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In 193 AD, five different men held the title of Emperor. The Praetorian Guard assassinated Petrinax when he tried to reform the Imperial Bodyguard. His successor bought the Imperial throne before Septimius Severus overthrew him. <ref> Historia Augusta, Life of Petrinax, 8 2</ref> Severus fought two bitter civil wars to secure his claim to the throne. Commodus's disastrous reign led to the most protracted period of instability in the Imperial lands since 66 AD. However, Septimius Severus proved that he was an able leader and stabilized the chaotic Empire a year after Commodus's assassination. The reign of the man who was obsessed with the Games and gladiators was one that ended the political stability that Rome had enjoyed for almost a century. <ref>Speidel, p 110</ref>
==Was Commodus a Bad Emperor==
Marcus Aurelius was arguably one of the most respected Roman rulers and one of its greatest philosophers. His son, Commodus, was completely unsuited by temperament and character to be the sole ruler of an extensive state. He revolted against his father's influence and Stoic education and acted contrary to what had been expected of him. He also became increasingly mentally unstable sometime during his reign. Commodus is arguably one of the worst emperors in its history.
He ended the Marcomanni War, which was arguably the right strategic decision. However, his extravagance led to the devaluation of the coinage and inflation. Commodus's rule was bloody, and his executions of elite members were something that had not been seen in over a century. The ruler also had a new concept of the Emperor as an absolute ruler, unrestrained by the Senate or even the law. His government was chaotic, and this led to civil war and instability after his death. Commodus's reign was undoubtedly the end of an era. After 100 years of good government, the Empire experienced over a decade of misrule. In the 3rd century, it became increasingly authoritarian and more unstable, and some of this can be attributed to Commodus's rule.