus (2)

Aurelia Sabina[xxiii]

L. Antistius Burrus (1)

Plautius Quintillus

Plautia Servilla

C. Furius Sabinus Timesitheus

Antonia Gordiana

Junius Licinius
Licinius
Balbus?

Furia Sabina Tranquillina

GORDIAN III (r. 238–244)

(1) = 1st spouse (2) = 2nd spouse (3) = 3rd spouse

  Reddish purple indicates emperor of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty

  lighter purple indicates designated imperial heir of said dynasty who never reigned

  grey indicates unsuccessful imperial aspirants

  bluish purple indicates emperors of other dynasties

dashed lines indicate adoption; dotted lines indicate love affairs/unmarried relationships small caps = posthumously deified (Augusti, Augustae, or other)

Notes: Except where otherwise noted, the notes below indicate that an individual's parentage is as shown in the above family tree.

^ Sister of Trajan's father: Giacosa (1977), p. 7. ^ Giacosa (1977), p. 8. ^ a b Levick (2014), p. 161. ^ Husband of Ulpia Marciana: Levick (2014), p. 161. ^ a b Giacosa (1977), p. 7. ^ a b c DIR contributor (Herbert W. Benario, 2000), "Hadrian". ^ a b Giacosa (1977), p. 9. ^ Husband of Salonia Matidia: Levick (2014), p. 161. ^ Smith (1870), "Julius Servianus".[dead link] ^ Suetonius
Suetonius
a possible lover of Sabina: One interpretation of HA Hadrianus 11:3 ^ Smith (1870), "Hadrian", pp. 319–322.[dead link] ^ Lover of Hadrian: Lambert (1984), p. 99 and passim; deification: Lamber (1984), pp. 2-5, etc. ^ Julia Balbilla a possible lover of Sabina: A. R. Birley (1997), Hadrian, the Restless Emperor, p. 251, cited in Levick (2014), p. 30, who is sceptical of this suggestion. ^ Husband of Rupilia Faustina: Levick (2014), p. 163. ^ a b c d Levick (2014), p. 163. ^ a b c d Levick (2014), p. 162. ^ a b c d e f g Levick (2014), p. 164. ^ Wife of M. Annius Verus: Giacosa (1977), p. 10. ^ Wife of M. Annius Libo: Levick (2014), p. 163. ^ a b c d e Giacosa (1977), p. 10. ^ The epitomator of Cassius Dio (72.22) gives the story that Faustina the Elder promised to marry Avidius Cassius. This is also echoed in HA "Marcus Aurelius" 24. ^ Husband of Ceionia Fabia: Levick (2014), p. 164. ^ a b c Levick (2014), p. 117.

References:

DIR contributors (2000). "De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and Their Families". Retrieved 2015-04-14.  Giacosa, Giorgio (1977). Women of the Caesars: Their Lives and Portraits on Coins. Translated by R. Ross Holloway. Milan: Edizioni Arte e Moneta. ISBN 0-8390-0193-2.  Lambert, Royston (1984). Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian
Hadrian
and Antinous. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-670-15708-2.  Levick, Barbara (2014). Faustina I and II: Imperial Women of the Golden Age. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-537941-9.  William Smith, ed. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 

Ancestors[edit]

Ancestry of Commodus

16. Marcus Annius Verus

8. Marcus Annius Verus

17.

4. Marcus Annius Verus

18. Libo Rupilius Frugi

9. Rupilia Faustina

19. Salonia Matidia

2. Marcus Aurelius

20.

10. Publius Domitius Calvisius Tullus Ruso

21.

5. Domitia Lucilla
Lucilla
Minor

22.

11. Domitia Lucilla
Lucilla
Major

23.

1. Commodus

24. Titus
Titus
Aurelius Fulvus

12. Titus
Titus
Aurelius Fulvus

25.

6. Antoninus Pius

26. Gnaeus Arrius Antoninus

13. Arria Fadilla

27. Boiona Procilla

3. Faustina the Younger

28. Marcus Annius Verus

14. Marcus Annius Verus

29.

