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List of Roman emperors

Emperor Augustus served as the first Roman emperor. His Principate ended republican rule in Rome and began Pax Romana.

The Roman emperors were rulers of the Roman Empire, wielding power over its citizens and military, dating from the granting of the title of Augustus to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus by the Roman Senate in 27 BC. Augustus maintained a façade of republican rule, rejecting monarchical titles but calling himself princeps senatus (first man of the senate)[1] and princeps civitatis (first citizen of the state). The title of Augustus was conferred on his successors to the imperial position. The style of government instituted by Augustus is called the Principate and continued until reforms by Diocletian. The modern word 'emperor' derives from the title imperator, which was granted by an army to a successful general; during the initial phase of the empire, it still had to be earned by the princeps.

The territory under command of the emperor had developed under the period of the Roman Republic as it invaded and occupied most of Europe and portions of northern Africa and western Asia. Under the republic, regions of the empire were ruled by provincial governors answerable to and authorised by the Senate and People of Rome. During the republic, the chief magistrates of Rome were two consuls elected each year; consuls continued to be elected in the imperial period, but their authority was subservient to that of the emperor, and the election was controlled by the emperor.

In the late 3rd century, 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 increase of authority in the person of the Emperor, and the use of the style Dominus Noster ("Our Lord"). The rise of powerful Barbarian tribes along the borders of the empire and the challenge they posed to defense of far-flung borders and unstable imperial succession led Diocletian to divide the administration geographically of the Empire in 286 with a co-Augustus. In 330, Constantine the Great established a second capital in Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. For most of the period from 286 to 480, there was more than one recognised senior emperor, with the division usually based in geographic terms. This division was consistently in place after the death of Theodosius I in 395, which historians have dated as the division between the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire.[2] However, formally the Empire remained a single polity, with separate co-emperors in the separate courts. The fall of the Western Roman Empire, and so the end of a separate list of emperors below, is dated either from the de facto date of 476 when Romulus Augustulus was deposed by Odoacer who became King of Italy, or the de jure date of 480, on the death of Julius Nepos, when Eastern Emperor Zeno ended recognition of a separate Western court. In the period that followed, the Empire is usually treated by historians as the Byzantine Empire governed by the Byzantine Emperors, although this designation is not used universally, and continues to be a subject of specialist debate today.[3]

The line of emperors continued until the death of Constantine XI Palaiologos during the fall of Constantinople in 1453, when the remaining territories were captured by the Ottoman Empire.[4]

Contents

LegitimacyEdit

The emperors listed in this article are those generally agreed to have been 'legitimate' emperors, and who appear in published regnal lists.[5][6][7] The word 'legitimate' is used by most authors, but usually without clear definition, perhaps not surprisingly, since the emperorship was itself rather vaguely defined legally. In Augustus' original formulation, the princeps was selected by either the Senate or "the people" of Rome, but quite quickly the legions became an acknowledged stand-in for "the people." A person could be proclaimed as emperor by their troops or by "the mob" in the street, but in theory needed to be confirmed by the Senate. The coercion that frequently resulted was implied in this formulation. Furthermore, a sitting emperor was empowered to name a successor and take him on as apprentice in government and in that case the Senate had no role to play, although it sometimes did when a successor lacked the power to inhibit bids by rival claimants. By the medieval (or Byzantine) period, the very definition of the Senate became vague as well, adding to the complication.[8]

Lists of legitimate emperors are therefore partly influenced by the subjective views of those compiling them, and also partly by historical convention. Many of the 'legitimate' emperors listed here acceded to the position by usurpation, and many 'illegitimate' claimants had a legitimate claim to the position. Historically[by whom?], the following criteria have been used to derive emperor lists:

  • Any individual who undisputedly ruled the whole Empire, at some point, is 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 his 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 monarch between 270 and 275, 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 nor 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 emperors are legitimate, but are not included in regnal lists, and in this article are listed together with the senior emperor.

Emperors after 395Edit

After 395, the list of emperors in the East is based on the same general criteria, with the exception that the emperor only had to be in undisputed control of the Eastern part of the empire, or be the legitimate heir of the Eastern emperor.

The situation in the West is more complex. Throughout the final years of the Western Empire (395–480) the Eastern emperor was considered the senior emperor, and a Western emperor was only legitimate if recognized as such by the Eastern emperor. Furthermore, after 455 the Western emperor ceased to be a relevant figure and there was sometimes no claimant at all. For the sake of historical completeness, all Western Emperors after 455 are included in this list, even if they were not recognized by the Eastern Empire;[9] some of these technically illegitimate emperors are included in regnal lists, while others are not. For instance, Romulus Augustulus was technically a usurper who ruled only the Italian peninsula and was never legally recognized. However, he was traditionally considered the "last Roman Emperor" by 18th and 19th century western scholars and his overthrow by Odoacer used as the marking point between historical epochs, and as such he is usually included in regnal lists. However, modern scholarship has confirmed that Romulus Augustulus' predecessor, Julius Nepos continued to rule as emperor in the other Western holdings and as a figurehead for Odoacer's rule in Italy until Nepos' death in 480. Since the question of what constitutes an emperor can be ambiguous, and dating the "fall of the Western Empire" arbitrary, this list includes details of both figures.

The PrincipateEdit

27 BC–68 AD: Julio-Claudian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Augustus
IMPERATOR CAESAR DIVI FILIVS AVGVSTVS
September 23, 63 BC, Rome, Italia Great-nephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar; became de facto emperor as a result of the 'first settlement' between himself and the Roman Senate. January 16, 27 BC – August 19, 14 AD 40 years, 7 months and 3 days August 19, 14 AD (aged 75)
Natural causes
  Tiberius
TIBERIVS CAESAR DIVI AVGVSTI FILIVS AVGVSTVS
November 16, 42 BC, Rome Natural son of Livia Drusilla, Augustus' third wife, by a previous marriage; stepbrother and third husband of Julia the Elder, daughter of Augustus; adopted by Augustus as his son and heir. September 18, 14 AD – March 16, 37 AD 22 years, 5 months and 27 days March 16, 37 AD (aged 77)
Probably natural causes, possibly assassinated by Caligula or praetorian prefect Naevius Sutorius Macro
  Caligula
CAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS CERMANICVS
August 31, 12 AD, Antium, Italia Great-nephew and adoptive grandson of Tiberius; natural son of Germanicus; great-grandson of Augustus. March 18, 37 AD – January 24, 41 AD 3 years, 10 months and 6 days January 24, 41 AD (aged 28)
Assassinated in a conspiracy involving senators and Praetorian Guards.
  Claudius
TIBERIVS CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS CERMANICVS
August 1, 10 BC, Lugdunum, Gallia Lugdunensis Uncle of Caligula; brother of Germanicus; nephew of Tiberius; great-nephew and step-grandson of Augustus; proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard. January 25/26, 41 AD – October 13, 54 AD 13 years, 8 months and 18/19 days October 13, 54 AD (aged 63)
Probably poisoned by his wife Agrippina the Younger, in favour of her son Nero, possibly natural causes.
  Nero
NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVGVSTVS CERMANICVS
December 15, 37 AD, Antium, Italia Great-nephew, stepson, son-in-law and adopted son of Claudius; nephew of Caligula; great-great-nephew of Tiberius; grandson of Germanicus; great-great-grandson of Augustus October 13, 54 AD – June 9, 68 AD 13 years, 7 months and 27 days June 9, 68 AD (aged 30)
Committed suicide after being declared a public enemy by the Senate.

