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Thread: Who were the best and worst Roman emperors?

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    5 members found this post helpful.

    Question Who were the best and worst Roman emperors?



    Rome has a long and fascinating history. The Roman Empire would more accurately be described as the Principate (from 27 BCE to 284 CE) and the Dominate (from Diocletian's Tetrarchy). There were 71 emperors and co-regents from Augustus to Theodosius, who definitively split the empire in eastern and western halves in 395. Who in your opinion were the best and the worst emperors in terms of policy, achievements and long-term impact?

    The emperors that I consider the best, in chronological order as they are too difficult to rank, are:

    - Augustus: The founder of the empire, he ushered in an new era of peace (Pax Romana), which lasted two centuries until the reign of Marcus Aurelius. A talented politician and gifted administrator, he strengthen the economy and built many great monuments. He decentralised power and made the empire a truly cosmopolitan place with an international ruling class. He created Rome's first police force as well as the Praetorian Guard.

    - Vespasian: He was a soldier-statesman who brought back stability after the turmoils following Nero's suicide and avoided the collapse of the empire. He had good relations with the Senate and granted the rank of senator to many legionary commanders from the provinces. His most visible achievement today is the Colosseum (which was completed by his son Titus).

    - Titus: Son of Vespasian, he followed in his father's footsteps. He was loved by the Senate, the Army and the Roman people. After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Titus provided financial aid from his own pocket to the survivors.

    - Trajan: A general-emperor, he conquered Dacia and brought back the largest treasure of the Antiquity, which allowed him to build a new forum and market and the largest Thermae Rome had ever seen.

    - Hadrian: He stopped Trajan's expansionism just in time and started consolidating the borders of the empire. He travelled extensively all over the empire and opened new doors to provincial elites. A lover of Greek culture, Hadrian was also an architect and sculptor.

    - Antoninus Pius: A thrifty and considerate emperor who did all he could to improve the life of common people. His reign was the most peaceful of any emperor. Marcus Aurelius praised Antoninus in the Meditations, calling him a man who was devoted to the empire’s needs, energetic and hardworking, rational and reliable, modest, indifferent to honours and immune to flattery, tolerant and compassionate, and orderly but decisive.

    - Marcus Aurelius: A Stoic philosopher, Marcus was thoughtful, careful, open-minded, reasonable and dutiful. Although he disliked war, he successfully repelled all the barbarian invasions under his reign.

    - Gallienus: His reign came at the height of the Crisis of the Third Century, when repeated plagues depleted the population, weakened the economy and allowed the invasions in Central Europe by the Alammani and the Goths, and by the Sassanid Persians in the East, which in turn caused many local revolts - one leading to the independence of the Gallic Empire under Postumus. Despite all these troubles, Gallienus managed to repelled more Germanic invasions than almost any other emperor and quelled nine attempts of usurpers of overthrowing him. He was extremely courageous, personally led his armies and was seriously wounded in battle at least twice, both times preventing him to deal with Postumus and recover the secessionary western provinces. Nevertheless Postumus appear to have been an able and trustworthy ruler and he reached an agreement with Gallienus that he wouldn't try to attack Italy create a civil war, and kept his word. Gallienus was a highly cultured and decent emperor. He showed clemency toward his enemies, pardoning a general (Aureolus) who revolted against him, settling Alamanni tribes he had defeated within the empire, and usually doing all he could to preserve peace in the long-run and avoid unnecessary bloodshed. He established a new model of governance conferring more autonomy to some regions of the empire, such as Egypt and Palmyra. His relationship with Odaenathus, semi-independent king of Palmyra, was so good that he always supported Gallienus and even defeated usurper in the East for him. Odaenathus had stopped the Persian invasion, but chose to remain loyal to Gallienus and remain under Roman rule even though he could easily have proclaimed his independence. Gallienus was the first emperor who appointed all his military commanders based on their abilities rather than their civilian rank. He also created Rome's first heavy cavalry force to fight against the Persian horsemen and archers. His 15-year reign was the longest wholly comprised within the 3rd century. He was also the last emperor of Italian descent and the last to rule from Rome.

    - Probus: One of Aurelian's best generals, he followed in his footsteps, kept the army disciplined and defeated countless barbarian incursions, put down three rebellions, encouraged the spread of viticulture to Gaul and the Balkans, and drained swampland in Egypt to increase the cereal production in what was the breadbasket of the empire. He pushed his soldiers too hard though, forcing them to work on land reclamations when they weren't fighting, which eventually led to his murder by his own troops. Gibbon sees Probus as the last of the benevolent constitutional emperors of Rome.

    - Julian ("the Apostate"): He tried to salvage Roman culture and paganism from the persecutions started by his cousin Constantine. Julian was an intellectual, a Neoplatonist philosopher and was also intensely interested in literature and the visual arts. He was also an accomplished general who earned the admiration and respect of his soldiers and of the population. Julian managed to crush an army of Alamanni three times larger than his own in 357. He also defeated the Franks and allowed them to settle in Germania inferior as foederati (they would later became the Merovingians). Although he was a convinced pagan himself, upon becoming emperor he refrained from persecuting Christians in retaliation and restored the religious tolerance throughout the empire. His reign only lasted 18 months but was seen as a brief Renaissance in the decline of the Roman Empire. His friend and successor Jovian (himself a Christian) maintained his policy of religious tolerance. Julian purged the top-heavy and corrupted state bureaucracy, dismissing thousands of eunuchs and siperfluous officials. He did not seek to rule as an absolute autocrat like earlier emperors since Diocletian. His own philosophic notions led him to idealise the reigns of Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. He described the ideal ruler as being essentially primus inter pares ("first among equals"), operating under the same laws as his subjects, as opposed to the royal court established by Constantine. As such, Julian was frequently active in the Senate, participating in debates and making speeches, placing himself at the level of the other members of the Senate. He also sought to reduce direct imperial involvement in urban affairs.


    In my opinion, the worst emperors, if we exclude those who had too short reigns to assess their capabilities or were just unlucky, were:

    - Commodus: He was a megalomaniac tyrant who had dozens of people executed. He compared himself to Hercules and preferred to lead a debauched life than taking care of serious state matters. He even fought as a gladiator in fixed matches against wounded soldiers and amputees. For each of his appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces, straining the Roman economy.

    - Caracalla: A cruel brute who had his own 22-year-old brother Geta murdered because he didn't like him, then had 20,000 of his brother's sympathisers persecuted and executed. When the inhabitants of Alexandria heard of Caracalla's claims that he had killed his brother, Caracalla massacred the crowd assembled before the city to greet his arrival, before setting his troops against Alexandria for several days of looting and plunder. He executed his father-in-law and exiled his wife. Obsessed by war, he depleted the state treasury and debased the coinage to pay for his military expeditions. Worst of all, he granted Roman citizenship to all free people in the empire. Until then Roman citizenship had been used as an incentive for (foreign) auxiliary troops and provincial administrators to work well and earn their citizenship, which was a sort of special status conferring prestige to a family. Caracalla eliminated all meaning to Roman citizenship by making it universal (except for slaves), which completely destabilised the way Roman society functioned in the long term.

