055. Commodus


According to Gibbon, the emperor Commodus spent the early years of his reign "in a seraglio of three hundred beautiful women and as many boys, of every rank and of every province." Later, adding bloodshed to his round of pleasures, he launched a career in murder, beginning with the dispatch of the usual senators, ministers and family members and continuing with the slaughter of beasts. Styling himself the Roman Hercules, he went as a performer into the amphitheater, where he cut down before the public a number of ostriches, a panther, a hundred lions, an elephant, a rhinoceros and a giraffe. He then entered the lists as a gladiator. Commodus fought 735 times and paid himself such a high fee for each appearance that a new tax had to be levied. He was strangled by a wrestler while drunk.

Denarius. 192 AD. L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, laureate head right / P M TR P XVII IMP VIII COS VII P P, Fides standing left holding standard & cornucopiae, star right. RSC 583a. RIC 233

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19 oct. 2018
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