68–96: Year of the Four Emperors and Flavian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Galba
IMPERATOR SERVIVS CALBA CAESAR AVGVSTVS
December 24, 3 BC, Near Terrancilium, Italia Seized power after Nero's suicide, with support of the Spanish legions June 8, 68 AD – January 15, 69 AD 7 months and 7 days January 15, 69 AD (aged 70)
Murdered by Praetorian Guard in coup led by Otho
  Otho
IMPERATOR MARCVS SALVIVS OTHO CAESAR AVGUSTVS
April 28, 32 AD, Ferentinum, Italia Appointed by Praetorian Guard January 15, 69 AD – April 16, 69 AD 3 months and 1 day (91 days) April 16, 69 AD (aged 36)
Committed suicide after losing Battle of Bedriacum to Vitellius
  Vitellius
IMPERATOR AVLVS VITELLIVS CERMANICVS AVGVSTVS
September 24, 15 AD, Rome Seized power with support of German Legions (in opposition to Galba/Otho) April 17, 69 AD – December 20, 69 AD 8 months and 3 days December 20, 69 AD (aged 54)
Murdered by Vespasian's troops
  Vespasian
IMPERATOR CAESAR TITVS FLAVIVS VESPASIANVS AVGVSTVS
November 17, 9 AD, Falacrine, Italia Seized power with the support of the eastern Legions (in opposition to Marcillinus) December 21, 69 AD – June 24, 79 AD 9 years, 6 months and 3 days June 24, 79 AD (aged 69)
Natural causes
  Titus
IMPERATOR CAESAR TITVS FLAVIVS VESPASIANVS AVGVSTVS
December 30, 39 AD, Rome Son of Vespasian June 24, 79 AD – September 13, 81 AD 2 years, 2 months and 20 days September 13, 81 AD (aged 41)
Natural causes (fever)
  Domitian
IMPERATOR CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVGVSTVS CERMANICVS
October 24, 51 AD, Rome Son of Vespasian September 14, 81 AD – September 18, 96 AD 15 years and 4 days September 18, 96 AD (aged 44)
Assassinated by court officials

96–192: Nerva–Antonine dynastyEdit

Note: all dates AD hereafter.

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Nerva
IMPERATOR MARCVS COCCEIVS NERVA CAESAR AVGVSTVS
November 8, 30, Narni, Italia Appointed by the Senate September 18, 96 – January 27, 98 1 year, 4 months and 9 days January 27, 98 (aged 67)
Natural causes
  Trajan
IMPERATOR CAESAR NERVA TRAIANVS DIVI NERVAE FILIVS AVGVSTVS
September 18, 53, Italica, Hispania Baetica Adopted son and heir of Nerva January 28, 98 – August 7, 117 19 years, 6 months and 10 days August 7, 117 (aged 63)
Natural causes
  Hadrian
IMPERATOR CAESAR PVBLIVS AELIVS TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS
January 24, 76, Italica, Hispania Baetica (or Rome) Adopted son and heir of Trajan August 11, 117 – July 10, 138 20 years, 10 months and 30 days July 10, 138 (aged 62)
Natural causes
  Antoninus Pius
IMPERATOR CAESAR TITVS AELIVS HADRIANVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS PIVS
September 19, 86, Near Lanuvium, Italia Adopted son and heir of Hadrian July 10, 138 – March 7, 161 22 years, 6 months and 28 days March 7, 161 (aged 74)
Natural causes
  Lucius Verus
IMPERATOR CAESAR LVCIVS AVRELIVS VERVS AVGVSTVS
December 15, 130, Rome Adopted son and heir of Antoninus Pius and son-in-law of Marcus Aurelius; Co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius until his death March 7, 161 – ? March 169 8 years March 169 (aged 39)
Natural causes (Plague)
  Marcus Aurelius
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS
April 26, 121, Rome Adopted son, son-in-law and heir of Antoninus Pius; Co-emperor with Lucius Verus until 169 March 7, 161 – March 17, 180 19 years and 10 days March 17, 180 (aged 58)
Natural causes
  Commodus
IMPERATOR CAESAR LUCIVS AELIVS AVRELIVS COMMODVS AVGVSTVS
August 31, 161, Lanuvium, Italia Natural son of Marcus Aurelius; joint emperor from 177 177 – December 31, 192 3 years as joint emperor,
12 as sole emperor
December 31, 192 (aged 31)

Assassinated in palace, strangled in his bath

193–235: Year of the Five Emperors and Severan dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Pertinax
IMPERATOR CAESAR PVBLIVS HELVIVS PERTINAX AVGVSTVS
August 1, 126, Alba, Italia Proclaimed emperor by Praetorian Guard January 1, 193 – March 28, 193 2 months and 27 days (86 days) March 28, 193 (aged 66)
Murdered by Praetorian Guard
Didius Julianus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS DIDIVS SEVERVS IVLIANVS AVGVSTVS
133 or 137, Milan, Italia Won auction held by the Praetorian Guard for the position of emperor March 28, 193 – June 1, 193 2 months and 4 days (65 days) June 1, 193 (aged 56 or 60)
Executed on orders of the Senate
  Septimius Severus
IMPERATOR CAESAR LVCIVS SEPTIMIVS SEVERVS EVSEBES PERTINAX AVGVSTVS
April 11, 145, Leptis Magna, Libya Seized power with support of Pannonian legions[a] April 9, 193 – February 4, 211 17 years, 9 months and 26 days February 4, 211 (aged 65)
Natural causes
  Caracalla
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS
April 4, 188, Lugdunum, Gallia Lugdunensis Son of Septimius Severus; co-emperor with Severus from 198; with Severus and Geta from 209 until February 211; co-emperor with Geta until December 211 198 – April 8, 217 13 years as joint emperor
10 months with Geta
6 years as sole emperor
April 8, 217 (aged 29)
Murdered by a soldier as part of a conspiracy involving Macrinus
  Geta
IMPERATOR CAESAR PVBLIVS SEPTIMIVS CETA AVGVSTUS
March 7, 189, Rome Son of Septimius Severus; co-emperor with Severus and Caracalla from 209 until February 211; co-emperor with Caracalla until December 211 209 – December 26, 211 2 years as joint emperor
10 months with Caracalla
December 19, 211 (aged 22)
Murdered on the orders of Caracalla
  Macrinus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS OPELLIVS SEVERVS MACRINVS AVGVSTVS

with
Diadumenian

IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS OPELLIVS ANTONINVS DIADVMENIANVS AVGVSTVS

c. 165, Caesarea, Mauretania Praetorian Prefect to Caracalla, probably conspired to have Caracalla murdered and proclaimed himself emperor after Caracalla's death; made his son Diadumenian co-emperor in May 218 April 11, 217 – June 8, 218 1 year, 1 month and 28 days June 8, 218 (aged 53)
Both executed in favour of Elagabalus
  Elagabalus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS
c. 203, Emesa, Syria Grandnephew of Septimius Severus, first cousin once removed and alleged illegitimate son of Caracalla; proclaimed emperor by Syrian legions June 8, 218 – March 11, 222 3 years, 9 months and 3 days March 11, 222 (aged 18)
Murdered by Praetorian Guard
  Severus Alexander
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS SEVERVS ALEXANDER AVGVSTVS
c. 207, Arca Caesarea, Syria Grandnephew of Septimius Severus, cousin and adoptive heir of Elagabalus March 13, 222 – March 18, 235 13 years and 5 days March 18, 235 (aged 28)
Murdered by the army

