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Roman Emperors. Stephen Corbitt Academic Team 2011. Early Emperors.

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roman emperors

Roman Emperors

Stephen Corbitt

Academic Team


early emperors
Early Emperors
  • Octavian: 27 BC to 14 AD. Adopted son of Julius Caesar. Ruled for 41 years (longest rule). Became known as Caesar Augustus. Ruled at time of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Part of second triumvirate with Marc Antony and Lepidus. After Caesar’s death he fought in a civil war against Antony and was crowned first emperor after victory. Began Pax Romana.
  • Tiberius: 14 to 37. Born in Rome. Married to Octavian’s daughter. Brilliant general, led campaigns across Europe. Very somber and reclusive. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified drying his reign.
  • Caligula: 37 to 41. Very popular, but fell ill and suffered paranoia. Had many family members banished. Tried to make his horse a consul. Eventually assassinated.
69 ad year of the 4 emperors
69 AD: Year of the 4 Emperors
  • Nero: 54-68. Considered insane. Killed his own mother. Unpopular with rich, popular with poor. Accused of causing fire in 64. Persecuted Christians. Forced Seneca to commit suicide. Built fire in area burnt down by fire.
  • Galba
  • Otho
  • Vitellius
  • Vespasian: 69-79. Beginning of the Flavian Dynasty. Built Flavian Amphitheatre (Coliseum). Ruled during Judean revolts.
flavian dynasty
Flavian Dynasty
  • Titus: 79-81. First son of Vespasian. Good general. Crushed Judean revolt. Ruled effectively during Vesuvius disaster.
  • Domitian: 81-96. Second son of Vespasian, supposedly involved in Titus’s death. Terrible general, bad for economy. Devalued Roman money. Stabbed 8 times.
five good emperors
Five Good Emperors
  • Nerva: 96-98. Elected by Senate. Choose heir based on capabilites, not heredity.
  • Trajan: 98-117. Great general. Brought empire to its largest by conquering Dacia (built Trajan’s Column in commemoration), Armenia, Sinai, and Mesopotamia.
  • Hadrian: 117-138. Stoic and philosophic. Built Hadrian’s Wall and the Pantheon. Very popular. Realized empire was too large and withdrew from a few provinces.
  • Antonius Pius: 138-161. Longest reign since Augustus. Very Popular.
  • Marcus Aurelius: 161-177. Last of the Five Good Emperors. Wrote philosophy, Meditations. Fought campaigns against Germanic tribes along the Rhine.
the tetrarchy
The Tetrarchy
  • Diocletian: 284-305. Secured throne after Battle of Margus. Created tetrarchy, where the empire was spilt in half, and each side was ruled by an emperor and his deputy. Led the empire’s last and largest Christian persecution.
  • In 313 A.D. Tetrarchy ends, Constantine left in West, Licinius in East
  • Constantine: 324-337. Fought many civil wars until his rule was undisputed. Saw cross in the sky at Milvian Bridge in 312. Had his mother Helena build churches at important Christian sites. Edict of Milan allowed religious tolerance.
nearing the end
Nearing the End
  • Theodosius I: 379-395. Last emperor to rule both halves of the empire as a whole. Made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. Led many military campaigns against the Goths.
  • Honorius: 395-423. Son of Theodosius. Decided to abandon Britain, leaving citizens there to fend for themselves against the Celts, Saxons, and others. Left the Western Roman Empire in a state of decay and on the verge of collapse.
  • Romulus Augustulus: 461-479. Last emperor of the Western Empire. Dethroned by Odoacer. Dark Ages soon began.