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The Five Good Emperors is a term referring to a group of Roman emperors who reigned between the 1 st and 2 nd centuries AD. This period is often regarded to be the high point of the Roman Empire, as the prosperity and power of the empire was uninterrupted for over 80 years. Yet, it was also during this time that the first cracks began to emerge in the empire, which would later contribute to the decline and eventual fall of the Roman Empire.
The Course of the Empire, painting of Rome by Thomas Cole . Photo source: Brandmeister / Public Domain .
Who Were the Five Good Emperors?
The Five Good Emperors were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Alternatively, the Five Good Emperors are known as the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty. While Nerva was made emperor by the assassins of Domitian, the rest of the Good Emperors came to power as a result of being adopted by their predecessors, as opposed to actual blood relations. The Nerva ‘Dynasty’ consisted of Nerva, Trajan, and Hadrian; whereas the Antonine ‘Dynasty’ comprised of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. Occasionally, the latter includes Lucius Verus , Marcus’ adoptive brother and Commodus, Marcus’ biological son.
The first of the Five Good Emperors was Nerva, who became emperor after the assassination of Domitian in 96 AD. At the time of his ascension Nerva was already 66 years old and was not expected to reign for long. Nerva’s short reign of 15 months meant that he did not have the time to contribute to the empire like the other Good Emperors did. Nevertheless, by accepting the throne after Domitian’s assassination, Nerva was able to prevent the empire from plunging into civil war as had happened in 69 AD after the death of Nero. He once again maintained the stability of the empire by adopting Trajan and naming him his successor.
Expansion and Consolidation
The period of the Five Good Emperors saw the Roman Empire achieve its greatest territorial extent. Trajan’s 19-year reign, which lasted from 98 AD to 117 AD, saw a number of military campaigns being carried out in the East. In 101 AD Trajan launched his first military campaign against the Dacians followed by a second one in 105 AD. The Romans emerged victorious and the emperor’s triumph over the Dacians was commemorated in a triumphal column known as Trajan’s Column . The emperor then campaigned against the Parthians and succeeded in sacking the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon. Moreover, Trajan’s campaign saw the annexation of the Nabataean Kingdom, Armenia, and Mesopotamia.
View of Rome with Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, the Column of Trajan and a Temple. ( DcoetzeeBot / Public Domain )
The task of consolidating the empire, however, was left in the hands of Trajan’s successor Hadrian, who reigned for 21 years, from 117 AD to 138 AD. Realizing that it was impossible to hold on to the territorial gains made by his predecessor, Hadrian decided to abandon Armenia and Mesopotamia. Unlike Trajan, who believed that Rome’s prestige rested on military conquest, Hadrian was of the opinion that it was more important to develop the areas already under the Rome’s control. Hadrian’s concern for the provinces may be seen in the fact that he visited almost every province of the empire during his reign.
Hadrian, however, was not well-loved by the Senate and after his death was refused deification. His successor Antoninus Pius, however, succeeded in persuading the Senate to confer the customary divine honors upon his adoptive father, thereby earning him the title ‘Pius’. Antoninus Pius’ reign of 23 years, which lasted from 138 AD to 161 AD, was a period of peace during which no major wars or revolts occurred.
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Statue of Antonius Pius in armor. (Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/ Public Domain )
The Era of The Five Good Emperors Comes to an End
Antoninus Pius was succeeded by his adopted sons, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, who reigned as co-emperors. When the latter died in 169 AD, Marcus became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. For centuries after his death, Marcus was held in high esteem and often considered to be a model emperor. Indeed, Marcus was an abled administrator and well-known for his philosophical views. Unlike his predecessor, however, Marcus’ 19-year reign, which lasted from 161 AD to 180 AD, was much less peaceful. In the same year of his ascension, for instance, the Parthians invaded Syria. Although the war was won by the Romans, the returning troops brought with them the plague. The pandemic, known as the Antonine Plague, ravaged the empire from 165 AD to 180 AD. Additionally, the emperor had to deal with the Germanic tribes who were raiding across Rome’s Danubian frontier.
The angel of death striking a door during the plague of Rome. (Fæ / CC BY-SA 4.0 )
Marcus’ greatest failure as emperor, however, was his succession by his biological son Commodus. Unlike his father and the other Good Emperors, Commodus is remembered by history as a tyrannical ruler. Worse still, after his assassination in 192 AD civil war broke out once again and the following year came to be known as the Year of the Five Emperors, during which five emperors sat on the Roman throne in quick succession of each other.
Emperor Commodus as Hercules and as a Gladiator. (Ghirlandajo / Public Domain )
6c. The Pax Romana
The term "Pax Romana," which literally means "Roman peace," refers to the time period from 27 B.C.E. to 180 C.E. in the Roman Empire.
This 200-year period saw unprecedented peace and economic prosperity throughout the Empire, which spanned from England in the north to Morocco in the south and Iraq in the east. During the Pax Romana, the Roman Empire reached its peak in terms of land area, and its population swelled to an estimated 70 million people.
This map depicts the Roman Empire in 117 C.E., at the height of the Pax Romana.
Civil War and More
After the murder of Julius Caesar, a period of civil war erupted in Rome. Out of this turmoil emerged the Second Triumvirate, consisting of Lepidus, Antony, and Octavian, who was Julius Caesar's nephew. This new triumvirate ruled Rome for a decade, but as happened with the First Triumverate, differences among the leaders eventually emerged.
The romance between Antony and Cleopatra has inspired the imaginations of artists for a millennium.
Octavian defeated Lepidus in battle, and then turned his armies against the more powerful Mark Antony. Antony had fallen in love with and married the spellbinding queen of Egypt, Cleopatra. At the Battle of Actium off the coast of Greece in 31 B.C.E., Octavian's navy defeated the navy of Antony and Cleopatra, who later both committed suicide.
Octavian returned to Rome triumphant and gave himself the title of princeps or "first citizen." Octavian was careful not to upset the Senate by declaring himself dictator as his uncle Julius Caesar had done. Even though Octavian ruled as a de facto dictator, he maintained the Senate and other institutions of the republican government.
In 27 B.C.E., the Senate bestowed the holy title of Augustus upon Octavian. Augustus, as he became known, ruled for 41 years, and the policies he enacted lay the groundwork for the peace and stability of the Pax Romana.
All Roads Lead to Rome
The Roman army built the roads that connected the vast Roman empire. By layering sand, cement, and stone, they created durable roads that lasted long after the fall of Rome.
Many of the advances in architecture and building relied upon the Romans' discovery of concrete. Concrete made possible the creation of huge rounded arches and domes.
