Commodus fights as a Gladiator: A.R. 929

WAG 7748


This is one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. This composition was used for a headpiece in 'Le Souvenir, A Pocket Remembrancer', a memorandum book printed by J Cary for Godwin in 1807, on the page for 1st July. Commodus, Emperor of Rome from 180 to 192 CE, was a brutal and corrupt dictator who became insane and believed he was the god Hercules, strong enough to fight as a gladiator and to kill lions with bow and arrow.