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HIST 2905 Feb 4, 2014.docx

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HIST 2904
Greg Fisher

From Galba to Commodus: Marcus Aurelius • 180: Stayed on Danube • 182: Plot by Luculla, Senate, nearly succeeded to kill him, but did not and started a reign of terror • 182-185: Empire practically ruled by Praetorian Prefect o This was the only reason that the Empire was able to keep going o Ran finances and made sure everything came up o But he was murdered when he put his son up for Emperor • 185-189: Empire under influence of Cleander o Commodus was not interested in ruling o Cleander: went nuts • Sold public offices to highest bidder • Executed people on a whim without trial • Sold seats in senate to his friends and family • In the space of the 5 good emperors, everything was destroyed Main events • 189: Cleander became Praetorian Prefect • 190-2: Conspiracies • To remove Cleander and his predecessor from office • At this point, Commodus images real and fake conspiracies everywhere in the last couple years of his life • The palace was collapsed in a series of intrigues of concubines, strange visitors, Commodus himself developed a series of strange obsessions  Thought he was the living incarnation of Hercales and Hericles • Strange obsessions  Heracles  Commodus decided to rename Rome to Colonia Commodiana (like Nero)  Renamed the Legions (the armies were angry and resisted this [named after his favourite things, like his concubines)  Renamed the months as well as renaming himself to the "one who prevails over everything"  Called himself the "First among the gladiators" • Jan 1: Gladitorial procession New Year's day celebration   Commodus added this in, to deal with his obsession of Gladiators • Plan for 193: human sacrifice - including favourite concubine, Marcia [though he planned her death]  Dec. 31, 192  Commodus was strangled in his bathtub • Commodus has a very brutal nature, cruel, frequently butchered gladiators in mock battles • Madness of Commodus o Empire actually managed to keep going (Really thanks to the Praetorian prefects and good planning) • But there was fighting in Scotland and the Romans abandoned the Antonine wall in Britain  Note role of praetorian prefect - vice emperor • Death of Commodus - Empire lurches to new crisis  New period begins in Roman history • To give an idea of the purges that the Commodus actually went to go, Cassius Dio, 73.6 - purges under Commodus • Antonines - Highpoint of Roman history o Death of Commodus = Formal end of pax Romana, end of the Antonine dynasty • Notable events o Increased role of provincials o Increased wealth of provinces o Corresponding decline Italy - result of 'Globalization' • Old centre of Italy, which was the economic, political and cultural powerhouse went into decline, this was a pattern seen many times in history, globalization removed the primacy of it  Only in economic law was italy still the centre • Made possible by strength of Roman state  Power of centre to control the very edges of the empire • End of the emperors and the dynasty o Intellectual life - italy, Roman law • Meditations, which were written in Latin, were now written in Greek - Significant • Reflects widening division east vs. west • Stable empire  The emperor now wrote in Greek rather than in Latin
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