after the death of Paternus [PATERNUS] in A. D. 183, became sole praefect of the praetorians, and Commodus being completely sunk in debauchery and sloth, virtually ruled the empire. Having, however, rendered himself obnoxious to the soldiery, he was delivered up to them, and put to death, together with his wife and children, in A. D. 186 or 187.
The narrative of Dio Cassius, who states that his death was demanded by a deputation of fifteen hundred dartmen, despatched for this special purpose from the turbulent army in Britain, and that these men, after having marched unmolested through France and Italy, on their approach to Rome, overawed the prince, although his own guards were far more numerous, is so improbable that we can scarcely give it credit. Moreover, Dion represents the character of Perennis in a very different light from that in which it is exhibited by other historians. Although he admits that Perennis procured the death of his colleague Paternus, in order that he might rule with undivided sway, he would yet depict him as a man of pure and upright life, seeking nought but the prosperity and safety of his country, which were utterly neglected by Commodus, while Herodian and Lampridius charge him with having encouraged the emperor in all his excesses, and urged him on in his career of profligacy. (Dio Cass. Ixxii. 9, 10; Herodian. 1.8, 9; Lamprid. Comoeod.