ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • History & Archaeology»
  • Ancient History

Rome: An Emperor Who Ruled for Just 86 Days

Updated on December 12, 2017

The Roman Empire

Great empires have existed since the dawn of civilization. One of the earliest empires was the Roman empire. A look at the world map shows that at its greatest extent, it covered a large part of the globe. So gigantic was the empire that the Mediterranean Sea was converted almost into a lake, with the empire in force all around it from North Africa to Europe and the entire Middle East.

Great emperors ruled this empire, but some lesser-known individuals were catapulted into the seat of power. One such emperor was Helivous Pertinax who ruled for just 86 days.

Helvius Pertinax


Who was Helvius Pertinax? He was born in an average Roman family in Milan on 1 August 126. The old saying that some men have greatness thrust on them applies to Pertinax. He was of humble origin and probably would have lived a nondescript life and gone, but he joined the Roman army and steadily rose in its ranks.He was recognized as an outstanding soldier by 2 emperors namely Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Thus Pertinax was earmarked for greatness. He was also an ambitious man and accepted any greater responsibility given to him.

Pertinax also rose in the civilian hierarchy and was a consul in the Senate.

Did Pertinax deserve to be emperor of Rome

See results
engraving 176AD
engraving 176AD

Pertinax ascended the throne at the age of 66. It was a dream come true and Pertinax decided he would not be anybody's puppet. He began to assert his independence and also set about reforming the Praetorian guard. The conspirators also realized that Pertinax was nobody's stooge and power had slipped from their grasp. They were not happy and plotted to remove Pertinax.

The Praetorian Guard was the elite force of the Roman army. It wielded tremendous power in Rome and were also tasked with personal security of the emperor.

Murder of Commodus



Pertinax was in Rome when momentous events took place. A conspiracy was hatched to kill the Roman emperor Commodus. One reason for his killing was his bizarre lifestyle. His mistress was roped in by the killers as an accomplice.

It is possible that Pertinax was unaware of the plot to kill Commodus, but once Commodus was murdered he readily agreed to become emperor. The conspirators carried out the killing on new year eve on 31st December 192.The conspirators chose new year eve as it is a time of revelry and they hoped to succeed in their plan without attracting attention.

As the new year dawned, the conspirators were confronted with the need to have someone on the Roman throne. After due discussion, they approached Pertinax with an offer to be emperor of Rome. Pertinax readily consented as he was an ambitious man and his dream of a great name and ruler was fulfilled. Pertinax was anointed emperor of Rome, but he began to take his job seriously and that proved his undoing.


Pertinax and the Praetorian Guard

Pertinax took the first steps to enforce professionalism and discipline in the Praetorian guard. The guard had become an undisciplined force, mainly due to activities of Commodus. He had increased their salary and also allowed them a free hand. Pertinax took steps to streamline the guard and this was not liked.

The guard resented attempts by Pertinax to enforce discipline, as they considered the emperor an upstart. They resolved to kill him and a plot was hatched when Pertinax was away from Rome. The conspirators were betrayed by a slave who blurted out the plot details to the emperor on his return to Rome.

.Pertinax acted with alacrity and the ringleaders and their supporters among the guard were arrested. After a brief trial, Pertinax ordered their execution. The executions instilled fear among the guards and they resolved to get rid of Petronax. The battle lines were thus drawn

Killing of Pertinax



The Praetorian guard waited for an opportune time to kill Pertinax. A section believed that speed was of importance and on the night of 28th March 193 the dice was cast to kill Pertinax. The emperor at that time had completed just 86 days as emperor.

On that fateful night, about 300 guards attacked the royal palace. The guards loyal to Pertinax guarding the emperor were killed and the guards swept inside the palace searching for Pertinax. The emperor was killed in his sleeping quarters and the reign of Pertinax ended. It was the shortest reign of a Roman emperor.

The guards after murdering Pertinax were in a quandary as to the next step. They took a bizarre decision to auction the throne to the highest bidder. They needed a ruler who would look after and pay them. Accordingly, a Roman businessman bid and became emperor. His name was Julianus Didius.But this was to be only a short interlude as he was soon killed

Final Curtain



Didius Julianus as emperor lasted only for a short time and in June 193 he was overthrown by Septimus Severus. Julianus was executed and Sdptumus became emperor.
In hindsight, one can see that Pertinax made a mistake by accepting the offer to be emperor of Rome. He took his chance and put his name forever in Roman and world history. He has the satisfaction of his name remaining for posterity as emperor of Rome.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)