The Emperors of rome

Augustus caesar was the first emperor of rome. Hard to believe considering how many leaders ruled rome before him and how the roman empire had dominated the mediterranean area and then really the known world for centuries before that. the roman empire didn’t really begin until after alexander the great’s death in 300 B.C., and Augustus caesar didn’t take his position as emperor until nearly 300 years later, in 30 A.D. In between that time, rome fought the wars against carthage (the punic wars) that made rome the authoritative empire that it was, and then fell under the leadership of military rulers such as marius, sulla, pompey, and julius caesar. But none of these men claimed the position of emperor and chose to be a dictator instead.

His period of rule in rome was known as pax romana because it was the first time since the punic wars, where rome did not have to face civil wars inside the empire for control and could focus on attacking and conquering outside territories instead. He claimed to restore the republic of rome and to give power back to the people.

Augustus caesar ruled for forty years until 10 a.d. when he was replaced by tiberius, the first of the julian emperors. the julian emperors were the ones who came after julius and augustus caesar, and each one of them had a major problem with themselves to contend with. Tiberius was paranoid. After him was caligula who was crazy. then there was claudius who was just too old. and finally nero, who was pure evil.

Tiberius was made the second emperor of rome, following augustus caesar, and he ruled during the time when jesus christ’s influence was spreading throughout the roman empire. Rome controlled jerusalem, where christ was teaching his disciples, and it was pontius pilate, the roman procurator in jerusalem, who ordered christ to be killed. he was crucified on a cross, given the same sentence that a common criminal was given during that time. Tiberius, no doubt, felt christ’s influence and feared it and passed on that paranoia to pontius pilate.

not long after this, in 37 a.d., tiberius fled to an island to be by himself. caligula came to visit him on this island and convinced tiberius to agree to make him the next emperor after tiberius’ death. no sooner had tiberius agreed to these terms, then did caligula kill tiberius. when he returned to rome, caligula took over as the new emperor and began to go more and more crazy. it got to the point where he would demand people to know a secret password before speaking to them, only he wouldn’t tell anyone what the password was. he also liked to have affairs with other men’s wives and then brag about it for all to hear.


caligula didn’t last as emperor very long. the people had him replaced as quickly as they could, and he was assassinated. And now the people needed someone to replace him. they had nobody of a high enough rank to take the job, and so they found a man who had a bloodline related to distant emperors and demanded that he take up the position. that man was claudius, and he was very old. he didn’t want to be emperor, but was forced into it. Claudius became emperor in 41 A.d., with caligula having only ruled for four years.

Claudius was a good emperor, but he hated the position and wanted to live out his old age peacefully. he wasn’t replaced until 60 A.d. when the savage known as nero took over. nero used his roman army to invade the celts in brittain. he then took brittain into the roman empire. he also banned christianity from rome, had his mother, wife, and tutor killed, and was rumored to be responsible for burning down a large portion of the city. nero’s motivation for setting the fire was because he wanted to build something in the place where this part of the city once stood. Nero then went on to blame the christians for the fire and persecute them, having them arrested and killed.

emperor vespasian took over for nero in 70 a.d. and his son, titus went out with an army to strike down a revolt by the jews. nero had conquered jerusalem during his reign, and after his death, the jews saw an opportunity to revolt. titus came after them and put them down. he then oversaw a two year long famine of the people of jerusalem as punishment for their revolt, and finally after that famine was over, he had jerusalem destroyed. these were the bad emperors of rome. so bad, that the people of france (known then as gaul) no longer wanted to buy their wine from them and during the time of nero, the french began cultivating their own wine, opening up bordeaux, instead.

titus took over for his father in 80 a.d. and oversaw the creation of the coliseum. when it was ready for an opening, he hosted 100 days of gladiator games. ten years after his rule, gaul opened up another area for cultivating wine, known as burgundy. the roman emperor at the time was now domitian and he was furious with what gaul was doing. in the past, all of the wine consumed by the people of gaul came directly from rome. and now these people were just brushing rome aside and making it themselves. domitian threatened to close down half the vineyards in gaul if the people there didn’t start buying wine from rome again. they called his bluff, refused to buy from rome anymore, and domitian never made good on his threat.

In 90 a.d the age of good emperors of rome began. this led to the golden age where people once again looked up to their emperors and felt that they were being led by men of honor. Marcus aurelius was one such emperor. he led from 130 - 160 A.d. and was known as the philosopher emperor. He fought off attacking german tribes and defended rome. when he died, the golden age was over and so was the period of good emperors of rome.

His son, commodus, took over, and reopened the coliseum. the building was a symbol of a time when rome was ruled by evil emperors, but commodus didn’t seem to care. he then entered himself into the gladiator games. this was considered very low class, especially for an emperor. Commodus ruled from 160 - 180 A.d and by the end of his reign, the christian church had began to gain power again. Rome fell into a period of economic depression, and by 200 A.d., the end of the roman empire was within sight.

Augustus caesar

Marcus aurelius