Caracalla, formally known as Antoninus, ruled as Roman emperor from 198 to 217 AD. He was a member of the elder son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna. Co-ruler with his father from 198, he continued to rule with his brother Geta, emperor from 209, after their father's death in 211, he had his brother killed that year, reigned afterwards as sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Caracalla's reign featured domestic instability and external invasions by the Germanic peoples. Caracalla's reign became notable for the Antonine Constitution known as the Edict of Caracalla, which granted Roman citizenship to nearly all free men throughout the Roman Empire; the edict gave all the enfranchised men Caracalla's adopted praenomen and nomen: "Marcus Aurelius". Domestically, Caracalla became known for the construction of the Baths of Caracalla, which became the second-largest baths in Rome. In 216, Caracalla began a campaign against the Parthian Empire, he did not see this campaign through to completion due to his assassination by a disaffected soldier in 217.
Macrinus succeeded him as emperor three days later. The ancient sources portray Caracalla as a tyrant and as a cruel leader, an image that has survived into modernity. Dio Cassius and Herodian present Caracalla as a soldier first and as an emperor second. In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth started the legend of Caracalla's role as the king of Britain. In the 18th century, the works of French painters revived images of Caracalla due to apparent parallels between Caracalla's tyranny and that ascribed to Louis XVI of France. Modern works continue to portray Caracalla as a psychopathic and evil ruler, painting him as one of the most tyrannical of all Roman emperors. Caracalla was born Lucius Septimius Bassianus, he was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus at the age of seven as part of his father's attempt at union with the families of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. According to the 4th century historian Aurelius Victor in his Epitome de Caesaribus, he became known by the agnomen "Caracalla" after a Gallic hooded tunic that he habitually wore and made fashionable.
He may have begun wearing it during his campaigns on the Danube. Dio referred to him as Tarautas, after a famously diminutive and violent gladiator of the time. Caracalla was born in Lugdunum, Gaul, on 4 April 188 to Julia Domna, he had a younger brother, who would rule as co-emperor alongside him. Caracalla's father appointed full emperor from the year 198 onwards, his brother Geta was granted the same title around 209 or 210. In 202 Caracalla was forced to marry the daughter of Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, Fulvia Plautilla, a woman whom he hated, though for what reason is unknown. By 205 Caracalla had succeeded in having Plautianus executed for treason, though he had fabricated the evidence of the plot himself, it was that he banished his wife, whose killing might have been carried out under Caracalla's orders. Caracalla's father, Septimius Severus, died on 4 February 211 at Eboracum while on campaign in Caledonia, north of Roman Britannia. Caracalla and his brother, jointly inherited the throne upon their father's death.
Caracalla and Geta ended the campaign in Caledonia after concluding a peace with the Caledonians that returned the border of Roman Britain to the line demarcated by Hadrian's Wall. During the journey back to Rome with their father's ashes and his brother continuously argued with one another, making relations between them hostile. Caracalla and Geta considered dividing the empire in half along the Bosphorus to make their co-rule less hostile. Caracalla was to rule in the west and Geta was to rule in the east, they were persuaded not to do this by their mother. On 26 December 211, at a reconciliation meeting arranged by their mother, Caracalla had Geta assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard loyal to himself, Geta dying in his mother's arms. Caracalla persecuted and executed most of Geta's supporters and ordered a damnatio memoriae pronounced by the Senate against his brother's memory. Geta's image was removed from all paintings, coins were melted down, statues were destroyed, his name was struck from papyrus records, it became a capital offence to speak or write Geta's name.
