Narcissus (wrestler)

Narcissus (born 2nd century C.E.) was a Roman athlete,[1][2] likely a wrestler,[3] from the 2nd century AD. He assassinated the Roman emperor Commodus in 192 AD.

Life and workEdit

He is best known to history as the assassin of the Roman Emperor Commodus, by whom he was employed as a wrestling partner[2][3] and personal trainer in order to train Commodus for his self-indulgent appearances in the Colosseum as a gladiator.

In 192 AD, several senators, led by Praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus, recruited Narcissus to assassinate the emperor after a previous failed attempt by the conspirators.

On 31 December 192 AD, Commodus's concubine[2] and conspirator Marcia poisoned Commodus's wine. The poison failed, so Narcissus entered Commodus's bedchamber.[4] Commodus was supposedly in a drunken stupor after Marcia had poisoned him[1] and Narcissus proceeded to strangle his master in his bathtub[1] or, according to Herodian, in his bed.[3]


Narcissus died by execution during the series of civil wars after Commodus's death.


  1. ^ a b c Cassius Dio, Roman History, Book LXXII, pg. 117.
  2. ^ a b c Lampridius, Historia Augusta. "Life of Commodus," pg. 306.
  3. ^ a b c Herodian of Antioch, History of the Roman Empire from the Death of Marcus Aurelius to the Accession of Gordian III, I.i.; Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1.4.
  4. ^ Wasson, David L. "Commodus". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22 November 2020.