Dong Zhuo, courtesy name Zhongying, was a military general and warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He seized control of the capital Luoyang in 189 when it entered a state of turmoil following the death of Emperor Ling of Han and a massacre of the eunuch faction by the court officials led by General-in-Chief He Jin. Dong Zhuo subsequently replaced him with the puppet Emperor Xian of Han. Dong Zhuo's rule was brief and characterized by tyranny. In the following year, a coalition of regional officials and warlords launched a Campaign against Dong Zhuo. Failing to stop the coalition forces, Dong Zhuo sacked Luoyang and relocated further west to Chang'an, he was assassinated soon after in 192 by his subordinate Lü Bu in a plot orchestrated by Interior Minister Wang Yun. Dong Zhuo was born in Longxi Commandery, he was said to be a chivalrous youth, physically strong and excelled in horseback archery in his early days. He befriended many men of valor; when he became an adult, he returned and started farming in the countryside, where he incidentally discovered a blade which had obscure inscription fading from it, reading "slash the kings like logging."
When he took the sabre to the scholar Cai Yong for appraisal, the latter claimed that it was the blade of the Hegemon-King of Western Chu, Xiang Yu. Dong Zhuo became an imperial guard and joined Zhang Huan's campaign against Qiang rebels in Bing Province as a Major, he was rewarded with 9,000 rolls of fine silk for his performance, all of which he distributed to his colleagues and subordinates. Dong Zhuo was sent to quell the Yellow Turban Rebellion in the early 180s after a few subsequent promotions but he was defeated by the rebels and demoted; when the Liang Province Rebellion occurred and the barbarians rebelled with local gentries Han Sui and Bian Zhang, Dong was reinstated and sent to suppress the rebels. During a battle with the Qiang tribes, Dong Zhuo's outnumbered army was driven to a river which sealed his escape. To prevent his army from being routed by the enemy, Dong ordered his troops to dam the river and pretend to fish in the artificial reservoir; when they escaped enemy notice, he sent his men to cross the drained lower stream and break the dam in order to thwart any subsequent pursuits by the enemy.
Despite failing to defeat the rebels, Dong's unit was the only one. Dong Zhuo was henceforth promoted to General of the Inspector of Bing Province. However, he refused to take up his new post as he was unwilling to leave his troops and subordinates back in Liang Province. Realizing that the power of the Han dynasty was waning, Dong chose to settle in Liang Province and build up his power. At the time, a Han military officer, Sun Jian, suggested to his superior that Dong's arrogance and insubordination to the court warranted a death sentence, but his advice went unheeded. Following the death of Emperor Ling of Han in 189, General-in-Chief He Jin ordered Dong Zhuo to lead troops into Luoyang to aid him in eliminating the eunuch faction known as the Ten Attendants. Before Dong could arrive, He Jin was assassinated by the eunuchs and the capital city fell into a state of turmoil; the eunuchs took Liu Bian fled from Luoyang. Dong Zhuo's army brought the emperor back to the palace. At the same time, He Jin's half-brother, General of Chariots and Cavalry He Miao, was killed by his subordinates after they accused him of colluding with the eunuchs.
Before arriving in Luoyang, Dong Zhuo realized that he was an unpopular candidate for regent among the city gentry, so to make himself seem more powerful than he was, Dong ordered his army to march out at night and re-enter the city at noon. Thus making it seem as though he had doubled his army. Dong took command of the leaderless forces of He Jin and He Miao. Dong Zhuo proposed to replace Liu Bian with his younger brother, Liu Xie, but the Imperial Commandant of Capital Guards, Ding Yuan, disagreed with him. In retaliation, Dong convinced Lü Bu, to kill his foster father. Henceforth, Lü Bu became Dong's adopted son and trusted aide, assisting him in taking total control of the imperial capital of Luoyang. In 190, Dong replaced him with the Emperor Xian of Han. Dong became the head of court in Luoyang, he was given special permission to carry his sword to the Imperial Court while others were forbidden to do so, a privilege not granted to anyone since Xiao He in the time of Emperor Gaozu of Han.
