The Five Good Emperors

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1 ! The Five Good Emperors (Plus One Not-So-Good Emperor) But First I Need To Talk About 7 More...

2 Last Time On Days Of Our Emperors When we left off with Roman emperors, Nero had burned down Rome, built a GIANT statue of himself next to the Forum, and had committed suicide with assistance in 68 CE when his generals revolted. Thanks to Nero the Romans realized that emperors could come from somewhere other than Rome!

3 Year of Four Emperors After Nero the generals fought over the Principate. Galba claimed it first for the first seven months, then Vitellius for the next few months, next Otho for 3 months, and then Vespasian who last for the next ten years.

4 Flavian Dynasty Vespasian is the first, and the father (literally) of the Flavian dynasty. His reigned was noted for peace and tranquility, a sharp distinction from the year of four emperor s warfare. He also tore down that ugly statue of Nero and started building his amphitheater...

5 His Son Titus Titus, his eldest son, takes over after Vespasian dies of natural causes. Titus only lives for three years. He is best known for helping to finish his father s amphitheater and for his giant arch of Titus in the Forum, celebrating his triumph over Jerusalem. He dies in 81 CE after 21 months in office.

6

7 Domitian Follows His Bro... Domitian is twelve years younger than Titus. Because of this he grew up in isolation, as Titus was clearly his father s favorite. Domitian ruled for 15 years, longer than any emperor since Tiberius.

8 Domitian s Mission Domitian is known as the micromanaging emperor. He tried to manage all minute details of the Romans lives. Changed the principate from a senate ruled government to one ruled by courtiers.

9 Domitian is assassinated in 96 CE by his friend Nerva so finally we can begin...

10 The Five Good Emperors (Plus One Not-So-Good Emperor)

11 Who WereThese Men? Edward Gibbon wrote a very famous book in 1909, entitled The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon considered these five sequential Roman emperors to be invaluable to the success and sustainment of the Roman empire. Gibbon admired this period of the Roman empire the most.

12 Nerva A.D. Nerva was born in 30 A.D. and spent much of his political life in a time period that saw the stability of the Flavians, the chaos of the year of four emperors, and the mysterious despotic reign of Domitian.

13 Nerva: Why so Good? Nerva was a friend of Domitian, so it is odd that he was allowed to succeed him. However, he had no children, so hereditary succession would no longer be an issue. This trend would be continued through the next four emperors. He was elderly, experienced, and liked the status quo.

14 Trajan A.D.! When taking the throne, he was already one of the most admired men in the empire. He was an excellent military general, and fought many groundbreaking battles in Germany and around the empire.

15 Trajan: No Trojan Horse Great relationship with the senate. Built the very large Trajan s Forum, which included his column, a unique historical monument at the time. Correspondence with Pliny gives us intimate details into his life, and the dealings with Christians, to whom he was kind. Trajan was well respected, and later emperors, upon taking the throne were told, May he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan.

16 Under Trajan the Roman Empire Was At Its Pinnacle.

17 Trajan built the last imperial forum, with the spoils of war from his conquest of Dacia. It was so immense that they had to take out whole sides of the Quirinal and Capitoline Hills.

18 Hadrian A.D. Hadrian had been a ward of Trajan since he was 10, and was later married to his niece, although it was an unhappy marriage. Hadrian did not agree with Trajan s expansion policy. He put borders on the empire, realizing that it might have become too big to sustain itself.

19 Hadrian: Military Genius Hadrian made a point to visit all lands in his empire to make sure that everyone, including his armies, were happy. So much so that he was rarely in Italy Hadrian was a great architect. He rebuilt Agrippa s Pantheon into the building that survives today.

20 Hadrian and Antinous Antinous was a handsome young man who entered Hadrian s entourage in 130. Antinous drowns in the Nile during a cruise and Hadrian is grief-stricken. There is much debate over the nature of their relationship. This is a picture of Hadrian s wife, Sabina. I wonder what she thought of Antinous

21 Here is Antinous, ain t he pretty

22 Antonius Pius A.D. Ruled a relatively peaceful empire for 23 years. Rarely left Rome, wanting Italy to again be felt as the seat of the Roman Empire.

23 Marcus Aurelius A stoic philosopher, his life was dictated by a strict set of principles. His reign was long and troubled, but his sanctity and reputation were and are still admired.

24 Marcus Aurelius Philosopher Emperor When his reign begins, he co-rules with Lucius Verus. Immediately there is a war with Parthia, and Verus goes. He returns triumphant but brings smallpox back to Rome. In 169 Verus dies, and the wars with the Germans begin. By 175 there was war in the Northern regions, mainly Britain. He takes his sixteen year old son Commodus with him into battle.

25 Commodus the Emperor Marcus Aurelius breaks with recent tradition and makes Commodus emperor. Aurelius dies in Britain with approx. one more year of fighting left. Commodus refuses to remain and pays off the barbarians. He goes back to Italy. This moment is generally accepted as the beginning of the fall of the Roman empire.

26 Commodus Marcus Aurelius is described as, A man of ability and a sense of duty who sacrificed his own delights and interests to the well-being of the state. Commodus however, enjoyed dressing like Hercules, fought in gladiatorial combats (where he always won), and participated in wild beast fights, just like his heroic idol. In 190 he renamed all the months, examples: Aurelius, Commodus, Hercules, and Pius. He was soon assassinated.

27 Food for Thought Why did Gibbon choose these emperors to admire most of all? Why were they so successful? Where did Commodus go wrong?

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