She was an early Christian from the late Second Century A.D. And was the mistress of the Emperor Commodus.
She is not discussed often by modern Evangelical Christian historians, because she presents a problem to many of them. She was engaged in extra martial affairs, and used the influence she gained though them to do good in advancing the Gospel.
Marcia was most likely Christian and persuaded Commodus to adopt a policy in favor of Christians, and kept close relations with Victor, Bishop of Rome. After Pope Victor I gave her a list she had asked for including all of the Christians sentenced to mine works in Sardinia, she convinced Commodus to allow them to return to Rome. Despite the fact that Marcia was not Commodus' legal wife, he treated her like one and was thus greatly influenced by her. The inscription found in Anagnia testifies that the local city council decided to build a monument, commemorating particularly the restoration of baths on her account.Today, mainstream Christianity is way too prudish. They interpret the adultery laws completely gender neutrally, and insist they apply to all kinds of sexual expression. And they also like to assume that Christians living pre-Constantine where nearly infallible unless it was someone known to have taught a weird Gnostic or Proto-Arrian heresy.
Of course we don’t know if Marcia was ever involved with Commodus while he was still married to Crispina. It’s after she was divorced and killed that Marcia had clearly become Commodous’s favorite. But the possibly of being involved before seems to me to be the only way to explain her escaping her potential culpability in Lucilla’s failed conspiracy.
But in fact early Christians were certainly no less flawed then we are today. Meanwhile it’s pretty clear that Adultery in the Bible is defined in a clearly patriarchal context, it’s about sleeping with another man’s wife, not another woman’s husband.
And now I’m sure many are shocked. “Are you condoning that double standard?". Well I also believe from my studies that The Bible’s sex restrictions are mainly concerned with reproduction. Adultery is defined as “Lying carnally" with another man’s wife. The Hebrew word translated “carnally" is the same word translated “seed" only being used as a noun. That word basically means Sperm or Semen, the basic premise is that it refers to potential reproduction. Wives had a responsibility to the Tribe to make sure that if they become pregnant it was their husband’s child. But in fact I do not see the Bible as condemning all extramarital sex the way most people do.
So yes I agree the double standard is unfair. But society has decided to rectify it by putting on men the same restrictions women used to have. I say the advancement of society should increase freedom not decrease it. I think a couple should decide between themselves what they are or aren't okay with.
Marcia was a an interesting woman. I may not approve of everything she did but I admire her. She wound up being involved in Commodus’s death when he decided he wanted to get rid of her. Where she said a favorite quote of mine.
"Well done, indeed, Commodus. This is fine return for the kindness and affection I have lavished on you and for the drunken insults which I have endured from you all these years. A fuddled drunkard is not going to get the better of a sober woman".