In the aftermath of the damnatio memoriae, an estimated 20,000 people were massacred. Those killed were Geta's inner circle of guards and advisers and other military staff under his employ. In 213, about a year after Geta's death, Caracalla left Rome never to return, he went north to the German frontier to deal with the Alamanni, a confederation of Germanic tribes who had broken through the limes in Raetia. During the campaign of 213–214, Caracalla defeated some of the Germanic tribes while settling other difficulties through diplomacy, though with whom these treaties were made remains unknown. While there, Caracalla strengthened the frontier fortifications of Raetia and Germania Superior, collectively known as the Agri Decumates, so that it was able to withstand any further barbarian invasions for another twenty years. Historian Edward Gibbon compares Caracalla to emperors such as Hadrian who spent their careers campaigning in the provinces and to tyrants such as Nero and Domitian whose entire reigns were confined to Rome and whose actions only impacted upon the senatoria
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
Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus near Santiponce, Spain into a Hispano-Roman family, his father was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian; when Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor before his death. Rome's military and Senate approved Hadrian's succession, but four leading senators were unlawfully put to death soon after, they had opposed Hadrian or seemed to threaten his succession, the senate held him responsible for it and never forgave him. He earned further disapproval among the elite by abandoning Trajan's expansionist policies and territorial gains in Mesopotamia, Assyria and parts of Dacia. Hadrian preferred to invest in the development of stable, defensible borders and the unification of the empire's disparate peoples.
He is known for building Hadrian's Wall. Hadrian energetically pursued personal interests, he visited every province of the Empire, accompanied by an Imperial retinue of specialists and administrators. He encouraged military preparedness and discipline, he fostered, designed, or subsidised various civil and religious institutions and building projects. In Rome itself, he constructed the vast Temple of Venus and Roma. In Egypt, he may have rebuilt the Serapeum of Alexandria, he was an ardent admirer of Greece and sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire, so he ordered the construction of many opulent temples there. His intense relationship with Greek youth Antinous and Antinous' untimely death led Hadrian to establish a widespread cult late in his reign, he suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea. Hadrian's last years were marred by chronic illness, he saw the Bar Kokhba revolt as the failure of his panhellenic ideal. He executed two more senators for their alleged plots against him, this provoked further resentment.
His marriage to Vibia Sabina had been childless. Hadrian died the same year at Baiae, Antoninus had him deified, despite opposition from the Senate. Edward Gibbon includes him among the Empire's "Five good emperors", a "benevolent dictator", he has been described as enigmatic and contradictory, with a capacity for both great personal generosity and extreme cruelty and driven by insatiable curiosity, self-conceit, ambition. Modern interest was revived thanks to Marguerite Yourcenar's novel Mémoires d'Hadrien. Hadrian was born on 24 January 76 in Italica in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica, he was named Publius Aelius Hadrianus. His father was Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, a senator of praetorian rank and raised in Italica but paternally linked, through many generations over several centuries, to a family from Hadria, an ancient town in Picenum; the family had settled in Italica soon after its founding by Scipio Africanus. Hadrian's mother was Domitia Paulina, daughter of a distinguished Hispano-Roman senatorial family from Gades.
His only sibling was Aelia Domitia Paulina. Hadrian's great-nephew, Gnaeus Pedanius Fuscus Salinator, from Barcino would become Hadrian's colleague as co-consul in 118; as a senator, Hadrian's father would have spent much of his time in Rome. In terms of his career, Hadrian's most significant family connection was to Trajan, his father's first cousin, of senatorial stock, had been born and raised in Italica. Hadrian and Trajan were both considered to be – in the words of Aurelius Victor – "aliens", people "from the outside". Hadrian's parents died in 86, he and his sister became wards of Publius Acilius Attianus. Hadrian was physically active, enjoyed hunting. Hadrian's enthusiasm for Greek literature and culture earned him the nickname Graeculus. Trajan married Paulina off to the three-times consul Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus. Hadrian's first official post in Rome was as a judge at the Inheritance court, one among many vigintivirate offices at the lowest level of the cursus honorum that could lead to higher office and a senatorial career.