    - Maximinus Thrax: He was a big brute who assassinated the young emperor Severus Alexander (to whom he owned his command of Legio IV Italica) and his mother (and regent) Julia Mamaea, just because the emperor had negotiated a peace treaty with the Alemanni. He was not just the first emperor who didn't hail from the senatorial or equestrian class, but he was of particular low birth. He immediately doubled the pay of his soldiers, for which he had to increase taxes and resort to violent methods and illegal confiscations. He had the close advisors of the previous emperor put to death and managed to launch persecutions of Christians on a large scale during his 2 year reign. According to the Historia Augusta: "The Romans could bear his barbarities no longer – the way in which he called up informers and incited accusers, invented false offences, killed innocent men, condemned all whoever came to trial, reduced the richest men to utter poverty and never sought money anywhere save in some other's ruin, put many generals and many men of consular rank to death for no offence, carried others about in waggons without food and drink, and kept others in confinement, in short neglected nothing which he thought might prove effectual for cruelty – and, unable to suffer these things longer, they rose against him in revolt."

    - Constantine: Ruthless, he killed his two brothers-in-law in order to become sole emperor and destroy the tetrarchy system established by Diocletian. He later had his oldest son and heir, Crispus, executed for something he didn't do. Constantine was the first Christian emperor and although he didn't dare make Christianity the official religion of the empire yet, he did all he could to subsidise Christianity with the taxes from pagans and granted exceptional powers to Christian bishops. He is basically responsible for the collapse of traditional Roman cult and values. He also disbanded the Praetorian Guard, moved to capital to Byzantium, which in a megalomaniac fashion he renamed after himself Constantinople. Constantine created a Police State, a large and corrupt administration (a "Byzantine" administration as it later became known) and reinforced the hereditary class system introduced by Diocletian. He formalised the distinction between the frontier army and the better paid mobile army, a decision which the Greek historian Zosimus claims was responsible for the ultimate collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

    - Constantius II: One of Constantine's three sons to share the empire after his death, Constantius oversaw the massacre of eight of his relatives almost immediately after becoming emperor. After the death of his two brothers, he became sole Augustus of the Roman Empire. His reign was one of the longest (24 years + 13 years as Caesar), yet he was by any standards one of the worst emperors in history. In his book The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World, Adrian Murdoch describes Constantius like this: "Although he was a dull, rather uncharismatic emperor, most interpretations have seen him as at best an incompetent, at worst a paranoid monster. [...] He was not intellectually gifted, one of the reasons he hid behind the pomp and ritual of the court. An out-and-out monster he might not have been, but there was a nasty and sneaky aspect to his character. In one of the more subtle analyses of his character, several comment that Constantius was much better at fighting civil wars than actual wars. [...] Constantius was overly influenced in his decisions by the people who surrounded him; the courtiers and the eunuchs who made up the court. Julian was later to refer to “the wild beasts that surrounded him and cast their evil eyes on all men”, while a bishop more elegantly, but no less harshly, wrote: “I find that he does not possess common understanding, but that his mind is solely regulated by the suggestions of others and that he has no mind of his own at all.” "

    - Theodosius: He made Christianity the official religion of the empire and banned all pagan religions, including traditional Roman religion, thus starting a new era of intolerance and persecution, which hastened the decline of the Roman Empire. He is responsible for the destruction of most ancient Greek and Roman temples, including the Serapeum of Alexandria, which was the heir of the Great Library and the largest library in the world at the time. In other words, Theodosius continued Constantine's work and destroyed what was left of the original ancient Roman culture.

    - Honorius: Theodosius's son, Honorius was as much of a religious persecutor, but with an additional xenophobic slant. He seems to have hated anyone of Germanic descent, even his best general, Stilicho, who was half-Vandal half-Roman, but born and raised in the empire as a Roman. His top general, Stilicho, who had successfully negotiated a peace with Persia and defeated all barbarian invasions during his long career, never losing a single battle, was imprisoned by Honorius and executed in 408 without a fair trial. This was followed by a pogrom against all and any Germanic people living in Italy, including the thousands serving in the Roman army, which Honorius couldn't stand. This left the Western Empire virtually defenceless, allowing the Suebi, Vandals, Alans and Burgundians to carve their own kingdoms within the borders of the empire, then Alaric to sack Rome in 410 and the abandonement of Britain by the Romans the same year. Honorius's bigotry, racism, narrow-mindedness and incompetence hastened the fall of the Western Roman Empire. In fact, there was hardly anything left of the Western Empire outside of Italy after his reign.


    Caligula and Nero are often considered some of the worst emperors, but the reality was more mitigated. Caligula was extremely popular and successful during the first seven months of his reign, but then he got very ill with high fever - probably meningitis, although some claim he was poisoned. He survived, but his personality changed and he became a mad tyrant. Nero's reign would have been lauded as one of the best if he had ruled only for seven years. That was in all likelihood thanks to the guiding influence of his mother, Agrippina, who was the real power behind the throne in his teenage years. The second half of his reign went downhill fast after someone convinced him that his mother was plotting to murder him and he had her assassinated. After that he lost his mind and retreated in artistic activities and delusions of grandeur, eventually thinking of himself as a living god, but still deeply insecure about his own ego and in constant need of approval from the public.
    What Caligula, Nero and Commodus all had in common was that they were inexperienced teenagers when they inherited the title of emperor. Earlier emperors or the Senate should have established a rule that emperors should, like consuls of the Republic before, have reached a minimum age (42 years old for consul) and have a certain level of experience like the old cursus honorum. In case the heir was underage he should have been appointed one or several regents.

    Youth and inexperience is one factor that creates bad emperors. Another is to inherit the name of one or several famous emperors. That was the case of Caligula (officially known as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) and Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus) and I am convinced that this played no small part in boosting their ego to megalomaniac proportions. Bathing in the glory of their namesake (adopted) ancestors, they felt no need to prove their abilities to make a name for themselves and instead immediately took the throne with a sense of entitlement.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 08-06-19 at 11:22.
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    It appears that pro-pagan revisionism is not restricted to the alt-right. I do, though, share in the condemnation of Theodosius, whose short-sighted and foolish attempt to convert uninterested pagans was a disaster; it didn't make pagans Christian, it made Christianity more pagan (you really think Mary, faithful Jew she was, would approve of all the statues of her?) and caused the death of thousands of innocents who, a millennium later, attempted to purify the pagan syncretism from the church. Also Diocletian was a terrible butcher whose imperial reorganization cannot paper over the senseless slaughter of innocent Christians whose only 'crime' was failing to worship a very fallible and imperfect mortal emperor. Mussolini, of course, made the trains run on time. Without the ethic of all human beings being created equal in the eyes of God giving an inherent dignity to even the lowest peasant, modern civilization would not exist. But then I am only a simple Anglo-American, set in my ways, and devoted to the traditions of my people, of the wisdom of John Wesley, William Wilberforce, Edmund Burke, and James Madison. I guess that would make me a modern-day version of Diocletian, save for my opposition to the slaughter of religious nonconformists. (my maternal grandfather was a direct male-line descendant of the last man in England to be burned to death for his religious beliefs)

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    Here are a few other famous emperors with mitigated reigns that make it hard to determine whether they should be seen positively or negatively.

