Commodus, the gladiator –

Many of us will remember the image of the Emperor Comfortable for the famous movie Gladiator (in which joaquin phoenix embodies the tyrant emperor), but how was the life of the son of Marcus Aurelius? Was he really dead after being pierced by the sword of a glorious soldier turned gladiator?

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the figure of Comfortable he is presented to us as a character with a cynical personality and perpetrator of delirious acts. But it should be noted that he is not the first emperor with this character that the history of Rome. predecessors like Caligula either Nero They had already done their thing, taking crazy measures, the product of self-centeredness, madness, envy and paranoia. People say that Caligula, for example, suffered from such dementia, that once he wanted to name his beautiful horse Incitato Cónsul y Sacerdote. Secondly, Nero He had proclaimed himself a divine god and would have carried out numerous executions, including that of his stepbrother and his own mother. Perhaps it could be said that Comfortable it was a mixture of these two delusional characters: loved and hated, glorified and forgotten, intelligent and ignorant. Here, his true story.

Lucius Aurelius Comfortable born this year 161 under the great paternal shadow of Marcus Aureliusconsidered one of the best emperors he saw Rome along its history. Comfortable he saw two of his brothers die (possible heirs to the empire), and therefore received a rich philosophical and military education provided by the best teachers of the time, being the only male heir to the Antonine lineage.

Formerly the emperors used to adopt those people who they considered reliable and possible heirs of the Empire, offering them an appropriate education, and instructing them in administrative and intellectual knowledge. This custom was given until the reign of Marcus Aureliuswho appointed Comfortable in the year 176 as his successor in a surprising way, (since the latter already showed signs of mental discomfort) and from that moment, both monarchs reigned together until the death of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Commodus managed to gain his popularity with the people easily, since his rule was made up of numerous popular shows, including gladiator fights.

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But during the reign of Comfortable disagreements were not lacking. In the year 182one of his five sisters (Lucilla), organized a conspiracy together with other men (which some sources maintain were his lovers), in which he tried to assassinate the emperor at the exit of a show. This attempt was frustrated and the protagonists of the plot were executed under the eyes of the Roman people. This fact sowed in the emperor an incalculable paranoia, attitude that he dragged until the day of his death.

In the following years, the government of Comfortable it became insanity and waste. Fights with the senate and his recent conversion into a demigod were protagonists of those times (Comfortable He claimed to be the reincarnation of Herculesson of Jupitergiven his physical work and his skills in hunting and games).

The names that were given to him were not enough to fill the tyrant’s ego, increasing over the years his number of names, of which some of them were the product of scandal, since they alluded to the great god Jupiter, among other divinities of Roman mythology.

That was how his narcissism broke the barriers of the rational, and the senate was renamed under his will to Comodian Fortunate Senate; The city was refounded under the name of Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana and the months of the year would be renamed by their 12 acquired names: Lucius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius (equivalent to supreme, was only awarded to Jupiter), amazonius (in relation to Hercules), Invictus, Felix Y Pius.

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Gladiator fights were the basis of their fun. On numerous occasions, Comfortable He showed up to fight, generating a serious disagreement in the whole town, since this attitude was unworthy of an Emperor, but he did not care, he enjoyed these activities considering himself a true god of hunting and fighting.

After the great discontent that this caused, given that the administration of the empire was already declining with each event that Commodus organized, replacing Rome Through a true circus of festivals, excesses and competitions, a strong conspiracy was organized in parallel. This new plot resulted in the attempted poisoning of the Emperor, which was unsuccessful as he managed to vomit the poisoned concoction. Then, Comfortable he retired to take a bath, a fact that was taken advantage of by the conspirators, who found their revenge by sending the freedman Daffodil to strangle the leader with satisfaction.

the year ran 192and after his death, Comfortable was declared an enemy of Rome, minimizing their facts, burning all evidence of their names, and destroying their allegorical monuments that were scattered throughout the city. Succeeding him, the Emperor rose to command Pertinaxwho saw Rome enter decay under a bloody civil wara product of anarchy and disagreement, giving way to year of the five emperors.

The degrading image of the fearsome tyrant Comfortable was reconstituted three years after his death, by Emperor Severe Seventh who forced the senate to legislate his deification.

Via | Augustan History