Commodus as Hercules
Bust of the Roman Emperor Commodus Portraying
Himself as Hercules
2nd Century A.D.
Emperor Commodus Portrayed as Hercules reincarnated, wearing a lion
skin and wielding a club. "Bust of Commodus as Hercules, 2nd Century
A.D. The effete likeness of Emperor Commodus stares vacantly, his
hair Pompadoured, with a lion skin over his head - not messing up
one curl." - Musei Capitolini in Palazzo dei Conservatori
[Capitoline Museums - Campidoglio Area]
Commodus (Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus)
was born in 161 AD and he became
the Emperor of Rome in 180 AD and he ruled until 192 AD. He turned
out to be a miserable successor to his famous father Marcus Aurelius.
From a young age he was groomed for the throne, having had the
finest education in the world. Marcus Aurelius was out expanding the
Empire through wars on the Danube until he fell ill. His health was
very poor and he died on March 17, 180 AD. Commodus came to him at
Vienna and was made the new Emperor at 19 years of age.
He continued in his father steps
for a short time but then the wars were suspended returned to Rome
in a triumphal entry. He quickly ascertained who was plotting
against him and he had them exiled or executed, including members of
his own family and the prefect of his Praetorian Guard. He hated the
Senate, and often executing them and seizing their property. He left
the administration of the Empire to his certain prefects.
Commodus squandered the wealth of
Rome, he was a curse upon the Roman Empire and Dio Cassius called
Commodus a greater curse than any pestilence, and guilty of unseemly
deeds. He loved the games, slaughtering innumerable animals and
massacring many people for pleasure. He paraded as a gladiator and
believed himself to be Hercules reincarnated wearing a lion skin and
wielding a club.
Many plotted his death
unsuccessfully, even his own concubine, some had tried to poison him
and he survived. Finally they brought him a wrestling companion
named Narcissus to practice with Commodus but actually murder him.
He found Commodus in his own bath and strangled him to death on
January 31, 192 AD.
A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?"
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of
the field." Isa. 40:6
Close up of the Face of Commodus
Commŏdus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
Aurelius Antonīnus The son and successor of M. Aurelius Antoninus,
who ascended the imperial throne A.D. 180. The reign of this prince
is a scene of guilt and misery, which the historian is glad to
dismiss with brevity. He appears, indeed, to have inherited all the
vices of his mother, Faustina; and his father, in selecting him for
his successor, allowed the feelings of the parent to triumph over
the wisdom of the magistrate. He had accompanied his father on the
expedition against the Marcomanni and the Quadi, but no sooner was
Aurelius dead than his son became anxious to proceed to Rome, and
soon concluded a hasty and disgraceful peace with the barbarians
whom his father had been on the point of completely subjugating when
he was cut off by disease. Notwithstanding the care which Aurelius
had bestowed on his education, Commodus was ignorant to an extreme
degree, having neither abilities nor inclination for profiting by
the paternal example and instruction. On his return to Rome he
speedily showed the bias of his natural disposition, giving himself
up to unrestrained indulgence in the grossest vices. That he might
do so without impediment, he intrusted all power to Perennis,
praefect of the Praetorian Guard, a man of stern and cruel temper,
who was at last slain by the soldiers for his severity. A conspiracy
against the life of Commodus having failed, it was followed by a
long succession of judicial murders to gratify the vengeance of the
cowardly and vindictive tyrant. He was next threatened by a new
danger: disaffection had spread over the legions; and an attempt of
Maternus, a private soldier, who headed a band of deserters and
projected the assassination of Commodus during the celebration of
the festival of Cybelé, was so ably conceived that it must have been
successful but for the treachery of an accomplice. But neither duty
nor danger could draw Commodus from the sports of gladiators or the
pleasures of debauchery. Cleander, a Phrygian slave, soon succeeded
to the place and influence of Perennis, and for three years the
Empire groaned beneath his cruelty and rapacity. At length a new
insurrection burst forth, which nothing could allay, the praetorian
cavalry being defeated in the streets by the populace, until the
unworthy favourite was, by the emperor's command, delivered to the
insurgents. In the meantime, Commodus was indulging his base tastes
and appetites, not only by gross sensuality, but by attempting to
rival the gladiators. Being a very skilful archer and of great
personal strength, he delighted in killing wild beasts in the
amphitheatre, and thus pretending to rival the prowess of Hercules.
In the gladiatorial contests, he publicly engaged so often that he
was the conqueror in 735 combats. Though luxurious in his dress,
frequently resorting to the baths eight times in the day, scattering
gold dust in his hair, and, from the fear of admitting the approach
of a razor in the hand of another, singeing off his beard, he was
especially proud of exhibitions of personal strength, and
frequently, in the garb of a priest, butchered victims with his own
hands. Among the flatteries of the obsequious Senate none pleased
him more than the vote which styled him the “Hercules of Rome,” not
even that which decreed to him the titles of Pius and Felix, or
which offered to abolish the name of the Eternal City and substitute
for it the title Colonia Commodiana. After thirteen years of
unmitigated oppression, his favourite, Marcia, ultimately became the
instrument by which the Roman world was delivered from its odious
master. She discovered, from some private notes of Commodus, that
herself, Laetus the praetorian praefect, and Eclectus the
chamberlain, were on the list devoted to death. A conspiracy was
immediately formed, Marcia administered poison to the emperor, and,
lest the measure should not prove effectual, the deed was completed
by suffocation, in A.D. 192. The life of Commodus has come down to
us, written by Lampridius, in the Historia Augusta.