    - Tiberius: An excellent general in his youth, Tiberius was already 56 years old when he became emperor. That made him an experienced administrator and he managed to keep the Pax Augusta, secured the borders of the empire and had a generally stable reign that saw increased prosperity for Roman society. He was humble and refused to bear the titles Pater Patriae, Imperator, and Augustus. However, Tiberius had poor relations with the Senate and often acted as a tyrant, having dozens of Senators executed. His family life wasn't much better. He had his adopted grandson and heir Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Caesar and their mother Agrippina the Elder exiled and possibly executed soon afterwards. Increasingly embittered with his position of Princeps, Tiberius retired to his villa on Capri for the last 10 years of his reign, leaving in command the Praetorian prefect Sejanus, who acted a a tyrant toward the population of Rome.

    - Claudius: Born with a limp, slight deafness and what may have been cerebral palsy, Claudius was ostracised by his family and never intended to be emperor. As one of the last survivors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty after the internecine struggles and murder spree, he declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula's assassination. Despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an able and efficient administrator. He was also an ambitious builder, constructing many new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the Empire. During his reign the Empire began the conquest of Britain. Scholarly opinions of Claudius vary a lot, sometimes depicting him as an intelligent, scholarly, well-read, and conscientious administrator with an eye to detail and justice, or conversely as paranoid and apathetic, dull and easily confused, bloodthirsty and cruel, overly fond of gladiatorial combat and executions, and very quick to anger. The empire generally flourished economically and culturally under his reign, but the same was true also of Tiberius, Caligula and Nero despite their personal deficiencies.

    - Domitian: Titus's brother is often remembered for his authoritarian rule and his opposition to the Senate. He had over 20 senators executed and tried to curtail the Senate's power as much as he could. His main problem was his lack of trust and paranoia. However his harshness was limited to a highly vocal minority. Some historians have defined Domitian as a ruthless but efficient autocrat. For the majority of his reign, there was no widespread dissatisfaction with his policies. As Barry Strauss put it in his book Ten Caesars, Domitian was "a responsible financial steward, a fair-minded administrator of the provinces, and an able manager of border and defense policy. He gained popularity for his shows, banquets, and cancellation of debts. His gladiatorial games included such crowd-pleasers as night fights by torchlight and bouts between women gladiators. He was a great builder, too, whose projects included a new hippodrome, the outline of which is still seen today in Rome’s Piazza Navona." Philip Matyszak in Lives of the Romans describes Domitian as meticulous and conscientious, with a keen interest in finance, but a tendency to micromanage the government.

    - Septimus Severus: He restored order after the mess caused by Commodus, aptly reformed the legal system, raised three extra legions, created a mobile reserve army in northern Italy, and expanded the borders of the empire to their greatest extent. However, Severus was also harsh and selfish. He disregarded the Senate, had many senators executed, used public funds to build grandiose edifices in his native city of Leptis Magna. His reign was focused almost entirely on the military and he seriously debased the currency to pay his troops. His destruction of the Persian capital at Ctesiphon in 198 caused the overthrowing of the Parthian dynasty by the more brutal Sassanians, who would become a much tougher enemy for the Romans. Severus recognised the wicked nature of his son Caracalla, who almost murdered him once, but didn't prevent him from succeeding him, which ultimately placed a monster at the helm of the empire, when he could have exiled Caracalla and chosen his milder second son Geta as sole ruler instead.

    - Aurelian: He instilled great discipline in the Roman army (his coins remember him as Restitutor Exerciti, or Restorer of the Army) and recovered the the western and eastern provinces that had declared independence (Gallic Empire and Palmyrene Empire). He also defeated the Goths, Suebi, Vandals, Sarmatians and Carpi. Aurelian attempted to restore the Roman Empire to the glory of its heyday and showed great reverence for tradition and had relatively good relations with the Senate. He also built massive walls around Rome, which can still be seen today (although Maxentius doubled their height later). He was loyal, incorruptible and inspired loyalty from his men and from the Senate and there was never any serious rebellion against his rule. On the other hand, Aurelian has been described by ancient authors as stern, ruthless, bloodthirsty and excessively cruel. He had servants executed in front of him for committing adultery, and even executed his sister's child for unknown reasons. He introduced the cult of Sol Invictus ("the unconquered Sun") to Rome and attempted to make it the main religion, subordinating all other gods to the Sun. His only building projects, apart from the new city walls, was a magnificent Temple of Sol Invictus in central Rome and the organisation of grandiose games (Agones Solis) in honour of the Sun held every four years from 25 December (anniversary of the temple's consecration). That date was taken over for Christmas a few generations later by the Christian emperor Constantius II. Although Aurelian wasn't the first emperor to worship the sun, he was the first to adopt the mention Sol Invictus on his coins and obliged the legions to adopt the new deity. Aurelian was also the first Roman emperor to call himself a god was still alive and had himself called Dominus ("Lord"), a term re-used by Diocletian and later emperors of the Dominate, when emperors started behaving like kings.

    - Diocletian: Acclaimed for saving and re-organising the empire and establishing the Tetrarchy, Diocletian was also a brutal ruler who changed the nature of the Roman Empire into what is known as the Dominate, granting the emperor divine status and in which the state should serve the emperor rather than the other way round. Diocletian also persecuted Christians and issued a edict trying to fixing maximum prices for goods, which had disastrous economic consequences. He also instituted serfdom by forcing freemen from the cities to work the fields of wealthy landowners, tying them to the land (prohibiting them to leave) and making their occupation hereditary. It can be argued that the Middle Ages really started under Diocletian's reign, when emperors became kings of divine status living in sumptuous courts and most of the population had been turned into agricultural serfs. Others prefer to place the start of the Middle Ages with the rise of Constantine I (whose reign started in 306, one year after Diocletian's abdication), who transformed the pagan Roman Empire into a Christian Byzantine empire based in Constantinople.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 06-06-19 at 13:19.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I have revised a bit my ranking and updated a few descriptions, notably for Gallienus, Aurelian and Probus based on the book The Roman Emperor Aurelian: Restorer of the World.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 18-05-19 at 22:55.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I have revised a bit my ranking and updated a few descriptions, notably for Aurelian and Gallienus based on the book The Roman Emperor Aurelian: Restorer of the World.
    For me Diocletian
    First because he from Dalmatian (Illyrian Origin)

    And

    Second because He said this

    "If you could show the cabbage that I planted with my own hands to your emperor, he definitely wouldn't dare suggest that I replace the peace and happiness of this place with the storms of a never-satisfied greed."


