Commodus (r. 180 - 192) was the first Roman emperor to be born to the purple, in other words he was born into the reigning family, his father, Marcus Aurelius, having mounted the throne on March 7th, 161. Commodus was born six months later on August 31st.
Commodus became emperor on March 17th 180, at the age of eighteen. He reigned for just under thirteen years. On December 31st 192 he was strangled to death in his bath in a conspiracy involving his praetorian prefect and his mistress!
There is a beautifully preserved bust of Commodus as Hercules, his favoured deity, in Rome's Musei Capitolini.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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