|“||Now let's go try on our racing outfits for the dress rehearsal, shall we? I can’t wait to remake this city in my own image!||”|
Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus commonly known as Commodus, was a Roman Emperor who was made a god-emperor by his followers. He was the main antagonist in The Dark Prophecy and a supporting antagonist in The Tyrant's Tomb. He was in a Triumvirate Holdings alongside Nero and Caligula. He was killed by Apollo during the Battle of San Francisco Bay when Apollo vanquished him with his voice.
Commodus was born in 161 AD near Rome, the son of Marcus Aurelius, the wise ruling emperor, and Faustina. When she was pregnant Commodus and his brother, she seemed to give birth to two serpents in a dream, although one of these were fiercer than the other. However, after she had born both Commodus and Antoninus, his brother, the latter, being four years old, perished and was entombed, whom the interpreters of the stars promised would be equal in fortune as Commodus. After Antoninus' death, Marcus Aurelius then attempted to educate him with his own teachings and with the teachings of some of the most illustrious and excellent men in Rome.
But all these teachers of so many studies did not profit him at all, for right from the beginning of his boyhood, he was disgraceful, unmannerly, cruel, licentious, and also uncultivated and gross in speech. Already then he was a craftsman in certain crafts which were not befitting of his imperial rank, insofar that he would shape goblets, dance, sing, whistle, and perfectly imitate the manner of a fool or gladiator.
In 172 AD, during the Marcomannic War, Commodus was given the victory title Germanicus. He ruled as junior co-emperor alongside his father from 177 AD until his father died of natural causes in 180 AD, and ruled on his own from 180 to 192 AD. Many say Commodus' reign marked the beginning of the end of the Western Roman Empire, coming after a long period of peace and prosperity.
Reign as Emperor
When he was eighteen years old, he took the throne and became the lover of the sun god Apollo for a short while. During a military campaign with Marcus Aurelius, they were on a couch in the expensive campaign tent, Apollo kept throwing grapes in Commodus' mouth. Although Aurelius' reign was virtually at war, he just desired to have fun, not tromp around Danubian forests or stamp out barbarian tribes who weren't really threats. He admitted his father wouldn't listen to what he said and despised his new wife, Bruttia Crispina, whom Aurelius bade him marry. When a centurion came in to inform Commodus of his father's death, he decided to let him go and have his blessings.
When Commodus became the sole emperor, he forsook the war which his father had almost finished, after agreeing to the enemy's terms. When he returned to Rome, he held a triumph in his honor. He then left all his decision-making to his advisors so that he could goof off. In public, he had a preference for gladiatorial battles, and he loved throwing extravagant games and slaughtering exotic animals and traitors (both real and imagined) at the Flavian Amphitheater. Commodus also liked to dress up in lion skin like Hercules and rename some months after himself; despite the easy life and being born into the purple of the Imperial Household, he was the very model of athletic perfection.
At home, he would often play dice, keep large numbers of women like prostitutes herded together in a place like a brothel, and behave like the vendors that wandered about from forum to forum. He also was accustomed to manage a chariot in the habit of a charioteer, to live amongst gladiators, to drink from dusk until first light, squander the resources of the Roman empire, and, at night, to wander through the pubs and brothels of the city, even that it seemed as if he were born in squalor and disgrace, rather than into the royal rank which fortune had bestowed upon him.
Thus, a hatred of him arose in the Senate, even that he lusted cruelly for the ruin of so great an order, and became ruthless because of it.