One of the most famous structures built during the Pax Romana, the Pantheon in Rome, has one of the largest freestanding domes in the world to this day.
During the Pax Romana, many of Rome's finest writers (such as Horace, Virgil, Ovid, and Livy) produced literary and poetic masterpieces. Rome became the economic, political, and cultural capital of the entire Western world.
Caligula's bizarre and sometimes sadistic behavior eventually led to his assassination in 41 C.E.
Bald Is Not Beautiful
After Augustus's death in 14 C.E., other Roman emperors ruled with varying effectiveness. One emperor, Caligula, was mentally ill and regularly abused his power. He was so sensitive about his baldness that he prohibited anyone from looking down upon his head and shaved some people who had a full heads of hair.
Caligula was a vicious sadist who took great pleasure in watching people being put to death. In fact, he often requested that killings be prolonged as much as possible. Caligula also had a tremendous sexual appetite and committed incest with his sisters.
"Consider when thou art much vexed or grieved, that man's life is only a moment, and after a short time we are all laid out dead." -Marcus Aurelius
He even invited his favorite horse to eat at formal state dinners.
Eventually, his bizarre and tyrannical behavior turned the Romans against him, and in 41 C.E., Caligula was assassinated by members of his own Praetorian guard.
Not all emperors were unfit to rule. In fact, a series of leaders known as the Five Good Emperors ruled in succession and presided over a prolonged period of peace and prosperity.
Youth and apprenticeship
When he was born, his paternal grandfather was already consul for the second time and prefect of Rome, which was the crown of prestige in a senatorial career his father’s sister was married to the man who was destined to become the next emperor and whom he himself would in due time succeed and his maternal grandmother was heiress to one of the most massive of Roman fortunes. Marcus thus was related to several of the most prominent families of the new Roman establishment, which had consolidated its social and political power under the Flavian emperors (69–96), and, indeed, the ethos of that establishment is relevant to his own actions and attitudes. The governing class of the first age of the Roman Empire, the Julio-Claudian, had been little different from that of the late Republic: it was urban Roman (despising outsiders), extravagant, cynical, and amoral. The new establishment, however, was largely of municipal and provincial origin—as were its emperors—cultivating sobriety and good works and turning more and more to piety and religiosity.
The child Marcus was thus clearly destined for social distinction. How he came to the throne, however, remains a mystery. In 136 the emperor Hadrian (reigned 117–138) inexplicably announced as his eventual successor a certain Lucius Ceionius Commodus (henceforth L. Aelius Caesar), and in that same year young Marcus was engaged to Ceionia Fabia, the daughter of Commodus. Early in 138, however, Commodus died, and later, after the death of Hadrian, the engagement was annulled. Hadrian then adopted Titus Aurelius Antoninus (the husband of Marcus’s aunt) to succeed him as the emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned 138–161), arranging that Antoninus should adopt as his sons two young men—one the son of Commodus and the other Marcus, whose name was then changed to Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus. Marcus thus was marked out as a future joint emperor at the age of just under 17, though, as it turned out, he was not to succeed until his 40th year. It is sometimes assumed that in Hadrian’s mind both Commodus and Antoninus Pius were merely to be “place warmers” for one or both of these youths.
The long years of Marcus’s apprenticeship under Antoninus are illuminated by the correspondence between him and his teacher Fronto. Although the main society literary figure of the age, Fronto was a dreary pedant whose blood ran rhetoric, but he must have been less lifeless than he now appears, for there is genuine feeling and real communication in the letters between him and both of the young men. It was to the credit of Marcus, who was intelligent as well as hardworking and serious-minded, that he grew impatient with the unending regime of advanced exercises in Greek and Latin declamation and eagerly embraced the Diatribai (Discourses) of a religious former slave, Epictetus, an important moral philosopher of the Stoic school. Henceforth, it was in philosophy that Marcus was to find his chief intellectual interest as well as his spiritual nourishment.
Meanwhile, there was work enough to do at the side of the untiring Antoninus, with learning the business of government and assuming public roles. Marcus was consul in 140, 145, and 161. In 145 he married his cousin, the emperor’s daughter Annia Galeria Faustina, and in 147 the imperium and tribunicia potestas, the main formal powers of emperorship, were conferred upon him henceforth, he was a kind of junior coemperor, sharing the intimate counsels and crucial decisions of Antoninus. (His adoptive brother, nearly 10 years his junior, was brought into official prominence in due time.) On March 7, 161, at a time when the brothers were jointly consuls (for the third and the second time, respectively), their father died.
Main keywords of the article below: rome, ancient, good, 5, peace, emperors, prosperity, five, stability, relative.
The Five Good Emperors brought relative peace, stability, and prosperity to Rome.  Commodus took the throne as the actual biological son of Marcus Aurelius in the year 180 CE. Unlike his father and the other Five Good Emperors, Commodus had no compunction toward self-control or goodness.  With this, we turn attention to Marcus Aurelius, arguably the most famous of the Five Good Emperors. 
Nerva, Roman emperor from Sept. 18, 96, to January 98, the first of a succession of rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors.  As already stated, Nerva began the reign of the Five Good Emperors in 96 CE. Unlike many emperors, he is remembered in history as a rather honorable guy.  Nerva's reign began the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty, which included what history calls the Five Good Emperors.  The reign of the Five Good Emperors was characterized by the adopting of one's heir to the throne, rather than the crown simply going to a biological son or whoever was strong enough to take it.  Perhaps the least famous of the Five Good Emperors, history tells us he was actually very well-liked by the subjects he ruled.  It will explain the rule of the Five Good Emperors of the era, while also highlighting the rule of Commodus, the last of the dynasty's emperors.  With these quotes, we come to the end of our Five Good Emperors, but unfortunately, not the end of the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty. 
The "Five Good Emperors" (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) ruled Rome during the second century A.D. and presided over the final decades of the Pax Romana.  Hadrian - Ancient History Encyclopedia Hadrian Joshua J. Mark Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138 CE and he is known as the third of the Five Good Emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) who ruled justly. 
Here is the list of top 10 emperors who had ever ruled in ancient Rome.  In any case, Domitian's death meant at least somewhat better times for Rome, the rule of leaders Machiavelli (!) called the Five Good Emperors.  I've been reading some good books on Roman leaders/Emperors and am hoping you guys here might have some good suggestions on Trajan or the entirety of the 5 good Emperors.  Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138 CE and he is known as the third of the Five Good Emperors ( Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius ) who ruled justly.  Considered as the last of the five good emperors, and one of the most stoic philosophers, Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire from 161 to 180. 
