Sabiha Begum: How evil was Commodus?

The picture of this sculpture is a bust of Roman Emperor Commodus, styled as if he were similar to  Hercules. Lucius Aurelius Commodus, born 161 A.D was a Roman emperor who ruled along with his father Marcus Aurelius and after the death of his father in 177 A.D. Based on the reading in Life of Commodus in Lampridius’s biography, at his young age Commodus is portrayed first just as a typical spoiled dishonorable, and cruel and lewd individual. In his biography, he portrayed the first act of his cruelty when his bath was drawn too cool, he ordered the bathkeeper to be cast into the furnace. Following this, there are many examples that prove that Commodus was indeed an evil and unbelievably wicked emperor. According to Historia Augusta, Commodus pretended that he was going to Africa, so that he could get funds for the journey, then spent them on banquets and gaming instead. “He allowed statues of himself to be erected with the accoutrements of Hercules and sacrifices were performed to him as to a god”. He disgraced every class of men in his company and was disgraced in turn by them. For fun, he would do despicable things such as placing a starling bird on a head of one man who had a few white hairs, resembling worms, and caused his head to fester through the continual pecking of the bird’s beak. He would murder many people, just because of the fact that they were handsome, pluck out the eye or cut off the foot of many others.  It is also claimed that he often mixed human excrement with the most expensive foods, and he did not refrain others from tasting them.

HW1: How Evil was Commodus?

You may have heard of the gladiator-obsessed Roman Emperor Commodus (reign 180-192 CE) made infamous in the movie Gladiator. Read sections 9-11 of the Life of Commodus in Lampridius’s biography Historia Augusta.  Click on the following link [*.html, section 9 begins with ” He pretended once that he was going to Africa” and section 11 ends with “He was called Germanicus on the Ides of “Hercules” in the consulship of Maximus and Orfitus.”]

Assignment: Write a 200-word post relating the Roman portrait bust of Commodus as Hercules to what you think are important points in Lampridius’s biography. To submit your Homework on the OpenLab, follow the directions “How To Post.” Please check off the category #studentHW and add a few keywords to tag  your post.

Commodus as Hercules

PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR POSTS BY MONDAY October 7 Midnight (Same DUE DATE as Paper #1)