Weird History

The Real Commodus Was An Even More Over-The-Top Emperor Than Gladiator's Version

You likely know the name Commodus as the bad guy from Gladiator, the Best Picture winner from 2000. Played as a pervy psychotic by Joaquin Phoenix, Emperor Commodus is portrayed as a man with insecurities motivating his actions. And while that may be an accurate, historical understanding of the emperor's persona, there's a lot more to Commodus’ biography than the made-up bits starring Russell Crowe. 

Who was Commodus? Believe it or not, the movie version of the Roman emperor was actually white-washed to cover up his degenerative insanity. Born into a world that prepared him to be a ruler, Commodus grew up believing some pretty fantastic things about himself. Sure, Commodus fought in the arena with ancient Roman gladiators, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the atrocities Commodus inflicted on the people around him. If you were fascinated by the profoundly creepy emperor in Gladiator, you haven’t seen anything yet - read on to discover insane tales about Commodus.