Historia Augusta, 7. Commodus

LCL 139: 264-265

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Commodus Antoninus

Commodus Antoninus

Aelii Lampridii

I. De Commodi Antonini parentibus in vita Marci 2Antonini satis est disputatum. ipse autem natus est apud Lanuvium cum fratre Antonino gemino pridie kal. Sept. patre patruoque consulibus, ubi et avus 3maternus dicitur natus. Faustina cum esset Commodo cum fratre praegnans, visa est in somnis 4serpentes parere, sed ex his unum ferociorem. cum autem peperisset Commodum atque Antoninum, Antoninus quadrimus elatus est, quem parem astrorum 5cursu Commodo mathematici promittebant. mortuo igitur fratre Commodum Marcus et suis praeceptis et magnorum atque optimorum virorum erudire conatus 6est. habuit litteratorem Graecum Onesicratem, Latinum Capellam Antistium; orator ei Ateius Sanctus fuit.

7 Sed tot disciplinarum magistri nihil ei profuerunt. tantum valet aut ingenii vis aut eorum qui in aula institutores habentur. nam a prima statim pueritia turpis, improbus, crudelis, libidinosus, ore quoque pollutus

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Commodus Antoninus i

Commodus Antoninus

by

Aelius Lampridius

I. The ancestry of Commodus Antoninus has been sufficiently discussed in the life of Marcus Antoninus.1 As for Commodus himself, he was born, with his twin brother Antoninus, at Lanuvium—where his mother’s father was born, it is said2—on the day before the Kalends of September, while his father and uncle31 Aug., 161 were consuls. Faustina, when pregnant with Commodus and his brother, dreamed that she gave birth to serpents, one of which, however, was fiercer than the other. But after she had given birth to Commodus and Antoninus, the latter, for whom the astrologers had cast a horoscope as favourable as that of Commodus, lived to be only four years old. After the death of Antoninus, Marcus tried to educate Commodus by his own teaching and by that of the greatest and the best of men. In Greek literature he had Onesicrates as his teacher, in, Latin, Antistius Capella; his instructor in rhetoric was Ateius Sanctus.

However, teachers in all these studies profited him not in the least—such is the power, either of natural character, or of the tutors maintained in a palace. For even from his earliest years he was base and dishonourable, and cruel and lewd, defiled of mouth, moreover,`

  • 1Marc., i. 1-4,
  • 2Cf. Pius, i. 8.
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.historia_augusta_commodus.1921