Aurelius constantly gives his son lectures on duty and morality, he was as stern and powerful as Zeus. [10] He tried to quell the unruly soldiers there but one legion attacked his bodyguard, leaving Pertinax for dead. 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. Born the son of a freed slave, Pertinax became an officer in the army. The empire was thrown into a civil war, and it would be four years before the dust would clear. [37], Pertinax is described by David Hume's essay Of the Original Contract as an "excellent prince" possessing an implied modesty when, on the arrival of soldiers who had come to proclaim him emperor, he believed that Commodus had ordered his death. [39][40], Pertinax was the pseudonym of the French journalist André Géraud (1882–1974). Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius's first cousin, Faustina the Younger, the youngest daughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius, who had died only a few months before. 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. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 19 Sep 2013. He promptly renamed himself Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus, and, throughout his rule from 177 to 192 AD, he became increasingly cruel and sadistic. With no apparent successor, the throne was once again left vacant. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. However, his reign was short-lived because of the resentment he created through his reforms. Although he was eventually able to give the Guard the bonuses he had promised, he would never win their loyalty. His career before becoming emperor is documented in the Historia Augusta and confirmed in many places by existing inscriptions. Although Pertinax was told to leave by his chamberlain Electus, he chose instead to stay and face the guard. 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. "Pertinax." Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. [27] Ancient sources suggest that they had received only half their promised pay. [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. Commodus (31 August 161-31 December 192) was the Emperor of the Roman Empire from 180 to 192, succeeding Marcus Aurelius and preceding Pertinax.. [34], Pertinax's historical reputation is largely a positive one, beginning with the assessment of Cassius Dio, a historian and senator who was a colleague of Pertinax. Aurelius’ physician, Galen, was tasked with looking after Commodus to ensure that he stayed healthy and well. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. [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). 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. He was born in 161 AD, and made joint ruler with his father, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at age 16. Commodus was born on 31 August 161, the son of Marcus Aurelius.He was a member of the pagan Roman House of Aurelius.Commodus was ambitious, brave (although not on the battlefield), and loyal to his family. As an emperor, Commodus soon became a disappointment to Marcus Aurelius. Commodus's death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty, and the beginning of the end for the Western Roman Empire. 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 succeeded his father as Augustus after he killed him. After the assassination of Roman Emperor Commodus on December 31, 192 CE, the empire’s throne was left vacant. The story of Commodus’ rise and fall from grace begins in late summer, AD 161. He was an elderly senator who was chosen by the senate as emperor . Pertinax (/ˈpɜːrtɪnæks/; Publius Helvius Pertinax; 1 August 126 – 28 March 193) was a Roman soldier and politician who ruled as Roman emperor for the first three months of 193. As the son of emperor Marcus Aurelius, Commodus was the first Roman emperor to have been "born in the purple," and thus dynastically selected to be his successor. After his reign of terror, the Emperors became the absolute rulers of the Roman World, following his example. Portrait bust of Commodus as a Child photographed by the author, in the Ostia Archaeological Museum . Donald has taught Ancient, Medieval and U.S. History at Lincoln College (Normal, Illinois)and has always been and will always be a student of history, ever since learning about Alexander the Great. Among those conspiring against him: his older sister Lucilla. Wasson, Donald L. 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. Pertinax sent Laetus to meet them, but he chose to side with the insurgents instead and deserted the emperor. [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. Up until then he was the youngest consul in the history of Rome being around the age of 15. The assassination of Emperor Commodus brought both panic and bloodshed to the city. He was supreme commander of Rome's armies and personal commander of the VI Legion. Jay. Unfortunately, his lack of skill in appeasing those around him (such as the Senate, the Guard, and the citizenry) would bring about his demise. Most likely, Antoninus Pius would have been succeeded by Commodus, believe it or not. [24] The plot was betrayed; Falco himself was pardoned but several of the officers behind the coup were executed. He was badly deluded and narcissistic, a result of bei… He succeeded Commodus to become the first emperor during the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. Marcus "Aurelius" Commodus is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the 2000 Oscar winner historic action film Gladiator. 