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For a simplified list, see Concise list of Roman Emperors
For more information, see History of the Roman Empire.
Augustus, first Roman Emperor

The title of Roman Emperor, although in some ways a modern concept, effectively summarises the position held by those individuals who wielded power in the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire developed from the Roman Republic after its ascent to the dominant power in Europe, and is characterised by the concentration of power in one individual, rather than the "Senate and People of Rome". However, Augustus, universally accepted to have been the first emperor, was careful to maintain the facade of republican rule, and took no specific title to mark his rule (which began in 27 BC).[1] Instead, he simply concentrated the pre-existing powers of Roman magistrates upon his own person, taking the existing honorific of 'Princeps Senatus' (the first man of the senate).[1] This style of government, which lasted for nearly 300 years, is thus called the 'Principate'. The modern word 'emperor' derives from the title 'Imperator', which was granted by an army to a successful general; as such, during the initial phase of the Roman Empire, it still had to be earned by the 'Princeps'. The term 'emperor', though modern, is used when describing rulers of the Roman Empire, since it a) emphasises the strong links between the ruler and the army (on whose support the ruler's power depended), and b) does not discriminate between the style of rule in different phases of the Empire.

In the late 3rd century AD, after the Crisis of the Third Century, Diocletian formalised and embellished the recent manner of imperial rule, establishing the so-called 'Dominate' period of the Roman Empire. This was characterised by the explicit investment of authority in the person of the Emperor, and the use of the style 'Dominus Noster' ('Our Lord'). From Diocletian onwards, there were often multiple simultaneous emperors, dividing the rule of the vast territories between them. After 395 AD, and the death of Theodosius I, the Empire became more firmly split into Western and Eastern halves[2] They were not legally separate however, and the Emperor of the more stable Eastern Empire often imposed his authority over the Western half. The Western Empire was heavily troubled after 395 AD, and collapsed completely after 455 AD, the last Western Emperor abdicating in 476 AD; after which the Eastern Empire maintained claim to the territories in the west. The Eastern Empire would continue until 1453, and the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks.[3] The Eastern Emperors, generally known in modern times as the Byzantine Emperors, continued an unbroken succession of Roman Emperors. The listing of the early Byzantine Emperors in this article ends in the 6th century with Justin II, last of the Justinian dynasty.

For further Eastern/Byzantine Emperors, see: List of Byzantine Emperors.

The emperors listed in this article are those generally agreed to have been 'legitimate' emperors (e.g. not usurpers, etc.). However, since the emperorship was rather vaguely defined legally, which persons were 'legitimate' is not easy to define; many of the 'legitimate' emperors accessed to the position by usurpation, and many 'illegitimate' claimants had a legitimate claim to the position. The following criteria can be used to derive the list:

  • Any individual who undisputedly ruled the whole Empire, at some point, must, in point of fact, be a 'legitimate emperor'(1).
  • Any individual who was nominated as heir or co-emperor by a legitimate emperor (1), and who succeeded to rule in their own right, is a legitimate emperor (2).
  • Where there were multiple claimants, and none were legitimate heirs; the claimant accepted by the Roman Senate as emperor is the legitimate emperor (3), at least during the Principate.

So for instance, Aurelian, though acceding to the throne by usurpation, was the sole and undisputed between 274-275 AD, and thus was a legitimate emperor. Gallienus, though not in control of the whole Empire, and plagued by other claimants, was the legitimate heir of (the legitimate emperor) Valerian. Claudius Gothicus, though acceding illegally, and not in control of the whole Empire, was the only claimant accepted by the Senate, and thus, for his reign, was the legitimate emperor. Equally, during the Year of the Four Emperors, all claimants, though not undisputed, were at some point accepted by the Senate and are thus included; conversely, during the Year of the Five Emperors neither Pescennius Niger or Clodius Albinus were accepted by the Senate, and are thus not included. There are a few examples where individuals were made co-emperor, but never wielded power in their own right (typically the child of an emperor); these are legitimate, but are listed together with the 'senior' emperor.

The above formula holds until 395, when the Western and Eastern halves of the Empire split. After that, it continues to hold, with the caveat that a legitimate emperor had undisputed control over one half of the Empire. Towards the end of the Western Empire (after 455), the emperor ceased to be a relevant figure and there was sometimes actually no claimant. For the sake of historical completeness, all Western Emperors after that point are included, even though Romulus Augustus, traditionally the "last Roman Emperor" was technically a usurper.