He served as a military tribune, first with the Legio II Adiutrix in 95 with the Legio V Macedonica. During Hadrian's second stint as tribune, the frail and aged reigning emperor Nerva adopted Trajan as his heir, he was transferred to Legio XXII Primigenia and a third tribunate. Hadrian's three tribunates gave him some career advantage. Most scions of the older senatorial families might serve one, or at most two military tribunates as a prerequisite to higher office; when Nerva died in 98, Hadrian is said to have hastened to Trajan, to inform him ahead of the official envoy sent by the go
Domitian was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the younger brother of Titus and the son of Vespasian, his two predecessors on the throne, the last member of the Flavian dynasty. During his reign, the authoritarian nature of his rule put him at sharp odds with the senate, whose powers he drastically curtailed. Domitian had a minor and ceremonial role during the reigns of his father and brother. After the death of his brother, Domitian was declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard, his 15-year reign was the longest since that of Tiberius. As emperor, Domitian strengthened the economy by revaluing the Roman coinage, expanded the border defenses of the empire, initiated a massive building program to restore the damaged city of Rome. Significant wars were fought in Britain, where his general Agricola attempted to conquer Caledonia, in Dacia, where Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against king Decebalus. Domitian's government exhibited strong authoritarian characteristics. Religious and cultural propaganda fostered a cult of personality, by nominating himself perpetual censor, he sought to control public and private morals.
As a consequence, Domitian was popular with the people and army, but considered a tyrant by members of the Roman Senate. Domitian's reign came to an end in 96, he was succeeded the same day by his advisor Nerva. After his death, Domitian's memory was condemned to oblivion by the Roman Senate, while senatorial authors such as Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius propagated the view of Domitian as a cruel and paranoid tyrant. Modern revisionists instead have characterized Domitian as a ruthless but efficient autocrat whose cultural and political programs provided the foundation of the peaceful second century. Domitian was born in Rome on 24 October 51, the youngest son of Titus Flavius Vespasianus—commonly known as Vespasian—and Flavia Domitilla Major, he had an older sister, Domitilla the Younger, brother named Titus Flavius Vespasianus. Decades of civil war during the 1st century BC had contributed to the demise of the old aristocracy of Rome, which a new Italian nobility replaced in prominence during the early part of the 1st century.
One such family, the Flavians, or gens Flavia, rose from relative obscurity to prominence in just four generations, acquiring wealth and status under the emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Domitian's great-grandfather, Titus Flavius Petro, had served as a centurion under Pompey during Caesar's civil war, his military career ended in disgrace when he fled the battlefield at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC. Petro managed to improve his status by marrying the wealthy Tertulla, whose fortune guaranteed the upward mobility of Petro's son Titus Flavius Sabinus I, Domitian's grandfather. Sabinus himself amassed further wealth and possible equestrian status through his services as tax collector in Asia and banker in Helvetia. By marrying Vespasia Polla he allied the Flavian family to the more prestigious gens Vespasia, ensuring the elevation of his sons Titus Flavius Sabinus II and Vespasian to senatorial rank; the political career of Vespasian included the offices of quaestor and praetor, culminated in a consulship in 51, the year of Domitian's birth.
As a military commander, Vespasian gained early renown by participating in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43. Ancient sources allege poverty for the Flavian family at the time of Domitian's upbringing claiming Vespasian had fallen into disrepute under the emperors Caligula and Nero. Modern history has refuted these claims, suggesting these stories circulated under Flavian rule as part of a propaganda campaign to diminish success under the less reputable Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and to maximize achievements under Emperor Claudius and his son Britannicus. By all appearances, the Flavians enjoyed high imperial favour throughout the 60s. While Titus received a court education in the company of Britannicus, Vespasian pursued a successful political and military career. Following a prolonged period of retirement during the 50s, he returned to public office under Nero, serving as proconsul of the Africa Province in 63, accompanying the emperor Nero during an official tour of Greece in 66.
That same year Jews from the Province of Judaea revolted against the Roman Empire, sparking what is now known as the First Jewish-Roman War. Vespasian was assigned to lead the Roman army against the insurgents, with Titus — who had completed his military education by this time — in charge of a legion. Of the three Flavian emperors, Domitian would rule the longest, despite the fact that his youth and early career were spent in the shadow of his older brother. Titus had gained military renown during the First Jewish–Roman War. After their father Vespasian became emperor in 69 following the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors, Titus held a great many offices, while Domitian received honours, but no responsibilities. By the time he was 16 years old, Domitian's mother and sister had long since died, while his father and brother were continuously active in the Roman military, commanding armies in Germania and Judaea. For Domitian, this meant that a significant part of his adolescence was spent in the absence of his near relatives.
