HW1#: How Evil was Commodus? – by Garnet Garcia

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.

Bethelie Rivera: How Evil Was Commodus?

Commodus was a Roman emperor, and just along his bust (“The Bust of Commodus”), it was designed to be sculpted to give off the appearance of masculinity and dominance, as he wanted to be seen as Hercules. The sculpture has Commodus holding fruits with his left hand, while a club in his right hand, resting on his shoulder (Which the club representing gladiator matches he would partake in, or the other killings he has done. While the fruits could mean the “giving” he thought he had done as being a Roman emperor). Along with wearing a headpiece that resembles a lion (which also represents power and/or strength). I viewed it as Commodus abusing the power he had and getting the respect he thought he deserved and becoming egoistic. However, with the brutal pain he brought when he was an emperor, as based on the Lampridius’s biography “Historia Augusta”, Commodus was sinister and conceited and in the biography stated that for his amusement he would have cut open someone who was obese, down the middle of his belly; This is so that his intestines would fall out and Commodus put a starling on the head of a man who had a few white hairs which resembled worms and it caused his head to fester through the continual pecking of the bird’s beak. Commodus would slaughter thousands just for his own entertainment. Killing thousands of innocent civilian lives to show that he was superior and almighty to his empire. In the final analysis, the view of the bust is different than I first thought of it to be, Commodus led his life to be violent and destructive to the whoever went against him or questioned his authority.

Jeron Ryan: How Evil was Commodus

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.

How Evil Was Commodus?

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.

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.

Daisy Xia:How Evil was Commodus?

Commodus Antoninus, he is a very horrible person he did many unspeakable things. Which I believe is way past borderline torture, it is full on torture and for no good reasons. All the bad things that Commodus did had no real purpose. I believe that he did it because he just felt like it and because he was in a position to do so. He abused his power and used it as an excuse to do things that were not right. I think that he might be a psychopath. One of the examples of Commodus’s evil act is when he put a starling on the head of a man who he noticed had a few white hairs, resembling worms and caused his head to fester through the continual pecking of the bird’s beak. I thought was horrible because what did he have against this man? What was the reason for this?. I found Commodus, who murdered some people because they were noble and handsome than him was something really childish. In one part of the reading it said that Commodus often mixed human excrement with the most expensive foods and he tasted them. I found that to really disgusting and weird. I do not think that Commodus was a well man he might have been mentally ill. In my opinion, he was a really selfish, childish, weird and cruel person.