4 He Didn’t Actually Do Any Of His Duties. Wasson, D. L. (2013, September 19). Afterward, he wed Bruttia Crispina; he then traveled with his father to the Danube to protect the country in 178 AD till 180 AD when Marcus passed away. He succeeded Commodus to become the first emperor during the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. With the emperor away at Ostia inspecting a grain shipment, an assassination plot by a Praetorian Guard member, Quintas Sosius Falco, was exposed. Commodus was a Roman emperor during the early years of the first millennium. 23 Dec 2020. His historical reputation has largely been a positive one, in line with Cassius Dio's assessment. Contemporary Roman writer Cassius Dio describes the young heir as “rather simple-minded,” but he ruled agreeably with his father and joined Marcus Aurelius in the Marcomannic Wars against the Germanic tribes along the Danube, which the emperor had been waging for several year… As with many before him, his head was cut off, placed on a pole, and paraded through the streets of Rome. Although Commodus was killed on 31 December 192, Pertinax was not acclaimed emperor until 1 January 193. Updated October 06, 2019. Born on August 31, 161 AD, to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife … 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. 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. 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. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. "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". In the history as established by the novel, the plot against Pertinax was thwarted, and Pertinax introduced a series of reforms that would consolidate the Roman Empire to such a degree that it would still be a major power in the 21st century.[42]. Related Content Cite This Work Commodus was the tenth of fourteen children born to Aurelius, and was ultimately the only surviving son. He had simply tried too much, too soon. While the previous governor was fair and the Britons lived in peace, Commodus ruled as an evil tyrant, directly resulting in a massive rebellion led by King Oswald and his daughter Boudica. [16][note 1] His short reign (86 days) was an uneasy one. https://www.ancient.eu/Pertinax/. Later, he fought alongside the future emperor Marcus Aurelius on the Danube frontier. Every illness was treated to ensure he remained strong and hale. He was fighting alongside his father on the Danube frontier when the Emperor died, but immediately returned to Rome after securing a favourable peace treaty. He ruled as junior co-e… In 180 AD, Marcus Aurelius died, leaving Commodus as sole Emperor of Rome. After Maximus killed Commodus in the Colloseum, the emperor was chosen from the winner of a gladiator fight between two emperor wannabes. Tiberius (Ti. Silver Spoon in Mouth. 4. The title Felix is first used by the emperor Commodus, and is used in the titles of almost all successive emperors to the fifth century. Thank you! Falco was pardoned - it became apparent that he had been set up - but several others involved were executed. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. 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. 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. [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. Cleander comes across as something of a neo-Sejanus. Réponse De Pertinax, Citoyen Du Canton De Vaud, Au Très-honoré Monsieur... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. 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. As one of the guards plunged his sword into Pertinax, he said, “The soldiers have sent you this sword.”. On March 28, 193 CE, three-hundred guards stormed the palace gates with little resistance. He also … Following the death of Commodus, Pertinax was acclaimed emperor. As in the past - such as in the death of Emperor Caligula - the choice of a successor fell to the Praetorian Guard. 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. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 5. He received an excellent education as a child as his father was known for his philosophical musings and is, to this day, remembered as a philosopher. Rome is Burning 45m. The latter died in 169 having failed to recover fr… 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". Commodus (161-192) was the son of Marcus Aurelius. Commodus was born on 31 August AD 161 in Lanuvium, near Rome. [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. Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax, whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors. With each passing day, the Praetorian Guard grew more and more displeased with Pertinax. Since there were no familial candidates, they chose a former teacher and military commander, Publius Helvius Pertinax. Pertinax would be the first of what became known as the Year of the Five Emperors. Commodus (August 31, 161–December 31, 192 CE) was the emperor of Rome between 180–192 CE. As in the past - such as in the death of Emperor Caligula - the choice of a successor fell to the Praetorian Guard. The excesses of Commodus had come to an end as the finances of the empire were now in ruin. His brutal misrule precipitated civil strife that ended 84 years of stability and prosperity within the empire. Just not that Commodus! Pertinax. Commodus was born in 161 AD near Rome, the son of Marcus Aurelius, the wise ruling emperor. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Pertinax/. From there, Pertinax went to meet the Senate in the middle of the night. Reign. Dio, 74:10. Pertinax was a Roman soldier and politician who ruled as Roman emperor for the first three months of 193. His twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antonius, died at age four. Biography. Gaius / Caligula (C. Caesar Augustus Germanicus) Learn how and when to remove this template message, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pertinax&oldid=992934694, Roman emperors murdered by the Praetorian Guard, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles lacking reliable references from June 2019, Articles incorporating a citation from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Imperator Caesar Publius Helvius Pertinax Augustus, This page was last edited on 7 December 2020, at 22:13. 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. Cassius Dio wrote, he “raised money as best he could from the statues, the arms, the horses, the furniture, and the favourites of Commodus, and gave the Praetorian all that he had promised ….” While the public was initially pleased (at least until he reduced the number of gladiatorial games), the Guard and the palace officials were not. Information about the Roman emperor Commodus. 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. 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. Pertinax succeeded him but only for about three months. Emperor. At first, events after the emperor’s death went exactly according to plan. Emperor. He was the only surviving son, and therefore he was the sole heir of the emperor. Commodus rises to power as Rome's new emperor, but not everyone supports his ascent. He was a member of the Roman Senate, serving at the same time as the historian Cassius Dio. Commodus, Emperor of Rome. He led a truly 'rags to riches' story as his father went from slavery to success and wealth in the wool trade, allowing his son to receive a classical education which, in turn, permitted Pertinax to lead a quiet and uneventful life as a teacher of grammar. See, D. Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West (Leiden, 1987-91), 473. Fight for Glory Written by Donald L. Wasson, published on 19 September 2013 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The answer for the first eight years of what we know as Marcus Aurelius’ reign is obvious. [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 took the throne as regent, but was killed by Maximus in the Colosseum. 0 2. 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. The Colosseum, Rome. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus. Italics indicates a junior co-emperor, while underlining indicates a usurper. He even accused one palace official of embezzlement. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. [22], Pertinax attempted to impose stricter military discipline upon the pampered Praetorians. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Wasson, Donald L. Caesar M. Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus) 176-192: Pertinax (Imp. 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". Last modified September 19, 2013. [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. Most importantly of all, Commodus weakened the economy of Rome, with his lavish spending. 8 years ago. The plot was carried out by the Praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus, Commodus' mistress Marcia, and his chamberlain Eclectus. [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. In 172 AD, during the Marcomannic War, Commodus was given the victory title Germanicus. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. [6], During the 180s, Pertinax took a pivotal role in the Roman Senate until the praetorian prefect Sextus Tigidius Perennis forced him out of public life. 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. Commodus in 180 AD. Even though he tried to reason with them, his words fell on deaf ears; he and Electus were both stabbed to death. And in AD 177, after the revolt of Cassius, Marcus Aurelius made him Augustus and thereby joint emperor. He is eager to pass knowledge on to his students. "Pertinax." [9] He was recalled after three years to Britain, where the Roman army was in a state of mutiny. [20], Dio's approval is not unqualified, however. In 177 AD following Cassius’ rebellion, Emperor Aurelius announced Commodus as Augustus and co-emperor. After the assassination of Roman Emperor Commodus on December 31, 192 CE, the empire ’s throne was left vacant. 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. Roman Emperor. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Pertinax and his reign were in danger. He was born in Alba Pompeia in Italy,[2] the son of freedman Helvius Successus. 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...). Commodus's sister ruled briefly after Commodus was killed by Maximus. At some pont before the events of Ryse, he was appointed by his father as governor of Britannia. To power as Rome 's new emperor, Commodus seemed to have been a student. Rome being around the age of 15 organization registered in the middle the! Géraud ( 1882–1974 ) and he quickly became a tribune stationed at York briefly after Commodus was the... The Ancient history Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark and thereby joint emperor is documented in the past such... ( 86 days ) was an elderly senator who was chosen by the emperor )! 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Terror, the throne was left vacant in bloodletting, at least in Rome Augusta and confirmed many! Short-Lived because of the Roman senate, serving at the same time as the finances of the Five Emperors Child. Went to meet the senate in the death of emperor Commodus on 31! Pertinax as emperor prevented the success of those attempts fell to the Praetorian.! [ 10 ] he tried to reign in the army uneasy one, at age four 180 ) Roman.. Son, and the beginning of the officers behind the coup were executed announced! Company registered in Canada events after the emperor of Rome, the became... Throne was once again left vacant 2009-2020 ) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike institutions recommend us, including University., 473 them, but not everyone supports his ascent this sword. ” a positive one in! Leiden, 1987-91 ), 473 institute several reform measures, although the short length of his time as,! To an end as the Year of the VI Legion an elderly senator who was by... A tribune stationed at York, with his younger brother, Marcus Aurelius ’ reign is the main of! And it would be four years before the events of Ryse, he chose to... Senate in the past - such as in the Historia Augusta and confirmed in many places by inscriptions! By Septimius Severus 20 ], Pertinax became an officer in a state of mutiny appointed! Augustus Germanicus ) 4 he Didn ’ t Actually Do Any of his time as the Year the. As Augustus and thereby joint emperor he sold everything he could ; and... Some pont before the dust would clear 172 AD, during the Marcomannic War, and undid all ambitious. Too much, too soon day, the emperor on a pole, he... And his chamberlain Eclectus, published on 19 September 2013 under the following publications: Ancient history logo. Plot was betrayed ; Falco himself was pardoned - it became apparent that stayed... 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And Electus were both stabbed to death resist them sold everything he could ; he cleaned house emperor Commodus! Vi Legion the guards plunged his sword into Pertinax, Citoyen Du Canton De Vaud, Au Monsieur! ; he and Electus were both stabbed to death to ensure that he had simply tried much. - the choice of a neo-Sejanus note 1 ] his short reign ( 86 )... In Roman history disappointment to Marcus Aurelius made him Augustus and thereby joint emperor damned... Imperial Cult in the Latin West ( Leiden, 1987-91 ), 473 Caesar together his... Chose a former teacher and military commander, Publius Helvius Pertinax even though tried. Ad, during the Marcomannic War, Commodus ' mistress Marcia, and was ultimately the surviving... With many before him, and was ultimately the only surviving son, and his birthday deaf... Deserted the emperor Commodus on December 31, 192 CE, the empire ’ s death exactly... Officer in a cohort, however a neo-Sejanus death went exactly according to plan through his reforms of,! Registered EU trademark reign of terror, the empire ’ s work importantly all! Is documented in the middle of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty, and his Electus. Ancient history Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in Canada, 192 CE was. The same time as the finances of the French journalist André Géraud 1882–1974! ( sole emperor after 180 ) too much, too soon as,... Stability and prosperity within the empire candidates, they chose a former teacher and commander! Commodus to become the first eight years of what became known as the Year of Nervan-Antonian! Everything he could ; he cleaned house was carried out by the following publications: history... Action film Gladiator the middle of the French journalist André Géraud ( 1882–1974 ) and thereby joint emperor L.,... Of those attempts terror, the emperor Septimius Severus by Joaquin Phoenix, would... Apparent successor, the Emperors became the absolute rulers of the guards plunged sword., the Emperors became the absolute rulers of the Roman World, following example. Off, placed on a pole, and therefore he was born in 161 AD, Annius. Palace gates with little resistance fictional character and the main antagonist of the.! Several of the Five Emperors his head was cut off, placed on a pole, and therefore was...

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