Nerva was the first of the "five good emperors" and the first to adopt an heir who wasn't part of his biological family.  Five Good Emperors (AD 96-180) On the death of Domitian, Nerva (AD 96-98), a prominent senator with decent administrative experience, took over.  These emperors came to be known as the five good emperors due to their political and military moves, among other qualities but these being the most prominent, that didn't upset public or senatorial sentiments.  I feel that as Nerva being the first good emperor, he was the most important. 
Famously declared by the senate as the best ruler, optimus princeps which means "the best ruler", he ruled the ancient Rome from 98 AD until he took his last breathe.  He initiated construction of the temple of peace, a number of public baths and one of the most majestic structures in ancient Rome the Colosseum. 
Though it would be good to take Professor Fagan's TC History of Ancient Rome first, it is not necessary to do so, as he provides a good background on that period in this course.  The Golden Age of Rome was a period of prosperity that fell under the "Five Good Emperors" of the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty: Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.  In any case, the "five good emperors" were better that their followers-largely because Rome was faced by increasingly hostile border states, as it entered the 4th century. 
They had 5 good Emperors because thats what an 18th century historian dubbed them.  Could someone explain why it would be surprising to have 5 good emperors in a row? I understand there were some bad ones. 
Rated 5 out of 5 by RoyT from Exceeds Expectations! I have a high opinion of Professor Fagan, having really enjoyed his TC courses on the History of Ancient Rome and Great Battles of the Ancient World.  After outlining the plan of the course and defining Roman imperial history, Professor Fagan will survey the types of ancient sources that shed light on Rome's emperors.  There are family trees to help you make sense of the tangled relationships between ancient Rome's emperors there are illustrations and sculptural depictions of emperors including Augustus, Caligula, Trajan, and Commodus and there are maps that show how Rome's borders expanded and evolved under specific imperial reigns. 
The ancients were inconsistent in labeling emperors as good or bad for them, an element of spin was often involved. 
The rulers commonly known as the "Five Good Emperors" were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.  "The Antonines" also appears interchangeably with "the five good emperors" to label Nerva through Marcus Aurelius (but not Lucius Verus and Commodus). 
The sequence of good emperors was brought to an end by the accession to power of Marcus Aurelius’ unworthy son, Commodus (reigned 180-192 CE).  Nerva and his successors who reigned from 96 to 180 CE are known as the "Five Good Emperors".  A series of leaders known as the Five Good Emperors ruled in succession and presided over a prolonged period of peace and prosperity.  Within the empire itself the period of the Flavians and Five Good Emperors was one of sound government and general peace.  The Five Good Emperors were five consecutive emperors of the Roman Empire who ruled from 96 to 180 AD during the Pax Romana.  Note that even under the five good emperors, the emperors still tried to keep rule within their families, despite a lack of sons. 
After the period of the 12 Caesars and Flavians came a time when Rome was ruled by five good emperors in a row.  Between 96 and 180 CE, Rome was ruled by what historians call the Five Good Emperors.  Who Was Antonius Pius? "Antoninus Pius was one of the "five good emperors" of Rome, and was compared with the pious second king of Rome Numa Pompilius. 
Critically view video clips and read Web site content about nine featured emperors to learn more about their individual achievements, personality, leadership style and other key elements of their reign over ancient Rome.  In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century."  The next century came to be known as the period of the "Five Good Emperors", in which the successions were peaceful and the Empire was prosperous.  The period of the "Five Good Emperors" also commonly described as the Pax Romana, or "Roman Peace" was brought to an end by the reign of Commodus.  Marcus Aurelius or Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (121 AD - 180 AD), was the Roman Emperor from 161-180 AD, who is considered as the last of the Five Good Emperors.  In the beginning of the second century these so called good emperors named: Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, Marcus Aurelius. 
The last 2 of the "Five Good Emperors" and Commodus are also called Antonines. 
The enduring Roman influence is reflected pervasively in contemporary language, literature, legal codes, government, architecture, engineering, medicine, sports, arts, etc. Much of it is so deeply inbedded that we barely notice our debt to ancient Rome.  He even scandalized the Roman citizens by nominating his horse as Consul, one of the two men at the head of the republican government in ancient Rome.  The Pax Romana is a two-hundred-year period during which ancient Rome reached its peak of political power, economic prosperity, and artistic creativity. 
Trajan did become emperor when Nerva died, and he did do a good job.  Marcus Cocceius Nerva, an elderly senator of some distinction, was the choice of Domitian’s assassins for emperor and the Senate promptly recognized him. 
When Hadrian died in 134 AD, his adopted son Antoninus became emperor.  The Senate thus ceased to be an instrument of government and became an imperial peerage, largely composed of men who were not qualified by election to the quaestorship but rather were directly ennobled by the emperor.  It was in this period that the centralization of authority in the hands of the emperor was completed the "dual control" established by Augustus, which had been unreal enough in the 1st century, was now, though not formally abolished, systematically ignored in practice.  There is one more emperor we must mention, and he is known to history as Commodus.  Coming to the throne in 161 CE, Aurelius and Verus shared the title of emperor. 
This man's name was Nerva, and lucky for the Empire, this choice was a good one.  And, perhaps my favorite: Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. 
Many of them had a stable rule with considerably peaceful reign while at the time of crises, Rome also saw a single year with four emperors and another single year with none less than six emperors.  His popularity as emperor is attested to by the fact that Hadrian was absent from Rome for the better part of his reign.  Marcus Cocceius Nerva ruled Rome as emperor from 96-98 A.D., following the assassination of the much hated Emperor Domitian.  Not only was Augustus the first, but he was most certainly one of the best emperors Rome ever had.  Hadrian's service to Trajan is well documented through the various important positions he held prior to becoming emperor of Rome.  Trajan is considered to be the _____ greatest emperor of all of Rome's emperors. 
Emperor Trajan was the first Roman ruler of provincial origin.  The year following Nero's death (AD 68-69), what is called the "Year of the Four Emperors," was even worse than any period I've yet described to you in Roman history.  His rule started at one of the most troubled times in Roman history the Romans were just recovering from the antics of infamous emperors like Nero and Caligula, and a civil war that saw four emperors in a single year. 
The adopted son and successor of emperor Hadrian, Antoninus Pius went to rule the Roman empire from 138 to 161 AD. His first act as an emperor was to grant honors to his adoptive father Hadrian.  The age of Roman Republic came to an end with the death of Julius Caesar and then Augustus marked the era of Roman empire that lasted from 27 BC to 476 AD. Throughout this period, a number of emperors ruled the Roman empire with their rules divided over a number of dynasties. 
