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HomePopularFailed Assassination of Roman Emperor Commodus

Failed Assassination of Roman Emperor Commodus

On this day in history, a small group of conspirators hatched a plan to assassinate the Roman Emperor Commodus. His unrelenting 

On Dec 31st AD 192, the services of the young wrestler were procured by the conspirators to end the emperor’s life. Commodus was strangled by the wrestler in his bath. The conspirators included Praetorian Prefect, Commodus Chamberlain, Electus, Aemilius Laetus, and Commodus mistress, Marcia. This was not the first time an attempt was made on the emperor’s life.

Emperor Commodus began ruling by his father’s side at the tender age of 15. His father, Marcus, feared that his son would neglect his duties as emperor and fall into debauchery once he passed. As fate would have it, Commodus ended all wars with the Germanic tribe and openly humiliated his senator. He also neglected his duties just as his father predicted on his deathbed. His sister, Annia Lucilla, was behind the first attempt on his life.

Over the years, he would have a myriad of conspirators executed, including his sister Lucilla. He consistently avoided state duties and delegated them to men and women he favored. He chose to spend his time fighting wild animals in grant arenas, chariot racing, and wrestling as a gladiator. It’s now widely accepted that Commodus was struggling with mental illness. 

The emperor kept a list of men and women that he intended to have executed. At one point, Marcia discovered her name on this list along with Electus’s and Laetus’ names. This discovery led to the final attempt on the emperor’s life.

After his death, several men attempted to fill the role of the emperor but failed, leading to civil unrest. The war lasted until Septimius Severus succeeded in eliminating his rivals and occupied the throne.

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Dorothy Smith
Dorothy’s friends call her the walking encyclopedia. She would be a great teammate for trivia! She volunteers at the local history museum as a welcome center greeter. Dorothy also leads the children’s book circle time at her neighborhood library.
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