For a more exhaustive list of all claimants, including usurpers, see Concise list of Roman Emperors

Contents

The Principate

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Julio-Claudian dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Statue-Augustus.jpg Augustus
CAESAR DIVI FILIVS AVGVSTVS
September 23 63 BC, Nola, Italia January 16 27 BC - August 19, 14 AD Became de facto emperor as a result of the 'first settlement' between himself and the Roman Senate. August 19, 14 AD
Natural causes.
Tiberius NyCarlsberg Mirrored.png Tiberius
TIBERIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS
November 16 42 BC, Rome September 18, 14 AD - March 16, 37 AD Son of Augustus's wife Livia by a previous marriage; adopted son of Augustus. March 16, 37 AD
Probably old age, possibly assassinated
Gaius Caesar Caligula.jpg Caligula
GAIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS GERMANICVS
August 31, 12 AD, Antium, Italia March 18, 37 AD - January 24, 41 AD Son of Tiberius's nephew Germanicus. January 24, 41 AD
Assassinated in a conspiracy involving senators and Praetorian Guards.
Claudius Ny Carlsberg02.jpg Claudius
TIBERIVS CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS GERMANICVS
August 1, 10 BC, Lugdunum, Gallia Lugdunensis January 25/26, 41 AD - October 13, 54 AD Nephew of Tiberius, brother of Germanicus and uncle of Caligula; proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard. October 13, 54 AD
Probably poisoned by his wife Agrippina the Younger, in favour of her son Nero.
P-nero-cap.JPG Nero
NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS GERMANICVS
December 15, 37 AD, Antium, Italia October 13, 54 AD - June 11, 68 AD Grandson of Germanicus, step-, and adopted son of Claudius. June 11, 68 AD
Committed suicide after being declared a public enemy by the Senate.

Year of the Four Emperors & Flavian Dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Stockholm - Antikengalerie 4 - Büste Kaiser Galba.jpg Galba
SERVIVS GALBA IMPERATOR CAESAR AVGVSTVS
December 24 3 BC, Near Terracina, Italia June 8, 68 AD - January 15, 69 AD Seized power after Nero's suicide, with support of the Spanish legions January 15, 69 AD
Murdered by Praetorian Guard
Oth001.jpg Otho
MARCVS OTHO CAESAR AVGVSTVS
April 25, 32 AD, Ferentinum, Etruria, Italia January 15, 69 AD - April 16, 69 AD Appointed by Praetorian Guard April 16, 69 AD
Committed suicide after losing Battle of Bedriacum to Vitellius
Pseudo-Vitellius Louvre MR684.jpg Vitellius
AVLVS VITELLIVS GERMANICVS AVGVSTVS
September 24, 15 AD, Rome April 17, 69 AD - December 20, 69 AD Seized power with support of German Legions (in opposition to Galba/Otho) December 20, 69 AD
Murdered by Vespasian's troops
Vespasianus02 pushkin.jpg Vespasian
TITVS FLAVIVS CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVGVSTVS
November 17, 9 AD, Falacrine, Italia July 1, 69 AD - June 24, 79 AD Seized power with the support of the eastern Legions (in opposition to Vitellius) June 24, 79 AD
Natural causes
Tito, testa in marmo da Pantelleria.jpg Titus
TITVS FLAVIVS CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVGVSTVS
December 30, 39 AD, Rome June 24, 79 AD - September 13, 81 AD Son of Vespasian September 13, 81 AD
Natural causes (Plague)
Bust Domitian Musei Capitolini MC1156.jpg Domitian
TITVS FLAVIVS CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVGVSTVS
October 24, 51 AD, Rome September 14, 81 AD - September 18, 96 AD Son of Vespasian September 18, 96 AD
Assassinated by court officials

Nervan-Antonian dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Nerva Tivoli Massimo.jpg Nerva
MARCVS COCCIEVS NERVA CAESAR AVGVSTVS,
November 8, 30 AD, Narni, Italia September 18, 96 AD - January 27, 98 AD Appointed by the Senate January 27, 98 AD
Natural causes
Traianus Glyptothek Munich 336.jpg Trajan
CAESAR MARCVS VLPIVS NERVA TRAIANVS AVGVSTVS
September 18, 53 AD, Italica, Hispania Baetica January 28, 98 AD - August 7, 117 AD Adopted son and heir of Nerva August 7, 117 AD
Natural causes
Bust Hadrian Musei Capitolini MC817.jpg Hadrian
CAESAR PVBLIVS AELIVS TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS
January 24, 76 AD, Italica, Hispania Baetica (or Rome) August 11, 117 AD - July 10, 138 AD Adopted son and heir of Trajan July 10, 138 AD
Natural causes
Antoninus Pius Glyptothek Munich 337.jpg Antoninus Pius
CAESAR TITVS AELIVS HADRIANVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS PIVS
September 19, 86 AD, Near Lanuvium, Italia July 10, 138 AD - March 7, 161 AD Adopted son and heir of Hadrian March 7, 161 AD
Natural causes
Lucius verus.jpg Lucius Verus
CAESAR LVCIVS AVRELIVS VERVS AVGVSTVS
December 15, 130 AD, Rome March 7, 161 AD - ? March 169 AD Adopted son and heir of Antoninus Pius; Co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius until death March 169 AD
Natural causes (Plague)
Marcus Aurelius Glyptothek Munich.jpg Marcus Aurelius
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS
April 26, 121 AD, Rome March 7, 161 AD - March 17, 180 AD Adopted son and heir of Antoninus Pius; Co-emperor with Lucius Verus until 169 AD March 17, 180 AD
Natural causes
Commodus Musei Capitolini MC1120.jpg Commodus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS
August 31, 161 AD, Lanuvium, Italia 177 AD - December 31, 192 AD Natural son of Marcus Aurelius; joint emperor from 177 AD December 31, 192 AD
Assassinated in palace, strangled to death

