Commodus Lucius Aelius Aurelius

Commodus Lucius AElius Aurelius, a Roman emperor, was born A.D. 161, and succeeded his father, Mark Aurelius, as emperor in 180. From early youth he was noted for weakness of character, licentiousness, and cruelty. His father was the first emperor who issued a decree of persecution against the Christians. On the accession to the throne of Commodus the persecution ceased, owing, it was said, to the influence of his concubine, Marcia. According to Irenaeus, Christians were found during the reign of Commodus even in the palace, and in the service of the emperor. But, though Commodus did not decree to persecute the Christians, there were laws according to which Christians who were informed against were to be tried. Thus the learned senator Apollonius, who was informed against by one of his slaves, was condemned to death. Partial persecutions during the reign of Commodus are mentioned by Tertullian, and Irenaeus likewise speaks of martyrs of this time. But, as Commodus was supposed to be favorably disposed toward the Christians, the governors of the provinces felt no inclination to carry out the laws against the Christians. — Wetzer u. Welte, Kirch.-Lex. 2:717.

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