7. Faustina the Elder

30. Libo Rupilius Frugi

15. Rupilia Faustina

31. Salonia Matidia

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ "Commodus". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. ^ EB (1878). ^ Historia Augusta
Historia Augusta
- Life of Commodus
Commodus
1 ^ Historia Augusta
Historia Augusta
12.8 ^ a b David L. Vagi Coinage and History of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
Vol. One: History p.248 ^ Susan P. Mattern The Prince of Medicine: Galen
Galen
in the Roman Empire p. xx ^ Cassius Dio Roman History 71.33.1 ^ a b Anthony R Birley Marcus Aurelius: A Biography p.197 ^ Historia Augusta
Historia Augusta
1.6 ^ Tulane University "Roman Currency of the Principate" ^ Dio Cassius 72.36.4, Loeb edition translated E. Cary ^ Google Books Search ^ Colin Wells (2004) [1984, 1992]. The Roman Empire. Second Edition (sixth reprint edition). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-77770-0, p 255. ^ a b Dio Cassius 73.10.2, Loeb edition translated E. Cary ^ Commodus
Commodus
(AD 180–192) ^ Dio Cassius 73.22.3 ^ To “accept kinship with Commodus ... the bluntly pragmatic decision was taken to deify the former emperor, thus legitimizing Severus’ seizure of power.” See Annelise Freisenbruch, Caesars' Wives: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
(London and New York: Free Press, 2010), 187. ^ Dio Cassius 73.1.2, Loeb edition translated E. Cary ^ Dio Cassius 73.5.3, Loeb edition translated E. Cary ^ Spiedel, M. P (1993). " Commodus
Commodus
the God-Emperor and the Army". Journal of Roman Studies. 83: 109–114. doi:10.2307/300981. JSTOR 300981.  ^ Grant, Michael. The Roman Emperors (1985)pp 99. ^ Dio, Cassius. Roman History: Epitome of Book LXXIII pp 111. ^ Gibbon, Edward. The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Vol. 5. Methuen, 1898. ^ Herodian's Roman History F.L. Muller Edition 1.15.7 ^ Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus Aurelius, XIX. The film The Fall of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
makes use of this story: one of the characters is an old gladiator who eventually reveals himself to be Commodus' real father. ^ Dio Cassius 73.10.3 ^ Dio Cassius 73.20.3, Loeb edition translated E. Cary ^ Gibbon pg 106 "disgorged at once a hundred lions; a hundred darts" ^ Gibbon, Edward The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volume I Everyman's Library (Knopf) New York. 1910. pg 106 "with arrows whose point was shaped in the form of a crescent" ^ Lane Fox, Robin The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian
Hadrian
Basic Books. 2006 pg 446 "brandishing a sword in one hand and bloodied neck...He gesticulated at the Senate." ^ Roman History by Cassius Dio penelope.uchicago.edu ^ Scullard, H. H The Elephant
Elephant
in the Greek and Roman World Thames and Hudson. 1974 pg 252 ^ Gibbon pg 107 "*1 Commodus
Commodus
killed a camelopardalis or giraffe ... the most useless of the quadrupeds". ^ IMDb Commodus
Commodus
(Character) from Gladiator
Gladiator
(2000) Retrieved October 2012

Bibliography[edit]

"Lucius Aurelius Commodus", Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed., Vol. VI, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1878, pp. 207–8 . " Lucius Aelius
Lucius Aelius
Aurelius Commodus", Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. VI, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911, p. 777 .

Further reading[edit]

Geoff W Adams, The Emperor Commodus : gladiator, Hercules
Hercules
or a tyrant?. Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press, [2013]. ISBN 1612337228 G. Alföldy, "Der Friedesschluss des Kaisers Commodus
Commodus
mit den Germanen," Historia, 20 (1971), pp. 84-109. P. A. Brunt, "The Fall of Perennis: Dio-Xiphilinus 79.9.2," Classical Quarterly, 23 (1973), pp. 172-77 J. Gagé, "La mystique imperiale et l'épreuve des jeux. Commode-Hercule et l'anthropologie hercaléenne," ANRW 2.17.2 (1981), 663-83 Olivier Hekster, Commodus: An Emperor at the Crossroads: Dutch monographs on ancient history and archaeology, 23. Brill, 2002. ISSN 0924-3550 L. L. Howe, The Praetorian Prefect from Commodus
Commodus
to Diocletian
Diocletian
(A. D. 180-305). Chicago, 1942 M.P. Speidel, " Commodus
Commodus
the God-Emperor and the Army," Journal of Roman Studies, 83 (1993), pp. 109-114.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Commodus.

