Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius, one of Rome’s greatest rulers, and this only enhanced Commodus’s crimes in the public mind.
He adored the gladiatorial games, so much so that he personally entered many of them and fought alongside the gladiators, who were all criminals and slaves, etc. This severely offended the entire Empire, especially the Senate.
Commodus once ordered all the cripples, hunchbacks, and generally undesirables in the city to be rounded up, thrown into the arena, and forced to hack one another to death with meat cleavers.
He especially adored killing animals, and killed 100 lions in one day, to the spectators’ disgust. He killed three elephants singlehanded in the arena, beheaded an ostrich and laughed at the senators attending, brandishing the head and motioning that they were next. He speared a giraffe to death, an animal which the spectators did not see as fearsome at all.
The senators conspired to have him killed, and poisoned him, but he threw it up. They then sent in his favorite wrestler, a gladiator named Narcissus, who strangled him in his bath. His reign lasted 12 years, from 180 to 192.
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