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. Commodus, Emperor of Rome. 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". His twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antonius, died at age four. After the assassination of Roman Emperor Commodus on December 31, 192 CE, the empire’s throne was left vacant. [31] After his entry to Rome, Septimius recognized Pertinax as a legitimate emperor, executed the soldiers who killed him, and not only pressured the Senate to deify him and provide him a state funeral,[32] but also adopted his cognomen of Pertinax as part of his name. 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. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The Purple Prince: Emperor Commodus’ Early Years. Commodus was a bloody tyrant and his reign was also a disaster and contributed to the decline of the greatest Classical Empire. After Maximus killed Commodus in the Colloseum, the emperor was chosen from the winner of a gladiator fight between two emperor wannabes. On March 28, 193 CE, three-hundred guards stormed the palace gates with little resistance. Commodus was a Roman emperor during the early years of the first millennium. 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. [30] Julianus was succeeded by Septimius Severus. 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. Commodus's death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty, and the beginning of the end for the Western Roman Empire. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus. Most importantly of all, Commodus weakened the economy of Rome, with his lavish spending. License. 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...). [3] Pertinax through the help of patronage was commissioned an officer in a cohort. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 19 Sep 2013. 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. Among those conspiring against him: his older sister Lucilla. [38], During the debate over ratification of the US Constitution, Virginia politician John Dawson, at his state's ratifying convention in 1788, spoke of the "atrocious murder" of Pertinax by the Praetorian Guard as an example of the danger of establishing a standing army. Roman Emperor. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. The general Maximus, weary of battle, decides to retire at his Spanish farm estate at the Emperor's behest, but the Emperor tells him that Commodus is unfit to rule and thus appoints him as regent to help save Rome from corruption. Although Pertinax was told to leave by his chamberlain Electus, he chose instead to stay and face the guard. Italics indicates a junior co-emperor, while underlining indicates a usurper. The empire was thrown into a civil war, and it would be four years before the dust would clear. After his reign of terror, the Emperors became the absolute rulers of the Roman World, following his example. [36], Pertinax is discussed in The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli. As with many before him, his head was cut off, placed on a pole, and paraded through the streets of Rome. His brutal misrule precipitated civil strife that ended 84 years of stability and prosperity within the empire. Biography. 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. At some pont before the events of Ryse, he was appointed by his father as governor of Britannia. It was there that the now-deceased Commodus was condemned and Pertinax was proclaimed emperor - but this acceptance would soon turn to dismay and disgust. [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. 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. [20], Dio's approval is not unqualified, however. He was an elderly senator who was chosen by the senate as emperor . Pertinax. Information about the Roman emperor Commodus. As in the past - such as in the death of Emperor Caligula - the choice of a successor fell to the Praetorian Guard. Discussing the importance of a prince not being hated, Machiavelli provides Pertinax as an example of how it is as easy for a ruler to be hated for good actions as for bad ones. 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. [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. 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. Aurelius’ physician, Galen, was tasked with looking after Commodus to ensure that he stayed healthy and well. Commodus's sister ruled briefly after Commodus was killed by Maximus. Up until then he was the youngest consul in the history of Rome being around the age of 15. 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. [7] He suffered a setback as a victim of court intrigues during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, but shortly afterwards, he was recalled to assist Claudius Pompeianus in the Marcomannic Wars. Caesar Augustus) 27 BC-AD 14. He was born in 161 AD, and made joint ruler with his father, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at age 16. And in AD 177, after the revolt of Cassius, Marcus Aurelius made him Augustus and thereby joint emperor. After the death of Commodus, Pertinax became 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. Web. [39][40], Pertinax was the pseudonym of the French journalist André Géraud (1882–1974). He succeeded Commodus to become the first emperor during the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. Since there were no familial candidates, they chose a former teacher and military commander, Publius Helvius Pertinax. He attempted to institute several reform measures, although the short length of his time as emperor prevented the success of those attempts. [4], In the Parthian War that followed,[5] he distinguished himself, which resulted in a string of promotions, and after postings in Britain (as military tribune of the Legio VI Victrix)[6] and along the Danube, he served as a procurator in Dacia. His career before becoming emperor is documented in the Historia Augusta and confirmed in many places by existing inscriptions. Updated October 06, 2019. Commodus (August 31, 161–December 31, 192 CE) was the emperor of Rome between 180–192 CE. Emperor. Commodus rises to power as Rome's new emperor, but not everyone supports his ascent. He attempted to emulate the restrained practices of Marcus Aurelius, and made an effort to reform the alimenta but he faced antagonism from many quarters. With no apparent successor, the throne was once again left vacant. Wasson, D. L. (2013, September 19). As one of the guards plunged his sword into Pertinax, he said, “The soldiers have sent you this sword.”. Ancient History Encyclopedia. He was born in Alba Pompeia in Italy,[2] the son of freedman Helvius Successus. Jay. 4 He Didn’t Actually Do Any Of His Duties. "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. 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 was a member of the Roman Senate, serving at the same time as the historian Cassius Dio. [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. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Pertinax/. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. 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. 5. In 172 AD, during the Marcomannic War, Commodus was given the victory title Germanicus. He succeeded his father as Augustus after he killed him. 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. However, in 161 CE, at the age of thirty-five, he tired of the low pay and left teaching to enter the military. [33] For some time, he held games on the anniversary of Pertinax's ascension and his birthday. 8 years ago. [24] The plot was betrayed; Falco himself was pardoned but several of the officers behind the coup were executed. With the emperor away at Ostia inspecting a grain shipment, an assassination plot by a Praetorian Guard member, Quintas Sosius Falco, was exposed. Written by Donald L. Wasson, published on 19 September 2013 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The latter died in 169 having failed to recover fr… Commodus defeats his sister's coup but withdraws from governing, allowing others to amass power while he engages in an affair and banishes his wife. The story of Commodus’ rise and fall from grace begins in late summer, AD 161. 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. 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. [10] He tried to quell the unruly soldiers there but one legion attacked his bodyguard, leaving Pertinax for dead. 4. His historical reputation has largely been a positive one, in line with Cassius Dio's assessment. He was the only surviving son, and therefore he was the sole heir of the 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". Marcus Aurelius was a student of Stoic philosophy. Already at the age of five, in the year AD 166, he was made Caesar (junior emperor). He was the tenth of fourteen children and the only son to survive - his twin brother Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antonius died at the age of four. 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. "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". 23 Dec 2020. [15] After the murder had been carried out, Pertinax, who was serving as urban prefect at this time, was hurried to the Praetorian Camp and proclaimed emperor the following morning. 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.’ After the assassination of Roman Emperor Commodus on December 31, 192 CE, the empire ’s throne was left vacant. [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). Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus, or just Commodus for short, is the main antagonist of the 2000 historic action film Gladiator. [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. 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 only eighty-seven days on the imperial throne, he would be dead. [11], When Commodus' behaviour became increasingly erratic throughout the early 190s, a conspiracy led to his assassination on 31 December 192. Emperor. Silver Spoon in Mouth. 1 Biography 2 What … Commodus in popular culture The excesses of Commodus had come to an end as the finances of the empire were now in ruin. Pertinax succeeded him but only for about three months. Ancient History Encyclopedia. [18], Ancient writers detail how the Praetorian Guard expected a generous donativum on his ascension, and when they were disappointed, agitated until he produced the money, selling off Commodus' property,[19] including the concubines and youths Commodus kept for his sexual pleasures. 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. On duty nor the palace gates with little resistance briefly after Commodus was killed by in! 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