The Roman Empire

27BC - AD476 

This site contains information on each of the 94 Ancient Roman Emperors. This covers the Roman Empire period from 27BC to AD476.

Romulus Augustus

Flavius Romulus Augustus was born in 463 and was the son of Orestes who was the commanding general of the Roman army.

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Julius Nepos

Julius Nepos was born in 430 and was given power over the western empire by his “uncle in –law” to end the reign of Glycerius. As Leo was officially the sole emperor he had the rightful power to choose who he wished to divide his empire with.

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Glycerius

Glycerius was born in 420 and was a member of the imperial court before his rise to power. Following the death of Olybrius he was chosen to ascend the throne in 473 but as with other emperors was not recognised by the Emperor of the eastern empire, Leo.

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Olybrius

Anicius Olybrius was a member of a noble roman family and in 464 was made consul and married Placidia the daughter of the previous Emperor Valentinian III.

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Anthemius

Procopius Anthemius was born in 420 and was the first Emperor of the West to be acknowledged by Leo I the Emperor of the East.

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Libius Severus

Libius Severus was elevated to emperor by Ricimer following the death of Majorian in 461. As was the case with Majorian, Leo the emperor of the East refused to acknowledge Severus as having any power.

Read more: Libius Severus

Majorian

Iulius Valerius Maiorianus was born in 420 and was a capable general of the Roman army and had several victories over the Franks and the Alemanni.

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Avitus

Marcus Maecilius Flavius Eparchius Avitus was born in 395 and was named Master of Soldiers by Emperor Petronius Maximus.

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Constantius III

Flavius Constantius began as a soldier in the roman army and attracted the attention of the emperor Honorius after several successful defensive campaigns on behalf of the Western Empire.

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Honorius

Flavius Honorius was born in 384 to Theodosius I and was the younger brother of Arcadius.

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Arcadius

Flavius Arcadius was born in 377 and was the eldest son of Theodosius I and the brother of Honorius. In 383 Theodosius elevated his son to the position of Augustus and 10 years later Honorius was declared Augustus as well.

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Theodosius I

Flavius Theodosius was born in 347. His father was a senior military officer and in 368 they traveled together to Britannia to battle together. In 374 he was promoted to position of military commander of Moesia but following the execution of his father, he retired to Cauca.

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Magnus Maximus

Magnus Maximus was born in 335 and while serving his army in Britain he was proclaimed emperor by his troops in 383.

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Valentinian II

Flavius Valentinianus known as Valentinian II was born in 371 and was the half brother of Gratian. 

Read more: Valentinian II

Gratian

Flavius Gratianus Augustus was born in 359, was the son of Valentinian I and was named after his grandfather Gratian the Elder.

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Valens

Flavius Iulius Valens was born in 328 and was the younger brother of Valentinian I.

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Valentinian I

Flavius Valentinianus was born in 321 and was the son of a successful general named Gratian the Elder.

Read more: Valentinian I

Allectus

Earliest records mentioning Allectus state that he was the treasurer of Carasius and anything prior to that was of minor importance. He was an officer in the Roman Navy and once Constantius Chlorus started taking away the land held by Carausius, Allectus saw this as the best opportunity to take power for himself and assassinated Carausius.

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Carausius

Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius and during Maximians campaign in Gaul, was chosen to command the Classis Britannica which was a large fleet situated in the English channel.

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Jovian

Flavius Claudius Iovianus was born in 332 and was the son of the commander of the imperial  bodyguards at the time of Constantius II. He himself was a member of the guard and rose to the positions held by his father by 363.

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Julian

Flavius Claudius Iulianus born in 331 was the son of Julius Constantius.

Read more: Julian

Vetranio

Much of Vetranio’s early life is unknown but he served much time in the military and was an experienced soldier when approached by the sister of Constantius II, Constantina, and asked to nominate himself as Caesar in 350.

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Constans

Flavius Julius Constans was born in 320 and was the youngest son of Constantine I.

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Constantius II

Flavius Iulius Constantius was born in 317 and was the second of Constantine’s three sons and was immediately named Caesar by his father. 

Read more: Constantius II

Constantine II

Flavius Claudius Constantinus was born in 316 and was the eldest son of Constantine I. In 317 Constantine made his child Caesar at age one and later led him into battle against the Sarmatians at age 7.

Read more: Constantine II

Martinianus

Sextus Marcius Martinianus came to power during the second civil war but originally he started out as a “magister officiorum” in Licinius’ court.