235–285: Gordian dynasty and Crisis of the Third CenturyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Maximinus Thrax
IMPERATOR CAESAR GAIVS IVLIVS VERVS MAXIMINVS AVGVSTVS
c. 173, Thrace or Moesia Proclaimed emperor by German legions after the murder of Severus Alexander March 20, 235 – June 238 3 years, 3 months June 238 (aged 65)
Assassinated by Praetorian Guard
  Gordian I
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS ANTONIVS CORDIANVS SEMPRONIANVS ROMANVS AFRICANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 159, Phrygia? 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 March 22, 238 – April 12, 238 21 days April 238 (aged 79)
Committed suicide upon hearing of the death of Gordian II.
Gordian II
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS ANTONIVS CORDIANVS SEMPRONIANVS ROMANVS AFRICANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 192, ? Proclaimed emperor, alongside father Gordian I, in opposition to Maximinus by act of the Senate. March 22, 238 – April 12, 238 21 days April 238 (aged 46)
Killed during the Battle of Carthage, fighting a pro-Maximinus army
  Pupienus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS CLODIVS PVPIENVS MAXIMVS AVGVSTVS
c. 178, ? Proclaimed joint emperor with Balbinus by the Senate in opposition to Maximinus; later co-emperor with Balbinus. April 22, 238 – July 29, 238 3 months and 7 days July 29, 238 (aged 68 or 73)
Assassinated by the Praetorian Guard
  Balbinus
IMPERATOR CAESAR DECIMVS CAELIVS CALVINVS BALBINVS PIVS AVGVSTVS
? Proclaimed joint emperor with Pupienus by the Senate after death of Gordian I and II, in opposition to Maximinus; later co-emperor with Pupienus and Gordian III April 22, 238 – July 29, 238 3 months and 7 days July 29, 238 (aged 60)
Assassinated by Praetorian Guard
  Gordian III
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS ANTONIVS CORDIANVS PIVS AVGVSTVS
January 20, 225, Rome Proclaimed emperor by supporters of Gordian I and II, then by the Senate; joint emperor with Pupienus and Balbinus until July 238; grandson and nephew of Gordian I and II, respectively April 22, 238 – February 11, 244 5 years, 9 months and 20 days February 11, 244 (aged 19)
Unknown; possibly murdered on orders of Philip I
  Philip the Arab
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS IVLIVS PHILIPPVS AVGVSTVS

with

Philip II

IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS IVLIVS SEVERVS PHILLIPVS AVGVSTVS

c. 204, Shahba, Syria Praetorian Prefect to Gordian III, took power after his death; made his son Philip II co-emperor in summer 247 February 244 – September/October 249 5 years September/October 249 (aged 45)
Killed in the Battle of Verona by Decius
  Decius
IMPERATOR CAESAR CAIVS MESSIVS QVINTVS TRAIANVS DECIVS AVGVSTVS

with

Herennius Etruscus

IMPERATOR CAESAR QVINTVS HERENNIVS ETRVSCVS MESSIVS DECIVS AVGVSTVS

c. 201, Budalia, Pannonia Inferior Governor under Philip the Arab; proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions then defeating and killing Philip in the Battle of Verona; made his son Herennius Etruscus co-emperor in early 251 September/ October 249 – June 251 2 years June 251 (aged 50)
Both killed in the Battle of Abrittus fighting against the Goths
Hostilian
IMPERATOR CAESAR CAIVS VALENS HOSTILIANVS MESSIVS QVINTVS AVGVSTVS
Sirmium Son of Decius, accepted as heir by the Senate June 251 – late 251 4–5 months September/October 251 (aged 21)
Natural causes (plague)
Trebonianus Gallus
IMPERATOR CAESAR GAIVS VIBIVS AFINIVS TREBONIANVS GALLVS AVGVSTVS

with

Volusianus

IMPERATOR CAESAR GAIVS VIBIVS VOLVSIANVS AVGVSTVS

206, Italia 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. June 251 – August 253 2 years August 253 (aged 47)
Assassinated by their own troops, in favour of Aemilian
  Aemilian
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AEMILIVS AEMILIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 207 or 213 Africa Governor of Moesia Superior, proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions after defeating the Goths; accepted as emperor after death of Gallus August 253 – October 253 2 months September/October 253 (aged 40 or 46)
Assassinated by his own troops, in favour of Valerian
Valerian
IMPERATOR CAESAR PVBLIVS LICINIVS VALERIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 195 Governor of Noricum and Raetia, proclaimed emperor by Rhine legions after death of Gallus; accepted as emperor after death of Aemilian October 253 – 260 7 years After 260 (aged at least 65)
Captured in Battle of Edessa against Persians, died in captivity
  Gallienus
IMPERATOR CAESAR PVBLIVS LICINIVS EGNATIVS GALLIENVS AVGVSTVS

with

Saloninus

IMPERATOR CAESAR CORNELIVS LICINIVS SALONINVS VALERIANVS PIVS FELIX INVICTVS AVGVSTVS

218 Son of Valerian, made co-emperor in 253; his son Saloninus is very briefly co-emperor in c. July 260 before assassination by Postumus. October 253 – September 268 15 years September 268 (aged 50)
Murdered at Aquileia by his own commanders.
  Claudius Gothicus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS CLAVDIVS AVGVSTVS
May 10, 210, Sirmium Victorious general at Battle of Naissus, seized power after Gallienus's death September 268 – January 270 1 year, 4 months January 270 (aged 60)
Natural causes (plague)
Quintillus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS CLAVDIVS QVINTILLVS AVGVSTVS
c.210, Sirmium Brother of Claudius II, seized power after his death January 270 – September(?) 270 Unknown 270 (aged around 60)
Unclear; possibly suicide or murder
Aurelian
IMPERATOR CAESAR LVCIVS DOMITIVS AVRELIANVS AVGVSTVS
September 9, 214/215, Sirmium Proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions after Claudius II's death, in opposition to Quintillus September(?) 270 – September 275 5 years September 275 (aged 60-61)
Assassinated by Praetorian Guard
  Tacitus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS CLAVDIVS TACITVS AVGVSTVS
c. 200, Interamna Nahars, Italia Elected by the Senate to replace Aurelian, after a short interregnum September 25, 275 – June 276 9 months June 276 (aged 76)
Natural causes (possibly assassinated)
Florianus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS ANNIVS FLORIANVS AVGVSTVS
? Brother of Tacitus, elected by the army in the west to replace him June 276 – September? 276 3 months September? 276 (aged ?)
Assassinated by his own troops, in favour of Probus
  Probus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS PROBVS AVGVSTVS
232, Sirmium Governor of the eastern provinces, proclaimed emperor by Danubian legions in opposition to Florian September? 276 – September/ October 282 6 years September/ October 282 (aged 50)
Assassinated by his own troops, in favour of Carus
  Carus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS CARVS AVGVSTVS
c. 230, Narbo, Gallia Narbonensis Praetorian Prefect to Probus; seized power either before or after Probus was murdered; made his son Carinus co-emperor in early 283 September/ October 282 – late July/ early August 283 10–11 months Late July/August 283 (aged 61)
Probably natural causes (Possibly killed by lightning)
Carinus
CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS CARINVS AVGVSTVS
? Son of Carus, ruled shortly with him and then with his brother Numerian Early 283 – 285 2 years 285 (aged ?)
Probably died in battle against Diocletian
Numerian
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS NVMERIVS NVMERIANVS AVGVSTVS
? Son of Carus, succeeded him jointly with his brother Carinus Late July/early August 283 – 284? 1 year 284 (aged ?)
Unclear; possibly assassinated

The DominateEdit

284–364: Tetrarchy and Constantinian dynastyEdit

Note: To maintain control and improve administration, various schemes to divide the work of the Roman Emperor by sharing it between individuals were tried after 285. The "Tetrarchy" proclaimed by Diocletian in 293 split the empire into two halves each to be ruled separately by two emperors, a senior "Augustus", and a junior "Caesar".