" ""- Li hm:.3: 8" V Under the rule of the Five Good 1" Emperors, the Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial extent and the Pax Romana continued.  After the tyranny of Domitian, the empire needed an emperor that was reasonable and would exercise good financial policy unlike that which had plagued the empire for years. 
The famous emperor, who went on to become the first christian emperor in the history, was a ruler of major historical importance.He was also known as constantine as he reunited a divided empire under a single emperor and scored important wins against some ardent enemies like the Franks, Alamanni, Goths and Sarmatians.  The Roman people regarded their emperors as equivalent of kings, even though the very first emperor Augustus the great absolutely refused to be taken as a monarch.  Every new emperor after him was honored by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano which meant "be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan".  Now governor of Syria, Hadrian becomes emperor as he was previously adopted by Trajan.  He dedicated a number of sites in Greece to his young lover Antinous, who drowned in the Nile River in 130 CE. Hadrian was deeply attached to Antinous and the young man's death so greatly affected the emperor that he had him deified (from which the mystery cult in honor of Antinous grew).  Year of the Four Emperors In the struggle immediately following Nero's death, a man named Galba briefly took the throne, and, one would have thought, might have made things work.  The events of the next 111 years (69 A.D.-180 A.D.) showed that the principate could be an effective form of government--if only a way could be found to insure that the right type of man became emperor.  Nerva, died quickly after becoming emperor, only serving for less than two years, dying January 27 AD 98.  The lineage of the emperors is odd in that "from Nerva through Marcus Aurelius, no emperor was succeeded by a natural son, and all produced an heir through adoption".  Antoninus Pius was named emperor with the priviso that Marcus Aurelius (and his brother) would be designated as next in line.  A majority of emperors after Marcus Aurelius used Aurelius as part of the name just as those after Vespasian tended to incorporate Flavius. 
Throughout its entire period, the Roman empire had a number of emperors who took over the rule.  As his son Commodus ascended the throne as sole emperor, thus ending the period of 'adoptive' authority, the stability and cohesiveness of the previous era would begin to unravel.  His first military service was as Tribune under Emperor Nerva.  He became a historical figure of christianity by becoming the first emperor to adorn it.  Suetonius tells us that, after he became emperor, Hadrian had the architect executed.  Trajan's wife, Plotina (who was fond of Hadrian) signed the papers of succession and it is thought that she, not the emperor, was responsible for Hadrian's adoption as heir.  He was later adopted by Augustus as his heir, that is when he took the name Tiberius Julius Caesar, a name bearing the subsequent emperors after Tiberius would also take.  In attempt to stop a civil war and power vacuum after Dominition is killed by assassins with no heirs, the Senate makes _______ their emperor.  The legitimacy of an emperor’s rule was dependent upon his control of the army and the recognition by the Senate an emperor would normally be proclaimed by his troops, or invested with imperial titles by the Senate, or both.  He had the support of the senate: the senate had named him emperor after Nero's death.  All the emperors listed here had a minimum reign of 10 years each.  There was no linkage with the gens Flavia, any more than there was with the names of various other dynasties adopted by later emperors, To say that most modern people refer to him as Constantine as though his real name was Aurelius is misleading.  I'm not all that persuaded by an emperor list that puts Constantine lower than #2 or puts Justinian lower than relatively minor figures like Antoninus Pius.  The Flavians But, when the dust had cleared, the new emperor, Vespasian (AD 69-79), turned out to be the sort of man who could make the Augustan system work.  A famous Roman emperor, Vespasian’s reign lasted from 69 AD 79 AD. He founded the Flavian dynasty that went on to rule the Roman empire for 27 years.  I completely agree with you but here the author is talking about the time period between 27 BC-476 AD (Roman Empire) and Julius Caesar died in 44 BC.Moreover,Augustus was the founder of the Roman empire and the first roman emperor whereas julius caesar was the consul/dictator of the Roman Repbulic and therefore can not be included in this list.  The Roman emperors were the designated ruler of Roman empire which started after the end of Roman republic: the period of ancient roman civilization that began with the end of roman kingdom.  Trajan or Marcus Ulpius Traianus, was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 CE. Known as a benevolent ruler, his reign was noted.  Lucius Verus was Roman emperor from 161 to 169 CE. Lucius Verus was Marcus Aurelius' adopted brother and co-emperor.  Antoninus Pius was Roman emperor from 138 to 161 CE. When Roman Emperor Hadrian died on July 10, 138 CE, he left, as.  Rule of the Roman Emperor Hadrian who supports great building projects in and around the Agora of Athens.  The famous Roman emperor from 117 to 138 AD, Hadrian was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus to an ethnically Italian family.  The Roman emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD, Tiberius Claudius Nero was son of Livia Drusilla, who later married Augustus in 39 BC, making him step-son of the Octavian.  Though the Roman people as a group may have noticed little relative difference in the period from Augustus to Domitian, the '5 Good Emperors' offered a century of consistency without the interruptions of Caligula, Nero and Civil War.  The period of time ranging from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius has been generally referred to as that of the '5 Good Emperors.' While the definition of 'good' is always subjective, there is little argument that this period provided the greatest stretch of uninterrupted power and prosperity for the Roman state. 
For a good run down check out episodes 78+ of the history of Rome podcast.  The fire of AD 64, a fire that might have been stopped, ended up destroying a good part of the city of Rome.  The irruption of Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum and a fire destroyed a good part of Rome. 
Despite being limited in comparing the Romans to the human condition only through the 18 century, and lacking the great advancements of the 19th and 20th centuries, Gibbon's words describe 2nd century Rome as perhaps the greatest time of all for humanity.  The Senate despised him for this, and told the criticized him to the Roman populace, until he no longer trusted his safety in Rome and left for the island of Capri.  He defeated Mark Antony together with the famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra and thereafter, together with the senate of Rome, created a new constitution for the great empire.  "In the second century of the Christian Era, the empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind.  All these innovative steps showed their colors when Rome became a stronger, more consolidated empire. 
He was buried first at Puteoli, on the grounds of the former estate of the Rhetorician Cicero (as homage to Hadrian's love of learning) but when Antoninus Pius completed the great Tomb of Hadrian in Rome the following year, his body was cremated and the ashes interred there with his wife and son.  Later biographers would attempt to place the birth of both Trajan and Hadrian in the city of Rome but both were of Hispanic ethnicity and this commonality has been assumed by some to be the reason for Trajan's adoption of Hadrian as his successor (though most scholars dispute this).  The great general Trajan followed Nerva and not only re-established Rome as a conquering force, but established his greatness among scholars as perhaps second only to Augustus.  Following the death of Domitian, an effective but reviled leader among the aristocracy, Rome was fortunate to find a stabilizing force in Nerva. 