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Valerius Valens

Bust of Valerius Valens

Aurelius Valerius Valens

AD316 ~ AD317

Aurelius Valerius Valens originally went by the title “Dux Limitis” meaning a person of authority over a particular region. Knowing that the truce between Constantine and Licinius would not last after the civil was of 314, Licinius appointed Valens as co-emperor as a message to Constantine that he had lost patience with him as co-emperor.

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Maximinus Daia

Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximinus

AD308 ~ 313

Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximinus was born in 270 and was the nephew of Galerius though this did not change the fact he was born a peasant. After joining the army he rose through the ranks to a position of great distinction after which he was adopted by Galerius and promoted to Caesar.

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Licinius

Flavius Galerius Valerius Licinianus

AD308 ~ 324

Flavius Galerius Valerius Licinianus was born in 250 was of peasant lineage and as a middle aged man joined the army and followed good friend Galerius on the Persian expedition. Once the emperor Severus was killed, Licinius was elevated by Galerius to the position of Augustus to maintain the western front with command over Illyricum, Thrace and Pannonia.

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Constantine I

Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus

AD306 ~ 337

Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus was born in 272 to roman general Constantius Chlorus who in 292 left his mother to marry the daughter of emperor Maximian.

Read more: Constantine I

Maxentius

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius

AD306 ~ AD312

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius was born in 278 to roman emperor Maximian and was son-in-law to Galerius.

During his fathers reign he never actually served any time in the military or held any form of administrative position though he was always regarded as a crown prince. He married the daughter of Galerius and had two sons.

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Severus II

Flavius Valerius Severus Augustus

AD306 ~ AD307

Flavius Valerius Severus was originally a soldier from the Illyrian province until 305 when Galerius approached Maximian and requested he appoint Severus as Caesar of the western half of the roman empire. He was Caesar to Constantius who was Augustus of the western region at that time. When Constantius died a year later it was Galerius who promoted Severus to the position of Augustus, even though at the same time Constantine had been claimed emperor by his own soldiers.

Read more: Severus II

Galerius

Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus Augustus

AD305 ~ AD311

Galerius Maximianus was born in 250 to a common family and began as a herdsman just like his father before him. During the reign of Aurelian and Probus he served as a distinguished soldier and was promoted in 293 to Caesar.

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Constantius I Chlorus

Flavius Valerius Constantius

AD293 ~ AD306

Flavius Valerius Constantius was born in 250 and under the rule of Carus, was selected to govern Dalmatia. In 293 when the emperor Diocletian divided the roman empire in half he declared that under the new governing system each empire would be ruled by an Augustus with the support of a Caesar.

Read more: Constantius I Chlorus

Maximian

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius

AD286 ~ AD305

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius was born in 250 and like many rulers began his career in the army. He was fighting along side Diocletianus when the later rose to power. In 285 Diocletianus was named Caesar and ruler of the western empire, the following year he rose to share equal power when he became Augustus. In 293 when the power was divided into quarters, Constantius Chlorus was chosen as his own Caesar.

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Diocletianus

Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus

AD284 ~ AD305

Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus was born in 245 to a common family and rose through the ranks of the army and when Carus was proclaimed emperor in 282 he set about gaining his trust. In 283 he was promoted to the rank of commander of the cavalry arm of the imperial bodyguard. Together with Carus, Numerian and Numerians' father in law Aper, they battled against the Sassanid empire and upon their victory plundered the Sassanid capital.

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Numerian

Marcus Aurelius Numerianus

AD282 ~ AD284

Marcus Aurelius Numerianus was the son of Carus and younger brother of Carinus. In 282 he was proclaimed Caesar. He soon married the daughter of a prefect of the Praetorian guard and along with his father in law, followed his father Carus to battle against the Sassanids.

Read more: Numerian

Carinus

Marcus Aurelius Carinus

AD282 ~ AD285

Marcus Aurelius Carinus was the older son of Carus and was appointed governor of the western empire when his father came to power. He was successful in battle against the Quadi tribes in the west but soon tired of battle and returned to Rome to live a more luxurious life filled with women and alcohol. Upon the death of his father in the East, Carinus’ younger brother Numerian was pressured by the troops to lead them back to Europe but died on their return.

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Carus

Marcus Aurelius Carus

AD282 ~ AD283

Marcus Aurelius Carus was born in 230 and was educated in Rome and eventually rose to become a senator. He then served in the army before the emperor Probus appointed prefect of the Praetorian guard in 282. Once Probus was killed by his soldiers, a clear path was left for Carus to rule over the empire, though never formally returning to Rome.