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Diocletian
IMPERATOR CAESAR CAIVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS DIOCLETIANVS AVGVSTVS


(EAST and WEST)

then, after 286

(EAST)

c. December 22, 244, Salona Proclaimed emperor by army after death of Numerian, and in opposition to Carinus; adopted Maximian as senior co-emperor in 286 November 20, 284 – May 1, 305 20 years, 5 months and 11 days 3 December 311 (aged 67)
Abdicated; died of natural causes in Aspalatos
  Maximian
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS MAXIMIANVS HERCVLIVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

c. 250, near Sirmium, Pannonia Adopted as senior co-emperor ('Augustus') in the west by Diocletian in 286 April 1, 286 – May 1, 305 19 years and 1 month 310 (aged 60)
Abdicated with Diocletian; twice tried to regain throne with, and then from Maxentius; captured by Constantine I and committed suicide at his behest
  Galerius
IMPERATOR CAESAR GAIVS GALERIVS VALERIVS MAXIMIANVS AVGVSTVS


(EAST)

c. 250, Felix Romuliana, Moesia Superior Adopted as junior co-emperor ('Caesar') and heir by Diocletian in 293. Also son-in-law of Diocletian. May 1, 305 – May 311 6 years 311 (aged 61)
Natural causes
  Constantius Chlorus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS FLAVIVS VALERIVS CONSTANTIVS HERCVLIVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

March 31, c. 250, Dardania, Moesia Adopted as junior co-emperor ('Caesar') and heir by Maximian in 293 May 1, 305 – July 25, 306 1 year, 2 months and 24 days 306 (aged 56)
Natural causes
Valerius Severus
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VALERIVS SEVERVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

? Adopted as junior co-emperor ('Caesar') and heir by Constantius Chlorus in 305; succeeded as Augustus in 306; opposed by Maxentius and Constantine I Summer 306 – March/ April 307 1 year September 16, 307 (aged ?)
Captured by Maxentius and forced to commit suicide (or murdered)
  Constantine the Great
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VALERIVS AVRELIVS CONSTANTINVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

then, after 324

(EAST and WEST)

February 27, c. 272, Naissus, Moesia Superior Son of Constantius I Chlorus, proclaimed emperor by his father's troops; accepted as Caesar (west) by Galerius in 306; promoted to Augustus (west) in 307 by Maximian after death of Severus II; refused relegation to Caesar in 309 July 25, 306 – May 22, 337 30 years, 9 months and 27 days May 22, 337 (aged 65)
Natural causes
  Maxentius
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS MAXENTIVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

c. 278 Son of Maximian, seized power in 306 after death of Constantius I Chlorus, in opposition to Severus and Constantine I; made Caesar (west) by Maximian in 307 after the death of Severus October 28, 306 – October 28, 312 6 years October 28, 312 (aged 34)
Died at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, against Constantine I
  Licinius I
IMPERATOR CAESAR CAIVS VALERIVS LICINIANVS LICINIVS AVGVSTVS


(EAST)

with

Valerius Valens

AVRELIVS VALERIVS VALENS

and

Martinian

SEXTVS MARCIVS MARTININANVS

c. 250, Felix Romuliana, Moesia Superior Son-in-law of Constantius Chlorus, appointed Augustus in the west by Galerius in 308, in opposition to Maxentius; became Augustus in the east in 311 after the death of Galerius (shared with Maximinus II); defeated Maximinus II in civil war to become sole eastern Augustus in 313; appointed Valerius Valens in 317, and Martinian in 324 as western Augustus, in opposition to Constantine, both being executed within weeks. November 11, 308 – September 18, 324 15 years, 10 months and 7 days 325 (aged 61/62)
Defeated in civil war against Constantine I in 324 and captured; executed on the orders of Constantine the next year
  Maximinus II
IMPERATOR CAESAR CAIVS CALERIVS VALERIVS MAXIMINVS AVGVSTVS


(EAST)

November 20, c. 270, Dacia Aureliana Nephew of Galerius, adopted as Caesar and his heir in 305; succeeded as Augustus (shared with Licinius I) in 311 May 1, 311 – July/August 313 2 years July/August 313 (aged 42)
Defeated in civil war against Licinius; probably committed suicide thereafter
  Constantine II
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CLAVDIVS CONSTANTINVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

316, Arelate, Gallia Narbonensis Son of Constantine I; appointed Caesar in 317, succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantius II and Constans I May 22, 337 – 340 3 years 340 (aged 24)
Died in battle against Constans I
  Constantius II
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS CONSTANTIVS AVGVSTVS


(EAST)

then, after 356

(EAST and WEST)

August 7, 317, Sirmium, Pannonia Son of Constantine I; succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantine II and Constans I; sole emperor from 350 May 22, 337 – November 3, 361 24 years, 5 months and 12 days 361 (aged 44)
Natural causes
  Constans I
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS CONSTANS AVGVSTVS


(MIDDLE)

then, after 340

(WEST)

c. 323 Son of Constantine I; succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantine II and Constantius II May 22, 337 – 350 13 years 350 (aged 27)
Assassinated on the orders of the usurper Magnentius
Vetranio
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VETRANIO AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

?, Moesia General of Constans, proclaimed Caesar against Magnentius and temporarily accepted as Augustus of the west by Constantius II. March 1, 350 – December 25, 350 9 months and 24 days c. 356 (aged ?)
As a private citizen, after abdication.
Julian
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CLAVDIVS IVLIANVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

then, after 361

(EAST and WEST)

331/332, Constantinople, Thracia Cousin of Constantius II; made Caesar of the west in 355; proclaimed Augustus by his troops in 360; sole emperor after the death of Constantius February 360 – June 26, 363 3 years June 26, 363 (aged 31/32)
Mortally wounded in battle
  Jovian
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IOVIANVS AVGVSTVS


(EAST and WEST)

331, Singidunum, Moesia General of Julian's army; proclaimed emperor by the troops on Julian's death June 26, 363 – February 17, 364 7 months and 22 days February 17, 364 (aged 33)
Natural causes (suffocated on fumes)

364–392: Valentinian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Valentinian I
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VALENTINIANVS AVGVSTVS


(EAST and WEST)

then

(WEST)

321, Cibalae, Pannonia Elected to replace Jovian by the army February 26, 364 – November 17, 375 11 years, 8 months and 22 days November 17, 375 (aged 54)
Natural causes
  Valens
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS VALENS AVGVSTVS


(EAST)

328, Cibalae, Pannonia Brother of Valentinian I, appointed co-augustus (for the east) by him March 28, 364 – August 9, 378 14 years, 4 months and 12 days August 9, 378 (aged 50)
Killed in Battle of Adrianople against the Goths
  Gratian
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS GRATIANVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

April 18/May 23, 359, Sirmium, Pannonia Son of Valentinian I, appointed junior Augustus by him in 367, became senior Augustus (for the west) after Valentinian's death. August 4, 367 – August 25, 383 16 years and 21 days August 25, 383 (aged 24)
Murdered by rebellious army faction
  Valentinian II
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VALENTINIANVS AVGVSTVS


(WEST)

371, Milan, Italia Son of Valentinian I, proclaimed emperor by Pannonian army after Valentinian's death; accepted as co-Augustus for the west by Gratian November 17, 375 – May 15, 392 16 years, 5 months and 28 days May 15, 392 (aged 21)
Unclear; possibly murdered or committed suicide
Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Magnus Maximus

IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS MAGNVS MAXIMVS AVGVSTVS

(WEST)


with

Victor

IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VICTOR AVGVSTVS

c. 335, Hispania Usurper in the West; legitimized along with his son Victor by Theodosius I as emperors of Britannia and Gaul. 383/384 – August 28, 388 4/5 years August 28, 388 (aged 53)
Executed by Theodosius I in Aquileia after the Battle of the Save; Victor killed by Arbogast

Western EmperorsEdit

392–455: Theodosian dynastyEdit

Note: Theodosius I was the last person to rule both halves of the Roman Empire, dividing the administration between his sons Arcadius and Honorius on his death.