    Before Washington said this

    "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray, but almost blind, in the service of my country."


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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by blevins13 View Post
    For me Diocletian
    First because he from Dalmatian (Illyrian Origin)
    That's not a justification. There were 28 emperors of Illyrian origin before the split of the empire into east and west, and many more afterwards. Almost all the emperors from Claudius II to Valentinian II were of Illyrian origin (or at least partial Illyrian and partial Greek ancestry for the Constantinian dynasty).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    That's not a justification. There were 28 emperors of Illyrian origin before the split of the empire into east and west, and many more afterwards. Almost all the emperors from Claudius II to Valentinian II were of Illyrian origin (or at least partial Illyrian and partial Greek ancestry for the Constantinian dynasty).
    The first is combined with the second. And the second is very unusual for that time.


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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Neron was a fine emperror, he liberated slaves, hundreds of thousands of slaves,
    that make him enemy to both ruling class and christians.
    I don't believe he burned the Rome, it is rather a setup case to revolt against him
    Neron is a personality very little understood, yet so much destroyed by the mud thrown against him,
    He was almost to change the slave status, where? in Rome?, which his era was a typical patrician or traditional city, but rather the center of worlds economy, which was based in the pecculiar slavery/worker
    (another thing is slave, another thing is convict-slave)
    wow the king is mad, he is releasing slaves, what next he will force us to work?
    In the era, when a vote could be bought with a bucket of Egyptian grain, to enter Senate,
    he is more a Hero, than a mad emperror who burned his empire.
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    Augustus and Marcus Aurelius are my favs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dibran View Post
    Augustus and Marcus Aurelius are my favs.
    Mine too. Maybe Vespasian and Claudius right after that. Then, Trajan/Hadrian/Antoninus Pius.

    All ruthless dictators, of course, so I'm a little uncomfortable calling them "favorites". :)


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    Nero is probably the victim of slanted histories, but I, like most others, would have to pump for the adoptive emperors, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. The last gets a down vote, however, for letting his son take the throne. Could he not see that Commodus was not worthy, or did his wife insist that her son not be set aside?

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    Augustus is many people's favourite emperor. But hardly anyone cares to mention his right-arm, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who was in all but name his co-emperor, as well as the ancestor of two Julio-Claudian emperors (Caligula and Nero).

    In the words of Lindsay Powell in his biography Marcus Agrippa - Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus: "Agrippa was a remarkable and multifaceted man who complemented his friend in age, outlook, personality and skills. He was a talented general on land and a fine admiral at sea , a pragmatic diplomat, a hard working public official, a generous philanthropist and the loyalest of friends. He was Augustus’‘go-to guy’, the man the boss turned to whenever he needed a difficult job done, whether it was beating tough guerillas in northern Spain or fixing creaking sewers in Rome. There were many times when he could have challenged Augustus and usurped power for himself, yet he did not."

    Marcus Agrippa was Rome's second most important man for 19 years (from 31 BCE to his death in 12 BCE). He was more of an emperor than many of the usurpers and short-lived emperors (e.g. Galba was only emperor for 3 weeks, and in total 18 emperors ruled for less than 1 year from Augustus to Constantine). Agrippa had coins minted in his name and others representing him with Augustus, like this famous Dupondius of Nemausus/Nîmes.



    If we consider him as Augustus's co-emperor, he would definitely rank among the very best of all the Roman emperors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Augustus is many people's favourite emperor. But hardly anyone cares to mention his right-arm, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who was in all but name his co-emperor, as well as the ancestor of two Julio-Claudian emperors (Caligula and Nero).

    In the words of Lindsay Powell in his biography Marcus Agrippa - Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus: "Agrippa was a remarkable and multifaceted man who complemented his friend in age, outlook, personality and skills. He was a talented general on land and a fine admiral at sea , a pragmatic diplomat, a hard working public official, a generous philanthropist and the loyalest of friends. He was Augustus’‘go-to guy’, the man the boss turned to whenever he needed a difficult job done, whether it was beating tough guerillas in northern Spain or fixing creaking sewers in Rome. There were many times when he could have challenged Augustus and usurped power for himself, yet he did not."

    Marcus Agrippa was Rome's second most important man for 19 years (from 31 BCE to his death in 12 BCE). He was more of an emperor than many of the usurpers and short-lived emperors (e.g. Galba was only emperor for 3 weeks, and in total 18 emperors ruled for less than 1 year from Augustus to Constantine). Agrippa had coins minted in his name and others representing him with Augustus, like this famous Dupondius of Nemausus/Nîmes.



    If we consider him as Augustus's co-emperor, he would definitely rank among the very best of all the Roman emperors.

    I completely agree with you that Agrippa was a capable and important aide for a period of time during the reign of Augustus. However, being a good executor of an emperor's orders, or being a good general is not the same as being emperor, certainly not an emperor like Augustus, whose strategical thinking and tactics earned him the purple. (Marcus Antonius also was extremely important at that time.) It's not just battles fought or territories won which make Augustus so important. It was his vision and maneuvering, which required a lot of political skill among other things, which created the Empire which would last so long. I'm sure he took advice from all quarters, as the best leaders do, and even from people far below him in status, as Agrippa was, and Marcus Antonius to some extent as well, who came from a Plebeian family, even to allowing intermarriage into his family. From accounts from the period, Livia was also a trusted counselor. However, Augustus made the decisions alone.

    To put Agrippa as co-emperor is imho a step too far.

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    I don’t know. It seems to me that without Agrippa, Octavian would never have survived the early battles to become Emperor. I allow, of corse, that Octavian was a master politician, none better. But, it has always surprised me that popular histories don’t more clearly point out Agrippa’s central role in establishing the principate.

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    To be more clear, Octavian was no general and Antony would have eaten him alive except for Agrippa.

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    Great generals don't necessarily make great rulers. It's a different skill set. Some of the worst Emperors were good generals.

    We can even see today in some countries when generals take over a country. Although in some countries they might be better than the demagogues who get elected.

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    Trajan, Vespasian, Septimus Severus? Marcus Aurelius was also no slouch as a general. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but the skills learned by a general, in administration, decision making, dealing with difficult people (prima donnas), etc. do translate. They are better predictors of being a good emperor than being the son of the previous emperor (Domitian, Caracalla, Commodus) . . .

    I doubt that Agrippa would have had the deft touch of Octavian, but he would have been a strong emperor.

