Augustan Histories [Historia Augusta]
Scriptores Historiae Augustae
Latin (Imperial Era)
COMMODUS ANTONINUS AELII LAMPRIDI
I. 1 De Commodi Antonini parentibus in vita Marci Antonini satis est disputatum.
[It is quite a matter of debate as to who the actual parents of Commodus Antoninus, as it relates to Marcus Antoninus' life.]
2 Ipse autem natus est apud Lanuvium cum fratre Antonino gemino prid(ie) kal. Septemb(res) patre patruoque consulibus, ubi et avus maternus dicitur natus.
[In any event, he was born in Lanuvium, along with his twin brother Antoninus--little Antony-- on the day before the Kalends of September, in the year when his father and uncle both were consuls, and on the exact day his maternal grandfather is said to have been born.]
3 Faustina cum esset Commodum cum fratre praegnans, visa est in somnis serpentes parere, sed ex his unum ferociorem.
[When Faustina was pregnant with her brother, it is said that she had dreamed that she would give birth to serpents, but that one, Commodus, would be fiercer than the others.]
4 Cum autem peperisset Commodum atque Antoninum, Antoninus quadrimus elatus est, quem parem astrorum cursu Commodo mathematici promittebant.
[In any event, after she gave birth to Commodus and Antoninus, Antoninus died at the age four, the exact number the astrologers used to promise to Commodus.]
5 Mortuo igitur fratre Commodum Marcus et suis praeceptis et [et] magnorum atque optimorum virorum erudire conatus est.
[So, when his brother died, Marcus tried to bring Commodus up in accordance to the precepts of historic and most illustrious men.]
6 Habuit litteratorem Graecum Onesicraten, Latinum Capellam Antistium; orator ei Ateius Sanctus fuit.
[He had a Greek teacher named Ονεσικρατες, and a Latin instructor named Capella Antistius; his speech instructor was Aetius Sanctus.]
7 Sed tot disciplinarum magistri nihil ei profuerunt.
[But such a large number of teachers helped him in no respect.]
Tantum valet aut ingenii vis aut eorum, qui in aula instituto res habentur.
[But either the force of his mind, or theirs, was much too powerful for the men that held lessons in their established classroom.]
Nam a prima statim pueritia turpis, improbus, crudelis, libidinosus, ore quoque pollutus et constupratus fuit,
[You see, immediately starting from childhood, he was shameful, misbehaved, cruel-hearted, full of lust, both foul-mouthed and disgraceful in speech,]
8 iam in his artifex, quae stationis imperatoriae non erant, ut calices fingeret, saltaret, cantaret, sibilaret, scurram deniqueet gladiatorem perfectum ostenderet.
[already was he the culprit of activities on becoming of an emperor, such as when he crafted goblets, danced, sang, whistled, and worse of all he appeared dressed as clown, and then a gladiator!]
9 Auspicium crudelitatis apud Centumcellas dedit anno aetatis duodecimo;
[He give a forewarning of his cruelty in the town of Centumcellae, when he was 20 years old.]
nam cum tepidius forte lotus esset,
[On this account, when by chance the warm bath happened to hotter than usual,]
balneatorem in fornacem conici iussit;
[he ordered a bathkeeper to be thrown into an oven;]
quando a paedagogo, cui hoc iussum fuerat, vervecina pellis in fornace consumpta est,
[when the exterior of the teacher's skin was burned off in the furnace, that is, the man to whom he had given this order,]
ut fidem poenae de fetore nidoris impleret.
[so that he cast the integrity of his punishment with the stench of his own burning.]
10 Appelatus est autem Caesar puer cum fratre Vero.
[In any event, he was proclaimed Caesar, not even a man yet, alongside his brother Verus.]
Quarto decimo aetatis anno in collegium sacerdotum adscitus est.
[When he turned 14, he joined the College of priests]
II. 1 Cooptatus est inter + tres solos...
[He was recruited among three alone..]
princeps iuventutis, cum togam sumpsit.