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
Theodosius I
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS THEODOSIVS AVGVSTVS
January 11, 347, Cauca, Hispania Son-in-law of Valentinian I, appointed as Augustus for the east by Gratian after the death of Valens; became sole senior Augustus after death of Valentinian II (Eastern Emperor since 379) May 15, 392 – January 17, 395 2 years, 8 months and 2 days January 17, 395 (aged 48)
Natural causes
  Honorius
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS HONORIVS AVGVSTVS
September 9, 384 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 January 23, 393 – August 15, 423 30 years, 6 months and 23 days August 15, 423 (aged 38)
Natural causes
Constantine III

IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CLAVDIVS CONSTANTINVS AVGVSTVS

with

Constans II

IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CONSTANS AVGVSTVS

? Usurper who declared himself emperor in the west in 407, recognized as co-emperor by Honorius in 409. Elevated his son Constans II to co-emperor in 409, who was not recognized by Honorius. 407/409 - August or September 411 2 years August or September 411 (aged ?)
Executed by Constantius III
Constantius III
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CONSTANTIVS AVGVSTVS
?, Naissus, Moesia Superior Married to Theodosius I's daughter Galla Placidia, elevated to co-Augustus for the west by Honorius February 8, 421 – September 2, 421 6 months and 25 days September 2, 421 (aged ?)
Natural causes
Joannes

IMPERATOR CAESAR IOHANNES AVGVSTVS

? A senior civil servant under Honorius, proclaimed emperor by Castinus; not recognized by the Eastern Empire August 27, 423 – May 425 2 years June or July 425 (aged ?)
Defeated in battle by Theodosius II and Valentinian III, captured and executed
Valentinian III
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS PLACIDIVS VALENTINIANVS AVGVSTVS
July 2, 419, Ravenna, Italia Son of Constantius III, appointed Caesar for the west by Theodosius II after the death of Honorius, in opposition to the regime of Joannes; became Augustus for the west after the defeat of Joannes October 23, 424 – March 16, 455 30 years, 4 months and 21 days March 16, 455 (aged 35)
Assassinated, possibly at the behest of Petronius Maximus

455–476: Last emperors of the Western EmpireEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
Petronius Maximus
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS ANICIVS PETRONIVS MAXIMVS AVGVSTVS
c. 396 Son-in-law of Theodosius II, proclaimed himself emperor with the support of the army, after the death of Valentinian III. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. He appointed his son Palladius as caesar. March 17, 455 – May 31, 455 2 months and 14 days May 31, 455 (aged 58/59)
Murdered, probably stoned to death by the Roman mob
Avitus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS MAECILIVS FLAVIVS EPARCHIVS AVITVS AVGVSTVS
c. 385 Magister militum under Petronius Maximus, proclaimed emperor by the Visigoth king Theoderic II after Petronius's death. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. July 9, 455 – October 17, 456 1 year, 3 months and 8 days after 17 October 456 (aged 71)
Deposed by his Magister militum, Ricimer; became bishop of Placentia; murdered at some point afterwards
Majorian
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS VALERIVS MAIORIANVS AVGVSTVS
November 420 Proclaimed emperor by his troops. Recognized by the Eastern Empire at the behest of Ricimer. April 457 – August 2, 461 4 years August 7, 461 (aged 40)
Deposed and beheaded on the orders of Ricimer.
Libius Severus
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS LIBIVS SEVERVS SERPENTIVS AVGVSTVS
?, Lucania, Italia Appointed emperor by Ricimer. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. November 461 – August 465 4 years August 465 (aged 45)
Probably poisoned by Ricimer
  Anthemius
IMPERATOR CAESAR PROCOPIVS ANTHEMIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 420 Son-in-law of Marcian, appointed emperor by Leo I, with the consent of Ricimer. April 12, 467 – July 11, 472 5 years, 2 months and 29 days July 11, 472 (aged 52)
Executed by Ricimer or Gundobad (Ricimer's nephew).
Olybrius
IMPERATOR CAESAR ANICIVS OLYBRIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 420 Son-in-law of Valentinian III; appointed emperor by Ricimer. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. July 11, 472 – November 2, 472 3 months and 22 days November 2, 472 (aged 41)
Natural causes
Glycerius
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS GLYCERIVS AVGVSTVS
? Appointed emperor by Gundobad (Ricimer's successor). Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. March 473 – June 474 1 year after 480 (aged ?)
Deposed by Julius Nepos, became Bishop of Salona, time and manner of death unknown
  Julius Nepos
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS NEPOS AVGVSTVS
c. 430 Nephew-in-law of the eastern emperor Leo I (and nephew of Marcellinus) appointed emperor in opposition to Glycerius June 474 – August 28, 475 (in Italy); – spring 480 (in Gaul and Dalmatia) 1 year/6 years 480 (aged 50)
Deposed in Italy by Orestes, ruled in balance of Western Empire until assassination in 480. Maintained as figurehead in Italy by Odoacer to his death in 480.
  Romulus Augustulus
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS ROMVLVS AVGVSTVS
c. 460[b] Appointed by his father, Orestes. Listed as an emperor by historical convention. His rule never extended beyond portions of the Italian peninsula. Not recognized by Eastern Emperor Zeno. October 31, 475 – September 4, 476 (in Italy) 10 months and 4 days Unknown.
Deposed by Odoacer, who then ruled in the name of Julius Nepos until the latter's death in 480, which formally ended the separate Western Empire; most likely lived out his life in obscurity on a private villa.

Note: The classical Roman Empire is usually said to have ended with the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, with its continuation in the East referred to by modern scholars as the Byzantine Empire.

Eastern EmperorsEdit

379–457: Theodosian dynastyEdit

Note: Theodosius I was the last person to rule both halves of the Roman Empire, dividing the administration between his sons Arcadius and Honorius on his death.

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
Theodosius I
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS THEODOSIVS AVGVSTVS
January 11, 347, Cauca, Hispania Son-in-law of Valentinian I, appointed as Augustus for the east by Gratian after the death of Valens; became sole senior Augustus after death of Valentinian II January 19, 379 – January 17, 395 16 years and 16 days January 17, 395 (aged 48)
Natural causes
  Arcadius
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS ARCADIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 377, Hispania Son of Theodosius I; appointed as junior Augustus for the east by Theodosius in 383; became senior Augustus for the east after his father's death January 383 – May 1, 408 25 years May 1, 408 (aged 31)
Natural causes
  Theodosius II
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS THEODOSIVS IVNIOR AVGVSTVS
April 10, 401, Constantinople Son of Arcadius; appointed as junior Augustus for the east by Arcadius in 402; became senior Augustus for the east after his father's death January 402 – July 28, 450 48 years July 28, 450 (aged 49)
Injuries suffered during a hunting accident
Marcian
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS MARCIANVS AVGVSTVS
396, Thrace or Illyria Nominated as successor (and husband) by Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius II Summer 450 – January 457 7 years January 457 (aged 65)
Gout

457–518: Leonid dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Leo I the Thracian
(Λέων Αʹ ὁ Θρᾷξ)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VALERIVS LEO AVGVSTVS
c. 400, Dacia Chosen by the army 7 February 457 – 18 January 474 17 years 18 January 474 (aged 73)
Dysentery
  Leo II
(Λέων Βʹ)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS LEO AVGVSTVS
c. 467, Constantinople Grandson of Leo I 18 January – 17 November 474 9 months 17 November 474 (aged 7)
Cause unknown, possibly poisoned
  Zeno
(Ζήνων)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS ZENO AVGVSTVS
c. 425, Isauria Named co-emperor by his son Leo II on 9 February 474. 17 November 474 – 9 April 491 17 years 9 April 491 (aged 66)
Dysentery or epilepsy
  Basiliscus
(Βασιλίσκος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS BASILISCVS AVGVSTVS
? Seized throne 9 January 475 – August 476 1 year, 7 months 476/477
  Anastasius I Dicorus
(Ἀναστάσιος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS ANASTASIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 430, Dyrrhachium Son-in-law of Leo I 11 April 491 – 9 July 518 27 years 9 July 518 (aged 87)
Natural causes

