Lucius Aurelius Commodus was born in the 161 A.D. who was later appointed by his father Marcus Aurelius as a co-emperor in 177 A.D. He was just 16 years old. He was born at Lanuvium, a city that is fourteen miles south east of Rome on 31st August, 161 CE. He was the last child out of 10 children and only on to survive his twin brother Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antonuis, who died at the age of four. He did not inherit any of his father’s ethics and found life of government to be tedious. He served in battle along with Marcus on the northern frontier in 178 and 179 CE. Commodus finally returned to Rome after his father’s death and negotiated a peace settlement, that was favourable and effective for Rome. In the initial days, he used to leave his reins of power on others and devote his entire time to the different pleasures of the world. He considered his 12 years of reign as a new “golden age”. For others, his life of freedom and excess paranoia was considered the reign of terror. His simplicity was later taken over by cowardice which led him to lead a lustful and cruel life, which sooner became his second habit and in turn nature as he started to rely on other to rule in his place. He could be easily manipulated which allowed numerous conspiracies against him. These were initiated by his elder sister Lucilla and a number of senators in 182 CE. During his tough time, a joint commander of the Praetorian Guard with Paternus, Tigidius Perennis began to become closer to the emperor in order to get advantages of the governmental power which led Commodus to pursue other interests of his life. After his sister act of cruelty against him, he refused to be in public and all the communication was done through the new chamberlain. Perennis on the other hand, did not leave a moment to prove his power and acted both efficiently and brutally, eliminating the interference of any rivals and making numerous foes along the path. Later in 185 CE, Cleander, the former slave and a member of imperial household, leaked the cruel plot of Perennis of overthrowing Commodus and assuming power. Soon after, Commodus declared the execution of Perennis. Commodus was forced to return to his normal life where Cleander was declared as the new chamberlain of the emperor. Cleander took the responsibility and destroyed all opposition. Cleander also did not last for long in the reign of Commodus. Cleander’s cruel deeds have led people to cry for his head as they marched through the streets to the residence of the emperor at Villa of the Quintilli. Commodus feared for his life and when attempts to quelling the mob had failed, Commodus gave them what they have been wanting- the head of Cleander was places on a pole and marched through the streets of Rome. Soon after that Commodus took over the reins of government.
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