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“...He is blood thirsty, wants to kill his family and name everything after him.. but I believe Commodus is essentially a good lad and is being misjudged by society..He will be a great Emperor as soon as he has served his imperial ASBO order ...”
~ The Rome Young Emperor Offenders' Court Records. A fragment dated from 175 AD.
“AM I NOT MERCIFUL?”
~ Commodus on a good day
“It vexes me, I am terribly vexed.”
~ Oscar Wilde on Commodus not wanting to sleep with him

Commodus (full name : Loonicatus Marcus Commodus 'Look at Me ! I'm Mad' Caesar) is widely credited with destroying the Roman Empire and giving actors like Christopher Plummer and Joaquin Phoenix the chance to chew the scenery by playing him as a crazy man in movies[1].

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Commodus: On the catwalk wearing one of his self designed outfits Hercules For Men . Rome Spring/Summer/Slaughter Fashion Season in 190 AD.

First Signs of NuttinessEdit

The reason for Commodus's later full on lunacy can be blamed on his mother Faustina. She really doted on 'Commie' as he grew up in the Imperial court of his father Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was the only surviving male sibling[2] Whereas his father liked writing a lot of very boring books - the young Commodus preferred to run wild in Rome with his equally dissolute friend - the poet Juvenile (founder of the Urinal School of Poetry). At this stage Commodus seemed reasonably sane - he enjoyed going to see criminals being executed live and a partook in a few modest teenage orgies - nothing exceptional for rich kids in that age or indeed this age.

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Empress Lucilla protects her make-up.

However Commodus was already showing signs that he believed he was the "bees knees" and would command everyone to worship him as a Living God. This included his big sister Lucilla who had grown up to look like Sophia Loren and was the widow of Emperor Lucius Verus[3].

However when his father heard of his son's behavior, he confiscated Commodus's bespoke chariot and banished him to a remote nightclub in Glasgow as punishment. But Faustina intervened and Commodus escaped punishment. Instead he was obliged to spend Saturnalia with his dreary dad on the Roman frontier in the deepest winter snow. Dragging his feet and whining , Commodus went and was pleased when his father died on the second day of the holiday after opening a present, the old 'Dagger-in-the-Box' trick[4]. Officially a story was put out that old Marcus had died from hypothermia and Commodus quickly hid the knife under his imperial pillow.

Hail Fruitcake !Edit

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For those without comedic tastes, the self-proclaimed experts at Wikipedia have an article about Commodus.
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'How do you turn this shower head on centurion ?'. Commodus showing early signs of Divine Daftness !

As soon as he became Emperor in 180 A.D. , Commodus quickly showed that he was going to have fun at everyone's expense. A huge party was thrown to start the reign which saw the usual circus of freaks, basket cases and psychopaths applying for jobs in the Empire. Commodus agreed and replaced the sane with the insane and so started off the collapse of the Roman Empire.

At first Commodus ruled without particular rancour but within a couple of years his older sister Lucilla organised a conspiracy to kill him. She and her cohorts got the chop but this close brush with death convinced Commodus he was now untouchable. It was time to full-on mad bat crazy.

In 183 AD Commodus officially changed the name of the Roman Empire to the Commodian Empire and renamed all the months of the year in his honour:-

  • January - Madtime
  • February - Barking
  • March - Fairies
  • April - Gibbering
  • May - Kooky
  • June - Frothing
  • July - Foaming
  • August- Batshit
  • September - Barmy
  • October - Certifiable
  • November - Deranged
  • December - Demented

The days of the week were just listed 'Wackaday 1 - through to Wackaday 6 when Sunday became 'Wacked Out'. Rome also renamed Commodium Central and the provinces had various stupid names like 'Shittitania' , 'Asia Arseholia' and 'Transvestite Gaul'.

Did Anyone Notice?Edit

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Mad Minimus Commodus v Mad Maximus Commodus : The Outcome of this contest surprised everyone !

That is the strange thing. No Romans seemed to mind the Emperor's name changing but they were surprised when he started walking around in animal skins and said he wanted to be a top gladiator. This really offended many Romans who paid good money to watch their leader dispatch a stream of pensioned-off fighters in the name of ratings. When the Colosseum authorities ran out of crocked gladiators - they emptied the zoos but first drugged the wretched animals before they were thrown into the arena with the emperor. At least the crowds in the cheap seats (the' Vulgars' ) liked it at the time though soon taking bets agains Commodus were deemed treasonable and worthy of a no expenses paid tour of duty as an imperial galley slave.

Tell Me More Crazy Things !Edit

Commodus was popular with the Roman mob, he was good at providing a great show. There was 'Gladiatorial Apprentice' where the winner was the one who hadn't died in the previous rounds. This didn't prevent Commodus exercising his full executive powers to execute you anyway[5] and keep the prize money.

Commodus's favourite trick was to stand in front of the Senators and their wives sitting in the posh seats in the Colosseum and decapitating a live chicken. He would then throw the bloodied head into the seats and made a cutting action across his throat to everyone watching to show that he meant murderous business that day !

Operation : Non Compost MethanolEdit

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Marcia and Narcissus celebrate a successful mercy killing.

Eventually.....well twelve years later - and not like in the movies after about two hours before Christopher Plummer/Joaquin Phoenix get their just deserts - a conspiracy was hatched, matched and dispatched against the frenzied Emperor. His estranged girlfriend Marcia (she being just 'estranged' and not strangled like her predecessor) and her boyfriend - a fashion model named Narcissus - finally did away with the imperial unhingedness. Commodus wasn't offered counselling or a retraining course or even a spell in a rest home - no ... he was strangled in his bath by Narcissus - which was at least a clean way to go.

Oops..Almost forgot ! The ChurchEdit

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Saint Marcia or Saint Mascara as she is also known in the current Book of Catholic Saints.

Marcia (now Saint Mascara) had become a Christian when she had her boyfriend bumped off in the bathroom. It is also related by the Christian authors that Commodus was nice mad emperor unlike Caligula and Nero as he didn't persecute the church. It seems he was so busy naming everything after him and saying he was a Living God - he forgot to indulge in any mild mass killing of Christians. So perhaps thanks to Marcia - Commodus's memory wasn't especially damned until the historian Edward Gibbon blamed him for everything and the movie industry took their cue from that - and went about turning this otherwise normal lunatic into Nerotic Grand Madness instead.

LegacyEdit

The Romans celebrated the death of Commodus by honouring all their bathrooms as 'Commodes' - but we should note - this was meant as a very grave insult. Naturally everyone ditched calling each other Commodus and would have lived happily every after - just like in the movies - but the Praetorian Guard decided that now that Rome was without an imperial ruler - they were going to start a new tv show : 'Who Wants To Be a Roman Emperor?' as a replacement to 'Gladiatorial Apprentice'.

ReferencesEdit

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Twincest. They tried it all in Rome.

  1. A couple of scenery chewing performances
  2. Commodus had a twin brother Crapus who died young whilst another jumped out of a window to see if he could fly like Icarus. He couldn't.
  3. Best known for his beard
  4. A bit like the old Mafia 'birthday cake' trick except this involves midgets
  5. As the winners in 185, 188 and 191 were to discover

See AlsoEdit

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Preceded by:
Marcus Aurelius
Roman Emperor
180-192
Succeeded by:
Pertinax