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Probus

Marcus Aurelius Probus

AD276 ~ AD282

Marcus Aurelius Probus was born in 232 and entered the army at an early age. He was soon appointed governor of the east under the rule of Tacitus. Tacitus was then succeeded by his half brother Florianus who was killed by his own soldiers once they were to realise that Probus was a far more superior general.

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Florianus

Marcus Annius Florianus

AD276

Marcus Annius Florianus was the half brother of Tacitus and was chose by the western armies to succeed him after his death in 276. However this was not agreed upon by the senate.

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Tacitus

Marcus Claudius Tacitus

AD275 ~ AD276

Marcus Claudius Tacitus was born in 200 and during his early years carried out duties for various civil offices and became consul in 273. after the assassination of Aurelian he was selected by the senate to ascend the throne as emperor and this was supported by the army.

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Aurelian

Lucius Domitius Aurelianus

AD270 ~ AD275

Lucius Domitius Aurelianus was born in 214 to a family of average wealth.

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Quintillus

Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus

AD270

Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus was brother of emperor Claudius II and upon the death of Claudius, Quintillus became emperor himself. There are several accounts of how he rose to power. The first reports that he was chosen by the soldiers of the Roman army and this was then approved by the senate, another report states that he was elected by the senate itself.

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Claudius II

Marcus Aurelius Claudius Augustus Gothicus

AD268 ~ AD270

Marcus Aurelius Claudius Augustus Gothicus was born in 213 and was the commander of the Roman army at the time that they fought the battle of Naissus and defeated the Goths. He rose to the throne after the death of Gallienus who he was said to have murdered but that was never proven.

Read more: Claudius II

Tetricus I

Gaius Pius Esuvius Tetricus

AD271 - AD274

Caius Pius Esuvius Tetricus was born to a noble family and at the time of Victorinus’ death, he held the position of provincial governor of Aquitania. Upon his elevation to emperor (with the help of the mother of the former emperor Victorinus) he nominated his son Tetricus II as Caesar.

Read more: Tetricus I

Victorinus

Marcus Piavonius Victorinus

AD? ~ 271

Marcus Piavonius Victorinus was born into a wealthy family and was a soldier under the order of Postumus. In 267 he became co-consul of Postumus and later, following the death of Marius he was proclaimed emperor. Gaul and Britain both recognised Victorinus as emperor but Spain reunited with the Roman empire.

In 270 he seduced the wife of one of his officers who in retaliation, rose up against him and murdered him. Victorinus’ mother is said to have held power after his death while she could arrange for Tetricus I to be appointed as his successor and pay the army handsomely to support him in this position.

Marius

Marcus Aurelius Marius

AD? ~ 269

Marcus Aurelius Marius was a blacksmith by trade and rose through the ranks of the Roman army eventually becoming an officer. When Postumus was killed he seized power for himself.

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Postumus

Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus

AD? ~ 269

Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus, of unknown birth date is believed to have been a citizen of Gaul and through hard work, rose through the military ranks and eventually becoming governor of either Germania Inferior or Superior.

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Saloninus

Publius Licinius Cornelius Saloninus

AD242 ~ 260

Publius Licinius Cornelius Saloninus was born in 242 and was the son of Gallienus.

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Gallienus

Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus

AD218 ~ 268

Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus was born in 218 and succeeded the throne as sole emperor in 260 after the death of his father Valerian.

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Valerian

Publius Licinius Valerianus

AD200 ~ AD260

Publius Licinius Valerianus was born in 200 and came from a noble senatorial family. Much of his early life is unknown but in 238 he became Princeps Senatus, which is the highest senatorial rank one can hold, and later in 251 he was elected by the senate to be censor.

Read more: Valerian

Aemilianus

Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus

AD207 ~ AD253

Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus born in 207 but details of his early life are largely unknown. In 251 when Trebonianus was proclaimed emperor, Aemilianus was sent to replace him as governor of Moesia Superior. This position required him to keep the Danube frontier peaceful, as in previous years the Goths had threatened the peace.

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Volusianus

Gaius Vibius Volusianus

? ~ AD253

Gaius Vibius Volusianus of unknown birth date was son to Trebonianus.

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Trebonianus Gallus

Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus

AD206 ~ AD253

Born in 206 in Italy from a family with strong senatorial roots.  His early career had a combination of both political and military achievements.

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Hostilian

Gaius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus

AD230? ~ AD251

Born after 230 and was the younger brother of Herennius and the son of Decius.

As son of the Emperor he was treated as an imperial prince but was always overshadowed by his older brother.

