More Ramblings from a Los Angeles Programmer

March 5, 2006

IV. (180-195 AD) The Cruelty, Follies and Murder of Commodus — Election of Pertinax — His Attempts to Reform the Senate — His Assasination by the Praetorian Guards

Filed under: decline and fall of the roman empire, history — Josh DeWald @ 6:04 pm

Ok, the title turns out to pretty much make any summary I can do irrelevant as it grabs all the salient points. Nonetheless…

Marcus‘ son Commodus succeeded him and three years later, in 183, his sister Lucilla attempted to have him killed but was herself exiled and then executed. The attempt was falsely made in the name of the Senate but it still made him suspicious of them. As a result, many senators and their families were murdered. Eventually a plot by his favorite concubine and head of the Praetorian Guards had him poisoned and then strangled in his sleep.

A senator born of slaves, Pertinax, was chosen to succeed Commodus. He recalled from exile, and pardoned, many of those who had experienced the wrath of Commodus’ suspicion. Many administrators of the empire, as well head of the Praetorian Guards, Laetus, were angered by the fact that Pertinax wasn’t quite so loose and luxurious with them than Commodus had been and attempted to have him killed. He failed but a mob of guards later seiged the palace and brutally killed him. Pertinax’s reign lasted 86 days.

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