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    I must quickly add that, in America, generals haven't been especially deft presidents, though I think Eisenhower was better than the moderns give him credit for.

    I just think that any ability in managing large institutions, a true executive experience, translates to some extent. I'm unwilling to allow that the only person who can become the "leader" is one born and bred in the law/political world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I completely agree with you that Agrippa was a capable and important aide for a period of time during the reign of Augustus. However, being a good executor of an emperor's orders, or being a good general is not the same as being emperor, certainly not an emperor like Augustus, whose strategical thinking and tactics earned him the purple. (Marcus Antonius also was extremely important at that time.) It's not just battles fought or territories won which make Augustus so important. It was his vision and maneuvering, which required a lot of political skill among other things, which created the Empire which would last so long. I'm sure he took advice from all quarters, as the best leaders do, and even from people far below him in status, as Agrippa was, and Marcus Antonius to some extent as well, who came from a Plebeian family, even to allowing intermarriage into his family. From accounts from the period, Livia was also a trusted counselor. However, Augustus made the decisions alone.

    To put Agrippa as co-emperor is imho a step too far.
    Agrippa didn't just do Augustus's bidding and he was much more than an excellent general and admiral. He was 3 times consul (already an achievement in itself), then was granted imperium proconsulare for 10 years (23-13 BCE), tribunician power alongside Augustus for 5 years (18-13 BCE) and finally he obtained imperium proconsulare maius, which is to say the exact same imperial power as Augustus across the entire Roman world.

    In addition, Agrippa built of his own initiative:

    - the Aqua Virgo (one of the main aqueducts in Rome, which still works today and feed many of Rome's fountains, including the Trevi Fountain)
    - the Aqua Julia, another of Rome's aqueducts.
    - the Panthenon
    - the Thermae Agrippae, Rome's first public baths, which would be unrivalled in size and engineering until Trajan's Baths. See excerpt from the book below.

    He renovated Rome's sewers, the Cloaca Maxima, for the first time since they were built many centuries before. He renovated the streets and public buildings of Rome like never before. In fact, when Augustus said “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble”, it was mainly Agrippa's work.

    Outside of Rome, Agrippa built (among others):

    - the Portus Iulius in Naples
    - the Maison Carrée in Nîmes (as well as the city walls and other buildings), which is the best known Roman temple in France today.
    - the Via Agrippa, actually a network of 21,000 km of four Roman roads in Gaul leaving from Lyon (to Cologne, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Arles and Saintes)
    - the Roman Theatre of Mérida in Spain, which is listed as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO.
    - the Odeon of Agrippa in Athens, now lost.
    - in Antioch he enlarged the theatre, rebuilt the stadium and constructed an entire residential area south of the stoa.

    Agrippa founded the Colonia Ubiorum (modern Cologne), which would be renamed Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.

    I would see Agrippa at least as a junior emperor, a bit like the Caesar (as opposed to Augustus) during the Tetrarchy. Augustus trusted Agrippa so much that Agrippa was basically in charge of everything in Rome when Augustus was away. It is also clear that Augustus wanted Agrippa to be seen as his equal in many regards. Here are a few passages from Lindsay Powell's book.

    "Agrippa was driven by a design ethos that public works for the benefit of the people must also look beautiful. Pliny the Elder wrote with admiration of how: He also formed 700 wells, in addition to 500 fountains, and 130 reservoirs, many of them magnificently adorned. Upon these works, too, he erected 300 statues of marble or bronze, and 400 marble columns – and all this in the space of a single year! Remarkable too was the fact that he completed these projects without any public funding. Financially, Agrippa was by now a very wealthy man in his own right and could afford the expense from proceeds of confiscations under the proscriptions and the estates in Sicily and Illyricum, but additional funds were probably provided by Caesar. Administratively, Agrippa’s unique systems approach to the provision, distribution and drainage of water set a new standard in city management."

    "Where Agrippa brought tried and tested know-how in management and military science, Maecenas provided the connections and panache Imperator Caesar needed to get things done in political Rome. To speak and act for him in his absence, Caesar empowered both men: He also gave to Agrippa and to Maecenas so great authority in all matters that they might even read beforehand the letters which he wrote to the Senate and to others and then change whatever they wished in them. To this end they also received from him a ring, so that they might be able to seal the letters again. For he had caused to be made in duplicate the seal which he used most at that time, the design being a sphinx, the same on each copy; since it was not till later that he had his own likeness engraved upon his seal and sealed everything with that then."

    "Of the twenty-four fasces given to Caesar as consul up to 29 BCE, Agrippa now received half of them, demonstrating publicly that he considered the two consuls were of equal status. Furthermore he provided Agrippa with a tent similar in size and design to his own so that when they were campaigning together they would be seen as equal, and the watchword was to be given out by both of them from that time on."

    "Two censors were appointed annually. In 28 BCE Caesar assumed the office with Agrippa as his colleague."

    "Where Augustus had used the last three years to reform Rome’s political structure, Agrippa would use the next three to transform the city itself."

    "In the wake of the constitutional arrangement, choosing to rebuild the Saepta clearly demonstrated the régime’s full commitment to free elections within Rome’s republican democracy. Its official name, the Saepta Iulia, acknowledged Iulius Caesar’s original plans but, by dint of his family connection, it emphasized Augustus’ support of the institution for which it was built. It was a large rectangular enclosure, measuring 310m (1,017ft) long by 120m (393ft) wide, surrounded by a covered colonnade to protect voters from rain or rays of the sun. Rather than leaving its walls plain, Agrippa adorned the new structure with marble tablets and paintings to provide a pleasant space for voters to enjoy while they cast their ballots and to encourage people to visit and linger at other times of the year. Some of the finest, and costliest, sculptures decorated its interior space."

    "Having spent several years away following the ‘First Constitutional Settlement’, during which Agrippa had been the sole face of the new régime in Rome, now that Augustus was in good health again it was time for him to reassert himself onto the political and social scene."

    "When Herodes returned to his capital at Hierosolyma (Jerusalem), he called the two most opulent rooms in the new palace he was building respectively Caesareum and Agrippeum, after the eminent Romans."

    "By marrying his only child to his best friend, Augustus was now clearly communicating his intention of making Agrippa co-ruler of the Roman world. There was no other way to interpret it."