The Chancellor was allowed to enter the court without removing his footwear. His control over the city was so total that he was able to order the army to massacre all the male inhabitants under the pretext of eliminating a rebel army, it was said that Dong Zhuo slept on the emperor's bed and with the palace maids. In the same year, regional officials and warlords around the country formed a coalition force and launched a punitive campaign against Dong Zhuo. In response, he sent a detachment to intercept the coalition vanguard led by Sun Jian, ordered his son-in-law, Niu Fu, to supply the fortress of Mei with 30 years' worth of rations. After his subordinates Hua Xiong, Hu Zhen, Lu Bu were defeated by Sun Jian at Yangren, Dong Zhuo sent Li Jue to propose a marriage between Sun's son and Dong's daughter, split the empire between the two families. Sun Jian prepared to attack Luoyang. Dong moved them to Chang ` an in the west. Before the relocation, Dong ordered his troops to ransack the tombs of the late Han emperors for treasures, seize valuables from
Bar Kokhba revolt
The Bar Kokhba revolt was a rebellion of the Jews of the Roman province of Judea, led by Simon bar Kokhba, against the Roman Empire. Fought circa 132–136 CE, it was the last of three major Jewish–Roman wars, so it is known as The Third Jewish–Roman War or The Third Jewish Revolt; some historians refer to it as the Second Revolt of Judea, not counting the Kitos War, which had only marginally been fought in Judea. The revolt erupted as a result of ongoing religious and political tensions in Judea following on the failure of the First Revolt in 66−73 CE; these tensions were related to the establishment of a large Roman presence in Judea, changes in administrative life and the economy, together with the outbreak and suppression of Jewish revolts from Mesopotamia to Libya and Cyrenaica. The proximate reasons seem to centre around the construction of a new city, Aelia Capitolina, over the ruins of Jerusalem and the erection of a temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount; the Church Fathers and rabbinic literature emphasize the role of Rufus, governor of Judea in provoking the revolt.
In 132, the revolt led by Bar Kokhba spread from central Judea across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Aelia Capitolina. Quintus Tineius Rufus was the provincial governor at the time of the erupting uprising, attributed with the failure to subdue its early phase. Rufus is last recorded in the first year of the rebellion. Despite arrival of significant Roman reinforcements from Syria and Arabia, initial rebel victories over the Romans established an independent state over most parts of Judea Province for over two years, as Bar Kokhba took the title of Nasi. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was regarded by many Jews as the Messiah, who would restore their national independence; this setback, caused Emperor Hadrian to assemble a large scale Roman force from across the Empire, which invaded Judea in 134 under the command of General Sextus Julius Severus. The Roman army was made of six full legions with auxiliaries and elements from up to six additional legions, which managed to crush the revolt.
The Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in the extensive depopulation of Judean communities, more so than during the First Jewish–Roman War of 70 CE. According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews perished in the war and many more died of disease. In addition, many Judean war captives were sold into slavery; the Jewish communities of Judea were devastated to an extent which some scholars describe as a genocide. However, the Jewish population remained strong in other parts of Palestine, thriving in Galilee, Bet Shean Valley and the eastern and western edges of Judea. Roman casualties were considered heavy - XXII Deiotariana was disbanded after serious losses. In addition, some historians argue that Legio IX Hispana's disbandment in the mid-2nd century could have been a result of this war. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel, Emperor Hadrian wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina. However, there is only circumstantial evidence linking Hadrian with the name change and the precise date is not certain.
The common view that the name change was intended to "sever the connection of the Jews to their historical homeland" is disputed. The Bar Kokhba revolt influenced the course of Jewish history and the philosophy of the Jewish religion. Despite easing the persecution of Jews following Hadrian's death in 138 CE, the Romans barred Jews from Jerusalem, except for attendance in Tisha B'Av. Jewish messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, rabbinical political thought became cautious and conservative; the Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar Kokhba as "Ben-Kusiba," a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. It was among the key events to differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism. Although Jewish Christians regarded Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, they were barred from Jerusalem along with the other Jews. After the First Jewish–Roman War, the Roman authorities took measures to suppress the rebellious province of Roman Judea. Instead of a procurator, they installed a praetor as a governor and stationed an entire legion, the X Fretensis, in the area.