Year of the Five Emperors & Severan dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Pertinax.jpg Pertinax
CAESAR PVBLIVS HELVIVS PERTINAX AVGVSTVS
August 1, 126, Alba, Italia January 1, 193 AD - March 28, 193 AD Proclaimed emperor by Praetorian Guard March 28, 193 AD
Murdered by Praetorian Guard
DidiusJulianusSest.jpg Didius Julianus
CAESAR MARCVS DIDIVS SEVERVS IVLIANVS AVGVSTVS
133 or 137 AD, Milan, Italia March 28, 193 AD - June 1, 193 AD Won auction held by the Praetorian Guard for the position of emperor June 1, 193 AD
Executed on orders of the Senate
Septimius Severus busto-Musei Capitolini.jpg Septimius Severus
CAESAR LVCIVS SEPTIMIVS SEVERVS PERTINAX AVGVSTVS
April 11, 145 AD, Leptis Magna, Africa April 9, 193 AD - February 4, 211 AD Seized power with support of Pannonian legionsa February 4, 211 AD
Natural causes
Caracalla.jpg Caracalla
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS SEVERVS ANTONINVS PIVS AVGVSTVS
April 4, 188 AD, Lugdunum, Gallia Lugdunensis 198 AD - April 8, 217 AD Son of Septimius Severus; co-emperor with Severus from 198 AD; with Severus and Geta from 209 AD until February 211 AD; co-emperor with Geta until December 211 AD April 8, 217 AD
Murdered by a soldier; probably as part of a conspiracy involving Macrinus
Publius Septimius Geta Louvre Ma1076.jpg Geta
CAESAR PVBLIVS SEPTIMIVS GETA AVGVSTUS
March 7, 189 AD, Rome 209 AD - December 26, 211 AD Son of Septimius Severus; co-emperor with Severus and Caracalla from 209 AD until February 211 AD; co-emperor with Caracalla until December 211 AD December 26, 211 AD
Murdered on the orders of Caracalla
Aureus Macrinus-RIC 0079.jpg

055 Diadumenianus.jpg

Macrinus
MARCVS OPELLIVS SEVERVS MACRINVS AVGVSTVS PIVS FELIX

with
Diadumenian
MARCVS OPELLIVS ANTONINVS DIADUMENIANUVS
c. 165 AD, Iol Caesarea, Mauretania April 11, 217 AD - June 8, 218 AD Praetorian Prefect to Caracalla, probably conspired to have Caracalla murdered and proclaimed himself emperor after Caracalla's death; appointed his son Diadumenian junior emperor in May 217 June 8, 218 AD
Both executed in favour of Elagabalus
Elagabalo (203 o 204-222 d.C) - Musei capitolini - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto - 15-08-2000 .jpg Elagabalus
MARCVS AVRELIVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS
c. 203 AD, Emesa, Syria June 8, 218 AD - March 11, 222 AD Grandson of Septimius Severus's sister-in-law, alleged illegitimate son of Caracalla; proclaimed emperor by Syrian legions March 11, 222 AD
Murdered by Praetorian Guard
Alexander severus.jpg Alexander Severus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS SEVERVS ALEXANDER AVGVSTVS
October 1, 208 AD, Arca Caesarea, Iudaea March 13, 222 AD - March 18, 235 AD Grandson of Septimius Severus's sister-in-law, cousin and adoptive heir of Elagabalus March 18, 235 AD
Murdered by the army
Notes aThe other claimants for the throne in the Year of the Five Emperors were Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus, supported by the Syrian and British legions respectively. Although not completely defeated until 197 AD, they were not formally accepted by the senate and were therefore not technically reigning emperors.

