Good and Bad Emperors of Rome

Before Rome became an empire it was a republic where people voted for government officials. Mass corruption and economic problems led to the fall of the Republic and the first emperor Caesar Augustus rose to power creating the Roman Empire. It remained an empire until its end. There were many emperors that ruled Rome. Some emperors were good and led prosperous reigns while others were very bad and led to many of the problems that caused Rome’s eventual downfall.

Before Rome became an empire it was a republic where people voted for government officials. Mass corruption and economic problems led to the fall of the Republic and the first emperor Caesar Augustus rose to power creating the Roman Empire. It remained an empire until its end. There were many emperors that ruled Rome. Some emperors were good and led prosperous reigns while others were very bad and led to many of the problems that caused Rome’s eventual downfall.

Emperor Nerva ruled Rome from 96-98 CE. Historians believe Nerva was a wise and fair emperor. It was during his reign that the custom of selecting the best heir to be emperor began. He is credited for the peaceful transition of power to Trajan as his successor before his death. Trajan was emperor from 98-117 CE. Trajan rose to political power after serving in the Roman army. During his reign he expanded Rome to its furthest boundaries and started a massive building campaign while the empire was at its largest.

Antonius Pius ruled Rome for 22 years from 138-161 CE and is said to have had the most peaceful reign in the history of Rome. His rule is marked as an age of peace and prosperity. He saved Senators who were sentenced to death. Marcus Aurelius reigned from 161-180 CE. History writes him as the last of the Five Good Emperors. Through his conquests he brought the empire to its height of prosperity and defeated invaders. He was also one of the most famous Stoic philosophers and contributed much to the field of Roman philosophy.

Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius whose reign from 180-192 CE, is seen as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire. He preferred fighting as a gladiator to just ruling the empire which angered many Romans as they thought it was disgraceful. He became feared and hated by the Senate because of his dictatorial leadership and the increasing taxes he placed on them, and was later assassinated in a plot created by his opponents.

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