The King Of Marcus Aurelius

1322 Words Dec 3rd, 2014 6 Pages
The son of Marcus Aurelius,’ Commodus Antoninus, came to power in the wake of his father’s death in March of 180 CE. From the death of Marcus Aurelius came the end to the Five Good Emperors. Commodus’ reign lasted from 180 to 192 CE and he described it as a “golden age.” (cite) However, this was far from the truth. Commodus succumbed to the lure of self-indulgence and become a megalomaniac. Along with those two flaws, he also held deep antagonism against the Senate. (cite) Arguably, the two most important aspects of his reign was: his identification with the demigod Hercules and his participation in gladiatorial games. Commodus thought himself as a reborn Hercules, he appeared in public places donned in a lion hide cloak. It was a reference to the Nemean Lion that Hercules fought in his twelve labors.(cite) And even in the arena, a horror to the senate but possibly to the delight of the plebs, he wore this fighting. But there was a belief held strongly by the elite that Roman Emperors were not supposed to do this. But his love for the games was so immense he partook in them regardless of their beliefs. Commodus participated in the gladiatorial games for his own self-indulgence and fantasies about being Hercules. To Roman elite, seeing the Emperor do this was appalling because gladiators were not supposed to be high class; they were slaves or prisoners, and this is reason the Roman elite disliked his behavior. Senators were forced to witness a number of these games. It…
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