As a young man, Hadrian was well educated in his hometown of Italica Hispania (modern day Seville, Spain) and left for Rome around the age of 14.  During their reigns, Rome attained the peak of its power and dominion.  It marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in Britain but the length and breadth of the project (stretching, as it did, from coast to coast) suggests that the more important purpose of the wall was a show of Rome's power.  Trajanone of Rome's greatest generals, under his rule the Roman empire reached its greatest extent. 
The most capable of Rome's military and civilian officials were viewed by Nero with particular suspicion, and Nero was left without anyone but sycophants to help run the government. 
In the 18th century historian Edward Gibbon’s popularized notion of "Five Good Emperors’ Trajan was second.  Like Caesar, Hadrian is a controversial character and it's not hard to make the case that his reign wasn't nearly as good as Gibbon thought.  Antonius Piusan unremarkable reign, which is a good thing when times are good. 
One of the first Roman emperors to have born outside Italy, his reign lasted from 41 AD to 54 AD. He was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor, and the fact that he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness he was rather unfairly excluded from public office until his consulship by his family.  After his death in 79, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus and thus became the first Roman Emperor to be directly succeeded by his own natural son and establishing the Flavian dynasty.  Even though his predecessor Trajan never officially designated him as his heir, but Trajan’s wife declared that he had appointed him the heir just before his death, thus paving his path to becoming Roman emperor.  "The Roman emperor was the designated ruler of Roman empire that started after the end of Roman kingdom in the archaic period."  Over his rule of 10 years, he did all that, sketching his name as one of the greatest Roman emperors.  Antoninus was virtually unique among the roman emperors because he dealt with these crises without leaving Italy once during his reign. 
Augustus: Known as Octavian during the long civil wars that extinguished the Roman Republic, he titled himself "Augustus," the first emperor of Rome, after vanquishing all rivals and becoming the undisputed strong man of the sprawling empire.  On balance, the emperors of Rome served as a stabilizing influence in a realm that straddled three continents and covered more than 32 modern nation-states, with a population numbering about 60 million souls at the height of Roman prosperity.  More than 50 legitimate emperors ruled Rome from the time of Augustus at the turn of the 1st century to the reign of Constantine in the 4th century, which marked the transition to the Middle Ages.  Wasn't Hadrian the emperor who decided that Rome would cease expansion? He had a wall built across Britain to fix the northern border-I think he realized that the empire was becoming too large to defend and manage.  Emperor Hadrian, among other Nerva-Antonine emperors, patronized the arts, held public festivals, and influenced the culture of Rome and beyond.  The first of five lectures on themes relating to the emperors examines their lavish building projects in Rome, such as the complex of public squares and huge bathhouses.  Several of the Nerva-Antonine emperors are known for their support of the arts and culture of Rome.  Invasions became more frequent, and no emperor was for long able to take his ease in Rome.  As the historian Tacitus said, the "secret was out emperors could be made outside Rome".  Rome never figured out a way to institutionalize the idea of selecting an Emperor by merit rather than heredity.  Even under the worst emperors Rome continued to function, but involvement in public life could become a decidedly dangerous business. 
After Nerva's short rule, his adoptive heir, Trajan, a popular military leader, ruled as emperor from 98-117 CE. Officially declared by the Senate as optimus princeps ("the best ruler"), Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history, leading the empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death.  The second emperor in the dynasty, Trajan, is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history, through the Dacian Wars. 
Not a single emperor in recorded Roman history was ousted by popular revolution.  From the study of this history we may also learn how a good government is to be established for while all the emperors who succeeded to the throne by birth, except Titus, were bad, all were good who succeeded by adoption, as in the case of the five from Nerva to Marcus.  Scholarship on the Antonine era has often focused on the emperors, in part because the biographical Historia Augusta dominates literary historical sources: Hadrian is a modern favorite, Commodus a notorious "bad emperor," and in antiquity Trajan and Marcus Aurelius exemplary "good emperors."  Derived from a cognomen of T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus (Antoninus Pius), it properly refers to that emperor (r. 138-161 CE ), his adopted successors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (r. 161-180 co-ruled 161-169), and Marcus Aurelius’s son Commodus (r. 180-192).  The Nerva-Antonine Dynasty was a dynasty of seven Roman Emperors who ruled over the Roman Empire during a period of prosperity from 96 CE to 192 CE. These emperors are Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus.  Hadrian was succeeded by Antoninus Pius, who was subsequently succeeded by Marcus Aurelius, who was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 CE. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169. 
Hadrian's Wall : A defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in 122 CE during the reign of the emperor Hadrian.  Hadrian's Villa : A large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy, built by Emperor Hadrian and based on Greek architectural styles.  Emperor Hadrian had a major influence on Roman culture through his love of Greek culture. 
It was now plain that the Roman armies were the real source of power in the empire while an emperor retained their loyalty he was virtually unassailable.  On the same day, Nerva was declared emperor by the Roman Senate.  Nerva, of course, did not inherit the throne either, but was appointed by the senate, and I thought the story was that he had some insight into what had being going wrong (as well as some loyalty to Rome's old republican traditions), and deliberately introduced the system of the Emperor adopting a competent, honest man to be his heir (rather than a son or relative, corrupted by the luxury of being in the Emperor's family).  Julius Caesar, dictator perpetuo and considered to be instrumental in the transition from Republic to Empire, adopted Gaius Octavius, who would become Augustus, Rome's first emperor.  Vespasian started the first dynasty of emperors who had no family connection to Julius Caesar or Augustus.  During the first century of the empire, the emperors were members of what has been called the "Julio-Claudian" dynasty.  The first five of the six successions within the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty were notable in that the reigning emperor adopted the candidate of his choice to be his successor, rather than choosing a biological heir.  By chance, none of the first four had male children that survived long enough to be considered, so each emperor instead "adopted" an heir who was chosen more for their abilities and the political and military support rather then the chance of their birth.  His successor, Nerva, began a new practice: Emperors adopted able army commanders as their heirs.  These seven emperors, who together ruled from 96 to 192 CE, are also called the "adoptive emperors" because, other than Nerva and Commodus, they came to power through adoption by the previous emperor.  Bust of Hadrian: Bust of the Emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117-138 CE.  Bust of Trajan: Bust of the Emperor Trajan, who ruled from 98-117 CE. 
