Roman Emperors (wacky biographical considerations)

Marcus-Aurelius-featuredThe Roman emperors, both West and (after) East Roman Empire (considering all of them without “discrimination”, in their various circumstances and historical overlaps, and including Julius Caesar as the 1st) were 85, of which: 44 were killed, 6 committed suicide, 10 died in battle or military campaign, or as a result of war wounds, and one was made prisoner of war for the rest of his days; 25, however, had a more “peaceful” death, by diseases and natural causes (3 of them killed by the plague).

Let’s be precise that suicide in Roman society was often a forced choice. In all these cases it was certainly not realized due to causes of “depression”.

If we consider the first three categories as one, of “unnatural deaths”, of the 85 emperors we count in it 60, the remaining are 25. Being an emperor was a dangerous occupation, then, since the non-natural deaths ascend up to 70.6% of the total.

Among those who died naturally, of course, there are many with the longest empire, but also Emperors among the most important ones, the most incisive and well regarded by history: Augustus, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Diocletian and Constantine, for example.

The comparison (considering the diversity between the ages and the differences in the historical context and the circumstances, etc.) is undoubtedly inappropriate, I understand it, and the conclusion is arbitrary, but anyway let’s say that perhaps Western politics has changed (for the better), if we think that of the 44 Presidents of the United States of America, “just” 4 were killed (less than 10%): Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, John F. Kennedy. Another 14 suffered attacks, but few of them have been minimally effective and serious, most were made by drifters. USA is currently the more violent and aggressive country of our cultural environment, often compared, and not in a completely silly way, to the Ancient Roman Empire.

But back to the Roman Emperors!

Murdered: Caesar (49-44BC) – Caligula (37-41) – Claudius (41-54) – Galba (68-69) – Vitellius (69) – Domitian (81-96) – Commodus (177-192) – Pertinax (193) – Didius Jiulianus (193) – Geta (211) – Caracalla (211-217) – Macrinus (217-218) – Diadumenian (218) – Elagabalus (218-222) – Alexander Severus (222-225) – Maximinus (235-238) – Pupienus (238) – Balbinus (238) – Gordan III (238-244) – Philip II (247-249) – Trebonianus Gallus (251-253) – Volusianus (251-253) – Aemilian (253) – Gallienus (253- 268) – Valerian II (258 c.) – Saloninus (260 c.) – Aurelian (270-275) – Tacitus (275-276) – Florian (276) – Probus (276 -281) – Numerianus (283-284) – Flavius Severus (306-307) – Licinius (308-324) – Constantius II (337-350) – Jovian (363-364) – Gratian (375-383) – Valentinian II (375-392) – Valentinian III (425-455) – Petronius Maximus (455) – Avitus (455-456) – Majorian (457-461) – Libius Severus (461-465) – Anthemius (467-472) – Julius Nepos (474-480, 475 deposed).

Suicides: Nero (54-68) – Otho (69) – Gordan I (238) – Quintilius (270 possibly suicidal) – Maximian (286-305) – Maximinus Daia (310-113).

Died in battle (and similar deaths): Gordan II (238) – Philip the Arab (144-249) – Decius (249-251) – Herennius Etruscus (251) – Valerian (253-260 prisoner of Shapur I) – Carus (283-285) – Constantius Chlorus (305-306) – Constantine II (337-340) – Julian (361-363) – Valens (364-378).

Natural death or illness: Augustus (27BC-14AD) – Tiberius (14-37) – Vespasian (69-79) – Titus (79-81) – Nerva (96-98) – Trajan (98-117) – Hadrian (117-138) – Antoninus Pius (138-161) – Marcus Aurelius (161-180) – Lucius Verus (161-169) – Septimius Severus (193-211) – Hostilianus (251-plague) – Claudius Gothicus (258-260 plague) – Carus (282-283) – Diocletian (284-305) – Galerius (305-311) – Constantine (306-337) – Constantius II (237-261) – Valentinian I (364-375) – Theodosius the Great (379-395) – Honorius (395-423) – Constantius III (421) – Olybrius (472) – Glycerius (473-480, 474 deposed) – Romulus Augustus (475-after 511).

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