Emperor Commodus was finally assassinated on the cold winter day of New Year's Eve in 192 AD by Apollo. He was disguised as his personal trainer, Narcissus. That day's game involved Commodus tossing severed heads of ostriches into the seats of the senators and killing an old man with his sword. They'd practiced fighting techniques like wrestling all afternoon and spent the rest of the day laughing and talking like the old days. But Commodus didn't know Narcissus was Apollo, the god wanted to turn him back into what he was before. The praetorian prefect, Laetus, and mistress, Marcia, demanded that "Narcissus" kill him since they had failed to poison him at lunch, and they themselves were at the top of the emperor's list of enemies, followed by several senators, noblemen, and some priests in the temple of Apollo Sosianus. Since Commodus was thinking about hiring "Narcissus" as an advisor, he decided to give him a bath. But then, Apollo strangled him underwater, whereupon the emperor mouthed his last words: "You. Blessed. Me." The empire was left in chaos as a result of his death and Apollo was very unhappy, but Commodus was reborn as a god. The city prefect, Pertinax, was proclaimed emperor the next day but his reign was short-lived, he was the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors.
In the Series
Commodus, alongside Nero and Caligula, influenced many events throughout history via Triumvirate Holdings -- using the company to fund Luke Castellan during the Second Titan War, and Octavian during the Second Giant War. At some point of time, he settled in Indianapolis, location of the Waystation refuge for demigods, had a palace underneath the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, and spread rare creatures all over the city and beyond. His forces kidnapped the Gryphons of Britomartis, Heloise and Abelard, and he killed the mate of an elephant named Livia. He used to love sending his men into the Cave of Trophonius, watch them go insane, and get glimpses of the future. The oracle told him that if he destroys the Waystation and Apollo is sacrificed in his games, he'll be able to rechristen the city and rule the Midwest forever as god-emperor. He was going to rename it "Commodianapolis" as it rolled off the tongue, he was never afraid of naming cities or even countries after himself. Nero and Caligula thought the city was boring but Commodus planned to prove them wrong. First, he would make his announcement by saying a few words and thank them for coming. Then, he'd send a Blemmyae army with champagne bottles to smash against all the buildings and banners are unfurled along all the streets, any bodies retrieved from the Waystation are dangled on ropes from the girders of the Lucas Oil Stadium.
Commodus is currently residing in Indianapolis intending to make the city his new capital and rename it Commodapilis. He first appears in Apollo's dream in his lair in the sewers. He chews out his Germani for letting Meg McCaffrey escape. Then, he has his new consort, Lityerses, kill them and take his place. Apollo has several flashbacks and dream of when he was with Commodus the day his father was killed and how he killed the emperor.
Commodus appears in person during the rehearsal for his naming ceremony at the stadium for the Indianapolis Colts, the emperor plans to have the real ceremony tomorrow after he takes out the Waystation. He unleashed monsters, animals, and mercenaries onto the field causing Apollo and Meg to fight back. Commodus ordered them to stop before revealing a bound Peaches suspended in the air. He prepares to kill the Karpoi by setting him on fire using a train. Apollo rides Livia to block the car. Then he cut off the helmet Livia was wearing and the elephant flung it at the god emperor, causing him to swerve off the track and roll and crash on the field while Meg freed Peaches. Commodus was about to kill Lityerses for letting the Hunters of Artemis through but Leo Valdez arrives on Festus with the hunters to save them.
Commodus took a last resort in getting rid of Apollo by having his Blemmyae set up a bomb to get rid of him in the Oracle of Trophonius. But Trophonius actually wanted his cave destroyed, so Apollo tricks the blemmyae into blowing up themselves instead of him and Meg. While that happened, Commodus takes part in attacking the Waystation. His Germani manage to hold Emmie, Georgina, and Leo hostage while Josephine, Calypso, Lit, and Thalia Grace stood on the opposite end at a stalemate. The emperor demands the Throne of Memory for the hostages, but Apollo tells his friends to stand down and he tells the emperor to leave before he sees the fear in Commodus' eyes. The now mortal god miraculously unleashes his Divine Form and blinds the emperor and his troops. Commodus is thrown out of the Waystation and somehow vanishes.
Apollo briefly mentions Commodus when reflecting on the recent events that unfolded in Indianapolis. He was mentioned by Apollo in the Cistern at Aeithales when he tells Meg that all they could do to him was force him out of the city despite him being the weakest emperor of the Triumvirate.