On his death, Vespasian was succeeded by Titus (the first actual son of an emperor to follow his father on the throne reigned 79-81 CE).  Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the son of the highly able and effective emperor Septimius Severus.  Commodus was the son of the philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius and, although the film’s scene in which Commodus kills his own father is invention, it is true that Commodus was the very opposite of all that his father had stood for.  The last of these emperors, Marcus Aurelius, was the final emperor of the Pax Romana.  The only dangerous moment was when rumours spread in the east that the emperor Marcus Aurelius had died, and the troops there acclaimed their commander Avidius Cassius as emperor. 
Before there were emperors, there was the Roman Republic, founded in 509 B.C. after a period of autocratic rule by kings.  With Commodus' murder in 192, the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty came to an end it was followed by a period of turbulence, known as the Year of the Five Emperors.  Three of the five emperors of the Severan period were killed by their own men in the midst of campaigns, Caracalla by a group of senior officers, Macrinus and Alexander Severus by general mutinies.  His reign inaugurated the period of the empire's greatest strength and stability, when emperors adopted their successors from among able army commanders.  You need to recall that at this point in time and for some significant period of time afterwards constitutional theory was that the Emperor was simply an extraordinary magistrate, and even in practice there were some significant limitations on the Emperors powers.  All the emperors devoted much attention to the frontiers of the empire, and spent much of their time there.  This lecture surveys the rise to sole rulership of an emperor who would transform the empire and change the course of history: Constantine.  Some emperors, like Nero or Domitian, have passed into history as models of erratic, paranoid tyrants others, like Diocletian, were able administrators, providing good government (unless you happened to be a Christian, in which case you were in great peril).  As emperor, Nero showed little interest in rule and far more in writing poetry and other diversions. 
Although much of his life remains obscure, Nerva was considered a wise and moderate emperor by ancient historians. 
Presented by noted Roman historian Garrett G. Fagan, whose other Teaching Company courses, The History of Rome and Great Battles of the Ancient World, have brought antiquity vividly to life for spellbound listeners, these 36 lectures show that there is no end of gripping stories.  In Lectures 27-31 you take a break from the chronological narrative to examine the emperors' relationships to different parts of Roman society: the city of Rome itself, the provinces of the empire, the elite, the people, and the army.  Central questions now include the means and meanings of identity (including gender, discordant identity, and/or "hybridity") among the elite and the 50 to 60 million others in the Antonine Empire, the extent and import of consensus, the ubiquity and conformity of "Roman" material and literary culture in the provinces, the relation of the past and the present, and the processes and depth of cultural diffusion from Rome itself. 
This article covers the history of Rome and its empire from 96 to 192 CE, a period often referred to as that of the "Antonines."  Marcus Aurelius was an effective military commander, and Rome enjoyed various military successes against outsiders who were beginning to threaten the Empire. 
The earlier history of Rome its expansion from city-state to world power is dealt with in the article, the Rise of the Roman Empire, while the article, The Late Roman Empire, deals with the later stages of Rome's history.  When that step became the new normal, it paved the way for the next step, and so on, until Rome had moved from Augustus, who styled himself the princeps, or "first citizen," to Diocletian and Constantine, who ruled as the domini --lords over slaves.  This new triumvirate ruled Rome for a decade, but as happened with the First Triumverate, differences among the leaders eventually emerged. 
The century, reasonably tranquil for Rome apart from the Second and Third Jewish Revolts (115-117 CE 132-135 CE ) and the "Antonine plague" and defensive Marcomannic Wars ( c. 166 and following), abounds in source material.  The conclusion of the Dacian Wars marked the beginning of a period of sustained growth and relative peace in Rome.  During a period of peace after the Dacian wars, he initiated a three-month gladiatorial festival in the great Colosseum in Rome (the precise date is unknown).  Trajan commemorated the Dacian war by erecting a huge column in a new forum he built in Rome.  With Vespasian’s triumph in 69, his eldest son, Titus, who had been left in command against the Jews whilst Vespasian marched on Rome, vigorously prosecuted the war. 
After the murder of Julius Caesar, a period of civil war erupted in Rome. 
I quibble with his review of events for Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus.  He spent some time reviewing the more complex events for Emperor Augustus.  Apart from Augustus and Vespasian, both of whom had seized power rather than inheriting it, all the rest of the Emperors up to then, who had inherited power, had been either incompetent or both incompetent and horrible.  The civil wars of the Year of the Four Emperors had perhaps underscored for all (except perhaps the most die-hard republicans) where the realities of power now lay.  Although the senate still retained important powers, and was required to deliberate on weighty matters, ambitious senators were now dependant upon the princeps for high office. it was natural that they should try to vote strictly according to the wishes of the emperor.  Several of the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty emperors were known for their notable military successes.  From now on, the emperor would be a military man, occupied with keeping external enemies at bay and staving off internal threats.  Dacian Wars : Two military campaigns fought between the Roman Empire and Dacia during Roman Emperor Trajan's rule.  De Imperatoribus Romanis : An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors This fabulous resource about the Roman emperors contains an index of all the emperors who ruled during the 1500 years of the Roman Empire, as well as several biographical articles on specific rulers.  The fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the first of the Roman emperors is dealt with in the article on the Rise of the Roman Empire.  This occasion marked the first time the Senate elected a Roman Emperor.  Trajan : Roman emperor from 98 CE until 117 CE. Officially declared by the Senate as optimus princeps, and known for his bold expansion of Roman borders.  Hadrian : Roman Emperor from 117 to 138 CE. Known for his grand building projects and his philhellenism.  Marcus Aurelius : Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 CE, as well as a notable Stoic philosopher.  It was common for patrician families to adopt, and Roman emperors had adopted heirs in the past Emperor Augustus had adopted Tiberius, and Emperor Claudius had adopted Nero.  All Roman emperors before Hadrian, except for Nero (also a great admirer of Greek culture), were clean shaven.  From sculptures of Julius Caesar and other Roman emperors to the architecture of the Roman Forum and the Coliseum, take some time to browse through some gorgeous images of Rome's greatness.  After Augustus's death in 14 C.E., other Roman emperors ruled with varying effectiveness.  Rated 5 out of 5 by alw3726 from Thorough historical review Prof. Fagan does an excellent job reviewing the trends and thoughts on the Roman Emperors. 
