pool party

It was not merely an empire. It was the world. The Roman Empire. And yet, one evening it was offered up for sale to the highest bidder. What is more, the man who would be emperor by midnight began dinner on March 28,193 A.D. without the slightest notion that he would be eating his dessert from Imperial dishes and tableware. Great things happen, of course, when you least expect them. The name of the man was Didius Julianis…

…But let us not disparage the Praetorian Guard merely because the foisted a few psychotic emperors onto the Roman people. They were, at least, at the start, superb soldiers. They had discipline. And the behaved well under sovereigns they respected. They were fine underr Vespasian (A.S. 70-79), likewise under Titus and Domitian (79-96).

—when it becomes clear that Aurelius means to disinherit his unstable son Commodus (Christopher Plummer) in favour of Livius. Commodus, they expect, will be a more malleable, belligerent, and thus profit-bringing emperor. Commodus, anti-intellectual and combative with his sister, prefers the company of gladiators, especially old pro Verulus (Anthony Quayle), and brings them with him to the front line to protect him in a risky effort to trap the barbarian leader Ballomar (John Ireland). Stalwart soldier Polybius (Andrew Keir), however, despises the gladiators and executes several he feels let down in battle, an act that results in Commodus and Livius battling out their resentments.—Read More:http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2010/the-fall-of-the-roman-empire-1964/4843/

They were exemplary during the reigns of the so-called Good Emperors: Nerva,Trajan,Hadrian- who drilled the troops himself- and Marcus Aurelius. In fact, these years (96-180) were a high point for the Roman Empire in every way. Edward Gibbon goes so far as to proclaim that this was ” the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous.” What happened?

Marcus Aurelius made a mistak. Yes, this great and good man., this wise and humane philosopher-emperor, made a single tragic error. Instead of emulating his four previous predecessors and choosing the best qualified man to succeed him to the throne, he chose his own son. It was the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire.

His son’s name was Commodus. It is scarcely believable that he was the progeny of the noblest Roman of them all. His father was Hyperion; he was a satyr.

—Commodus used to take his meals in the baths. He entered the sacred temple, his hands covered in his victim’s blood. With a weak health, he had moments of euphoria followed by long periods of depression. Personifying adversity, misery and terror, he used to let himself be called “Roman Hercules”, , as his illustrious model, his portraits represented him dressed with a lion’s skin brandishing a bludgeon.—Read More:http://www.maquettes-historiques.net/P38c.html

There is no purpose to chronicle the scandals of Commodus’s reign, to speculate on what he did with his three hundred concubines or his three hundred “ripe young men,” the Puberes exoleti. Nor is it worth hashing over Commodus’s career in the arena, where he killed sundry gladiators, criminals, beasts,and-when the whim struck him-spectators. Let the description of an ancient biographer suffice: he was “base,evil,libidinous,foulmouthed, and depraved” – and that was his honorable side. More succinctly, impurior Nerone, “more corrupt than Nero.”

But Commodus ruled for twelve years. And he might have lasted even longer had he not carried his insouciance a tiny bit too far.

He offended the Praetorian Guard. No one really cared when he built a thousand-pound gold statue of himself, renamed the months after his vari

hermaphroditic titles, or persuaded the senate to rebaptize Rome as Colonia Commodiana. After all, Rome had suffered madmen before.

But once, in front of a full assembly of the guard, Commodus pushed the prefect into the imperial swimming pool. Then he made him dance-unclothed-before his concubines. Then he killed him…( to be continued)

Related Posts

This entry was posted in Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>