After Commodus became emperor, Commodus’ actions while emperor became increasingly disturbing, and an assassination plot was hatched by Lucilla, her nephew, her daughter, and two cousins. Lucilla planned to take over as empress afterwards, but the scheme failed. As her nephew attempted to stab Commodus, he shouted, “Here is the dagger the senate sends you!” This was ample warning to Commodus’ guards. The male members of the plot were immediately put to death, while Lucilla, her daughter, and cousin were banished to Capri. However, Commodus had them executed also a year later, in 182 AD.
In 161, when she was between 11 and 13 years old, Lucilla’s father arranged a marriage for her with his co-ruler Lucius Verus. Verus, 18 years her senior, became her husband three years later in Ephesus in 164. At this marriage, she received her title of Augusta and became a Roman Empress. At the same time, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus were fighting a Parthian war in Syria.
Lucilla and Lucius Verus had three children:
- Aurelia Lucilla was born in 165 in Antioch
- Lucilla Plautia
- Lucius Verus
Aurelia and the boy died young.
Lucilla was an influential and respectable woman and she enjoyed her status. She spent much time in Rome, while Verus was away from Rome much of the time, fulfilling his duties as a co-ruler. Lucius Verus died around 168/169 while returning from the war theater in the Danube region, and as a result, Lucilla lost her status as Empress.