Historia Augusta: Life of Commodus Book 73 of Cassius Dio's History Herodian's Roman History

Commodus Antonine dynasty Cadet branch of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty Born: 31 August 161 Died: 31 December 192

Regnal titles

Preceded by Marcus Aurelius Roman Emperor 180–192 Succeeded by Pertinax

Political offices

Preceded by Titus
Titus
Pomponius Proculus Vitrasius Pollio, and Marcus Flavius Aper II as ordinary consuls Consul
Consul
of the Roman Empire 177 with Marcus Peducaeus Plautius Quintillus Succeeded by Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus, and Domitius Velius Rufus as ordinary consuls

Preceded by Servius Cornelius Scipio Salvidienus Orfitus, and Domitius Velius Rufus as ordinary consuls Consul
Consul
of the Roman Empire 179 with Publius Martius Verus Succeeded by Titus
Titus
Flavius Claudianus, and Lucius Aemilius Iuncus as suffect consuls

Preceded by Lucius Fulvius Rusticus Gaius Bruttius Praesens II, and Sextus Quintilius Condianus as ordinary consuls Consul
Consul
of the Roman Empire 181 with Lucius Antistius Burrus Succeeded by Marcus Petronius Sura Mamertinus, and Quintus Tineius Rufus as ordinary consuls

Preceded by Marcus Petronius Sura Mamertinus, and Quintus Tineius Rufus as ordinary consuls Consul
Consul
of the Roman Empire 183 with Gaius Aufidius Victorinus Succeeded by Lucius Tutilius Pontianus Gentianus, and ignotus as suffect consuls

Preceded by Triarius Maternus Lascivius, and Tiberius
Tiberius
Claudius
Claudius
Marcus Appius Atilius Bradua Regillus Atticus Consul
Consul
of the Roman Empire 186 with Manius Acilius Glabrio II Succeeded by Lucius Novius Rufus, and Lucius Annius Ravus as suffect consuls

Preceded by Domitius Iulius Silanus, and Quintus Servilius Silanus as suffect consuls Consul
Consul
of the Roman Empire 190 with Marcus Petronius Sura Septimianus Succeeded by Lucius Septimius Severus, and Apuleius Rufinus as suffect consuls

Preceded by Popilius Pedo Apronianus, and Marcus Valerius Bradua Mauricus as ordinary consuls Consul
Consul
of the Roman Empire 192 with Pertinax Succeeded by Quintus Pompeius Sosius Falco, and Gaius Julius Erucius Clarus Vibianus as ordinary consuls

v t e

Roman and Byzantine emperors

Principate 27 BC – 235 AD

Augustus Tiberius Caligula Claudius Nero Galba Otho Vitellius Vespasian Titus Domitian Nerva Trajan Hadrian Antoninus Pius Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
and Lucius Verus Commodus Pertinax Didius Julianus (Pescennius Niger) (Clodius Albinus) Septimius Severus Caracalla
Caracalla
with Geta Macrinus
Macrinus
with Diadumenian Elagabalus Severus Alexander

Crisis 235–284

Maximinus Thrax Gordian I
Gordian I
and Gordian II Pupienus
Pupienus
and Balbinus Gordian III Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab
with Philip II Decius
Decius
with Herennius Etruscus Hostilian Trebonianus Gallus
Trebonianus Gallus
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Gallienus
with Saloninus and Valerian II Claudius
Claudius
Gothicus Quintillus Aurelian Tacitus Florian Probus Carus Carinus
Carinus
and Numerian

Gallic Emperors: Postumus (Laelianus) Marius Victorinus (Domitianus II) Tetricus I
Tetricus I
with Tetricus II
Tetricus II
as Caesar

