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Emperor of the Roman Empire
Montemartini - Carino cropped.JPG
Bust of Carinus.
Reign 282-283 (as Caesar of the west under his father);
283-285 (in competition with Diocletian)
Full name Marcus Aurelius Carinus (from birth to elevation to Caesar);
Caesar Marcus Aurelius Carinus (as Caesar);
Caesar Marcus Aurelius Carinus Augustus (as emperor)
Died 285 (2010-01-14T08:48:43)
Place of death River Margus
Predecessor Carus / Numerian
Successor Diocletian
Wife Magnia Urbica
Offspring Marcus Aurelius Nigrinianus
Father Carus

Marcus Aurelius Carinus (died 285) was Roman Emperor (283 – July, 285) and elder son of the Emperor Carus, on whose accession he was appointed governor of the western portion of the empire.



He fought with success against the Quadi tribes,[1] but soon left the defence of the Upper Rhine to his legates and returned to Rome, where he abandoned himself to all kinds of debauchery and excess. He also celebrated the ludi Romani on a scale of unexampled magnificence.[2]

After the death of Carus, the army in the East demanded to be led back to Europe, and Numerian, the younger son of Carus, was forced to comply.[3] During a halt at Chalcedon, Numerian was found dead, and Diocletian, commander of the body-guards, who had claimed that Numerian had been assassinated, was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers.[4]

Carinus at once left Rome and set out for the East to meet Diocletian. On his way through Pannonia he put down the usurper Sabinus Iulianus, and encountered the army of Diocletian in Moesia.[1]

Carinus was successful in several engagements, and at the Battle of the Margus River (Morava), according to one account, the valour of his troops had gained the day, when he was assassinated by a tribune whose wife he had seduced. In another account, the battle is represented as having resulted in a complete victory for Diocletian, for Carinus' army deserted him: this second account is also confirmed by the fact that Diocletian kept Carinus' Praetorian Guard commander in service.[1]

Carinus has the reputation of having been one of the worst of the emperors. This infamy was possibly supported by Diocletian himself. For example, Historia Augusta has Carinus marrying nine wives, while neglecting to mention his only real wife, Magnia Urbica, by whom he had an only son, Marcus Aurelius Nigrinianus.

After his death, Carinus' memory was condemned and his name, along with that of his wife, was erased from inscriptions. [5]



Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  1. ^ a b c >Leadbetter, William. Carinus (283-285 A.D.).  
  2. ^ Spence, H. Donald M. (2003). Early Christianity and Paganism. Kessinger Publishing. p. 391–392. ISBN 0766130681.  
  3. ^ Southern, Pat (2001). The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine. New York: Routledge. p. 133. ISBN 041523944-3.  
  4. ^ Pohlsander, Hans A. (1996). Constantine. Routledge. p. 6. ISBN 0415319382.  
  5. ^ Varner, Eric R. (2004). Mutilation and Transformation : Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 212. ISBN 9004135774.  

External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Roman Emperor
Served alongside: Numerian
Succeeded by


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