    "Adjoining and expanding the original covered Spartan Baths erected in 25 BCE, a new complex of damp heat baths had been built (map 11). Called the Thermae Agrippae it was a marvel of hydraulic engineering. There had been bathing complexes in Rome before, but in scale and lavishness the Baths of Agrippa were the first of their kind and, for the next three centuries, future rulers of Rome would try to outdo them in size and luxury. The building, oriented north and south on the same axis as the Pantheon and Saepta Iulia, covered an area of approximately 100–120m (328–393ft) north and south and 80–100m (262–328ft) east and west.
    [...]
    Fitness enthusiasts could avail themselves of the colonnaded exercise yard outside. Keen swimmers could use the Euripus, a manmade canal fed directly by the Aqua Virgo – indeed, an estimated 20 per cent of the water it carried was just for this purpose – which extended right down to the Tiber.The first to try the fresh spring water as it filled the canal and bathing pools were struck by its coldness, clarity and purity. The soft, cool water was considered particularly fine to swim in and the poet Martial declared that it was so brilliantly clear that an observer could scarcely perceive it even was there, and only the polished marble surface over which it flowed, with barely a ripple, revealing it.Seneca used to mark the beginning of the New Year by taking a cold plunge in the Virgo, while Ovid hung around its porticoes to enjoy the views of the Campus Martius, and to find women. To the west of the bathing complex, Agrippa created an immense artificial lake, the Stagnum Agrippae, but about which little is known. Completing and uniting these leisure facilities, between Euripus and the artificial lake Agrippa created a great park called the Horti Agrippae. Eager to leave Rome’s crowded streets and cramped alleyways, people thronged the park’s gravel paths to enjoy the manicured lawns and careful plantings, managed fishponds and collections of artworks.Art mattered to Agrippa, and it was important to him that it could be enjoyed by all. He made an impassioned speech during his lifetime on the subject of public ownership of art, about which Pliny the Elder later wrote: we have a magnificent oration of his, and one well worthy of the greatest of our citizens, on the advantage of exhibiting in public all pictures and statues; a practice which would have been far preferable to sending them into banishment at our country-houses.Among the many items put on display in the new Gardens which bore his name, Agrippa dedicated statues he had purchased on his travels in Asia.The combined effect of the lavish development of temple, baths, canal, lake and park, which together transformed the unkempt Campus Martius into a manicured playground for the Roman people, was one of opulence and splendour. It was made all the more appealing for its accessibility to all classes of society with free admission."


    All in all, Marcus Agrippa achieved more in pretty much all regards, be it as military commander, politician, administrator or architect, than most Roman emperors ever did. In terms of overall achievements, I would without hesitation place him in the top 5 rulers of the Roman Empire, alongside Augustus, Vespasian, Trajan and Hadrian. Nerva, Antonius Pius and Marcus Aurelius were good people with admirable qualities, but they were not great generals, reformers, nor builders.

    What I like about Agrippa, besides his amazing abilities, is his outstanding character. He always remained loyal and trustworthy toward Augustus. He was extremely generous, sponsored the construction of public buildings all around the empire and always thought of the public good. He earned the respect and good-will of the provincials, including and especially from the Jewish population - a fact rare enough with Roman rulers to be mentioned, as many 'good' emperors like Vespasian, Titus, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius had particularly strained relations (to say the least) with the Jews.

    Despite his high status and his numerous victories, Agrippa always remained humble. The Senate granted him three triumphs, for his quelling of the rebellions in Aquitania (38 BCE), against the Asturians and Cantabrians (19 BCE), and for annexing the Crimea (17 BCE). Yet he always turned down the honour.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 25-05-19 at 13:15.

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    I forgot to mention that Agrippa also worked for many years on making a great map of the world, known as the Dimensuratio provinciarum, or Orbis terrarum, which was inscribed in marble by Augustus and displayed in the Porticus Vipsania at Rome. It remained the reference map of the world throughout Roman and medieval times. Agrippa was one of the most travelled men of his time.


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    I have made a table of all Roman emperors until the end of the Western Roman Empire. The • sign means that an emperor is the (biological) son of the previous one. I also listed empresses of the Severan dynasty as they held considerable power as regents of Elegabal and Severus Alexander.

    I gave my rating for each emperor based on their achievements, reforms, legacy, buildings, military abilities, popularity, and so on. Emperors who ruled for less than one year or who were appointed emperors when they were children (usually co-emperor with their father) have no rating [-].

    The last column shows the ethnic and social origin of each emperor. For ethnic Roman emperors, I tried to research whether their ancestors came from patrician or plebeian families.


