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Gaius Pescennius Niger
Usurper of the Roman Empire
B werdeg28.jpg
Reign 193 - 194
Born c. 135~140
Died 194
Predecessor Didius Julianus
Successor Septimius Severus
Dynasty None
Father Annius Fuscus
Mother Lampridia

Gaius Pescennius Niger (c. 135~140–194) was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. Niger was born of an old Italian equestrian family.[1]


As a usurper

Coin of Pescennius Niger

Niger was a governor of Syria who was proclaimed emperor by the eastern legions after the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning off of the imperial title to Didius Julianus. Among the provinces that fell under his direct control was Aegyptus, and he also enjoyed support from the government of Asia. Although these lands contained great wealth, another rebel general, Septimius Severus, succeeding in taking Rome first, and he then marched east to confront Niger. Niger was defeated at Cyzicus and Nicea (193) and then, definitively, at Issus (194); forced to retreat to Antioch, Niger was killed while attempting to flee to Parthia. The name "Niger" means "black", which incidentally, contrasts him with one of his rivals for the throne in 194 AD, Clodius Albinus, whose name means "white".


  1. ^ Cassius Dio's Book 75
  • Southern, Pat. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine. London and New York: Routledge, 2001.

Primary sources

Secondary material

External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Didius Julianus;
Roman Emperor
in competition with
Septimius Severus and Clodius Albinus
Succeeded by
Septimus Severus

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