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COMMODUS.

successor. The new prince from that time for­ward, as we infer from inscriptions and Fasti, laid aside his former appellations, and, passing into the gens Aelia, was styled L. aelius verus* caesar, being the first individual on whom the title of Caesar was bestowed to indicate the next heir to the imperial throne. Of the early life of Aelius Caesar we know nothing except that he attracted the attention and gained the favour of Hadrian by his personal beauty and literary accomplishments, although the son-in-law of Nigrinus, who was put to death as a traitor. The precise date of his adoption is a disputed point among chronologers (see Tillemont and Eckhel), some, on the authority of Spartianus, declaring for a. D. 135; while others with greater probability conclude, from inscriptions and coins, that it took place the year following, He is set down in the Fasti as consul for a. d. 136, under the name of Ceionius Cornmodus, which seems to prove that the ceremonies of adoption had not at all events been completed at the commence­ment of that year; while on the coins of his second consulship, which belongs to A. d. 137, we find him designated as L. Aelius Caesar, and invested with the tribunicia potestas. Soon after his ele­vation, he was nominated governor of Pamionia, returned from his province in the course of 137, died suddenly on the 1st of January, 138, and was interred in the mausoleum of Hadrian.

Aelius Caesar, according to the testimony of his

biographer, Spartianus, was a man of comely fea­tures, graceful bearing, and noble aspect, but in all other respects deeply stamped with the impress of mediocrity. lie displayed moderate abilities as a statesman, governed his province respectably, was considered a tolerably good general, and al­though somewhat addicted to the pleasures of the table and other luxurious indulgences, maintained a decent character in his private life and social rela­tions. His health was so wretched, that Hadrian is said to have speedily repented of the choice he had made, declaring that he had leaned for support upon a falling wall, and had thrown away the large sums lavished on the soldiers and people in largesses and shows in honour of the adoption. Aelius Caesar left behind him one daughter, Fabia, and one son, namely

4. L. ceionius commodus, who was born at Rome on the 15th of December, A. d. 130. Upon the adoption of his father by Hadrian, he passed into the gens Aelia, and was entitled L. Ceionius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. Again, after the death of his father, he was, in pursuance of the command of Hadrian, adopted, along with M. Aurelius, by Antoninus Pius on the 25th of February, a. d. 138, and thus became L. Ceionius Aelius Aurelius Coin-modus Antoninus. During the lifetime of Pius he enjoyed no peculiar distinction except the appella­tion filius Aug'iisti; in 156 he was quaestor, and in the year following consul, an honour which he enjoyed for a second time, along with his brother by adoption, in 161. After the death of Anto­ninus Pius, which took place in March, 161, he was invested with the titles of Caesar and Au­gustus^ and by the favour of the new sovereign admitted to a full participation in all the imperial

* Spartianus in several passages gives him the name of Verus and so Hadrian (ap. Vopisc. Saturn. c. 8); but Cardinal Noris rejects Verus, because it does not appear in inscriptions and Fasti.

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COMMODUS.

dignities. At the same time, M. Aurelius trans­ferred to him the name of Vertis^ which he had himself borne up to this time, and the designation of Commodus being altogether dropped, the younger of the two Augusti was addressed as the emperor L. aurelius verus. His journey to the East; his conduct during the campaign against the Par-thians ; his marriage with Lucilla, the daughter of M. Aurelius; his return to Rome; the joint tri­umph of the two princes; their expedition into Germany, and the sudden death of Verus at Alti-num in the country of the Veneti, towards the close

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of A. d. 169, in the 39th or 40th year of his age and the 9th of his reign, are fully detailed in the biography of M. aurelius, to which the reader is referred.

It may be remarked, that there is some question as to the various names enumerated above. In opposition to the clear and explicit testimony of Spartianus, Lampridius, and Capitolinus, it has been doubted whether he was ever called Antoni­nus^ because it never appears upon any public monument of unquestionable authority. But if we suppose it to have been assumed, as appears most natural, at the period of his adoption by Pius, and dropped after his elevation to the purple, the diffi­culty will be in a great measure removed, although it must be confessed, that the Augustan historians represent him as having received the designations of Antoninus and Verus at the same time from M. Aurelius.

(Dion Cass. Ixix. 17, 20, 21, Ixxi. 1, &c.; Spar-tian. Hadrian, 23, Ael. Ver.; Capitolin. Ver. Imp. Anton. Pius, 4, M. Aurel. 4, 5, 7, &c.) [W. R.j

COMMODUS, L. AURELIUS, son of M. Aurelius and the younger Faustina (see genealo­gical table prefixed to antoninus Pius), was born at Lanuvium on the last day of August, a. d. 161, a few months after the death of Antoninus Pius, and this was the first of the Roman emperors to whom the title of Porphyrogenitus could be correctly applied. Faustina at the same time gave birth to a twin son, known as Antoninus Geminus, who died when four years old. The nurture and edu­cation of Commodus were watched and superin­tended from infancy with anxious care; and from a very early age he was surrounded with the most distinguished preceptors in the various de­partments of general literature, science, and phi­losophy. The honours heaped upon the royal youth as he advanced towards manhood have been accurately chronicled by his biographers. He re­ceived the appellation of Caesar along with his younger brother Annius Verus on the 12th of Oc­tober, a. d. 166, at the time when M. Aurelius and L. Verus celebrated their triumph over the Parthians \ he was styled Germanicus on the ] 5th of October, 172; in 175, on the 20th of January, he was admitted a member of all the sacerdotal colleges; on the 19th of May he left the city, having been summoned in all haste to Germany in consequence of the news which had arrived from Syria of the rebellion of Avidius Cassius ; on the 7th of July he was invested with the manly gown, proclaimed Piinceps Juventutis, and nominated consul-elect; he then accompanied his father to the East, and, during his absence from Rome, Sar-maticus was added to his other titles ; on the 27th of November, 176, he was saluted Imperator; on the 23rd of December, he shared in the triumph celebrated over the Germans, and was assumed as

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