Saturday, 28 May 2005
How Commodus was Conceived
Commodus in 'Gladiator' (played by Joaquin Phoenix)
Commodus was one of the most sadistic, cruel and self-indulgent Roman emperors. To add to all this, he was also extremely bad at governance, like Caligula and Nero before him. He was widely hated and was strangled by his bath attendant in A.D. 192, contrary to the popular film 'Gladiator', which shows him dying in the arena (in which he did however fight very often).
The story of his conception is perhaps equally as loathsome as his personality and traits. He was the son of the emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife Faustina. Apparently, one day Faustina saw a gladiator in the arena, who aroused an immense passion in her. She became obsessed. Juvenal tells us:
"Faustina, daughter of Antoninus Pius and wife of Marcus Aurelius, having seen the gladiators pass one day, conceived the most violent love for one of them; and this passion having made her ill for a long time, she confessed it to her husband. Chaldeans whom Marcus Aurelius consulted, said that it was necessary that this gladiator should be killed and that Faustina should bathe in his blood and afterwards lie with her husband. When this advice had been followed, the empress's passion was in fact spent, but she brought into the world Commodus, who was more of a gladiator than a prince."
Commodus, dressed as Hercules, his hero
Posted by Anna at Saturday, May 28, 2005