Emperors during the Crisis of the Third Century

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Maximinus Thrax Musei Capitolini MC473.jpg Maximinus Thrax
CAESAR GAIVS JVLIVS VERVS MAXIMINVS AVGVSTVS
c.173 AD, Thrace or Moesia March 20, 235 AD - April 238 AD Proclaimed emperor by German legions after the murder of Alexander Severus April 238 AD
Assassinated by Praetorian Guard
Gordian I Musei Capitolini MC475.jpg Gordian I
CAESAR MARCVS ANTONIVS GORDIANVS SEMPRONIANVS AFRICANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 159 AD, Phrygia? March 22, 238 AD - April 12, 238 AD Proclaimed emperor, whilst Pro-consul in Africa, during a revolt against Maximinus. Ruled jointly with his son Gordian II, and in opposition to Maximinus. Technically a usurper, but retrospectively legitimised by the accession of Gordian III April 238 AD
Committed suicide upon hearing of the death of Gordian II.
Sestertius Gordian II-RIC 0008.jpg Gordian II
CAESAR MARCVS ANTONIVS GORDIANVS SEMPRONIANVS ROMANVS AFRICANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 192 AD, ? March 22, 238 AD - April 12, 238 AD Proclaimed emperor, alongside father Gordian I, in opposition to Maximinus. Technically a usurper, but retrospectively legitimised by the accession of Gordian III April 238 AD
Killed during the Battle of Carthage, fighting a pro-Maximinus army
Pupienus Musei Capitolini MC477.jpg Pupienus Maximus
CAESAR MARCVS CLODIVS PVPIENVS MAXIMVS AVGVSTVS
c. 178 AD, ? April 22, 238 AD - July 29, 238 AD Proclaimed joint emperor with Balbinus by the Senate in opposition to Maximinus; later co-emperor with Balbinus and Gordian III July 29, 238 AD
Assassinated by the Praetorian Guard
Balbinus Hermitage.jpg Balbinus
CAESAR DECIMVS CAELIVS CALVINVS BALBINVS PIVS AVGVSTVS
 ? April 22, 238 AD - July 29, 238 AD Proclaimed joint emperor with Pupienus by the Senate after death of Gordian I & II, in opposition to Maximinus; later co-emperor with Pupienus and Gordian III July 29, 238 AD
Assassinated by Praetorian Guard
Bust Gordianus III Louvre Ma1063.jpg Gordian III
CAESAR MARCVS ANTONIVS GORDIANVS AVGVSTVS
January 20, 225 AD, Rome April 22, 238 AD - February 11, 244 AD Proclaimed emperor by supporters of Gordian I & II, then by the Senate; joint-emperor with Pupienus and Balbinus until July 238 AD. February 11, 244 AD
Unknown; possibly murdered on orders of Philip the Arab
Bust of emperor Philippus Arabus - Hermitage Museum.jpg Philip the Arab
CAESAR MARCVS IVLIVS PHILLIPVS AVGVSTVS
c. 204 AD, Shahba, Syria February 244 AD - September/ October 249 AD Praetorian Prefect to Gordian III, took power after his death September/ October 249 AD
Killed in battle against Decius, near Verona
Emperor Traianus Decius (Mary Harrsch).jpg Decius
CAESAR GAIVS MESSIVS QVINTVS TRAIANVS DECIVS AVGVSTVS

with Herennius Etruscus
c. 201 AD, Budalia, Lower Pannonia September/ October 249 AD - June 251 AD Governor under Philip the Arab; proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions and defeated Philip in battle; made his son Herennius Etruscus co-emperor in early 251 AD June 251 AD
Both killed in the Battle of Abrittus fighting against the Goths
082 Hostilianus.jpg Hostilian
CAESAR CAIVS VALENS HOSTILIANVS MESSIVS QVINTVS AVGVSTVS
Rome June 251 AD - late 251 AD Son of Decius, accepted as heir by the Senate September/October 251 AD
Natural causes (Plague)
Ritratto di trebonianno gallo III sec. dc. 01.JPG Trebonianus Gallus
CAESAR GAIVS VIBIVS TREBONIANVS GALLVS AVGVSTVS

with
Volusianus
206 AD, Italia June 251 AD - August 253 AD Governor of Moesia Superior, proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions after Decius's death (and in opposition to Hostilian); made his son Volusianus co-emperor in late 251 AD. August 253 AD
Assassinated by their own troops, in favour of Aemilianus
Aemilian1.jpg Aemilianus
CAESAR MARCVS AEMILIVS AEMILIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 207 AD Africa August 253 AD - October 253 AD Governor of Moesia Superior, proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions after defeating the Goths; accepted as emperor after death of Gallus September/October 253 AD
Assassinated by his own troops, in favour of Valerian
ValarianusIsest.jpg Valerian
CAESAR PVBLIVS LICINIVS VALERIANVSAVGVSTVS
c. 200 AD October 253 AD - 260 AD Governor of Noricum and Raetia, proclaimed emperor by Rhine legions after death of Gallus; accepted as emperor after death of Aemilianus After 260 AD
Captured in Battle of Edessa against Persians, died in captivity
Gallienus.jpg Gallienus
CAESAR PVBLIVS LICINIVS EGNATIVS GALLIENVS AVGVSTVS
 ? October 253 AD - September 268 AD Son of Valerian, made co-emperor in 253 AD September 268 AD
Murdered in unclear circumstances
104 Claudius II Gothicus.jpg Claudius Gothicus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS CLAVDIVS AVGVSTVS
May 10, 213 AD/214 AD, Sirmium September 268 AD - January 270 AD Victorious general at Battle of Naissus, seized power after Gallienus's death January 270 AD
Natural causes (Plague)
Antoninianus Quintillus-s3243.jpg Quintillus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS CLAVDIVS QVINTILLVS AVGVSTVS
 ? , Sirmium January 270 AD - 270 AD Brother of Claudius Gothicus, seized power after his death 270 AD
Unclear; possibly suicide or murder
Santa Giulia 4.jpg Aurelian
CAESAR LVCIVS DOMITIVS AVRELIANVS AVGVSTVS
September 9, 214 AD/215 AD , Sirmium September(?) 270 AD - September 275 AD Proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions after Claudius Gothicus's death, in opposition to Quintillus September 275 AD
Assassinated by Praetorian Guard
EmpereurTacite.jpg Tacitus
CAESAR MARCVS CLAVDIVS TACITVS AVGVSTVS
 ?, Interamna September 25, 275 AD - June 276 AD Elected by the Senate to replace Aurelian, after a short interregnum June 276 AD
Natural causes (possibly assassinated)
Antoninianus Florianus-unpub ant hercules.jpg Florianus
CAESAR MARCVS ANNIVS FLORIANVS AVGVSTVS
 ? June 276 AD - September? 276 AD Possibly half-brother of Tacitus, elected by the army in the west to replace him September? 276 AD
Assassinated by his own troops, in favour of Probus
Probus Musei Capitolini MC493.jpg Probus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS PROBVS AVGVSTVS
232 AD, Sirmium September? 276 AD - September/ October 282 AD Governor of the eastern provinces, proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions in opposition to Florianus September/ October 282 AD
Assassinated by his own troops, in favour of Carus
Carus coins.jpg Carus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS CARVS AVGVSTVS
c. 230 AD, Narbo September/ October 282 AD - late July/ early August 283 AD Praetorian Prefect to Probus; seized power either before or after Probus was murdered Late July/early August 283 AD
Natural causes? (Possibly killed by lightning)
Numerian.jpg Numerian
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS NVMERIVS NVMERIANVS AVGVSTVS
 ? Late July/early August 283 AD - 284 AD? Son of Carus, succeeded him jointly with his brother Carinus 284 AD
Unclear; possibly assassinated
Montemartini - Carino 1030439.JPG Carinus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS CARINVS AVGVSTVS
 ? Late July/early August 283 AD - 285 AD Son of Carus, succeeded him jointly with his brother Numerian 285 AD
Died in battle against Diocletian?