During the Jewish–Roman wars, he was taken under the care of his uncle Titus Flavius Sabinus II, at the time serving as city prefect of Rome.
Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father. Before becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War; the campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian's bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, destroyed the city and the Second Temple. For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph. During his father's rule, Titus gained notoriety in Rome serving as prefect of the Praetorian Guard, for carrying on a controversial relationship with the Jewish queen Berenice. Despite concerns over his character, Titus ruled to great acclaim following the death of Vespasian in 79, was considered a good emperor by Suetonius and other contemporary historians.
As emperor, he is best known for completing the Colosseum and for his generosity in relieving the suffering caused by two disasters, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a fire in Rome in 80. After two years in office, Titus died of a fever on 13 September 81, he was succeeded by his younger brother Domitian. Titus was born in Rome on 30 December 39 AD, as the eldest son of Titus Flavius Vespasianus—commonly known as Vespasian—and Domitilla the Elder, he had one younger sister, Domitilla the Younger, one younger brother, Titus Flavius Domitianus referred to as Domitian. Decades of civil war during the 1st century BC had contributed to the demise of the old aristocracy of Rome, replaced in prominence by a new provincial nobility during the early part of the 1st century. One such family was the gens Flavia, which rose from relative obscurity to prominence in just four generations, acquiring wealth and status under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Titus's great-grandfather, Titus Flavius Petro, had served as a centurion under Pompey during Caesar's Civil War.
His military career ended in disgrace when he fled the battlefield at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC. Petro managed to improve his status by marrying the wealthy Tertulla, whose fortune guaranteed the upwards mobility of Petro's son Titus Flavius Sabinus I, Titus's grandfather. Sabinus himself amassed further wealth and possible equestrian status through his services as tax collector in Asia and banker in Helvetia. By marrying Vespasia Polla he allied himself to the more prestigious patrician gens Vespasia, ensuring the elevation of his sons Titus Flavius Sabinus II and Vespasian to the senatorial rank; the political career of Vespasian included the offices of quaestor and praetor, culminated with a consulship in 51, the year Domitian was born. As a military commander, he gained early renown by participating in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43. What little is known of Titus's early life has been handed down to us by Suetonius, who records that he was brought up at the imperial court in the company of Britannicus, the son of emperor Claudius, who would be murdered by Nero in 55.
The story was told that Titus was reclining next to Britannicus, the night he was murdered, sipped of the poison, handed to him. Further details on his education are scarce, but it seems he showed early promise in the military arts and was a skilled poet and orator both in Greek and Latin. From c. 57 to 59 he was a military tribune in Germania. He served in Britannia arriving c. 60 with reinforcements needed after the revolt of Boudica. In c. 63 he returned to Rome and married Arrecina Tertulla, daughter of Marcus Arrecinus Clemens, a former Prefect of the Praetorian Guard. She died c. 65. Titus took a new wife of a much more distinguished family, Marcia Furnilla. However, Marcia's family was linked to the opposition to Nero, her uncle Barea Soranus and his daughter Servilia were among those who perished after the failed Pisonian conspiracy of 65. Some modern historians theorize that Titus divorced his wife because of her family's connection to the conspiracy. Titus never remarried, he appears to have had at least one of them by Marcia Furnilla.
The only one known to have survived to adulthood was Julia Flavia Titus's child by Arrecina, whose mother was named Julia. During this period Titus practiced law and attained the rank of quaestor. In 66 the Jews of the Judaea Province revolted against the Roman Empire. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, was defeated at the battle of Beth-Horon and forced to retreat from Jerusalem; the pro-Roman king Agrippa II and his sister Berenice fled the city to Galilee where they gave themselves up to the Romans. Nero appointed Vespasian to put down the rebellion, dispatched to the region at once with the Fifth Legion and Tenth Legion, he was joined at Ptolemais by Titus with the Fifteenth Legion. With a strength of 60,000 professional soldiers, the Romans prepared to sweep across Galilee and march on Jerusalem; the history of the war was covered in detail by the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus in his work The War of the Jews. Josephus served as a commander in the city of Yodfat when the Roman army invaded Galilee in 67.
