His mother Domitia Calvilla (or Lucilla) was a lady of consular rank, and the family of his father Annius Verus (prefect of the city and thrice consul), originally Spanish, had received patrician rank from Vespasian.
The first years of his reign were uneventful, but in 183 he was attacked by an assassin at the instigation of his sister Lucilla and many members of the senate, which felt deeply insulted by the contemptuous manner in which Commodus treated it.
In Carthage the archdeacon and later the bishop Caecilianus severely blamed a certain Lucilla for carrying about with her a relic which she used to kiss before receiving the Eucharist (Optatus, De schism.
Mensurius had held moderate views as to the treatment of the traditores, and accordingly a strong fanatical party had formed itself in Carthage in opposition to him, headed by a wealthy and influential widow named Lucilla, and countenanced by Secundus of Tigisis, episcopus primae sedis in Numidia.
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