Commodus was a Roman emperor who ruled from 176 AD to 192AD. He was the son of emperor Marcus Aurelius and served jointly with his father from 176 AD until his father’s death in 180 AD. For next 12 years he reigned as the sole emperor.
Causes of Emperor Commodus Death
During his reign, he alienated not only rich and powerful people but also ordinary roman people. He renamed month of the years which offended common people. He also renamed legion title which offended army.
He keeps people and the army distracted by showering them with gold and expensive games. To fund this expense he taxed the rich heavily which alienated rich and powerful people.
He murdered people even for minor personal sleights. Once he threw attendant of roman bath into an oven after he found his bathwater to be lukewarm.
He was paranoid and even murdered many prominent men on false charges of conspiracy on slight hint of conspiracy against him.
Soon he perfected dictatorial style of leadership and trusted nobody.
Emperor Commodus Assassination
In November 192, Commodus held Plebeian Games in roman arena. Every day he shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins and fought as a gladiator, winning all the fights.
One day his mistress Marcia found a list of people Commodus intended to have executed. She was shocked to find her name along with name of prefect Laetus and Eclectus on the death list.
Fearing for their life, the three of them plotted to assassinate the emperor.
First they planned to poison the emperor.
On 31 December, Marcia poisoned Commodus’ food, but he vomited up the poison.
So, conspirators decided to kill him using another method. Soon they added Emperor Commodus’s wrestling partner to their conspiracy. He went to Commodus while he was relaxing in roman bath and strangles him when he was alone.
Upon his death, the Senate declared him a public enemy and restored the original name of the city of Rome and its institutions. People demolished statues of Commodus.
Later his body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian.
Commodus’ death marked the end of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty.
His death led to civil war in which Septimius Severus emerge victorious and became emperor in 195AD.
Later inorder to gain favour with the family of Marcus Aurelius, emperor Septimius Severus rehabilitated Commodus’ memory and had the Senate deify him.