518–602: Justinian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Justin I
(Φλάβιος Ἰουστῖνος Αὔγουστος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVSTINVS AVGVSTVS
c. 450 at Bederiana (Justiniana Prima), Dardania Elected by army July 518 – 1 August 527 9 years 1 August 527 (aged 77)
Natural causes
  Justinian I
(Φλάβιος Πέτρος Σαββάτιος Ἰουστινιανός Αὔγουστος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS PETRVS SABBATIVS IVSTINIANVS AVGVSTVS
c. 482 at Tauresium (Taor), Dardania Nephew of Justin I 1 August 527 – 13/14 November 565 38 years 13/14 November 565 (aged 83)
Natural causes
  Justin II
(Φλάβιος Ἰουστῖνος ὁ νεώτερος Αὔγουστος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVSTINVS IVNIOR AVGVSTVS
c. 520 Nephew of Justinian I 14 November 565 – 5 October 578 13 years 5 October 578 (aged 58)
Natural causes, after insanity
  Tiberius II Constantine

(Φλάβιος Τιβέριος Κωνσταντῖνος Αὔγουστος)

IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS TIBERIVS CONSTANTINVS AVGVSTVS

c. 535 Adopted son of Justin II, regent from 574 5 October 578 – 14 August 582 3 years, 10 months 14 August 582 (aged 62)
Natural causes
  Maurice
(Φλάβιος Μαυρίκιος Τιβέριος Αὔγουστος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS MAURICVS TIBERIVS AVGVSTVS
539 at Arabissus, Cappadocia Son-in-law of Tiberius II 14 August 582 – 22 November 602 20 years 27 November 602 (aged 63)
Executed
  Phocas
(Φλάβιος Φωκᾶς Αὔγουστος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS PHOCAS AVGVSTVS
? Seized throne 23 November 602 –
4 October 610
8 years 5 October 610
Executed

610–695: Heraclian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Heraclius
(Φλάβιος Ἡράκλειος Αὔγουστος)
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS HERACLIVS AVGVSTVS
c. 575, Cappadocia Revolt 5 October 610 – 11 February 641 30 years 11 February, 641 (aged 65 or 66)
Natural causes
  Constantine III
(Κωνσταντῖνος Γʹ)

Formally: "Heraclius New Constantine"
(Ἡράκλειος νέος Κωνσταντῖνος)
HERACLIVS NOVVS CONSTANTINVS

3 May 612, Constantinople Son of Heraclius 11 February – 24/26 May 641 3 months 24/26 May 641 (aged 28)
Tuberculosis
  Heraklonas
(Ἡρακλωνᾶς)

Formally: "Constantine Heraclius"
(Κωνσταντῖνος Ἡράκλειος)
CONSTANTINVS HERACLIVS

3 May 626, Constantinople Son of Heraclius 11 February 641 – September 641 7 months unknown, but probably before 642
  Constans II
(Κῶνστας Βʹ)

Formally: "Constantine the Bearded"
(Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Πωγωνάτος)

7 November 630 Son of Constantine III. succeeded his uncle Heraklonas after he was deposed as emperor. September 641 – 15 September 668 27 years 15 September 668 (aged 37)
Assassinated
  Constantine IV
(Κωνσταντῖνος Δʹ ὁ Πωγωνάτος)
652, Constantinople Son of Constans II 15 September 668 – 14 September 685 17 years 14 September 685 (aged 33)
Dysentery
  Justinian II
(Ἰουστινιανὸς Βʹ ὁ Ῥινότμητος)
668 or 669, Constantinople Son of Constantine IV 14 September 685–695 10 years (1st reign) 11 December 711 (aged 42)
Killed by the army

695–717: Twenty Years' AnarchyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Leontios
(Λεόντιος)
Isauria Revolt 695–698 3 years Executed in February 706
  Tiberios III Apsimaros
(Τιβέριος Γʹ Ἀψίμαρος)
Pamphylia Revolt 698–705 7 years Executed in February 706
  Justinian II
(Ἰουστινιανὸς Βʹ ὁ Ῥινότμητος)

(second reign)

668 or 669, Constantinople Returned on the throne with Bulgar support. Named son Tiberius as co-emperor in 706. August 705 – December 711 6 years (2nd reign) 11 December 711 (aged 42)
Killed by the army
  Philippikos Bardanes
(Φιλιππικὸς Βαρδάνης)
Pergamon Revolt December 711 – 3 June 713 1 year, 6 months 713
  Anastasios II
(Ἀναστάσιος Βʹ)
? Bureaucrat and secretary under Philippikos, he was raised to the purple by the soldiers June 713 – November 715 2 years, 5 months 718, during attempt to regain the throne
  Theodosius III
(Θεοδόσιος Γʹ)
? Chosen by troops May 715 – 25 March 717 2 years Unknown. Became a monk

717–802: Isaurian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Leo III the Isaurian
(Λέων Γʹ ὁ Ἴσαυρος)
c. 685, Germanikeia, Commagene Rebellion 25 March 717 – 18 June 741 24 years June 741 (age 56)
Edema
  Constantine V
(Κωνσταντῖνος Εʹ ὁ Κοπρώνυμος)
July 718, Constantinople Son of Leo III 18 June 741 – 14 September 775 34 years 14 September 775 (aged 57)
Carbuncle
  Artabasdos
(Ἀρτάβασδος)
? Son-in-law of Leo III. Usurped throne. June 741/742 – 2 November 743 1 year, 4 months Unknown
  Leo IV the Khazar
(Λέων Δʹ ὁ Χάζαρος)
750, Constantinople Son of Constantine V 14 September 775 – 8 September 780 5 years 780 (age 30)
Tuberculosis
  Constantine VI
(Κωνσταντῖνος ΣΤʹ)
771, Constantinople Son of Leo IV 8 September 780 – August 797 17 years 797 (age 18)
After blinding by Irene
  Irene of Athens
(Εἰρήνη ἡ Αθηναία)
c. 752, Athens Regent during minority of Constantine VI. Seized throne from son in 797. First Byzantine empress regnant. August 797 – 31 October 802 5 years 9 August 803 (aged 51)

802–813: Nikephorian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Nikephoros I
(Νικηφόρος Αʹ ὁ Λογοθέτης)
? Rebellion 31 October 802 –
26 July 811
9 years 26 July 811
After the Battle of Pliska
  Staurakios
(Σταυράκιος)
After 778 Son of Nikephoros I 26 July 811 –
2 October 811
4 months January 11 812 (age ~30)

Gangrene

  Michael I Rangabe
(Μιχαὴλ Αʹ Ῥαγγαβέ)
c. 770 Son-in-law of Nikephoros I 2 October 811 –
22 June 813
1 year, 8 months January 11 844 (age ~74)

In a monastery on Prote Island

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Leo V the Armenian
(Λέων Εʹ ὁ Ἀρμένιος)
c. 775 Rebellion 11 July 813 –
25 December 820
7 years 25 December 820 (age ~45)
Murdered by successor's conspirators

820–867: Amorian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Michael II
(Μιχαὴλ Βʹ ὁ ἐξ Ἀμορίου)
c. 775 Chosen after murder of predecessor 25 December 820 –
2 October 829
9 years 2 October 829 (age ~54)
Theophilos
(Θεόφιλος)
805 Only son of Michael II and co-emperor since 821 2 October 829 –
20 January 842
13 years 20 January 842 (age 37)

Unknown disease

  Michael III
(Μιχαὴλ Γʹ ὁ Μέθυσος)
19 January 840, Constantinople Son of Theophilos 20 January 842 –
23 September 867
25 years 23 September 867

Assassinated by successor

867–1056: Macedonian dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Basil I the Macedonian
(Βασίλειος Αʹ ὁ Μακεδών)
811, Macedonia Previous co-emperor, full emperor upon death of predecessor. 867 –
29 August 886
19 years 29 August 886 (age 75)
  Leo VI the Wise
(Λέων ΣΤʹ ὁ Σοφός)
19 September 866, Constantinople Son of Basil I (potentially in reality the son of Michael III), co-emperor since 870. 886 –
11 May 912
26 years 11 May 912 (age 45)
  Alexander
(Ἀλέξανδρος)
23 November 870 Son of Basil I, co-emperor since 879. 11 May 912 –
6 June 913
1 year, 1 month 6 June 913 (age 42)