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Herennius Etruscus

Quintus Herennius Etruscus Messius Decius

AD227 ~ AD251

Born in 227 was the son of Decius and the older brother of Hostilian.

In 248, Herennius accompanied his father when Decius was sent to quell the revolt in the Danube frontier.

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Decius

Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius

AD201 ~ AD251

Born in 201 and served as consul in 232. He had a long succession of high authority positions such as governor of Moesia, Germania Inferior, and Hispania Tarraconensis until 238 and became urban prefect of Rome during the reign of Philip the Arab.

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Philip the Arab

Marcus Iulius Philippus

AD204 ~ AD249

Born in 204, he was referred to as Philip the Arab because of the origin of his family.

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Gordian III

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Pius

AD225 ~ AD244

Born in 225 he was the grandson of Gordian I and the nephew of Gordian II.

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Balbinus

Decimus Caelius Calvinus Balbinus

AD165 ~ AD238

Decius Caelius Calvinus Balbinus as an elderly senator was elected as co-emperor in 238. Both he and his co-ruler Pupienus Maximus had both been on a board who were in charge of discovering a way to deal with the emperor Maximinus. They were an unpopular choice with the public who threw sticks and stones at them and the senate were forced to elect Gordian III as emperor to appease the roman population. Pupienus was sent onto the battle field at the head of an army to face Maximinus while Balbinus remained in Rome.

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Pupienus Maximus

Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus

AD178 ~ AD238

Born in 178 and due to his previous military success, was able to ascend in the Roman hierarchical system.

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Gordian II

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus

AD192 ~ AD238

Born in 192 was the son of Gordian I.

During the reign of Elagabalus he served as a quaestor, a state official who looked after the treasury, and served as a praetor, a magistrate of sorts, during the reign of Alexander Severus.

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Gordian I

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus

AD159 ~ AD238

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus was born in 159 and came from a very wealthy equestrian family but climbed the ranks until he entered the roman senate. His early years were spent in study and his political career did not start until later in his life.

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Maximinus Thrax

Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus

AD173 ~ AD238

Born as Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus in 173, he was the first emperor to never actually set foot in Rome and his rule marked the beginning of the “Crisis of the Third Century”.

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Alexander Severus

Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander

AD208 ~ AD235

Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexandrus was born in 208 and became emperor at 13. He was guided by his mother who surrounded her son with many wise counsellors but unfortunately neither her or her son were strong enough to control the armies or impose discipline and mutinies were frequent.

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Elagabalus

Varius Avitus Bassus

AD203 ~ AD222

Born as Varius Avitus Bassus in 203, his name Elagabalus is a Latin form of the name El-Gabal who was a Semitic deity who he worshipped and was in fact a high priest of this religious sect.

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Diadumenian

Marcus Opellius Antoninus Diadumenianus

d. AD218

Marcus Opellius Antoninus Diadumenianus was the son of Macrinus. Very little is written about this ruler as he never succeeded beyond the role of Caesar. During the reign of his father, he was proclaimed Caesar and the successor of the throne.

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Macrinus

Marcus Opellius Macrinus

AD165 ~ AD218

Marcus Opellius Macrinus was born in 165 into a middle class equestrian family. His education allowed him to rise to the Roman political class and over the years he became a very capable lawyer and became an important bureaucrat under Severus’s rule. After the death of Severus and the ascension of Caracalla he became prefect of the Praetorian Guard. This position was second in command to the emperor and normally designated as the emperors bodyguard.

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Geta

Publius Septimius Geta

AD189 ~ AD211

Publius Septimius Geta born in 189 and co-ruled with his father Septimius Severus and older brother Caracalla from 209 until 211 when he was murdered by his brother.

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Caracalla

Lucius Septimius Bassianus

AD186 ~ AD217

Caracalla was born in 186 and ruled from 211 to 217.

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Septimius Severus

Lucius Septimius Severus

AD146 ~ AD211

Lucius Septimius Severus born in 146 and ruled from 193 to 211.

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Didius Julianus

Marcus Didius Salvius Julianus Severus

AD133 or AD137 ~ AD193

Marcus Severus Didius Julianus born in 133 and ruled in 193.

After the death of Pertinax, Julianus who was a senator at the time, proclaimed himself as the new emperor, and this act in itself triggered a brief civil war which was won by Julianus's successor Septimius Severus who then ordered the his execution.

