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Among the great emperors of the Roman Empire stand Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. At the other end of the spectrum is the Emperor Caligula who the historian Suetonius simply calls a monster. In his The Twelve Caesars he further added: It is difficult to say whether weakness of understanding or corruption of morals were more conspicuous... [continue reading]
Emperor Caracalla was born Lucius Septimius Bassianus on the 4th of April 188 CE in Lugdunum (Lyon) where his father Septimius Severus was serving as the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis during the last years of the Emperor Commodus. When Caracalla was seven, his name was changed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. This was done because of the wish... [continue reading]
Large grain marble head believed to be a local (Mediolanum) copy of an official portrait of Roman emperor Claudius (41-54 CE). (Archaeological Museum, Milan)
A marble statue of the emperor Claudius as Jupiter (41-54 CE), provenance: Olympia. Olympia Archaeological Museum.
After the death of Emperor Caligula and his family at the hands of the Praetorian Guard, the future Emperor Claudius (41-54 CE) was found quivering behind a set of curtains, fearing for his own life, and named emperor. Historian Cassius Dio wrote, “At first the soldiers, supposing that he was someone else or perhaps had something worth taking... [continue reading]
A marble bust of Clodius Albinus (150-197 CE) who, on the death of Pertinax in 193 CE, was declared Roman emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
A marble bust of Roman emperor Commodus, r. 180-192 CE. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
With the death of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in March of 180 CE, the long reign of the five good emperors came to an end and with it so did the Pax Romana (the Roman Peace). Those emperors who followed for the next century would witness a time of both chaos and decline. The first of these inept emperors was Commodus, the son of Marcus Aurelius, who, according... [continue reading]
Mary Harrsch (Photographed at the Capitoline Museum)
published on 19 April 2013
Colossal bronze head of Emperor Constantine, 4th century CE. (Capitoline Museum, Rome).
Realizing that the Roman Empire was too large for one man to adequately rule, Emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE) split the empire into two, creating a tetrachy or rule of four. While he ruled the east from Nicomedia as an “augustus” with Galerius as his “caesar,” Maximian and Constantius the Pale ruled the west. It was the son... [continue reading]
Prior to the birth of the Roman Empire in the latter part of the first century BCE, there had existed many empires among these were the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Persian, and the Macedonian. All of these had great leaders such as Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and, of course, Alexander the Great. Yet, history tells us these great men were all called kings... [continue reading]