Commodus in Roman Biography
Com'mo-dus, [Fr. Commode, ko'mod',] (Lucius /Ei.ius Aurelius,) a
Roman emperor, born in 161 A.D., was the son 0/ Marcus Aurelius and
Faustina. He succeeded his father in 180, and found the empire
prosperous. Though he had been carefully educated, he soon exhibited
a character which inspires unmixed detestation. He resigned the
direction of the government to his favourites Perennis and others,
and indulged his cruel temper and evil passions without restraint.
He ordered his wife Crispina to be put to death, and took a
concubine named Marcia. His subjects were required to offer homage
to him as Hercules. Many senators and others were doomed to death by
his cruelty. His officers Laetus and F.clectus having conspired with
Marcia against him, he was poisoned and strangled in 192 A.D., and
Pertinax then became emperor. See Tillfmont, "Histoire des Empereurs
:" Dion Cassiu.% " History of Rome :" Lampridius, "Commodus."
Commodus in Wikipedia Lucius
Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (31 August 161 – 31 December 192) was
Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his
father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180. His
name changed throughout his reign; see Changes of name for earlier
and later forms. His accession as emperor was the first time a son
had succeeded his father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79.
Commodus was the first emperor "born to the purple"; i.e., born
during his father's reign. Early life and rise to power (161–180)
Early life - Commodus was born as Lucius Aurelius Commodus in
Lanuvium, near Rome, the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus
Aurelius and first cousin Faustina the Younger. He had an elder twin
brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12
October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger
brother, Marcus Annius Verus; the latter died in 169, having failed
to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus
Aurelius's sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father's
physician, Galen, in order to keep him healthy and alive. Galen
treated many of Commodus's common illnesses...
Marcus Aurelius - Upon the death of Ceionius Commodus, the emperor Hadrian turned his attention towards Marcus Aurelius; but he being
then too young for an early assumption ...
Marcus Aurelius - Bronze Equestrian Statue - Bronze Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius placed in the Campidoglio by Michelangelo in the 16th century AD.
Pius - He died in 161 A.D., and was succeeded by Marcus Aurelius. His memory was so greatly venerated that five of his successors a
ssumed the name of Antoninus.
Commodus - Commodus in Roman Biography Com'mo-dus, [Fr. Commode, ko'mod',] (Lucius / Ei.ius Aurelius,) a Roman emperor, born in 161 A.D.
, was the son 0/ Marcus ...
Numerian - Born Marcus Aurelius Numerius Numerianus, he was a Roman Emperor ruling ... Numeri?nus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiqui
ties Marcus Aurelius.
Gordianus - Born Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus, he was ... Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius through her father
Claudius Gothicus - Born Marcus Aurelius Claudius, he was Roman Emperor ruling from 268 to 270. Claudius Gothicus in Roman Biography Claud
ius, (Marcus Aurklius,) surnamed ...
Carus - People - Ancient Rome: Carus Born Marcus Aurelius Carus, he was Roman Emperor ruling from 282 to 283. Carus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical
The Bible mentions a lot regarding Rome:
- And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of
good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so
must thou bear witness also at Rome.
4:22 - The Lord Jesus Christ [be] with thy spirit. Grace
[be] with you. Amen. <[The second [epistle] unto Timotheus, ordained
the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from
Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second
- And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come
from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had
commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto
Colossians 4:18 - The salutation by the hand of me Paul.
Remember my bonds. Grace [be] with you. Amen. <[Written from
Rome to Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.]>
6:24 - Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus
Christ in sincerity. Amen. <[To [the] Ephesians written from
Rome, by Tychicus.]>
1:25 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your
spirit. Amen. <[Written from Rome to Philemon, by
Onesimus a servant.]>
- Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about
Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
- After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when
he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem,
saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
- And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered
the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to
dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.
- To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to
be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord
6:18 - Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be]
with your spirit. Amen. <[To [the] Galatians written from Rome.]>
Philippians 4:23 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be]
with you all. Amen. <[To [the] Philippians written from Rome,
- Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven
days: and so we went toward Rome.
- So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you
that are at Rome also.
1:17 - But, when he was in Rome, he sought me
out very diligently, and found [me].
fullness of time came, God brought forth His Son, born of a
woman, born under the law." (Gal 4:4)
The Roman road was the bloodstream of the
empire. Merchants paid taxes to Rome on all their
transactions, and they needed the roads to carry their goods
to an ever-widening market. Legionnaires marched upon them
swiftly gaining efficient access to battle. In a sense, the
roads were funding and facilitating Roman expansion.
Yet God had a higher purpose. A new kind of merchant would
soon be traversing the entire Mediterranean area, not one
who transports his treasure to the city marketplace, but one
who is a treasure, and who carries true riches, - not to
sell, but to give away freely. The transforming good news of
God’s forgiveness through Jesus the Messiah was imbedded
into the hearts of the Apostles and early believers, and God
prepared those roads for them to walk upon and lead others
into His path.
A new kind of soldier would be running these well built
thoroughfares to fight, - not flesh and blood, but a
spiritual warfare that would liberate entire civilizations
from the bondage of Satan’s tyrannical oppression and
coercion, to a Kingdom ruled by love, service and willing
Throughout history ‘the road’ has provided an excellent
metaphor for life’
s journey. With amazement, we can look back over the winding
grades of difficulty, the narrow pass of opportunity, the
choice between security or adventure, when our road divided
and we had to make the call.
Yes, all roads led to Rome, specifically the Forum, in the
ancient empire of old, where an Emperor judged the players
in the arena for their conduct before him. Our personal road
will eventually and inevitably cease at the throne of
Almighty God. It is He who must judge our travel upon this
earth, in the blinding glory of His eternal justice.
Compelled by His love, He placed sin’s damning penalty upon
His Own Son, instead of us, so that we could freely receive
the "thumbs up!" from Him who loves us beyond all measure.
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Bibliography on Ancient Images
The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised
by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008
Bible History Online
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