It was rather difficult to make it through most of the article, mainly because the things this man did was so unfathomably gruesome that I had to stop every now and then just to stomach what I had read. Is it the worst behavior I’ve ever seen? Probably not; I’ve seen similar displayed in movies and shows that aim to either reflect or exaggerate behaviors such as this one. However, there is something jarring about reading this as the behavior of an actual human being who lived as opposed to just watching some actor play out a character in Game of Thrones or Gladiator.
Vile is an accurate description, but the word that came to mind for me more often was deranged. It was said in class that he was not the worst of the emperors. That’s actually terrifying. There’s something exceedingly childish about his behavior; it’s as if someone gave a sociopathic 10-year-old all the power in the world and let him do what he pleased. The child has no conscious and only knows his selfish desires no matter how inhumane or insane. It says there was no respect for anyone no matter the ability or status, which means no matter who you were or what you did, you could easily be his next victim.
After reading the entire article on the life of Commodus I would have to say that Commodus bought a new meaning to evil. The fact that it started out in the womb made it worst. It was said that his mother had a dream about two serpents and that one was fiercer than the other. Commodus happened to grow up spoiled and also fouled mouthed as described in the article. Starting from a young age, the first time that it was noted that he was cruel was when he sent a serpent to burn into a furnace after his bath appeared to be too cool. It also intrigues me how he was able to put many people to death with just his will and status. The craziest part is that barely anyone dared to stand against him due to his status. I also think that those who were around him that had authority had a huge role in his evil intentions because they were al ridiculed and decided to go along with whatever was said by Commodus. another thing that surprises me is how he was able to murder people with no remorse. An example could be when he put servants to death just because they made a correctable mistake and when he would put others to death based on his opinion and because he felt as if they were threats or had some kind special quirk. He also treated the opposite sex as play toys or factors of pleasure. He had no care and was clearly unfit to rule a whole nation.
How evil was Commodus? At the age of 12 teachers began to educate Commodus, however he wasn’t Interested in knowledge Instead he wanted power. He ordered the bathkeeper to be cast into the furnace, because his bath was to cold. As for the slave who was order to commit this Incident was forced to lie in order to make him believe that the cause of the stench was vapour. As Commodus got older his behavior has gotten worse towards the years. Such as gathering women so he could purchase them. He would eventually kill his sister than banish his wife from her house, than would kill her. His abuse of power would eventually concern other person which would result him to be sentence to death.
After peace was made in Pannonias the attempts such as gathering more crops in Rome that were mention, would eventually be turn down by the generals were declined. Commodus himself was lazy to sign multiple documents, because not because there was any real shortage of crops, but merely because those people who then ruled the state were plundering the food supply. As for those who plundered on every hand, Commodus afterwards put them to death and confiscated their property.
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.
Commodus as expressed in the Historia of Augusta was a highly offensive, morally debased individual. In the biography he is depicted as an emperor who abused his power. In the bust of Commodus, he is shown with what appears to be a club in his right hand, along with fruits (probably apples) in his left hand. Commodus was a very violent person and thoroughly enjoyed observing and take part in gladiator matches. This might be why he has the weapon in his right hand. Also, in the bust, Commodus has the remains of a lion on top of his head with the lion’s paws wrapped around his shoulders. I believe that this was done to portray a level of fierceness, power, and respect. Besides being an extremely vile individual, Commodus seemed to be very narcissistic and absorbed with himself. He really wanted to be seen as Hercules and also had the names of months changed in order to honor himself. I also gather the sense that Commodus was an extremely sadistic person. In the biography is says that he placed a starling on top of the head of a man that he noticed had a few white hairs amongst the black which resembled worms. This in turn caused the bird to continually peck at the man’s head, causing much pain and discomfort. Commodus’ bust also has a defined, muscular build, demonstrating strength and authority. This bust commemorates one of the many emperors whom abused their position of power.
Commodus was obsessed with Hercules for, “He allowed statues of himself to be erected with the accouterments of Hercules;” . This obsession led him to act out of cruelty for he wanted power. His efforts to gain power consisted of disgracing and slaughtering others as well as torturing others for his own amusement. For example, “he put a starling on the head of one man who, as he noticed, had a few white hairs, resembling worms, among the black, and caused his head to fester through the continual pecking of the bird’s beak”. Commodus was an evil man that believed through his obsession of Hercules, that he was like a god. He had sacrifices done in his name and he sought out to execute a number of men to show his status. This obsession also led to questionable sexual acts, as he had in his company men that were named after both female and male sexual parts and he would give them kisses. He also forced people to complete embarrassing and demoralizing acts while naked. Such as when he made Julianus dance naked in front of others while “clashing cymbals”. These numerous acts of cruelty show just how evil Commodus was.
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 [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Historia_Augusta/Commodus*.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.
PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR POSTS BY MONDAY October 7 Midnight (Same DUE DATE as Paper #1)