Tensions continued to build up in the wake of the Kitos War, the second large-scale Jewish insurrection in the Eastern Mediterranean during 115-117, the final stages of which saw fighting in Judea. Mismanagement of the province during the early 2nd century might well have led to the proximate causes of the revolt bringing governors with clear anti-Jewish sentiments to run the province. Gargilius Antiques may have preceded Rufus during the 120s; the Church Fathers and rabbinic literature emphasize the role of Rufus in provoking the revolt. Historians have suggested multiple reasons for the sparking of the Bar Kokhba revolt, long-term and proximate. Several elements are believed to have contributed to the rebellion; the proximate reasons seem to centre around the construction of a new city, Aelia Capitolina, over the ruins of Jerusalem and the erection of a temple to Jupiter on the Temple mount. One interpretation involves the visit in 130 CE of Hadrian to the ruins of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
At first sympathetic towards the Jews, Hadrian promised to re
The Pax Romana was a long period of relative peace and stability experienced by the early Roman Empire. It is traditionally dated as commencing from the accession of Caesar Augustus, founder of the Roman principate, in 27 BC and concluding in 180 AD with the death of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the "good emperors". Since it was inaugurated by Augustus with the end of the Final War of the Roman Republic, it is sometimes called the Pax Augusta. During this period of 207 years, the Roman empire achieved its greatest territorial extent and its population reached a maximum of up to 70 million people – a third of the world’s population. According to Cassius Dio, the dictatorial reign of Commodus followed by the Year of the Five Emperors and the crisis of the third century, marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust"; the Pax Romana is said to have been a "miracle" because prior to it there had never been peace for so many centuries in a given period of history. However, Walter Goffart wrote: "The volume of the Cambridge Ancient History for the years A.
D. 70–192 is called'The Imperial Peace', but peace is not what one finds in its pages". Arthur M. Eckstein writes that the period must be seen in contrast to the much more frequent warfare in the Roman Republic in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Eckstein notes that the incipient Pax Romana appeared during the Republic, that its temporal span varied with geographical region as well: "Although the standard textbook dates for the Pax Romana, the famous “Roman Peace” in the Mediterranean, are 31 BC to AD 250, the fact is that the Roman Peace was emerging in large regions of the Mediterranean at a much earlier date: Sicily after 210, the Italian Peninsula after 200; the concept was influential, the subject of theories and attempts to copy it in subsequent ages. Arnaldo Momigliano noted that "Pax Romana is a simple formula for propaganda, but a difficult subject for research." In fact, the "Pax Romana" was broken by the First Jewish–Roman War, the Kitos War, the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the Roman–Parthian War of 58–63, Trajan's Roman–Parthian War of 113, the Dacian Wars, various battles with Germanic tribes, including the Teutoburg Forest, Boudica's war in Britain in AD 60 or 61.
The Pax Romana began when Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium on 2 September 31 BC and became Roman emperor. He became first citizen. Lacking a good precedent of successful one-man rule, Augustus created a junta of the greatest military magnates and stood as the front man. By binding together these leading magnates in a coalition, he eliminated the prospect of civil war; the Pax Romana was not immediate, despite the end of the civil wars, because fighting continued in Hispania and in the Alps. Augustus closed the Gates of Janus three times, first in 29 BC and again in 25 BC; the third closure is undocumented, but Inez Scott Ryberg and Gaius Stern have persuasively dated the third closure to 13 BC with the commissioning of the Ara Pacis. At the time of the Ludi Saeculares in 17 BC the Concept of Peace was publicized, in 13 BC was proclaimed when Augustus and Agrippa jointly returned from pacifying the provinces; the order to construct the Ara Pacis was no doubt part of this announcement.
Augustus faced a problem making peace an acceptable mode of life for the Romans, at war with one power or another continuously for 200 years. Romans regarded peace, not as an absence of war, but the rare situation which existed when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist. Augustus' challenge was to persuade Romans that the prosperity they could achieve in the absence of warfare was better for the Empire than the potential wealth and honor acquired when fighting a risky war. Augustus succeeded by means of skillful propaganda. Subsequent emperors followed his lead, sometimes producing lavish ceremonies to close the Gates of Janus, issuing coins with Pax on the reverse, patronizing literature extolling the benefits of the Pax Romana. After Augustus' death in 14 AD, most of his successors as Roman emperors continued his politics; the last five emperors of the Pax Romana were considered the "Five Good Emperors". Roman trade in the Mediterranean increased during the Pax Romana.
