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The Roman Emperors

Updated on November 22, 2014

A Chronological List of Roman Emperors

When asked for the name of a Roman Emperor, most people will answer Nero but there were 147 rulers whom we call Emperors.

Like all rulers some of these men were, on the whole, good for the Empire and some were, on the whole, bad.

Let's look at these Emperors in chronological order with some short information on each one.

Image : Ciaran Hinds as Julius Caesar in Rome, HBO

BCE = Before Common Era

CE = Common Era

Roman Empire 127 CE

At its height the Roman Empire was vast. In the mid 2nd century, conservative opinion puts the Empire at some 65 million people, approximately 21% of the world's total at that time. Anyone in charge of running something this size deserves admiration.

Roman Emperors 27 BCE - 68 CE

The Julio-Claudian Emperors

  • 27 BCE - 14 CE -- Augustus
  • 14-37 -- Tiberius
  • 37-41 -- Caligula
  • 41-54 -- Claudius I
  • 54-68 -- Nero

Augustus

The most important figure in Roman history

Augustus created a system of government which lasted for three centuries.

Once the young great nephew of Julius Caesar gained power, the Empire acquired a series of rulers who presided over the longest period of unity, peace, and prosperity that Western Europe, the Middle East and the North African seaboard had ever known.

Simon Woods as Octavius in Rome HBO

Tiberius
Tiberius

Roman Emperors 69 - The Year of Four Emperors

  • 68-69 Galba
  • 69 Otho
  • 69 Vitellius

Roman Emperors 69-96

The Flavian Emperors

  • 69-79 Vespasian
  • 79-81 Titus
  • 81-96 Domitian

Roman Emperors 96-161

  • 96-98 Nerva
  • 98-117 Trajan
  • 117-138 Hadrian
  • 138-161 Antonius Pius

Roman Emperors 161-193

  • 161-169 Lucius Verus
  • 161-180 Marcus Aurelius
  • 180-192 Commodus
  • 193 Pertinax
  • 193 Didius Julianus

Roman Emperors 193-222

  • 193-211 Septimius Severus
  • 209-211 Geta
  • 211-219 Caracalla
  • 217-218 Macrinus
  • 218-222 Elagabalus

Roman Emperors 222-244

  • 222-235 Severus Alexander
  • 235-238 Maximinus
  • 238 Gordian I
  • 238 Gordian II
  • 238-244 Gordian III

Roman Emperors 244-259

  • 244-249 Philip
  • 249-251 Decius
  • 251-253 Trebonianus Gallus
  • 253 Aemilianus
  • 253-259 Valerian I

Roman Emperors 259 - 276

  • 259-268 Gallienus
  • 268-2701 Claudius II
  • 270 Quintillus
  • 270-275 Aurelian
  • 275-276 Tacitus

Roman Emperors 276 - 285

  • 276 Florianus
  • 276-282 Probus
  • 282-283 Carus
  • 283-285 Carinus

Diocletian and the Tetrarchy
Diocletian and the Tetrarchy

Tetrarchy 285-324

The Beginning of The Division of The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire wasn't just divided up overnight, it really started under the rule of Emperor Diocletian who decided to form what is known as a Tetrarchy - this was taken from the Greek to mean 'leadership of four'. He effectively split the Roman Empire in half and ruled jointly with Maximian from 286 until they both resigned in 305.

Each Emperor took on a junior who was given the title of Caesar - they were to help with the administration side of running the empire and also to provide a line of succession. Things got a little murky between 305 and 313 when Constantine and Licinius ruled together.

At various times these people were declared Roman Emperors -

  • Constantius
  • Galerius
  • Severus II
  • Maximinus Dais
  • Constantine
  • Maxentius
  • Maximian (again)
  • Licinius

In AD 310 there were five contenders for the mantle of Roman Emperor and these were Constantine, Maxentius, Galerius, Licinius, and Maximinus Daia. In AD 313 there were only 3 left in contention and they were Constantine, Licinius and Maximinus so Constantine & Licinius united and after Maximinus' death they ruled jointly.

Roman Emperors 286 - 350

  • 284-305 Diocletian
  • 286-305 Maximian
  • 307 Constantine and Licinius
  • 324-337 Constantine I
  • 337-340 Constantine II
  • 340-350 Constans

Maximian - Roman Emperor 286-305

Maximian shared the role of Roman Emperor with Diocletian and they both resigned in 305 AD.

Roman Emperors 340 - 378

  • 340-361 Constantius II
  • 361-363 Julian
  • 363-364 Jovian
  • 364-375 Valentinian I
  • 364-378 Valens

Roman Emperors 378 - 395

  • 378-383 Gratian
  • 375-392 Valentinian II
  • 379-395 Theodosius I

Division of the Roman Empire

In the year 395 the Roman Empire was divided up into the Western Empire and the Eastern Empire and had their own Emperors starting with Honorius in the Western Empire and Arcadius in the Eastern Empire.

As we have already seen this division was really started back in 285. The death of Theodosius (the last Roman Emperor to reign over both the Western and Eastern halves of the Empire) is seen by some as a key element in the eventual decline of the Roman Empire.

Legend tells that Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BCE, by Romulus

This date was the basis for the Roman calendar and the Julian calendar

(Ab urbe condita)

I hope you found this webpage helpful in showing you all of the Roman Emperors, there certainly were a lot of them!!

© 2010 Susanna Duffy

Leave a Note in my Guestbook - How Many Roman Emperors Did You Know?

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    • profile image

      RomeFan 3 years ago

      You made my research light and fast. I mean, I am compiling all the ancient roman information including the roman emperors for quite sometime already and yet I was not able to finish my compilation yet. Good thing you came into an idea of making a chronology of the Roman Emperor. I just felt a great relief. Thanks.

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 3 years ago

      Amazing lens. I think I need to go to the library and get some ancient Rome history books out again!

    • profile image

      jonnyquarts 4 years ago

      Wow, that's all I have to say. As a big fan of Ancient Rome, reading this list made me remember many of the books i've read about Roman Emperors through the years. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i was looking for the map of the roman empire in22 ad

    • jmchaconne profile image

      jmchaconne 4 years ago

      Wow Susan, this is a comprehensive lens, thank you!

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