no edit summary
The ‘Five Good Emperors’ era is often seen as Rome and Roman civilization's high point. Gibbon claimed that the period of their rule was the happiest in human existence.<ref>Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Hamondsworth, Penguin, 1984), p 17</ref> The Roman Empire was largely peaceful and well-governed. The provinces had become more urbanized and Romanized, and a host of religions and minorities generally lived in peaceful harmony. The economy was generally buoyant, and long-distance trade flourished. Foreign invaders rarely breached the frontiers of the Empire.
The German tribes were an occasional treat, but the Parthians in the east had been humbled and weakened by Trajan. However, this era was not quite the golden age, as depicted by Gibbon. There was a great deal of poverty, inequality, banditry, and rebellions that were not unknown.
The Marcomanni War, when Marcus Aurelius, after many hard battles, defeated a powerful confederation of German tribes , was an indication that the Romans were not invincible. Moreover, the so-called Antonine Plague had decimated the population of the Empire, and this demographic disaster was to have long-term consequences for Rome.<ref> Gilliam, J. F. "The Plague under Marcus Aurelius." American Journal of Philology 82.3 (July 1961), pp. 225–251 </ref> However, Commodus inherited a stable and secure realm after the achievements of his father, Marcus Aurelius. Commodus would quickly destabilize Rome and bring the era of The Five Good Emperors to a disastrous end.
==How did Commodus become Emperor?==
[[File: Commodus 2.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Bust of Marcus Aurelius]]
Commodus was born on August 31, 161 AD. His father was Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was revered by his subjects and was also a great philosopher. The young Commodus received an excellent education based on Stoic principles and, from an early age, accompanied his father on his campaigns in the
Marcomanni Wars.<ref>Geoff W Adams, Emperor Commodus: Gladiator, Hercules or a tyrant? (Boca Raton, Brown Walker Press, 2013), p 17</ref> In 177 AD, he was made the joint ruler of the Empire with his father.
In 180 AD, Marcus Aurelius died while on campaign beyond the Danube. Commodus became the sole and absolute ruler of the Roman world. He immediately paid a donative to the legions. To fund this, he devalued the coinage for the first time since the reign of Nero. Commodus continued the campaign against the German tribes on the Danube but soon entered into negotiations with the enemy. He signed a peace treaty that ended the Macromannic Wars, which had lasted almost 18 years.
No one in the elite and his government was safe. By 190, Commodus was completely paranoid. The Emperor personally killed citizens who refused to attend the Games. <ref>Adams, p 118. </ref> On December 31, 192, the Prefect of Rome and some members of the Emperor’s inner circle had him strangled while he was bathing with the champion wrestler, Narcissus. The Senate immediately proclaimed Pertinax, the city prefect, one of Commodus's assassins, the new Emperor. <ref>Herodian, CHP. 1</ref> His death marked the end of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty.
==Why did Commodus end the
[[File: Comm 3.jpg|300px|thumb|left| The Colosseum in Rome, where Commodus killed animals and gladiators]]
By 180 AD, the legions had been at war for eighteen years. It seemed that Rome was on the verge of a complete victory and was about to annex the Marcomanni and their allies' territory, the Qadi. Marcus Aurelius hoped that one more campaign season would result in a complete and total victory and expand Rome into central Europe. His death changed all of this. Soon after his death, Commodus ended the war, and many ancient writers regretted this, and later historians echoed this until recent times.