Exhaustion after a game of tzykanion

  Constantine VII
(Κωνσταντῖνος Ζʹ ὁ Πορφυρογέννητος)
17/18 May 905 Son of Leo VI, co-emperor since 908. 6 June 913 –
9 November 959
46 years 9 November 959 (age 54), Constantinople

Possibly poisoned by his son Romanos II

  Romanos I Lekapenos
(Ῥωμανὸς Αʹ Λεκαπηνός)
c. 870, Lakape Regent for the young Constantine VII, crowned himself senior emperor during Constantine's minority. 17 December 920 –
16 December 944
24 years 15 June 948 (age 77-78)

In a monastery as a monk after having been overthrown

  Romanos II
(Ῥωμανὸς Βʹ ὁ Πορφυρογέννητος)
c. 938 Son of Constantine VII 9 November 959 –
15 March 963
4 years 15 March 963 (age 24-25)

Possibly poisoned

  Nikephoros II Phokas
(Νικηφόρος Βʹ Φωκᾶς)
c. 912 Chosen by the army, acted as senior emperor during the regency of young emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII 16 August 963 –
11 December 969
6 years 11 December 969 (age 56-57), Constantinople

Assassinated by successor John I Tzimiskes

  John I Tzimiskes
(Ἰωάννης Α΄ Τζιμισκής)
c. 925 Nephew of Nikephoros II Phokas, succeeded as senior emperor and regent for the young emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII 11 December 969 –
10 January 976
7 years 10 January 976 (age 50-51), Constantinople

Poisoned by Imperial chamberlain Basil Lekapenos

  Basil II
(Βασίλειος Βʹ ὁ Βουλγαροκτόνος)

"the Bulgar-Slayer"

958, Constantinople Eldest son of Romanos II 10 January 976 –
15 December 1025
49 years 15 December 1025 (age 67-68), Constantinople
  Constantine VIII
(Κωνσταντῖνος Ηʹ ὁ Πορφυρογέννητος)
960, Constantinople Second son of Romanos II, co-emperor since 962. 15 December 1025 –
15 November 1028
3 years 15 November 1028 (age 68), Constantinople
  Zoe Porphyrogenita
(Ζωὴ ἡ Πορφυρογέννητος)
c. 978, Constantinople Daughter of Constantine VIII, succeeded on her father's death along with her sister Theodora. Her three husbands, Romanos III (1028–1034), Michael IV (1034–1041) and Constantine IX (1042–1050) ruled alongside her. 15 November 1028 –
June 1050
22 years June 1050 (age 72), Constantinople
  Romanos III Argyros
(Ῥωμανὸς Γʹ Ἀργυρός)
968 Chosen by Constantine VIII to marry his daughter Zoe and succeed him as emperor. 15 November 1028 –
11 April 1034
6 years 11 April 1034 (age 65-66), Constantinople

Allegedly murdered

  Michael IV the Paphlagonian
(Μιχαὴλ Δʹ ὁ Παφλαγών)
1010 Succeeded Romanos III as Zoe's husband and emperor. 11 April 1034 –
10 December 1041
7 years 10 December 1041 (age 31), Constantinople

Died after a long illness.

  Michael V Kalaphates
(Μιχαὴλ Εʹ ὁ Καλαφάτης)
1015 Nephew and adopted son of Michael IV. 10 December 1041 –
20 April 1042
5 months 24 August, 1042 (age 27), Constantinople

Deposed, blinded, castrated and tonsured after attempting to sideline Zoe and her sister Theodora.

  Theodora Porphyrogenita
(Θεοδώρα ἡ Πορφυρογέννητος)
c. 980 Younger sister of Theodora, raised to co-empress in 1042. 19 April 1042 – 31 August 1056 14 years 31 August 1056 (age 75-76), Constantinople

Died after sudden illness.

  Constantine IX Monomachos
(Κωνσταντῖνος Θʹ Μονομάχος)
c. 1000 Zoe's third husband 11 June 1042 – 11 January 1055 13 years 11 January 1055 (age ~55), Constantinople

Died after illness.

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Michael VI Bringas
(Μιχαὴλ ΣΤʹ Βρίγγας)
? Chosen as successor by Empress Theodora September 1056 –
31 August 1057
1 year 1059, confined to a monastery after having been deposed by successor.
Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Isaac I Komnenos
(Ἰσαάκιος Αʹ Κομνηνός)
c. 1005 Rebellion 5 June 1057 –
22 November 1059
2 years c. 1061 after having voluntarily abdicated.

1059–1081: Doukid dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Constantine X Doukas
(Κωνσταντῖνος Ιʹ Δούκας)
1006 Chosen successor of Isaac I Komnenos 24 November 1059 –
22 May 1067
8 years 22 May 1067 (aged 61)
  Michael VII Doukas
(Μιχαὴλ Ζʹ Δούκας)
1050 Son of Constantine X Doukas and co-emperor since 1059, resigned the throne in 1078 22 May 1067 –
31 March 1078
11 years 1090 (aged ~40), Constantinople
  Romanos IV Diogenes
(Ῥωμανὸς Δʹ Διογένης)
1032 Married to Constantine X's widow and senior emperor as guardian of her sons by Constantine X 1 January 1068 –
24 October 1071
3 years 1072 (age 42), after having been deposed, blinded and exiled
  Nikephoros III Botaneiates
(Νικηφόρος Γʹ Βοτανειάτης)
1001 Rebellion 31 March 1078 –
4 April 1081
3 years 10 December 1081 (age 80), after having been deposed and exiled to a monastery

1081–1185: Komnenid dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Alexios I Komnenos
(Ἀλέξιος Αʹ Κομνηνός)
1056 Rebellion, nephew of Isaac I Komnenos 4 April 1081 –
15 August 1118
37 years 15 August 1118 (age 70)
  John II Komnenos
(Ἰωάννης Βʹ Κομνηνός)
13 September 1087, Constantinople Son of Alexios I, co-emperor since 1087 15 August 1118 –
8 April 1143
25 years 8 April 1143 (age 55), Cilicia

Accidentally cut himself on a poisoned arrow

  Manuel I Komnenos
(Μανουὴλ Αʹ Κομνηνός)
28 November, 1118, Constantinople Son of John II 1143 –
24 September 1180
37 years 24 September 1180 (age 61)
  Alexios II Komnenos
(Ἀλέξιος B' Κομνηνός)
14 September 1169, Constantinople Son of Manuel I 24 September 1180 –
October 1183
3 years October 1183 (age 14), Constantinople

Deposed and killed by successor

  Andronikos I Komnenos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Αʹ Κομνηνός)
c. 1118 Nephew of John II (son of his brother Isaac), uncle of Alexios II 1183 –
12 September 1185
2 years 12 September 1185 (age 66-67), Constantinople

Overthrown and lynched in a popular uprising

1185–1204: Angelid dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Isaac II Angelos
(Ἰσαάκιος Βʹ Ἄγγελος)
September 1156 Rebellion 1185–1195 10 years 25 January 1204 (age 47), Constantinople

Possibly shock or poison

  Alexios III Angelos
(Ἀλέξιος Γʹ Ἄγγελος)
c. 1153 Rebellion, elder brother of Isaac II 1195 –
17/18 July 1203
8 years 1211 (age 58), in captivity in the Empire of Nicaea
  Isaac II Angelos
(Ἰσαάκιος Βʹ Ἄγγελος)

(second reign)

September 1156 Restored to the throne by the Fourth Crusade alongside his son Alexios IV 18 July 1203 –
27/28 January 1204
6 months 25 January 1204 (age 47), Constantinople

Possibly shock or poison

  Alexios IV Angelos
(Ἀλέξιος Δʹ Ἄγγελος)
c. 1182 Raised to the throne by the Fourth Crusade alongside his father Isaac II 1 August 1203 –
27/28 January 1204
6 months 8 February 1204 (age 21-22), Constantinople

Strangled by successor

  Alexios V Doukas
(Ἀλέξιος Εʹ Δούκας ὁ Μούρτζουφλος)
c. 1140 Coup in the Imperial Palace, son-in-law of Alexios III 5 February 1204 –
13 April 1204
5 months December 1204 (age 64), Constantinople

Captured by crusaders of the newly founded Latin Empire and publicly executed

1204–1261: Laskarid dynastyEdit

Note: Between 1204 and 1261 there was an interregnum when Constantinople was occupied by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade and the Empire was divided into the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus, which were all contenders for rule of the Empire. The Laskarid dynasty of the Empire of Nicaea is considered the legitimate continuation of the Roman Empire because they managed to re-take Constantinople.

