Commodus, Lucius Aelius Aurelius


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Commodus, Lucius Aelius Aurelius

 

Born in 161 in Lanuvio; died in 192 in Rome. Roman emperor from 180 to 192; the last emperor of the Antonine dynasty.

Commodus ruled along with his father, Marcus Aurelius, from 176 to 180. He persecuted the senators and confiscated their property. He generously rewarded his supporters—praetorians and soldiers. Commodus’ extravagance, including his arrangement of games in the circus, in which he played the role of gladiator, exhausted the treasury. Discontent arose among the troops in Britain, Germany, and Dacia, who were not paid as well as those stationed in Rome. Opposition grew especially strong when Commodus, conceiving himself as the Roman Hercules and the son of Jupiter, demanded that he be worshiped as divine. He was assassinated by court conspirators.