The Dominate

Tetrarchy and Constantinian dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
DSC04500i Istanbul - Museo archeol. - Diocleziano (284-205 d.C.) - Foto G. Dall'Orto 28-5-2006.jpg Diocletian
CAESAR GAIVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS DIOCLETIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. December 22, 244 AD, Dioclea, Dalmatia November 20, 284 AD - May 1, 305 AD Proclaimed emperor by army after death of Numerian, and in opposition to Carinus; adopted Maximian as senior co-emperor in 286 AD 3 December 311 AD
Abdicated; died of natural causes
Maximian.gif Maximian
CAESAR GAIVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS MAXIMIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 250 AD, near Sirmium, Pannonia April 1, 286 AD - May 1, 305 AD Adopted as senior co-emperor ('Augustus') in the west by Diocletian in 286 AD 310 AD
Abdicated with Diocletian; twice tried to regain throne with, and then from Maxentius; captured by Constantine I and committed suicide at his behest
Const.chlorus02 pushkin.jpg Constantius I Chlorus
CAESAR GAIVS FLAVIVS VALERIVS CONSTANTIVS AVGVSTVS
March 31 c. 250 AD, Dardania, Moesia May 1, 305 AD - July 25, 306 AD Adopted as junior co-emperor ('Caesar') and heir by Maximian in 293 AD 306 AD
Natural causes
Galerius.jpg Galerius
CAESAR GALERIVS VALERIVS MAXIMIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 260 AD, Felix Romuliana, Moesia Superior May 1, 305 AD - May 311 AD Adopted as junior co-emperor ('Caesar') and heir by Diocletian in 293 AD 311 AD
Natural causes
Follis-Flavius Valerius Severus-trier RIC 650a.jpg Severus
FLAVIVS VALERIVS SEVERVS AVGVSTVS
 ? Summer 306 AD - March/ April 307 AD Adopted as junior co-emperor ('Caesar') and heir by Constantius Chlorus in 305 AD; succeeded as Augustus in 306; opposed by Maxentius and Constantine I September 16, 307 AD
Captured by Maxentius and forced to commit suicide (or murdered)
Constantine Musei Capitolini.jpg Constantine I
CAESAR FLAVIVS CONSTANTINVS VALERIVS AVGVSTVS
February 27 c. 272 AD, Naissus, Moesia Superior 25 July 306 AD - May 22, 337 AD Son of Constantius Chlorus, proclaimed emperor by his father's troops; accepted as Caesar (west) by Galerius in 306 AD; promoted to Augustus (west) in 307 AD by Maximian after death of Severus; refused relegation to Caesar in 309 AD May 22, 337 AD
Natural causes
Maxentius02 pushkin.jpg Maxentius
MARCVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS MAXENTIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 278 AD, ? 28 October 306 AD - October 28, 312 AD Son of Maximian, seized power in 306 after death of Constantius Chlorus, in opposition to Severus and Constantine I; made Caesar (west) by Maximian in 307 AD after the death of Severus October 28, 312 AD
Died at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, against Constantine I
Daza01 pushkin.jpg Maximinus Daia
CAESAR GALERIVS VALERIVS MAXIMINVS AVGVSTVS
November 20 c. 270 AD, Dacia Aureliana May 1, 311 AD - July/August 313 AD Nephew of Galerius, adopted as Caesar and his heir in 305 AD; succeeded as Augustus (shared with Licinius) in 311 AD July/August 313 AD
Defeated in civil war against Licinius; probably committed suicide thereafter
Licinius1.jpg Licinius
CAESAR GAIVS VALERIVS LICINIVS AVGVSTVS