Romans sailed East to acquire silks, gems and spices. Romans benefited from large profits and incomes in the Roman empire were raised due to trade in the Mediterranean; as the Pax Romana of the western world by Rome was contemporaneous to the Pax Sinica of the eastern world by Han China, long-distance travel and trade in Eurasian history was stimulated during these eras. The prominence of the concept of the Pax Romana led to historians coining variants of the term to describe other systems of relative peace that have been established, attempted, or argued to have existed; some variants include: More generically, the concept has been referred to as pax imperia, meaning imperial peace, or—less literally—hegemonic peace. Raymond Aron notes that imperial peace—peace achieved through hegemony—sometimes, but not always—can become civil peace; as an example, the German Empire's imperial peace of 1871 evolved into the German state. As a counter-example, the imperial peace of Alexander the Great's empire dissolved becau
The Han dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period. Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a golden age in Chinese history. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters", it was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han, interrupted by the Xin dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang. This interregnum separates the Han dynasty into two periods: the Western Han or Former Han and the Eastern Han or Later Han; the emperor was at the pinnacle of Han society. He presided over the Han government but shared power with both the nobility and appointed ministers who came from the scholarly gentry class; the Han Empire was divided into areas directly controlled by the central government using an innovation inherited from the Qin known as commanderies, a number of semi-autonomous kingdoms.
These kingdoms lost all vestiges of their independence following the Rebellion of the Seven States. From the reign of Emperor Wu onward, the Chinese court sponsored Confucianism in education and court politics, synthesized with the cosmology of scholars such as Dong Zhongshu; this policy endured until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 AD. The Han dynasty saw an age of economic prosperity and witnessed a significant growth of the money economy first established during the Zhou dynasty; the coinage issued by the central government mint in 119 BC remained the standard coinage of China until the Tang dynasty. The period saw a number of limited institutional innovations. To finance its military campaigns and the settlement of newly conquered frontier territories, the Han government nationalized the private salt and iron industries in 117 BC, but these government monopolies were repealed during the Eastern Han dynasty. Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances, including the process of papermaking, the nautical steering ship rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum that could be used to discern the cardinal direction of distant earthquakes.
The Xiongnu, a nomadic steppe confederation, defeated the Han in 200 BC and forced the Han to submit as a de facto inferior and vassal partner, but continued their military raids on the Han borders. Emperor Wu launched several military campaigns against them; the ultimate Han victory in these wars forced the Xiongnu to accept vassal status as Han tributaries. These campaigns expanded Han sovereignty into the Tarim Basin of Central Asia, divided the Xiongnu into two separate confederations, helped establish the vast trade network known as the Silk Road, which reached as far as the Mediterranean world; the territories north of Han's borders were overrun by the nomadic Xianbei confederation. Emperor Wu launched successful military expeditions in the south, annexing Nanyue in 111 BC and Dian in 109 BC, in the Korean Peninsula where the Xuantu and Lelang Commanderies were established in 108 BC. After 92 AD, the palace eunuchs involved themselves in court politics, engaging in violent power struggles between the various consort clans of the empresses and empresses dowager, causing the Han's ultimate downfall.
Imperial authority was seriously challenged by large Daoist religious societies which instigated the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion. Following the death of Emperor Ling, the palace eunuchs suffered wholesale massacre by military officers, allowing members of the aristocracy and military governors to become warlords and divide the empire; when Cao Pi, King of Wei, usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, the Han dynasty ceased to exist. According to the Records of the Grand Historian, after the collapse of the Qin dynasty the hegemon Xiang Yu appointed Liu Bang as prince of the small fief of Hanzhong, named after its location on the Han River. Following Liu Bang's victory in the Chu–Han Contention, the resulting Han dynasty was named after the Hanzhong fief. China's first imperial dynasty was the Qin dynasty; the Qin unified the Chinese Warring States by conquest, but their empire became unstable after the death of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang. Within four years, the dynasty's authority had collapsed in the face of rebellion.