    Emperors Rating Origins
    Augustus (31 BCE–14 CE) ***** Rome (Patr. + Pleb)
    Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (31-12 BCE) ***** Central Italy (Plebeian)
    Tiberius (14–37 CE) *** Rome (Patrician)
    Caligula (37–41 CE) * Rome (Patrician)
    Claudius (41–54 CE) **** Rome (Patrician)
    Nero (54–68 CE) ** Rome (Patrician)
    Galba (68–69 CE) - Rome (Patrician)
    Otho (January–April 69 CE) - Etruria (Patrician)
    Aulus Vitellius (July–December 69 CE) - Rome (Patrician)
    Vespasian (69–79 CE) ***** Sabine (Pleb.)
    Titus (79–81 CE) ***** Sabine (Pleb.)
    Domitian (81–96 CE) **** Sabine (Pleb.)
    Nerva (96–98 CE) **** Rome/Umbria (Pleb.)
    Trajan (98–117 CE) ***** Roman (Patr. + Pleb.)
    Hadrian (117–138 CE) ***** Roman (Pleb.)
    Antoninus Pius (138–161 CE) ***** Roman (Patr. + Pleb.)
    Marcus Aurelius (161–180 CE) ***** Roman (Plebeian)
    Lucius Verus (161–169 CE) *** Roman (Plebeian)
    Commodus (177–192 CE) * Roman (Plebeian)
    Publius Helvius Pertinax (January–March 193 CE) - Piedmont (freedman)
    Marcus Didius Severus Julianus (March–June 193 CE) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Septimius Severus (193–211 CE) **** Punic/Roman
    x Julia Domna *** Syrian
    Julia Maesa (sister of Julia Domna and mother of Julia Soaemias) *** Syrian
    Julia Soaemias (daughter of Julia Maesa and mother of Elagabalus) * Syrian
    Julia Avita Mamaea (daughter of Julia Maesa and mother of Alexander) *** Syrian
    • Geta (209–211 CE) * Punic/Roman/Syrian
    • Caracalla (198–217 CE) * Punic/Roman/Syrian
    Macrinus (217–218 CE) *** Berber (equestrian)
    Elagabalus (218–222 CE) * Syrian
    Severus Alexander (222–235 CE) *** Syrian
    Maximinus Thrax (235–238 CE) * Thracian
    Gordian I (March–April 238 CE) - Anatolian?
    • Gordian II (March–April 238 CE, co-emperor with father Gordian I) - Anatolian?
    Pupienus Maximus (April 22–July 29, 238 CE) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Balbinus (April 22–July 29, 238 CE) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Gordian III (238–244 CE) ** Roman/Anatolian
    Philip the Arab (244–249 CE) ** Syrian
    • Philip II (247-249 CE, co-emperor with father Philip) - Syrian/Roman
    Trajan Decius (249–251 CE) ** Illyrian
    • Herennius Etruscus (May-June 251, co-emperor with father Decius) - Illyrian/Roman
    • Hostilian (251 CE, son of Decius, co-emperor with Trebonianus) - Illyrian/Roman
    Trebonianus Gallus (251–253 CE) * Etruria (Plebeian)
    • Volusianus (251–253 CE, , co-emperor with father Trebonianus) - Etruria (Plebeian)
    Aemilian (253 CE)- - Berber
    Valerian (253–260 CE) * Roman (Patr. + pleb.)
    Gallienus (253–268 CE) **** Roman (Patr. + pleb.)
    • Valerian II (256–258 CE, caesar under father Gallienus) - Roman (Plebeian)
    • Saloninus (260 CE, co-emperor with father Gallienus) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Claudius II Gothicus (268–270 CE) *** Illyrian
    Quintillus (270 CE) - Illyrian
    Aurelian (270–275 CE) - monetary reform XXI **** Illyrian (Serbia?)
    Marcus Claudius Tacitus (275–276 CE) - Umbria
    Florian (June–September 276 CE) - Umbria?
    Probus (276–282 CE) **** Illyrian (Serbia?)
    Carus (282–283 CE) ** ?
    Numerian (283–284 CE) * ?
    Carinus (283–285 CE) * ?
    ---Tetrarchy--- ------ ------
    - Diocletian (east, 284–305 CE) *** Illyrian (Dalmatia)
    - Maximian (west, 286–305 CE) ** Illyrian (Serbia)
    -- Galerius (east, 305–311 CE) ** Illyrian (Bulgaria)
    • Maxentius (west, 306–312 CE, son of Maximian, son-in-law of Galerius) * Illyrian
    -- Valerius Severus (west, 306–307 CE) * Illyrian
    -- Maximinus II Daia (east, 308-313 CE, nephew of Galerius) * Illyrian
    -- Licinius I (308–313, then eastern Augustus 313-324 CE) ** Dacian
    • Licinius II (317–324 CE as eastern Caesar of father Licinius I) * Daco-Illyrian
    - Constantius I Chlorus (west, 305–306 CE) ** Illyrian (Kosovo)
    • Flavius Dalmatius (half-brother of Constantine I) - Illyrian
    • Constantine I (306–337 CE) reunified the empire ** Greco-Illyrian
    • • Flavius Julius Crispus (317–326 CE as western Caesar) - Greco-Illyrian
    • • Constantine II (337–340 CE, western emperor) * Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    • • Constantius II (337–361 CE, eastern emperor) * Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    • • Constans I (337–350 CE, emperor of Italia & Africa) * Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    Magnentius (usurper 350-353 CE) ** Celto-Frankish?
    Constantius Gallus (351–354 CE, half-brother of Julian) * Illyrian-Roman-Syrian
    Julian the Apostate (361–363 CE) *** Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    Jovian (363–364 CE) ** Illyrian (Serbia)
    Procopius (usurper 365-366 CE, Julian's cousin) * Greek
    Valens (east, 364–378 CE, co-emperor with brother Valentinian) * Illyrian (Croatia)
    Valentinian I (west, 364–375 CE, co-emperor with brother Valens) * Illyrian (Croatia)
    • Gratian (west, 367–383 CE; coemperor with father Valentinian I) * Illyrian (Croatia)
    • Valentinian II (375–392 CE; crowned as child, son of Valentinian) - Illyrian (Croatia)
    Theodosius I (east, 379–392 CE; east and west, 392–395 CE) * Hispano-Roman?
    • Arcadius (east, 383–395 CE, coemperor; 395–402 CE, sole emperor) * Hispano-Roman?
    Magnus Maximus (west, 383–388 CE) * Hispano-Roman?
    • Honorius (west, 393–395 CE, coemperor; 395–423 CE, sole emperor) * Hispano-Roman?
    Constantine III (usurper 407-409, co-emperor 409-411 with Honorius) * ?
    Constantius III (Feb-Sept 421, with Honorius) - Illyrian
    • Valentinian III (west, 425-455 CE, son of Constantius III) * Illyrio-Hispano-Roman
    Petronius Maximus (west, Mar-May 455 CE) -
    Eparchus Avitus (west, 455-456 CE) *
    Majorian (west, 457-461 CE) *
    Libius Severus (west, 461-465 CE) *
    Anthemius (west, 467-472 CE) *
    Olybrius (west, 472 CE) *
    Glycerius (west, 473-474 CE) *
    Julius Nepos (west, 474-475 CE) *
    Romulus Augustulus (west, 475-476 CE) *

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I have made a table of all Roman emperors until the end of the Western Roman Empire. The • sign means that an emperor is the (biological) son of the previous one. I also listed empresses of the Severan dynasty as they held considerable power as regents of Elegabal and Severus Alexander.

    I gave my rating for each emperor based on their achievements, reforms, legacy, buildings, military abilities, popularity, and so on. Emperors who ruled for less than one year or who were appointed emperors when they were children (usually co-emperor with their father) have no rating [-].

    The last column shows the ethnic and social origin of each emperor. For ethnic Roman emperors, I tried to research whether their ancestors came from patrician or plebeian families.