with
Valerius Valens
Martinianus
c. 250 AD, Felix Romuliana, Moesia Superior November 11, 308 AD - September 18, 324 AD Appointed Augustus in the west by Galerius in 308 BC, in opposition to Maxentius; became Augustus in the east in 311 AD after the death of Galerius (shared with Maximinus); defeated Maximinus in civil war to become sole eastern Augustus in 313 BC; appointed Valerius Valens in 317 AD, and Martinianus in 324 AD as western Augustus, in opposition to Constantine, both nominally ruled for a few months before being executed 325 AD
Defeated in civil war against Constantine I in 324 AD and captured; executed on the orders of Constantine the next year
Constantine II.jpg Constantine II
CAESAR FLAVIVS CLAVDIVS CONSTANTINVS AVGVSTVS
316 AD, Arles May 22, 337 AD - 340 AD Son of Constantine I; appointed Caesar in 317 AD, succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantius II and Constans 340 AD
Died in battle against Constans
Bust of Constantius II (Mary Harrsch).jpg Constantius II
CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS CONSTANTIVS AVGVSTVS
August 7, 317 AD, Sirmium, Pannonia May 22, 337 AD - November 3, 361 AD Son of Constantine I; succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantine II and Constans; sole emperor from 350 AD 361 AD
Natural causes
Emperor Constans Louvre Ma1021.jpg Constans
CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS CONSTANS AVGVSTVS
320 AD, ? May 22, 337 AD - 350 AD Son of Constantine I; succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantine II and Constantius II 350 AD
Assassinated on the orders of the usurper Magnentius
JulianusII-antioch(360-363)-CNG.jpg Julian
CAESAR FLAVIVS CLAVDIVS IVLIANVS AVGVSTVS
331 AD/332 AD, Constantinople, Thracia February 360 AD - June 26, 363 AD Cousin of Constantius II; made Caesar of the west in 355 AD; proclaimed Augustus by his troops in 360; sole emperor after the death of Constantius June 26, 363 AD
Mortally wounded in battle
Jovian1.jpg Jovian
CAESAR FLAVIVS IOVIANVS AVGVSTVS
331 AD, Singidunum, Moesia June 26, 363 AD - February 17, 364 AD General of Julian's army; proclaimed emperor by the troops on Julian's death February 17, 364 AD
Natural causes (suffocated on fumes)

Valentinian dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
ValentinianI.jpg Valentinian I
FLAVIVS VALENTINIANVS AVGVSTVS
321 AD, Cibalae, Pannonia February 26, 364 AD - November 17, 375 AD Elected to replace Jovian by the army November 17, 375 AD
Natural causes
Valens Honorius Musei Capitolini MC494.jpg Valens
FLAVIVS IVLIVS VALENS AVGVSTVS
328 AD, Cibalae, Pannonia March 28, 364 AD - August 9, 378 AD Brother of Valentinian I, appointed co-augustus (for the east) by him August 9, 378 AD
Killed in Battle of Adrianople against the Goths
158 Gratianus.jpg Gratian
FLAVIVS GRATIANVS AVGVSTVS
April 18/May 23, 359 AD, Sirmium, Pannonia August 4, 367 AD - August 25, 383 AD Son of Valentinian I, appointed 'junior' Augustus by him in 367, became 'senior' augustus (for the west) after Valentinian's death. August 25, 383 AD
Murdered by rebellious army faction
Statue of emperor Valentinian II detail.JPG Valentinian II
FLAVIVS VALENTINIANVS JVNIOR AVGVSTVS
371 AD, Milan, Italia November 17, 375 AD - May 15, 392 AD Son of Valentinian I, proclaimed emperor by Pannonian army after Valentinian's death; accepted as co-Augustus for the west by Gratian May 15, 392 AD
Unclear; possibly murdered or committed suicide

Theodosian dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Theodosius.jpg Theodosius I
FLAVIVS THEODOSIVS AVGVSTVS
January 11, 347 AD, Cauca, Hispania January 1, 379 AD - January 17, 395 AD Appointed as Augustus for the east by Gratian after the death of Valens; became sole 'senior' Augustus after death of Valentinian II January 17, 395 AD
Natural causes
Arcadius Istanbul Museum.PNG Arcadius
FLAVIVS ARCADIVS AVGVSTVS

EAST
c. 377 AD, Hispania January 383 AD - May 1, 408 AD Son of Theodosius I; appointed as 'junior' Augustus for the east by Theodosius in 383 (after the death of Gratian); became 'senior' Augustus for the east after his father's death May 1, 408 AD
Natural causes
Honorius steel engraving.jpg Honorius
FLAVIVS HONORIVS AVGVSTVS

WEST
September 9, 384 AD, ? January 23, 393 AD - August 15, 423 AD Son of Theodosius I; appointed as 'junior' Augustus for the west by Theodosius in 393 (after the death of Valentinian II); became 'senior' Augustus for the west after his father's death August 15, 423 AD
Natural causes
Theodosius ii.jpg Theodosius II
FLAVIVS THEODOSIVS AVGVSTVS

EAST
April 10, 401 AD, Constantinople? May 1, 408 AD - July 28, 450 AD Son of Arcadius, succeeded to the throne after his father's death July 28, 450 AD
Natural causes
Solidus Constantius III-RIC 1325.jpg Constantius III
FLAVIVS CONSTANTIVS AVGVSTVS

