Lucius Aurelius Commodfs Antoninus, emperor of Rome, born at Lanuvium, A. D. 161, assassinated Dec. 31, 192. He was the son of Marcus Aurelius and the younger Faustina, daughter of Antoninus Pius. He inherited all the vices of his mother, without any of the virtues of his father, and his advent to the throne in 180 was the signal for a series of cruelties, rivalling if not surpassing those of Caligula and Nero. Hastily making peace with the Quadi and other German tribes, he gave himself up to the vilest debauchery, and even his own sisters became the victims of his lust. Appearing as Hercules before the people, he slew thousands of beasts with bow and spear, and fought publicly as a gladiator many hundred times, while the affairs of the government were left in the hands of the freedmen Perennis, Anterus, Oleander, Laetus, Eclectus, and other worthless favorites. The enormous taxes requisite to support his extravagance, a conflagration of Rome, and a famine, at length drove the people to despair, and disturbances broke out which caused the death of Oleander. Finally, his own favorites, finding that they were marked for execution, resolved upon his death; and the poison administered by his concubine Marcia working too slowly, the gladiator Narcissus was called to strangle him.
The senate declared him an enemy of the republic, and commanded his statues to be broken, and his name to be erased from the public inscriptions. Several detected conspiracies, some victories over the Caledonians achieved by Ulpius Marcellus, and the addition of an African corn fleet to that of Egypt, are the principal events of his reign.