When Apollo threatens to commit suicide in an attempt to prevent Caligula from replacing him as the sun god, the emperor tells him he does not play games like Commodus. Apollo understands what he meant by that after he killed Jason Grace, instead of being more interested in putting on a good show, he goes right for the kill.
After Apollo’s flash attack, he is nearly blinded. He can still see, but only in strongly lit areas and not at all at night.
He and Caligula are sailing north to continue the assault on Camp Jupiter, discussing battle plans and their distain for Nero. They reveal that they will reach the camp in a week. Since the events in Indianapolis, he has lost his eyesight and he blames Apollo for it.
During the assault a break in the fighting occurs when he and Caligula pull up to the Caldecott Tunnel on chariots pulled by de-winged pegasi. They demand surrender but Frank Zhang calls for spolia opima, single combat to the death. They accept and Apollo agrees to fight. He agrees and challenges Apollo while Caligula fights the son of Mars. They head into the tunnel and he crushes Apollo's combat ukulele, in response Apollo punches him across the road and into the guardrail. He sneaks up on Apollo and punches him in the scratch. While he is distracted, Apollo stabs him in the back of his knees. He is caught in the explosion caused by the son of Mars's trap. He manages to crawl out of the explosion alive, albeit severely burned. In a fit of rage, Apollo tackles his former lover and shouts, rendering what remained to ash.
Commodus is a narcissist. He thinks he has the right to do whatever he wants. In The Dark Prophecy, he shows the desire to name the city, its major landmarks, and even dates and times, after himself. Commodus holds deep-seated fears, anger, and bitterness. He hasn't been able to come to terms with the fact that Apollo, his friend, and former lover, murdered him.
Commodus has a disregard for the rules, born from the fact that he disliked his father's strict adherence to them. Commodus is also impatient, wanting things done now, and killing those who advise caution or restraint. He also has a habit of seeing traitors in groups - some real, some imagined - and is blind to the fact that his actions are what created the real traitors.
Unlike Nero, Commodus is actually very good looking. He has curly brown hair with a beard, perfect teeth and brilliant blue eyes. His body is bulked up with six-pack, golden abs. It makes him look like a hero so much, people can mistake him for an airbrushed, overly muscular caricature of Hercules, hence his nickname, the "New Hercules".
After the Attack on the Waystation, he was blinded by Apollo's flash of light and has acid burn like scarring around his eyes. His vision has deteriorated to the point were he can only see if there is bright light around.
- Like Nero, Commodus is a God-Emperor and thus is more than likely a considerably powerful being.
- He is limited, however, unable to locate Meg McCaffrey, implying a lesser power when compared to the true gods. He also has to work through Meg, implying that his powers are not freely manipulated like a god. This may be due to his lack of a domain which often dictates a deity's powers.
- Immortality: Commodus is immortal though greatly limited as unlike the gods who can live without worship to some degree, Commodus and Nero were both unable to live in more than a weak, near death state when forgotten.
- Enhanced Reflexes: Commodus has keen reflexes beyond human capability, using them he was able to catch an arrow out of the air without seeing, and move blindly without trouble.
- Massive Strength: Commodus is unnaturally strong with a single punch being capable of killing a normal human. He was also capable of tearing Festus apart with his bare hands without much difficulty, coming out of the fight without injury.
- Commodus was the last in the Nerva-Antonine dynasty.
- He hated his father who he claimed was too virtuous.
- Commodus created the combat ostriches to up his game when he didn't find shooting ostriches entertaining anymore. Marcus Aurelius told him that they couldn't be trained but he was proved wrong.
- He was a lover of Apollo, making him the first LGBT Specific villain within the Greek Pantheon and second in the main literary universe after Loki.
- The Dark Prophecy, Ch. 13
- Apollo's Least Favorite Roman Emperors; Companion to The Dark Prophecy
- The Dark Prophecy, Ch. 25