WEST
 ?, Naissus, Moesia Superior February 8, 421 AD - September 2, 421 AD Married to Theodosius I's daughter Galla Placidia, elevated to co-Augustus for the west by Honorius September 2, 421 AD
Natural causes
Solidus Johannes-s4283.jpg Joannes


WEST
 ? August 27, 423 AD - May 425 AD A senior civil servant under Honorius, proclaimed emperor by Castinus; initially undisputed June or July 425 AD
Deafeated in battle by Theodosius II and Valentinian III, captured and executed
Solidus ValentinianIII-wedding.jpg Valentinian III
FLAVIVS PLACIDIVS VALENTINIANVS AVGVSTVS

WEST
July 2, 419 AD, Ravenna, Italia October 23, 424 AD - March 16, 455 AD Son of Constantius III, appointed Caesar for the west by Theodosius II after the death of Honorius, in opposition to the Joannes; became Augustus for the west after the defeat of Joannes March 16, 455 AD
Assassinated, possibly at the behest of Petronius Maximus
Solidus Marcian RIC 0509.jpg Marcian
FLAVIVS MARCIANIVS AVGVSTVS

EAST
396, Thrace or Illyria Summer 450 AD - January 457 AD Nominated as successor (and husband) by Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius II January 457 AD
Natural causes

The last emperors of the Western Empire

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Solidus Petronius Maximus-RIC 2201.jpg Petronius Maximus
FLAVIVS ANICIVS PETRONIVS MAXIMVS AVGVSTVS
c. 396 AD, ? March 17, 455 AD - May 31, 455 AD Proclaimed himself emperor with the support of the army, after the death of Valentinian III May 31, 455 AD
Murdered, probably stoned to death by the Roman mob
Tremissis Avitus-RIC 2402.jpg Avitus
EPARCHIVS AVITVS AVGVSTVS
c. 385 AD, ? July 9, 455 AD - October 17, 456 AD Magister militum under Petronius Maximus, proclaimed emperor by the Visigoth king Theoderic II after Petronius's death after 17 October 456 AD
Deposed by his Magister militum, Ricimer; became bishop of Placentia; murdered at some point afterwards
Maggioriano - MNR Palazzo Massimo.jpg Majorian
IVLIVS VALERIVS MAIORIANVS AVGVSTVS
November 420 AD, ? April 457 AD - August 2, 461 AD Appointed emperor by Ricimer August 7, 461 AD
Deposed by his troops (probably at the behest of Ricimer); died shortly afterwards in unclear circumstances
Libio Severo - MNR Palazzo Massimo.jpg Libius Severus
LIBIVS SEVERVS AVGVSTVS
 ?, Lucania, Italia November 461 AD - August 465 AD Appointed emperor by Ricimer August 465 AD
Probably assassinated by Ricimer
Anthemius.jpg Anthemius
PROCOPIVS ANTHEMIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 420 AD April 12, 467 AD - July 11, 472 AD Appointed emperor by Ricimer, with the backing of the eastern emperor Leo I July 11, 472 AD
Executed by Ricimer
Olybrius 01.jpg Olybrius
FLAVIVS ANICIVS OLYBRIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 420 AD July 11, 472 AD] - November 2, 472 AD Son-in-law of Valentinian III; appointed emperor by Ricimer November 2, 472 AD
Natural causes
Glicerio - MNR Palazzo Massimo.jpg Glycerius  ? March 473 AD - June 474 AD Appointed emperor by Gundobad (Ricimer's successor) after 480 AD
Deposed by Julius Nepos, became Bishop of Salona, time and manner of death unknown
Tremissis Julius Nepos-RIC 3221.jpg Julius Nepos c. 430 AD, ? June 474 AD - August 28, 475 AD (in Italy); - Spring 480 AD (in Gaul and Dalmatia) Nephew-in-law of the eastern emperor Leo I, appointed emperor in opposition to Glycerius 480 AD
Deposed in Italy by Flavius Orestes, ruled in exile until assassination in 480
RomulusAugustus.jpg Romulus Augustulus  ? October 31, 475 AD - September 4, 476 AD (in Italy) Appointed by his father, Flavius Orestes after 480 AD
Deposed by Odoacer, who then ruled in the name of Julius Nepos until the latter's death, which formally ended the western empire; most likely lived out his life on a private villa in obscurity