Two former rebel leaders, Xiang Yu of Chu and Liu Bang of Han, engaged in a war to decide who would become hegemon of China, which had fissured into 18 kingdoms, each claiming allegiance to either Xiang Yu or Liu Bang. Although Xiang Yu proved to be a capable commander, Liu Bang defeated him at Battle of Gaixia, in modern-day Anhui. Liu Bang assumed the title "emperor" at the urging of his followers and is known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu. Chang'an was chosen as the new capital of the reunified empire under Han. At the beginning of the Western Han known as the Former Han dynasty, thirteen centrally controlled commanderies—including the capital region—existed in the western third of the empire, while the eastern two-thirds were divided into ten semi-autonomous kingdoms. To placate his prominent commanders from the war with Chu, Emperor Gaozu enfeoffed some of them as kings. By 157 BC, the Han court h
The Severan dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 193 and 235. The dynasty was founded by the general Septimius Severus, who rose to power as the victor of the Civil War of 193–197. Although Septimius Severus restored peace following the upheaval of the late 2nd century, the dynasty was disturbed by unstable family relationships, as well as constant political turmoil foreshadowing the imminent Crisis of the Third Century, it was one of the last lineages of the Principate founded by Augustus. For dynastic relationships: see Severan dynasty family tree Lucius Septimius Severus was born to a family of Phoenicia equestrian rank in Leptis Magna, the Roman province of Africa proconsularis, in modern-day Libya, he rose through military service to consular rank under the Antonines. He married Syrian noblewoman Julia Domna and had two children with her and Geta, he was subsequently proclaimed emperor in 193 by his legionaries in Noricum during the political unrest that followed the death of Commodus, he secured sole rule over the empire in 197 after defeating his last rival, Clodius Albinus, at the Battle of Lugdunum.
Severus fought a successful war against the Parthians and campaigned with success against barbarian incursions in Roman Britain, rebuilding Hadrian's Wall. In Rome, his relations with the Senate were poor, but he was popular with the commoners, as with his soldiers, whose salary he raised. Starting in 197, his Praetorian prefect Gaius Fulvius Plautianus was a negative influence, he would be executed in 205. One of Plautianus's successors was the jurist Aemilius Papinianus. Severus continued official persecution of Christians and Jews, as they were the only two groups who would not assimilate their beliefs to the official syncretistic creed. Severus died, he was succeeded by his sons Caracalla and Geta, who reigned under the influence of their mother, Julia Domna. The eldest son of Severus, he was born Lucius Septimius Bassianus in Gaul. "Caracalla" was a nickname referring to the Gallic hooded tunic he habitually wore when he slept. Upon his father's death, Caracalla was proclaimed co-emperor with his brother Geta.
Conflict between the two culminated in the assassination of the latter less than a year after their father's death. Reigning alone, Caracalla was noted for lavish bribes to the legionaries and unprecedented cruelty, authorizing numerous assassinations of perceived enemies and rivals, he campaigned with indifferent success against the Alamanni. The Baths of Caracalla in Rome are the most enduring monument of his rule, he was assassinated while en route to a campaign against the Parthians by a Praetorian Guard. Younger son of Severus, Geta was made co-emperor with his older brother Caracalla upon his father's death. Unlike the much more successful joint reign of Marcus Aurelius and his brother Lucius Verus in the previous century, relations were hostile between the two Severan brothers from the start. Geta was assassinated in his mother's apartments by order of Caracalla, who thereafter ruled as sole Augustus. Marcus Opelius Macrinus was born in 164 at Caesarea Mauretaniae. Although coming from a humble background, not dynastically related to the Severan dynasty.
On account of the cruelty and treachery of the emperor, Macrinus became involved in a conspiracy to kill him, ordered the Praetorian Guard to do so. On April 8, 217, Caracalla was assassinated travelling to Carrhae. Three days Macrinus was declared Augustus, his most significant early decision was to make peace with the Parthians, but many thought that the terms were degrading to the Romans. However, his downfall was his refusal to award the pay and privileges promised to the eastern troops by Caracalla, he kept those forces wintered in Syria, where they became attracted to the young Elagabalus. After months of mild rebellion by the bulk of the army in Syria, Macrinus took his loyal troops to meet the army of Elagabalus near Antioch. Despite a good fight by the Praetorian Guard, his soldiers were defeated. Macrinus managed to escape to Chalcedon but his authority was lost: he was betrayed and executed after a short reign of just 14 months. Marcus Opelius Diadumenianus was the son of Macrinus, born in 208.