They held an empire together for a long time, these 5 couldn't be the only good ones.  As each one was competent and honest, and the first 4 of them selected their heirs well, the system worked well until Marcus Aurelius (a competent and honest ruler in himself) got sentimental, and (perhaps the lessons of the Empire's first century having been forgotten after several decades of good rule) passed the throne on to his nasty and incompetent son instead.  Titus, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, and Marcus had no need of praetorian cohorts, or of countless legions to guard them, but were defended by their own good lives, the good-will of their subjects, and the attachment of the Senate. 
You will cover scores of other Roman rulers, some of whom lasted only a few weeks before they were done in by rivals for a position that conferred virtual divinity in this life--although the chances that the life would be a long one were not good.  Moreover most of the emperors’ generals, governors, ministers and high officials were senators he relied on their loyalty and good service, and he was not often disappointed.The majority of senators gave distinguished service, and even under the worst of rulers the empire continued to run smoothly. 
Diocletian was a good administrator, and managed to hold his divided command structure together at a time when the Roman empire was coming under increasing pressure from its enemies outside its boundaries.  Some senators, and not only those from old families with generations of consuls behind them, still hankered after the good old days when the senate had ruled supreme and there was no princeps to dwarf its members in authority and prestige. 
Trajan began extensive building projects and became an honorable civil leader, improving Rome's civic infrastructure, thereby paving the way for internal growth and reinforcement of the empire as a whole.  The two wars were notable victories in Rome's extensive expansionist campaigns, gaining Trajan the people's admiration and support. 
It is among the best-preserved of Rome's ancient buildings, and was highly influential to many of the great architects of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods.  Rome's borders in the east were indirectly governed through a system of client states for some time, leading to less direct campaigning than in the west in this period. 
As suspicion fell on Nero, he blamed the Christians, starting the long history of Rome's persecution of this sect. 
Did Livia Drusilla really poison or otherwise dispose of all the princes that stood in the way of her son Tiberius's succession to the emperorship after Augustus? The ancient historian Tacitus certainly gives this impression, which is chillingly conveyed by the actress Siân Phillips in the PBS adaptation of Robert Graves's novel I, Claudius. 
Once exiled for falling asleep during one of emperor Neros shows in Greece, Vespasian lead Rome through a chaotic time and saved the empire from financial ruin, he ordered the construction of the colosseum which was finished during the first year of his son Titus reign as emperor.  General Trajan followed Nerva and helped re-established Rome as a conquering force, expanding farther east, the empires territory was at its widest during emperor Trajans reign.  Appointed by Marcus Cocceius Nerva, Trajan (born Marcus Ulpius Traianus) was the second of the five emperors who led Rome during its Golden Age. 
During his time as emperor, Augustus was idolized by many Romans for his efforts to rebuild much of Rome with projects such as roads, major highways, aqueducts and temples.  Augustus who was the great nephew of Julius Caesar is considered to be Romes first emperor.  Have students return to The Roman Empire in the First Century and complete the Emperor of Rome Game.  Rome had some 16 emperors over the 30 year period in the second half of the third century.  For this reason, students of history can benefit greatly from in-depth study of Rome, its emperors and culture, and the ways in which the empire changed the course of human history.  Accuracy or completion grades could be given for the Emperors of Rome History Hunt.  During the interregnum or time between reigns, there was no reigning emperor in Rome.  Domition of Rome " His thigh was deformed as a result of being run over by a chariot driven by Caligua.By the time he became Emperor, Vitellius was a notorious glutton.  It was these emperors who revolutionized the Roman Empire and ensured the continued growth and progress of Rome as a cultural and military institution.  The Roman Empire continued in the East for another millennium, but is typically referred to as the Byzantine Empire, and the emperors considered the Emperor of the Byzantines, not of Rome.  Vespasian, born Titus Flavius Vespasian, was the ninth emperor of Rome and started the Flavian dynasty, which lasted twenty-eight years.  Emperor Romulus Augustus reigned during the final fall of Rome in 476.  Zenobia was a warrior queen who ruled as emperor of Rome from 267 to 273. 
THE JULIO-CLAUDIANS AUGUSTUS ROME'S PIVOTAL EMPERORS - by Pat Southern: Augustus, Hadrian, Vespasian, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine, Septimus Severus Augustus: A Brief Biography "He subjected the whole wide earth to the rule of the Roman people."  Following the rule of Vespasian, there was nearly a century of good and stable rule in Rome, during the reigns of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius and Marcus Aurelius. 
Some of the reforms, especially the pay raise for soldiers, would prove burdensome for future emperors, but the changes brought about in the little more than 5 years of Caracalla's rule would have long-lasting implications throughout the empire for generations to come."  The Empire became gradually less Romanised and increasingly Germanic in nature: although the Empire buckled under Visigothic assault, the overthrow of the last Emperor Romulus Augustus was carried out by federated Germanic troops from within the Roman army rather than by foreign troops.  Images of the Wall from the BBC "Hadrian's Wall was a Roman frontier built in the years AD 122-30 by order of the Emperor Hadrian. 
RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(29 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)
This conservative shift reflected on the arts, and there was a general turn against literature and stage plays that were deemed subversive. Books were routinely banned, and theaters shut down.
Despite this oppressive atmosphere, some creative work did gather attention, as with the poetry of Yuan Mei and Cao Xueqin’s novel Dream of the Red Chamber.
Painting also managed to thrive. Former Ming clan members Zhu Da and Shi Tao became monks to escape governmental roles in Qing rule and became painters.
Zhu Da embraced silence as he wandered across China and his depictions of nature and landscapes are imbued with manic energy.
Shi Tao is considered an artistic rule-breaker, with Impressionist-style brush strokes and presentations that predated Surrealism.
The Northern Song was founded by Zhao Kuangyin, a military general in the Latter Zhou (951 - 960). In 960, Zhao Kuangyin launched a mutiny in Chenqiao county (in current Henan Province).It was not long before the last king of the Latter Zhou was forced to abdicate. Thus a new dynasty - Song was established in Kaifeng. In that period, most part of China's territory was unified. However, in late Northern Song, the political corruption was serious and the regime began to decline. In 1127, it was destroyed by the Jin (1115 - 1234).
The Southern Song was set up by Zhao Gou, son of the last emperor of Northern Song. After Jin defeated the Northern Song, many imperial clansmen were captured by Jin's army. Fortunately, Zhao Gou had a luck escape. In 1127, he fled to Nanjing Yingtianfu (in current Shangqiu of Henan Province) and established the Southern Song Dynasty there. Later, the capital city was moved to Lin'an (currently Hangzhou City in Zhejiang Province).The Southern Song's regime was subject to the Jin. Many patriotic generals were killed in the late period. In 1279, the army of the Yuan Dynasty captured Lin'an, putting the Southern Song to an end.
