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Commodus posing as Hercules


Commodus ruled from 177 to December 31, 192.
Bust of Commodus as Hercules, from Musei Capitolini, Rome, Italy.

Bust of Commodus as Hercules

Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (August 31, 161 to December 31, 192) was the son of the last of the "5 good emperors," Marcus Aurelius, but Commodus wasn't so good. Assassination ended his frightening reign.

Commodus was one of the excessive emperors who ate, drank, and spent too much. His sexual proclivities offended the Romans. He ordered many people killed and tortured. He fought in possibly as many as 1000 (probably not, though) gladiatorial contests where his opponents wielded blunted weapons. He also killed wild beasts in the amphitheater. Towards the end of his reign, he renamed the months for aspects of himself, which was fitting since he considered himself to be a god. When he was killed, his body was hooked and dragged into the Tiber -- a way to disgrace him posthumously, but his successor had him buried properly. The Senate erased the public inscriptions for Commodus (damnatio memoriae).

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