He was given the title Caesar in 217. After his father's defeat outside Antioch, he tried to escape east to Parthia, but was captured and killed before he could achieve this. Elagabalus was born Varius Avitus Bassianus in 204, became known as Marcus Aurelius Antonius; the name "Elagabalus" followed the Latin nomenclature for the Syrian sun god Elagabal, of whom he had become a priest at an early age. Elagabal was represented by a dark rock called a baetyl. Elagabalus's grandmother, Julia Maesa, Julia Domna's sister and sister-in-law of Emperor Septimius Severus, arranged for the restoration of the Severan dynasty, persuaded soldiers from The Gallic Third Legion who were stationed near Emesa, using her enormous wealth, as well as the claim that Caracalla had slept with her daughter and that the boy was his bastard to swear fealty to Elagabalus, he was invited alongside his mother and daughters to the military camp, clad in imperial purple, crowned as emperor by the soldiers. His reign in Rome has long been known for being outrageous, although the historical sources are few, in many cases not to be trusted.
He is said to have smothered guests at a banquet by flooding the room with rose petals, married his male lover, married a vestal virgin. Dio suggests he
Commodus, born Lucius Aurelius Commodus and died Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, was Roman emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 to his father's death in 180, until 192. During his father's reign, he accompanied Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars in 172 and on a tour of the Eastern provinces in 176, he was made the youngest consul in Roman history in 177 and that year elevated to co-emperor with his father. His accession was the first time a son had succeeded his biological father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79, he was the first emperor to have both a father and grandfather as the two preceding emperors. Commodus was the first emperor "born in the purple", i.e. during his father's reign. During his solo reign, the Empire enjoyed a period of reduced military conflict compared with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, but intrigues and conspiracies abounded, leading Commodus to an dictatorial style of leadership that culminated in a God-like personality cult, his assassination in 192 marked the end of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty.
He was succeeded by the first emperor in the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. Commodus was born on 31 August AD 161 near Rome, he was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, Aurelius's first cousin, Faustina the Younger, the youngest daughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius, who had died only a few months before. Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with Marcus Annius Verus; the latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus Aurelius's sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father's physician, who treated many of Commodus' common illnesses. Commodus received extensive tutoring by a multitude of teachers with a focus on intellectual education. Among his teachers, Antistius Capella, Titus Aius Sanctus, Pitholaus are mentioned. Commodus is known to have been at Carnuntum, the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars, in 172.
It was there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus, in the presence of the army. The title suggests. On 20 January 175, Commodus entered the College of Pontiffs, the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius, Governor of Syria, declared himself Emperor following rumours that Marcus Aurelius had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria and Egypt, Cassius carried on his rebellion after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, Commodus assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood. Cassius, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch; the Emperor and his son traveled to Athens, where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. They returned to Rome in the autumn of 176.
Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor since Vespasian to have a legitimate biological son and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors, each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius granted Commodus the rank of Imperator and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus, giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph, Commodus was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time, he subsequently married Bruttia Crispina before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178. Marcus Aurelius died there on 17 March 180. Upon his ascension, Commodus devalued the Roman currency, he reduced the weight of the denarius from 96 per Roman pound to 105 per Roman pound.
He reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent – the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams being 108 to the Roman pound. His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire's first devaluation during Nero's reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by continuous warfare, Commodus' rule was comparatively peaceful in the military sense, but was characterised by political strife and the arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius, a contemporary observer of the period, his accession marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust". Despite his notoriety, considering the importance of his reign, Commodus' years in power are not well chronicled; the principal surviving literary sources are Herodian, Dio Cassius, the Historia Augusta. Commodus remained with the Danube armies for only a short time before negotiating a
Didius Julianus was the emperor of Rome for nine weeks from March to June 193, during the Year of the Five Emperors. Julianus had a promising political career, governing several provinces, including Dalmatia and Germania Inferior, defeating the Chauci and Chatti, two invading Germanic tribes, he was appointed to the consulship in 175 along with Pertinax as a reward, before being demoted by Commodus. After this demotion, his early, promising political career languished, he ascended the throne after buying it from the Praetorian Guard, who had assassinated his predecessor Pertinax. A civil war ensued. Septimius Severus, commander of the legions in Pannonia and the nearest of the generals to Rome, marched on the capital, gathering support along the way and routing cohorts of the Praetorian Guard Didius Julianus sent to meet him. Abandoned by the Senate and the Praetorian Guard, Julianus was killed by a soldier in the palace and succeeded by Severus. Julianus was born to Quintus Petronius Didius Severus and Aemilia Clara.