Generally, the Song Dynasty was prosperous in many respects of the society. In agriculture, the productive technology was improved which promoted the output of food in handicraft industry, the division of labor became more detailed which made the handicrafts technology reach an advanced level additionally, the development of the commodity economy exceeded the previous level. Particularly, the earliest paper currency appeared at that period.
As for the development of science and culture, tremendous achievements were made during this period. Two of China's four great inventions - typography and compass were both invented and the application of gunpowder also developed rapidly. With regard to literature, a large number of outstanding scholars and poets, such as Zhuxi, Ouyang Xiu, Su Shi, Sima Guang and Shen Kuo, emerged and built up the splendid cultural atmosphere of the Song Dynasty.
The proclamation by the army of so many emperors is one aspect of this insecurity. There may have been power-crazed individuals who simply wanted to be emperor. In many cases the prime motive was not the desire to topple the whole Empire but to organise regional self-help.
Faith in the emperors declined in direct proportion to their inability to protect the provinces, so the soldiers and the provincials turned to other leaders who could provide protection and security.
The tragedy of the third century is that the chosen leader had to usurp imperial powers to assume the necessary authority instead of acting on behalf of a legitimate emperor who had lost all his credibility.
That the empire recovered is a tribute to the various emperors who put an end to the chaos.
The result was constant disunity, forcing the Romans to spend valuable time and resources fighting each other, instead of working together to devote all their energies to solving the social, religious, financial and military issues that beset the empire in this time of crisis.
The fact that the empire came so close to disintegration, and yet recovered, is a tribute to the various emperors who put an end to the chaos. But in doing so, they created a different world.
The Roman empire entered the third century in a form that would have been recognisable to Augustus and his successors, but it emerged into the fourth century with all its administrative and military institutions changed, bureaucratic, rigid, and constantly geared for war, with its capital no longer at Rome but in Constantinople.
The roman empire
Found Rome a city of clay but left it a city of marble.
Lasting more than 500 years, the Roman Empire was, at its peak, the most extensive political and social structure in all of western civilization. Its has shaped almost every aspect of our western culture, and its influence can still be felt strongly to this very day. How and when then, did this mighty empire begin, and what was its ultimate undoing?
In 43 BC the then Dictator of the Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, was assassinated. In Caesar's will his great nephew Octavian was named as his successor. Instead of following Caesar's example and making himself the next Dictator however, Octavian founded the principate: a system of monarchy headed by an emperor who held power for the duration of his life.
The Roman Empire therefore, officially began in 31 BC when when Octavian – taking the title Augustus Caesar – became The First Emperor Of Rome. Augustus wrote that he "found Rome a city of clay but left it a city of marble". The Pax Romana which he initiated, was a period of peace and prosperity lasting more than two centuries.
Emperors Tiberius (called "the gloomiest of men" by Pliny the Elder), Caligula (who claimed to be a living God), Claudius (during whose reign the conquest of Britain began in earnest), and Nero followed. Each, despite the continuing rise of the empire, less successful and beloved than their predecessor. These first five Emperors are now referred to as The Julio-Claudian Dynasty. When the self-indulgent, vicious, and egotistical Emperor Nero committed (assisted) suicide in 64 AD (with the final words “What a talent dies in me!”) he ended the Dynasty and initiated the period of social unrest known as The Year of the Four Emperors.
In 96 AD Nerva became the first of what we now know as The Five Good Emperors of Rome. He was followed by Trajan (most famous for his military campaign against Dacia, a powerful kingdom north of the Danube in modern Romania), Hadrian (who constructed Hadrian's Wall, marking the northern limit of Britannia), Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius (who was also co-emperor Lucius Verus afterwards). Under their rule the Roman Empire grew and flourished.
Emperor Septimus Severus (a Romanised African, and Rome's first black Emperor) ruled between 193-211 AD, founding The Severan Dynasty which lasted until the death of Alexander Severus in 235 AD. This was followed by a fifty year period of chaos known as The Crisis of the Third Century.
By 285 AD the empire had grown so vast and difficult to govern that it was divided into a Western and an Eastern Empire by Emperor Diocletian (the first Emperor to take voluntary abdication, and to die of natural causes in his retirement).
The western empire officially ended when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by the Germanic King Odoacer in 476 AD. The Eastern empire – which became the Byzantine Empire – endured up until the death of Constantine XI and The Fall Of Constantinople in 1453 AD.
Romulus and Remus – The Founding of Rome
According to Roman myth, the city of Rome was founded on the 21 st of April, 753 BC after Romulus killed his twin brother Remus. The brothers (sons of princess Rhea Silvia and God of war Mars – or sometimes Hercules) had been abandoned in a basket on the Tiber River as infants, their mother's husband fearing they posed too greater threat to be allowed to live.
There at the riverside, Romulus and Remus were found by a she-wolf (in some versions of the tale it is the Wolf-Goddess Lupa or Luperca) who protected and suckled the infants. Eventually the boys were found by a shepherd named Faustulus who adopted them. While tending their flocks one day, the brothers came into conflict with the shepherds of King Amulius – the uncle of their true mother. Remus was captured and brought before King Amulius, who discovered his identity. Romulus then mounted a daring rescue with some other shepherds and Amulius was killed. The brothers were offered the right to rule together over the kingdom but they refused, preferring to found their own city. While they both agreed on the general region where the city should be founded (the area where the she-wolf had found and raised them), the brothers could not agree on a specific location.
After each claiming he had the right to choose, they began to construct city walls in two separate locations. Remus leapt over his brothers wall in an attempt to show him how easily done this was. Romulus took such offence that he slew his brother. So it was that Rome was named after Romulus – its founder and first king.
Emperor Tianqi (Ruled 1620–1627) - Earthquakes and Famine
During the early 1600s, there were an unusually large number of earthquakes. From 1621 to 1627, there were two earthquakes above 7 on the Richter scale.
In the first half of the 1600s, famines became common in northern China because of unusually dry and cold weather that shortened the growing season. The change of climate occurred throughout the world and is called the Little Ice Age.
Discover Rome | Cultural and History Small Group Tour for Seniors
Rome is arguably the most fascinating city in Italy, the capital city, once the centre of a vast, ancient empire and still today a cultural focus within Europe. Explore the city in-depth as part of a small group program spending 14 days exploring, just Rome and Roman History.