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Pertinax

Publius Helvius Pertinax

AD126 ~ AD193

Publius Helvius Pertinax born in 126 and ruled for a short period in 193. In his early life he was a teacher of Grammar but eventually became a commissioned officer after he sought a more rewarding and fulfilling career. During the Parthian war he was promoted several times and became governor of the provinces of upper and lower Moesia, Dacia, Syria and finally became the governor of Britain.

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Commodus

Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus

AD161 ~ AD192

Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus born 161 and ruled from 180 to 192, he was the son of Marcus Aurelius and had a twin who died at age 5.

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Lucius Verus

Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus Armeniacus

AD130 ~ AD169

Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus Armeniacus born in 130.

Verus was said to have been an excellent student, receiving his education from a famous tutor of that time, Marcus Cornelius Fronto and was skilled in the writing and reciting of poetry and speeches.

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Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

AD121 ~ AD180

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus born in 121. His reign came about because Hadrian adopted Antoninus on the proviso that Marcus and Lucius Ceionius Commodus (later to be named Lucius Aurelius Verus) would be adopted to be next in line as rulers. In his youth, Marcus was portrayed through letters as an intelligent, hardworking and serious minded student.

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Antoninus Pius

Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius

86AD ~ 161AD

Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius born in 86 and ruled from 138 to 161. He was the second heir adopted by Hadrian but rose to power after the death of Hadrian of old age and the death of Hadrian’s first heir Lucius Aelius Caesar who was of poor health.

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Hadrian

Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus

AD76 ~ AD138

Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus born in 76 and ruled as emperor from 117 to 138.

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Trajan

Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus

AD53 ~ AD117

Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus born in 53 and ruled as emperor from 98 to 117. He was the son of a prominent senator and general.

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Nerva

Marcus Cocceius Nerva

AD30 ~ AD98

Marcus Cocceius Nerva born 30 and reined from 96 to 98.

He was the first roman emperor to choose his successor by their potential ruling capabilities rather than by a family relationship either through bloodline or adoption.

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Domitian

Titus Flavius Domitianus

AD51 ~ AD96

Titus Flavius Domitianus born 51 ruled from 81 to 96.

He received the best education and studied rhetoric, literature, law and administration. During his adolescent years he did not follow his fathers and brothers footsteps to fight in the African provinces but once his father was proclaimed emperor he moved immediately to the imperial palace.

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Titus

Titus Flavius Vespasianus

AD39 ~ AD81

Titus Flavius Vespasianus born in 39 he ruled from 79 to 81.

He was best known for defeating the Jewish rebellion in 70 and his public building program during the term of his leadership. During his rule there were two major disasters, the first being the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 and the great fire of Rome in 80. During these two unfortunate periods he was seen as a generous and giving ruler who did his best to relive the suffering of his people.

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Vespasian

Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus

AD9 ~ AD79

Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus born in 9, was the emperor of Rome from 69 to 79 and was the forth and final emperor of the "year of the four emperors".

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Vitellius

Aulus Vitellius Germanicus

AD15 ~ AD69

Aulus Vitellius Germanicus, born in 15.

Chosen by Galba in 68 to lead the Germania Inferior army he became popular among these men due to his extremely good nature and generosity.

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Otho

Marcus Salvius Otho

AD32 ~ AD69

Otho’s family descended from princes of Etruria and were an ancient and noble line. Once Nero’s best friend, this friendship was brought to a halt once Otho was to find out about the romantic affair between Nero and Otho’s wife Poppaea.

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Galba

Servius Sulpicius Galba

3BC ~ AD69

Servius Sulpicius Galba, born in 3 BC was the first emperor in what historians refer to as the year of the four emperors.

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Nero

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

AD37 ~ AD68

Born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus in 37, Nero was the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

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Claudius

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

10BC ~ AD54

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was the first roman emperor to be born outside Italy and was born in the region now known as France in 10 BC.

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Caligula

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

AD12 ~ AD41

Full name Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, but known as Caligula, he ruled from 37 to 41 and was the adoptive grandson of Augustus.

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Tiberius

Tiberius Caesar Augustus

42BC ~ AD37

The step son of Augustus, Tiberius would marry the only natural child of Augustus, Julia. Augustus would later on adopt Tiberius as his own son and though born a “Claudian” (one of the oldest families in Rome) this act of adoption would make Tiberius a “Julian”. Emperors after Tiberius would continue the inter-marrying between these two families and historians refer to this period of time as the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

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Augustus

Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus

63BC ~ AD14

Born in 63 BC and originally named Gaius Octavius, he was the son of Gaius Octavius the governor of Macedonia and Atia, the niece of Julius Caesar.

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