    Emperors Rating Origins
    Augustus (31 BCE–14 CE) ***** Rome (Patr. + Pleb)
    Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (31-12 BCE) ***** Central Italy (Plebeian)
    Tiberius (14–37 CE) *** Rome (Patrician)
    Caligula (37–41 CE) * Rome (Patrician)
    Claudius (41–54 CE) **** Rome (Patrician)
    Nero (54–68 CE) ** Rome (Patrician)
    Galba (68–69 CE) - Rome (Patrician)
    Otho (January–April 69 CE) - Etruria (Patrician)
    Aulus Vitellius (July–December 69 CE) - Rome (Patrician)
    Vespasian (69–79 CE) ***** Sabine (Pleb.)
    Titus (79–81 CE) ***** Sabine (Pleb.)
    Domitian (81–96 CE) **** Sabine (Pleb.)
    Nerva (96–98 CE) **** Rome/Umbria (Pleb.)
    Trajan (98–117 CE) ***** Roman (Patr. + Pleb.)
    Hadrian (117–138 CE) ***** Roman (Pleb.)
    Antoninus Pius (138–161 CE) ***** Roman (Patr. + Pleb.)
    Marcus Aurelius (161–180 CE) ***** Roman (Plebeian)
    Lucius Verus (161–169 CE) *** Roman (Plebeian)
    Commodus (177–192 CE) * Roman (Plebeian)
    Publius Helvius Pertinax (January–March 193 CE) - Piedmont (freedman)
    Marcus Didius Severus Julianus (March–June 193 CE) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Septimius Severus (193–211 CE) **** Punic/Roman
    x Julia Domna *** Syrian
    Julia Maesa (sister of Julia Domna and mother of Julia Soaemias) *** Syrian
    Julia Soaemias (daughter of Julia Maesa and mother of Elagabalus) * Syrian
    Julia Avita Mamaea (daughter of Julia Maesa and mother of Alexander) *** Syrian
    • Geta (209–211 CE) * Punic/Roman/Syrian
    • Caracalla (198–217 CE) * Punic/Roman/Syrian
    Macrinus (217–218 CE) *** Berber (equestrian)
    Elagabalus (218–222 CE) * Syrian
    Severus Alexander (222–235 CE) *** Syrian
    Maximinus Thrax (235–238 CE) * Thracian
    Gordian I (March–April 238 CE) - Anatolian?
    • Gordian II (March–April 238 CE, co-emperor with father Gordian I) - Anatolian?
    Pupienus Maximus (April 22–July 29, 238 CE) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Balbinus (April 22–July 29, 238 CE) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Gordian III (238–244 CE) ** Roman/Anatolian
    Philip the Arab (244–249 CE) ** Syrian
    • Philip II (247-249 CE, co-emperor with father Philip) - Syrian/Roman
    Trajan Decius (249–251 CE) ** Illyrian
    • Herennius Etruscus (May-June 251, co-emperor with father Decius) - Illyrian/Roman
    • Hostilian (251 CE, son of Decius, co-emperor with Trebonianus) - Illyrian/Roman
    Trebonianus Gallus (251–253 CE) * Etruria (Plebeian)
    • Volusianus (251–253 CE, , co-emperor with father Trebonianus) - Etruria (Plebeian)
    Aemilian (253 CE)- - Berber
    Valerian (253–260 CE) * Roman (Patr. + pleb.)
    Gallienus (253–268 CE) **** Roman (Patr. + pleb.)
    • Valerian II (256–258 CE, caesar under father Gallienus) - Roman (Plebeian)
    • Saloninus (260 CE, co-emperor with father Gallienus) - Roman (Plebeian)
    Claudius II Gothicus (268–270 CE) *** Illyrian
    Quintillus (270 CE) - Illyrian
    Aurelian (270–275 CE) - monetary reform XXI **** Illyrian (Serbia?)
    Marcus Claudius Tacitus (275–276 CE) - Umbria
    Florian (June–September 276 CE) - Umbria?
    Probus (276–282 CE) **** Illyrian (Serbia?)
    Carus (282–283 CE) ** ?
    Numerian (283–284 CE) * ?
    Carinus (283–285 CE) * ?
    ---Tetrarchy--- ------ ------
    - Diocletian (east, 284–305 CE) *** Illyrian (Dalmatia)
    - Maximian (west, 286–305 CE) ** Illyrian (Serbia)
    -- Galerius (east, 305–311 CE) ** Illyrian (Bulgaria)
    • Maxentius (west, 306–312 CE, son of Maximian, son-in-law of Galerius) * Illyrian
    -- Valerius Severus (west, 306–307 CE) * Illyrian
    -- Maximinus II Daia (east, 308-313 CE, nephew of Galerius) * Illyrian
    -- Licinius I (308–313, then eastern Augustus 313-324 CE) ** Dacian
    • Licinius II (317–324 CE as eastern Caesar of father Licinius I) * Daco-Illyrian
    - Constantius I Chlorus (west, 305–306 CE) ** Illyrian (Kosovo)
    • Flavius Dalmatius (half-brother of Constantine I) - Illyrian
    • Constantine I (306–337 CE) reunified the empire ** Greco-Illyrian
    • • Flavius Julius Crispus (317–326 CE as western Caesar) - Greco-Illyrian
    • • Constantine II (337–340 CE, western emperor) * Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    • • Constantius II (337–361 CE, eastern emperor) * Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    • • Constans I (337–350 CE, emperor of Italia & Africa) * Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    Magnentius (usurper 350-353 CE) ** Celto-Frankish?
    Constantius Gallus (351–354 CE, half-brother of Julian) * Illyrian-Roman-Syrian
    Julian the Apostate (361–363 CE) *** Greco-Illyrian-Syrian
    Jovian (363–364 CE) ** Illyrian (Serbia)
    Procopius (usurper 365-366 CE, Julian's cousin) * Greek
    Valens (east, 364–378 CE, co-emperor with brother Valentinian) * Illyrian (Croatia)
    Valentinian I (west, 364–375 CE, co-emperor with brother Valens) * Illyrian (Croatia)
    • Gratian (west, 367–383 CE; coemperor with father Valentinian I) * Illyrian (Croatia)
    • Valentinian II (375–392 CE; crowned as child, son of Valentinian) - Illyrian (Croatia)
    Theodosius I (east, 379–392 CE; east and west, 392–395 CE) * Hispano-Roman?
    • Arcadius (east, 383–395 CE, coemperor; 395–402 CE, sole emperor) * Hispano-Roman?
    Magnus Maximus (west, 383–388 CE) * Hispano-Roman?
    • Honorius (west, 393–395 CE, coemperor; 395–423 CE, sole emperor) * Hispano-Roman?
    Constantine III (usurper 407-409, co-emperor 409-411 with Honorius) * ?
    Constantius III (Feb-Sept 421, with Honorius) - Illyrian
    • Valentinian III (west, 425-455 CE, son of Constantius III) * Illyrio-Hispano-Roman
    Petronius Maximus (west, Mar-May 455 CE) -
    Eparchus Avitus (west, 455-456 CE) *
    Majorian (west, 457-461 CE) *
    Libius Severus (west, 461-465 CE) *
    Anthemius (west, 467-472 CE) *
    Olybrius (west, 472 CE) *
    Glycerius (west, 473-474 CE) *
    Julius Nepos (west, 474-475 CE) *
    Romulus Augustulus (west, 475-476 CE) *
    Interesting, where this data is coming from?


    Sent from my iPhone using Eupedia Forum

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    Quote Originally Posted by blevins13 View Post
    Interesting, where this data is coming from?
    What do you mean? The names and length of reign of emperors can be found on Wikipedia and many other sites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    What do you mean? The names and length of reign of emperors can be found on Wikipedia and many other sites.
    I mean if there is any valid academic research behind this list, especially how their ethnicity was determined.


    Sent from my iPhone using Eupedia Forum

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    Quote Originally Posted by blevins13 View Post
    I mean if there is any valid academic research behind this list, especially how their ethnicity was determined.
    The ethnicity is based on the information available for each emperor, their parents and grandparents.

    The rating, as stated, is mine, and is based on the dozens of books I have read about ancient Rome + Wikipedia articles on each emperor. I have summarised the pros and cons of the main emperors above.

    I would like to encourage debate about this from other knowledgeable members. Despite my best efforts my knowledge of each emperor is limited and I would like to compare points of views, citing sources whenever possible.

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