Dominate 284–395

Diocletian
Diocletian
(whole empire) Diocletian
Diocletian
(East) and Maximian
Maximian
(West) Diocletian
Diocletian
(East) and Maximian
Maximian
(West) with Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
(West) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
(West) with Severus (West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Severus (West) with Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Maxentius
Maxentius
(West) with Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Galerius
Galerius
(East) and Licinius
Licinius
I (West) with Constantine the Great (West) and Maximinus II (East) as Caesares Maxentius
Maxentius
(alone) Licinius
Licinius
I (West) and Maximinus II (East) with Constantine the Great (Self-proclaimed Augustus) and Valerius Valens Licinius
Licinius
I (East) and Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(West) with Licinius
Licinius
II, Constantine II, and Crispus
Crispus
as Caesares (Martinian) Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(whole empire) with son Crispus
Crispus
as Caesar Constantine II Constans
Constans
I Magnentius
Magnentius
with Decentius as Caesar Constantius II
Constantius II
with Vetranio Julian Jovian Valentinian the Great Valens Gratian Valentinian II Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
with Victor Theodosius the Great (Eugenius)

Western Empire 395–480

Honorius Constantine III with son Constans
Constans
II) Constantius III Joannes Valentinian III Petronius Maximus
Petronius Maximus
with Palladius Avitus Majorian Libius Severus Anthemius Olybrius Glycerius Julius Nepos Romulus
Romulus
Augustulus

Eastern/ Byzantine Empire 395–1204

Arcadius Theodosius II Pulcheria Marcian Leo I the Thracian Leo II Zeno (first reign) Basiliscus
Basiliscus
with son Marcus as co-emperor Zeno (second reign) Anastasius I Dicorus Justin I Justinian the Great Justin II Tiberius
Tiberius
II Constantine Maurice with son Theodosius as co-emperor Phocas Heraclius Constantine III Heraklonas Constans
Constans
II Constantine IV
Constantine IV
with brothers Heraclius
Heraclius
and Tiberius
Tiberius
and then Justinian II as co-emperors Justinian II
Justinian II
(first reign) Leontios Tiberios III Justinian II
Justinian II
(second reign) with son Tiberius
Tiberius
as co-emperor Philippikos Anastasios II Theodosius III Leo III the Isaurian Constantine V Artabasdos Leo IV the Khazar Constantine VI Irene Nikephoros I Staurakios Michael I Rangabe
Michael I Rangabe
with son Theophylact as co-emperor Leo V the Armenian
Leo V the Armenian
with Symbatios-Constantine as junior emperor Michael II
Michael II
the Amorian Theophilos Michael III Basil I
Basil I
the Macedonian Leo VI the Wise Alexander Constantine VII
Constantine VII
Porphyrogennetos Romanos I Lekapenos
Romanos I Lekapenos
with sons Christopher, Stephen and Constantine as junior co-emperors Romanos II Nikephoros II Phokas John I Tzimiskes Basil II Constantine VIII Zoë (first reign) and Romanos III Argyros Zoë (first reign) and Michael IV the Paphlagonian Michael V Kalaphates Zoë (second reign) with Theodora Zoë (second reign) and Constantine IX Monomachos Constantine IX Monomachos
Constantine IX Monomachos
(sole emperor) Theodora Michael VI Bringas Isaac I Komnenos Constantine X Doukas Romanos IV Diogenes Michael VII Doukas
Michael VII Doukas
with brothers Andronikos and Konstantios and son Constantine Nikephoros III Botaneiates Alexios I Komnenos John II Komnenos
John II Komnenos
with Alexios Komnenos as co-emperor Manuel I Komnenos Alexios II Komnenos Andronikos I Komnenos Isaac II Angelos Alexios III Angelos Alexios IV Angelos Nicholas Kanabos (chosen by the Senate) Alexios V Doukas

Empire of Nicaea 1204–1261

Constantine Laskaris Theodore I Laskaris John III Doukas Vatatzes Theodore II Laskaris John IV Laskaris

Eastern/ Byzantine Empire 1261–1453

Michael VIII Palaiologos Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos
with Michael IX Palaiologos
Michael IX Palaiologos
as co-emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos John V Palaiologos John VI Kantakouzenos
John VI Kantakouzenos
with John V Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos
and Matthew Kantakouzenos as co-emperors John V Palaiologos Andronikos IV Palaiologos John VII Palaiologos Andronikos V Palaiologos Manuel II Palaiologos John VIII Palaiologos Constantine XI Palaiologos

Italics indicates a co-emperor, while underlining indicates an usurper.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 23502412 LCCN: n82243955 ISNI: 0000 0000 6127 4479 GND: 118521713 SUDOC: 061621293 BNF: cb14455354d (data) ULAN: 500355

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