Taylor B:How Evil was Commodus?

Commodus’ obsession with Hercules, reveals his thirst for power and obsession with authority. In many pieces of art the lion is shown as regal, powerful and a creature that demands respect and the fact that Commodus’ bust has the skin of a lion draped over it shows that he has conquered power and respect. The club he wields in his hand demonstrates the brutality with which he will wield his power as told in the Life of Commodus, “In his passion for cruelty he actually ordered the votaries of Bellona to cut off one of their arms,  and as for the devotees of Isis, he forced them to beat their breasts with pine-cones even to the point of death.”(289). His thirst for blood was also fueled by his brutality by participating in some 700 gladiatorial bouts. Apart from his brutality, Commodus also believed himself to be the reincarnation of Hercules, as shown by the golden apples in his hand. Commodus renamed months after himself, Hercules and those that “flattered” him. In respect to the awful and barbaric things Commodus has done under his reign, it’s surprising that any works with his face still exist, the stories told about his reign would surely have made people want to erase his mark from history.