Julianus's father came from a prominent family in Mediolanum, modern-day Milan, his mother was a North African woman of Roman descent, from a family of consular rank. His brothers were Didius Proculus and Didius Nummius Albinus, his date of birth is given as 30 January 133 by Cassius Dio and 2 February 137 by the Historia Augusta. Didius Julianus was raised by mother of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. With Domitia's help, he was appointed at a early age to the vigintivirate, the first step towards public distinction, he married a Roman woman named Manlia Scantilla, sometime around 153, she bore him a daughter, Didia Clara, their only child. In succession Julianus held the offices of quaestor and aedile, around 162, was named as praetor, he was nominated to the command of the Legio XXII Primigenia in Mogontiacum. In 170, he served for five years. After repelling an invasion by the Chauci, a tribe dwelling in the drainage basin of the river Scheldt, the northwestern coastal area of present-day Germany, he was raised to the consulship in 175 along with Pertinax.
He further distinguished himself in a campaign against the Chatti, governed Dalmatia and Germania Inferior. He was made prefect, charged with distributing money to the poor of Italy. Modern historians consider this a demotion for political reasons, as Commodus, the Roman Emperor at the time, feared Julianus' growing power, it was around this time that he was charged with having conspired against the life of Commodus, but the jury acquitted him and instead punished his accuser. Afterwards, he succeeded Pertinax as the proconsul of North Africa. After the murder of Pertinax on March 28, 193, the Praetorian guard announced that the throne was to be sold to the man who would pay the highest price. Titus Flavius Claudius Sulpicianus, prefect of Rome and Pertinax's father-in-law, in the Praetorian camp ostensibly to calm the troops, began making offers for the throne. Meanwhile, Julianus arrived at the camp, since his entrance was barred, shouted out offers to the guard. After hours of bidding, Sulpicianus promised 20,000 sesterces to every soldier.
The guards closed with the offer of Julianus, threw open the gates, proclaimed him emperor. Threatened by the military, the senate declared him emperor, his wife and his daughter both received the title Augusta. Upon his accession, Julianus reversed Pertinax's monetary reforms by devaluing the Roman currency to near pre-Pertinax levels; because Julianus bought his position rather than acquiring it conventionally through succession or conquest, he was a unpopular emperor. When Julianus appeared in public, he was greeted with groans and shouts of "robber and parricide." Once, a mob obstructed his progress to the Capitol by pelting him with large stones. When news of the public anger in Rome spread across the Empire, three influential generals, Pescennius Niger in Syria, Septimius Severus in Pannonia, Clodius Albinus in Britain, each able to muster three legions, rebelled, they instead declared themselves emperor. Julianus declared Severus a public enemy because he was the nearest of the three to Rome, making him the most dangerous foe.
Julianus sent senators to persuade Severus' legionaries to abandon him, a new general was nominated to replace him, a centurion dispatched to take Severus' life. The Praetorian Guard had fought in field battles, so Julianus marched them into the Campus Martius and drilled the guard in the construction of fortifications and field works. Despite this training, the Praetorian Guard was still undertrained compared to the field legionaries of Severus. Severus first secured the support of Albinus, declaring him Caesar, seized Ravenna and its fleet. Severus killed Tullius Crispinus, the Praetorian prefect, sent to negotiate with Severus and slow his march on Rome and won over to his cause the ambassadors sent to turn his troops. Cassius Dio maintains that the Praetorian Guard tried to fight back, but were crushed, while modern historians believe that the Praetorian Guard abandoned Julianus, deserting en masse. Julianus attempted to negotiate with Severus, offering to share the empire with his rival, but Severus ignored these overtures and pressed forward.
As he marched and more cities in Italy supported his claim to the throne. The remnants of the Praetorian Guard received pardons from Severus in exchange for