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Theodore I Laskaris
(Θεόδωρος Αʹ Λάσκαρις)
c. 1174, Constantinople His brother Constantine Laskaris was elected emperor by the citizens of Constantinople on the day the city fell to the Crusaders; he later fled to Nicaea, where Theodore organized the Greek resistance to the Latins. Proclaimed emperor after Constantine's death in 1205, Theodore was crowned only in 1208. 1205–
November 1221
21 years November 1221 (age 48)
  John III Doukas Vatatzes
(Ἰωάννης Γʹ Δούκας Βατάτζης)
c. 1192, Didymoteicho Son-in-law of Theodore I 15 December 1221 –
3 November 1254
33 years 3 November 1254 (age 62), Nymphaion
  Theodore II Laskaris
(Θεόδωρος Βʹ Λάσκαρις)
c. 1222, Nicaea Son of John III 3 November 1254–
18 August 1258
4 years 18 August 1258 (age 36), Magnesia

Epilepsy

  John IV Laskaris
(Ἰωάννης Δʹ Λάσκαρις)
25 December 1250 Son of Theodore II 18 August 1258–
25 December 1261
3 years c. 1305 (age 55), Constantinople

Blinded and imprisoned by successor in 1261, died in captivity

1261–1453: Palaiologan dynastyEdit

Portrait Name Birth Succession Reign Time in office Death
  Michael VIII Palaiologos
(Μιχαὴλ Ηʹ Παλαιολόγος)
1223 Senior emperor and regent of John IV Laskaris, grandnephew of John III by marriage and great-grandson of Alexios III 1 January 1259–
11 December 1282
23 years, 11 months 11 December 1282 (age 58), Pachomion, near Lysimachia
  Andronikos II Palaiologos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Βʹ Παλαιολόγος)
25 March 1259, Nicaea Son of Michael VIII 11 December 1282–
24 May 1328
45 years, 5 months 13 February 1332 (age 72), Constantinople
  Michael IX Palaiologos
(Μιχαήλ Θ΄ Παλαιολόγος)
17 April 1277, Constantinople Son of Andronikos II, reigned alongside him as Co-emperor with full imperial style 1295–
12 October 1320
25 years 12 October 1320 (age 43), Thessaloniki
  Andronikos III Palaiologos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Γʹ Παλαιολόγος)
25 March 1297, Constantinople Son of Michael IX, named co-emperor in 1316 and rival emperor since 1321. Deposed his grandfather Andronikos III in 1328 and reigned as sole emperor 24 May 1328–
15 June 1341
13 years 15 June 1341 (age 44), Constantinople

Possibly chronic malaria

  John V Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Εʹ Παλαιολόγος)
18 June 1332, Didymoteicho Son of Andronikos III 15 June 1341–
12 August 1376
38 years 16 February 1391 (aged 58), Constantinople
  John VI Kantakouzenos
(Ἰωάννης ΣΤʹ Καντακουζηνός)
1292, Constantinople Maternal relative of the Palaiologi, declared co-emperor by John V in 1341 and recognized as senior emperor in 1347 following a civil war 8 February 1347–
4 December 1354
7 years 15 June 1383 (aged 90 or 91), deposed and in exile as a monk in the Peloponnese
  Andronikos IV Palaiologos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Δʹ Παλαιολόγος)
11 April 1348, Constantinople Son of John V, co-emperor since 1352, deposed his father John V in 1376 12 August 1376–
1 July 1379
3 years 28 June 1385 (age 37), Selymbria
  John V Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Εʹ Παλαιολόγος)

(second reign)

18 June 1332, Didymoteicho Restored to the throne after overthrowing his son Andronikos IV 1 July 1379–
14 April 1390
11 years 16 February 1391 (aged 58), Constantinople
  John VII Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Ζʹ Παλαιολόγος)
1370 Rebellion, son and co-emperor of Andronikos IV, deposed his grandfather John V 14 April 1390–
17 September 1390
5 months 22 September 1408 (aged 38), Thessaloniki
  John V Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Εʹ Παλαιολόγος)

(third reign)

18 June 1332, Didymoteicho Restored to the throne after overthrowing his grandson John VII 17 September 1390–
16 February 1391
5 months 16 February 1391 (aged 58), Constantinople
  Manuel II Palaiologos
(Μανουὴλ Βʹ Παλαιολόγος)
27 June 1350, Constantinople Son of John V, co-emperor since 1373 16 February 1391–
21 July 1425
34 years 21 July 1425 (age 75), Constantinople
  John VIII Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Η' Παλαιολόγος)
18 December 1392 Son of Manuel II, co-emperor since 1416 21 July 1425–
31 October 1448
23 years 31 October 1448 (age 55), Constantinople
  Constantine XI Palaiologos
(Κωνσταντῖνος ΙΑʹ Παλαιολόγος)
8 February 1405, Constantinople Son of Manuel II 6 January 1449–
29 May 1453
4 years, 4 months, 23 days 29 May 1453 (age 48), Constantinople

Refused to surrender Constantinople to the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II and died fighting during the final Ottoman attack

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The 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, they were not formally accepted by the senate and were therefore not technically reigning emperors.
  2. ^ Romulus Agustulus biographic details.

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ 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. ^ Herrin, Judith (2011-03-12). "The Glories of Byzantium". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  4. ^ Asimov, [title?], p. 198.
  5. ^ Lee, pp. 163–164.
  6. ^ Goldsworthy, pp. 425–440
  7. ^ Breeze & Dobson, pp. 251–255
  8. ^ Moss, Henry, The Birth of the Middle Ages Clarendon Press (London) 1935; Folio Society reprint (London) 1998; pp. 24-28, 281-284.
  9. ^ "Roman Emperors After Theodosius I". Retrieved 30 September 2014.

SourcesEdit

Ancient sources
  • Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome, Penguin Classics, Michael Grant Publications Ltd, 1971, Reprinted 1985, ISBN 0-14-044060-7
Modern sources
  • David J. Breeze, Brian Dobson Hadrian's Wall 4th Edition, Penguin, 2000, ISBN 0-14-027182-1
  • Clive Carpenter, The Guinness Book of Kings Rulers and Statesmen, Guinness Superlatives Ltd, 1978, ISBN 0-900424-46-X
  • Adrian Goldsworthy, The Fall of the West, Phoenix, 2010, ISBN 978-0-7538-2692-8
  • Min Lee (editor), Larousse Pockect Guide Kings and Queens, Larousse, 1995 ISBN 0-7523-0032-6
  • Martha Ross, Rulers and Governments of the World, Vol.1 Earliest Times to 1491, Bowker, 1978, ISBN 0-85935-021-5
  • Chris Scarre, Brandon Shaw, Chronicle of the Roman Emperors, Thames & Hudson, 1995, Reprinted 2001, ISBN 0-500-05077-5
  • R. F. Tapsell, Monarchs Rulers Dynasties and Kingdoms of The World, Thames & Hudson, 1981, Reprinted 1987, ISBN 0-500-27337-5

External linksEdit