After an exhausting siege which lasted 47 days, the city fell, with an estimated 40,000 killed. Titus, was not set on ending the war. Surviving one of several group suicides, Jose
Caligula was Roman emperor from AD 37 to AD 41. The son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and Augustus' granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Germanicus' uncle and adoptive father, succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome in AD 14. Although he was born Gaius Caesar, after Julius Caesar, he acquired the nickname "Caligula" from his father's soldiers during their campaign in Germania; when Germanicus died at Antioch in AD 19, Agrippina returned with her six children to Rome, where she became entangled in a bitter feud with Tiberius. The conflict led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Untouched by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted an invitation in AD 31 to join the emperor on the island of Capri, where Tiberius had withdrawn five years earlier. Following the death of Tiberius, Caligula succeeded his adoptive grandfather as emperor in AD 37.
There are few surviving sources about the reign of Caligula, although he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate, he directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and luxurious dwellings for himself, initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the client kingdom of Mauretania as a province. In early AD 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard and courtiers; the conspirators' attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, however.
On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula's uncle, the next Roman emperor. Although the Julio-Claudian dynasty continued to rule the empire until the fall of his nephew Nero in AD 68, Caligula's death marked the official end of the Julii Caesares in the male line. See Julio-Claudian family tree. Gaius Julius Caesar was born in Antium on 31 August 12 AD, the third of six surviving children born to Germanicus and his second cousin Agrippina the Elder. Gaius had two older brothers and Drusus, as well as three younger sisters, Agrippina the Younger, Julia Drusilla and Julia Livilla, he was a nephew of Claudius, Germanicus' younger brother and the future emperor. Agrippina the Elder was the daughter of Julia the Elder, she was a granddaughter of Scribonia on her mother's side. Through Agrippina, Augustus was the maternal great-grandfather of Gaius; as a boy of just two or three, Gaius accompanied his father, Germanicus, on campaigns in the north of Germania. The soldiers were amused that Gaius was dressed in a miniature soldier's outfit, including boots and armour.
He was soon given his nickname Caligula, meaning "little boot" in Latin, after the small boots he wore. Gaius, though grew to dislike this nickname. Suetonius claims that Germanicus was poisoned in Syria by an agent of Tiberius, who viewed Germanicus as a political rival. After the death of his father, Caligula lived with his mother until her relations with Tiberius deteriorated. Tiberius would not allow Agrippina to remarry for fear her husband would be a rival. Agrippina and Caligula's brother, were banished in 29 AD on charges of treason; the adolescent Caligula was sent to live with his great-grandmother Livia. After her death, he was sent to live with his grandmother Antonia Minor. In 30 AD, his brother, Drusus Caesar, was imprisoned on charges of treason and his brother Nero died in exile from either starvation or suicide. Suetonius writes that after the banishment of his mother and brothers and his sisters were nothing more than prisoners of Tiberius under the close watch of soldiers. In 31 AD, Caligula was remanded to the personal care of Tiberius on Capri, where he lived for six years.
To the surprise of many, Caligula was spared by Tiberius. According to historians, Caligula was an excellent natural actor and, recognizing danger, hid all his resentment towards Tiberius. An observer said of Caligula, "Never was there a better servant or a worse master!"Caligula claimed to have planned to kill Tiberius with a dagger in order to avenge his mother and brother: however, having brought the weapon into Tiberius's bedroom he did not kill the Emperor but instead threw the dagger down on the floor. Tiberius knew of this but never dared to do anything about it. Suetonius claims that Caligula was cruel and vicious: he writes that, when Tiberius brought Caligula to Capri, his purpose was to allow Caligula to live in order that he "... prove the ruin of himself and of all men, that he was rearing a viper for the Roman people and a Phaethon for the world."In 33 AD, Tiberius gave Caligula an honorary quaestorship, a position he held until his rise to emperor. Meanwhile, both Caligula's mother and his brother Drusus died in prison.
Caligula was married to Junia Claudilla, in 33, though she died in childbirth the following year. Caligula spent time befriending Naevius Sutorius Macro, an important ally. Macro spoke well of Caligula to Tiberius, attempting to quell any
Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.