[he became Emperor of the young generation, when gained his right to wear a toga.]
adhuc in praetexta puerili congiarium dedit
[Even still he gave a ceremony to his ceremony by which he donned his toga praetexta as a lad.]
atque ipse in basilica Traiani praesedit.
[and he himself sat in front in Trajan's basilica.]
2 Indutus autem toga est nonarum Iuliarum die, quo in terris Romulus non apparuit,
[In any event, he donned his toga on the Nones of July, on the very day when Romulus disappeared from sight,]
et eo tempore, quo Cassius a Marco descivit.
[and that very time when Cassius was bereaved of Marcus.]
3 Profectus est commendatus militibus cum patre in Syriam et Aegyptum <et cum> eo Romam redit.
[He continued on to be commended by the troops alongside his father in Syria and Egypt, and with him, he returned to Rome.]
4 Post haec venia legis annariae impetrata consul est factus
[After these events, he was elected consul, while a reform to the Lex Annaria was sought]
et cum patre imperator est appellatus V. kal. Dec. die Pollione et Apro consulibus et triumphavit cum patre;
[and when he was given the title of emperor, alongside his father, on the 5th Kalends of December in the consul year of Pollio and Aper, and he celebrated a triumph beside his father;]
nam et hoc patres decreverant.
[on that matter, the senators had also decreed this beforehand.]
5 Profectus est cum patre et ad Germanicum bellum.
[He travelled alongside his father also to the fronts in Germany.]
aquam gessit ut lenonum minister,
[he administered water around, like an instructor of pimps,]
ut probris natum magis quam ei loco eum crederes,
[such that you would believe that he was born more for a position of improbity than for his own position,]
ad quem fortuna provexit.
[to which his good fortune carried.]
III. 1 Patris ministeria seniora summovit,
[He displaced his father's veteran ministers,]
amicos senes abiecit.
[and cast out old friends of the family.]
2 Filium Salvi Iuliani, qui exercitibus praeerat, ob inpudicitiam frustra temptavit
[For no good reason, and out of sheer lack of decency, he tried to prevail over the son of Salvus Julianus, who was the commander of the army,]
atque exinde Iuliano tetendit insidias.
[and thenafter, he accused Julianus of scheming against him.]
3 Honestissimos quosque aut per contumeliam aut per honorem indignissimum abiecit.
[He exiled men from the noblest families, and each of them by slander or by the most degrading appointment.]
4 Appellatus est a mimis quasi obstupratus eosdemque ita,
ut non apparerent, subito deportavit.
[He was made the subject of mockery by mimes, as though he were an outcast, and for that, he kicked them out of the city, so that they could not appear in public.]
5 Bellum etiam, quod pater paene confecerat, legibus hostium addictus remisit
[He, deferring to the laws of our enemies, scaled down the war that his father had almost brought to a successful conclusion,]
ac Romam reversus est.
[and he returned to Rome.]
6 Romam ut redit, subactore suo Saotero post se in curru locato ita triumphavit,
[As soon as he returned to Rome, he celebrated a national triumph, with his own subordinate chief Saoeterus seated in a chariot behind him, like so,]
ut eum saepius cervice reflexa publice oscularetur.
[so that he could gaze upon him all the more often in the eye of the public, as he crooned his neck back.]
Etiam in orchestra hoc idem fecit.
[He even did this in the midst of a orchestra.]
7 Et cum potaret in lucem
[And even when he used to drink during the day,]
helluareturque viribus Romani imperii,
[and he mooched off the strengths of the Roman empire,]
vespera etiam per tabernas ad lupanaria volitavit.
[he still flitted at night along the shops, and straight to the whorehouse.]
8 Misit homines ad provincias regendas vel criminum socios vel acriminosis commendatos.
[He sent men to govern the provinces that were either the associates of known criminals, or had been recommended in ill faith.]
9 In senatus odium ita venit,
[He garnered so much spite from the Senate,]
ut et ipse crudeliter in tanti ordinis perniciem saeviret
[that he, for his own sake, devolved to raging mercilessly against what he perceived as the danger from such an order of men,]
fieretque contemptu crudelis.
[he became purely cruel, as result of their contempt.]