The Emperors of the Eastern Empire

Leonid Dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Leo I Louvre Ma1012.jpg Leo I
FLAVIVS VALERIVS LEO AVGVSTVS
401 AD, ? February 7, 457 AD - January 18, 474 AD Proclaimed emperor by the Magister militum Aspar after Marcian's death January 18, 474 AD
Natural causes
Leo (474)-coin.jpg Leo II
FLAVIVS LEO IVNIOR AVGVSTVS
467 AD, Constantinople? January 18, 474 AD - November 17, 474 AD Grandson of Leo I by his daughter Ariadne (empress) November 17, 474 AD
Unclear, possibly assassinated
Tremissis-Zeno-RIC 0914.jpg Zeno
FLAVIVS ZENO PERPETVVS AVGVSTVS
425 AD, Isauria February 9, 474 AD - January 9, 475 AD &
August 476 AD - April 9, 491 AD
Father of Leo II April 9, 491 AD
Natural causes
Solidus Basiliscus-RIC 1003.jpg Basiliscus
FLAVIVS BASILISCVS AVGVSTVS
 ? January 9, 475 AD - August 476 AD Brother-in-law of Leo I, seized power during a plot against Zeno by Verina (Leo I's widow and Basiliscus's sister) August 476 AD
Defeated, captured and executed by Zeno
Semissis-Anastasius I-sb0007.jpg Anastasius I
FLAVIVS ANASTASIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 430 AD, Dyrrachium April 9, 491 AD - July 9, 518 AD Selected by Ariadne as successor to Zeno (as both emperor and husband) July 9, 518
Natural causes

Justinian Dynasty

Portrait Name Born Reigned Succession Died
Tremissis-Justin I-sb0058.jpg Justin I
FLAVIVS IVSTINVS AVGVSTVS
c. 450 AD, Naissus July 9, 518 AD - August 1, 527 AD Commander of the palace guard under Anastasius I); elected as emperor with support of army August 1, 527 AD
Natural causes
Meister von San Vitale in Ravenna 004.jpg Justinian I
FLAVIVS PETRVS SABBATIVS IVSTINIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 482 AD, Tauresium, Dardania August 1, 527 AD - 13/14 November 565 AD Nephew and nominated heir of Justin I 13/14 November 565 AD
Natural causes
Solidus-Justin II-sb0391.jpg Justin II
FLAVIVS IVSTINIVS IVNIOR AVGVSTVS
c. 520 AD, ? 13/14 November 565 AD - 578 AD Nephew of Justinian I 578 AD
Became insane; Tiberius II Constantine ruled as regent from December 574 and became emperor on Justin's death in 578
Continue to List of Byzantine Emperors

Timeline

Timeline indicating the chronological life-spans of the Roman Emperors

See also

References

  • Chris Scarre,Brandon Shaw, Chronicle of the Roman Emperors, Thames & Hudson, 1995, Reprinted 2001, ISBN 0-500-05077-5
  • Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome, Penguin Classics, Michael Grant Publications Ltd, 1971, Reprinted 1985, ISBN 0-14-044060-7
  • Martha Ross, Rulers and Governments of the World, Vol.1 Earliest Times to 1491, Bowker, 1978, ISBN 0-85935-021-5
  • Clive Carpenter, The Guinness Book of Kings Rulers & Statesmen, Guinness Superlatives Ltd, 1978, ISBN 0-900424-46-X
  • R.F.Tapsell, Monarchs Rulers Dynasties and Kingdoms of The World, Thames & Hudson, 1981, Reprinted 1987, ISBN 0-500-27337-5
  1. ^ a b Rubicon. Holland, T. Abacus, 978-0349115634
  2. ^ Chester G. Starr, A History of the Ancient World, Second Edition. Oxford University Press, 1974. pp. 670-678.
  3. ^ Asimov, p. 198.

External links


Simple English

This is a list of the Roman emperors:

  • Julio–Claudian dynasty
  1. Octavian.
  2. Tiberius, Octavian's son-in-law.
  3. Caligula, Tiberius's grandson, murdered by his bodyguards for many crimes.
  4. Claudius, Caligula's uncle. Claudius conquered Britain, making it part of the Roman Empire.
  5. Nero, Claudius's grand-nephew. Accused Christians of burning down Rome but when it was proven he was the culprit, committed suicide.
  1. Galba, military leader under Claudius.
  2. Otho, friend of Nero.
  3. Vitellius, military leader under Galba. Vitellius banned astrologers from Rome.
  • Flavian dynasty
  1. Vespasian, military leader under Claudius. Vespasian began the building of the Colosseum.
  2. Titus, Vespasian's son. Titus finished building the Colosseum.
  3. Domitian, Titus's younger brother. Domitian conquered southern Scotland, making it (temporarily) part of the Roman Empire.
  • Nerva–Antonine dynasty
  1. Nerva, friend of Nero, who had saved Nero's life.
  2. Trajan. Under Trajan, the Roman Empire was at its largest size ever.
  3. Hadrian - Hadrian built Hadrian's Wall in Britain, to prevent the Picts from invading Roman Britain. Hadrian died in 138 AD. From 138 AD until 284 AD, there were 32 more emperors.
  4. Antoninus Pius
  5. Lucius Verus
  6. Marcus Aurelius
  7. Commodus
  1. Severus
  1. Diocletian in 284 AD, last of the pagan emperors, committed suicide out of depression when all his ideals, plans crumbled, abdicated.
  2. Galerius
  3. Constantine in 306 AD. Moved capital to Byzantium, now Constantinople. Converted to Christianity.
  • Valentinian dynasty
  • Theodosian dynasty
  1. Theodosius I in 395 AD. He split the Roman Empire into two parts thus officially ending it. The western part lasted until 476 AD, when it became ruled by the Germanic people. The eastern part lasted until 1453, when it became part of the Ottoman/Turkish Empire.

pcd:Lisse d'chés impéreus romains


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