top of page

30 Roman Emperors

The following list of Emperors includes some of the best, the good, the bad and the ugly rulers of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Emperors

Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD)

Established the Pax Romana, a period of peace and stability.

Significant administrative and political reforms.

Development of the Julian calendar.

Fascinating Fact: He defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra to become the sole ruler.

Controversial Act: Accused of ruthlessly eliminating political opponents.

Tiberius (14 - 37 AD)

Initiation of infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.

Leadership during a period of relative stability and prosperity.

Controversial Act: Accused of ordering executions for political reasons.

Caligula (37 - 41 AD)

Commissioned various building projects, including aqueducts.

Patronage of the arts and public entertainment.

Controversial Act: Known for cruelty and extravagant spending, political rivals were killed.

Claudius (41 - 54 AD)

Conquest of Britain, bringing it under Roman control.

Legal reforms and the expansion of Roman citizenship.

Fascinating Fact: His wife Agrippina poisoned him to place her son Nero on the throne.

Nero (54 - 68 AD)

Building of the Domus Aurea (Golden House) palace complex.

Public entertainments and games.

Controversial Act: Blamed for the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD; persecuted Christians.

Fascinating Fact: He allegedly kicked his pregnant wife to death.

Galba (68 - 69 AD)

Brief reign as part of the Year of the Four Emperors.

Efforts to address corruption and wasteful spending.

Controversial Act: Executed several prominent figures in Rome.

Otho (69 AD)

Brief reign as part of the Year of the Four Emperors.

Efforts to stabilize the Roman Empire and address financial issues.

Controversial Act: Committed suicide after losing a battle for the throne.

Vitellius (69 AD)

Brief reign as part of the Year of the Four Emperors.

Limited construction projects and administrative actions.

Controversial Act: His extravagant banquets and spending.

Vespasian (69 - 79 AD)

Construction of the Colosseum in Rome.

Stabilization of the Roman economy through taxation and public works.

Successful campaigns in Judea.

Fascinating Fact: Vespasian imposed a tax on public urinals.

Titus (79 - 81 AD)

Completion and opening of the Colosseum.

Relief efforts during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Rule during the peaceful "Year of the Four Emperors."

Domitian (81 - 96 AD)

Expansion of the Roman road network.

Construction of the Domus Flavia and the Domus Augustana.

Reforms in the Roman economy and currency.

Controversial Act: Ruled with autocratic tendencies and executed many senators.

Nerva (96 - 98 AD)

Introduction of the practice of adopting an heir (adoption).

Economic reforms to aid impoverished citizens.

Fascinating Fact: Executed senators involved in a conspiracy against him.

Trajan (98 - 117 AD)

Expansion of the Roman Empire to its greatest extent.

Construction of Trajan's Forum and Trajan's Column.

Philanthropic projects, including funding for orphanages.

Fascinating Fact: Allegedly used the wealth from the Dacian Wars for public projects.

Hadrian (117 - 138 AD)

Building of Hadrian's Wall in Britain.

Promotion of Greek culture and architecture.

Reforms in Roman law.

Fascinating Fact: He had a tumultuous relationship with Antinous, his male lover.

Antoninus Pius (138 - 161 AD)

Promotion of legal reforms and the rights of citizens.

Philanthropic activities.

Reign of relative peace and prosperity during the Antonine Era.

Controversial Act: Allegedly executed a senator for making a joke about him.

Marcus Aurelius (161 - 180 AD)

Authorship of "Meditations," a philosophical work.

Leadership during the Marcomannic Wars and the Antonine Plague.

Controversial Act: Allegedly ordered the persecution of Christians.

Commodus (180 - 192 AD)

Infamous for extravagance and cruelty.

Renovated the Colosseum.

Controversial Act: Strangled to death in a conspiracy led by his concubine.

Septimius Severus (193 - 211 AD)

Successful campaigns in the Parthian Empire.

Administrative and military reforms.

Controversial Act: Executed rivals and senators to secure power.

Caracalla (198 - 217 AD)

Edict of Caracalla, granting Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants.

Construction of public baths and infrastructure projects.

Controversial Act: Ordered the massacre of Geta's supporters & families.

Diocletian (284 - 305 AD)

Introduction of the Tetrarchy for stability.

Administrative reforms and division of the Empire.

Edicts aimed at controlling inflation and prices.

Controversial Act: Ordered the infamous Diocletianic Persecution of Christians.

Galerius (293 - 311 AD)

Issued the Edict of Toleration, ending Christian persecution.

Leadership during the Diocletianic Persecution.

Controversial Act: Persecuted Christians before adopting a more tolerant policy.

Aurelian (270 - 275 AD)

Restoration of the Roman Empire's territorial integrity.

Construction of the Aurelian Walls.

Controversial Act: Crushed the Palmyrene Empire through military campaigns.

Valerian (253 - 260 AD)

Established a system of co-emperors.

Reign during the challenging Crisis of the Third Century.

Controversial Act: Captured and humiliated by the Persians.

Tacitus (275 - 276 AD)

Short-lived reign during the Crisis of the Third Century.

Efforts to restore the Roman Senate's authority.

Controversial Act: Died under mysterious circumstances.

Probus (276 - 282 AD)

Restoration of the Roman Empire's prosperity and stability.

Successful campaigns against various barbarian groups.

Controversial Act: Allegedly ordered the execution of his soldiers for insubordination.

Carinus (283 - 285 AD)

Co-ruler during the Crisis of the Third Century.

Controversial Act: Accused of debauchery and excessive spending.

Diocletian (284 - 305 AD)

Introduction of the Tetrarchy for stability.

Administrative reforms and division of the Empire.

Edicts aimed at controlling inflation and prices.

Controversial Act: Ordered the infamous Diocletianic Persecution of Christians.

Maximian (286 - 305 AD)

Co-ruler in the Tetrarchy.

Construction of the Palace of Diocletian in Split, Croatia.

Constantius Chlorus (305 - 306 AD)

Part of the Tetrarchy system.

Successful campaigns in Britain.

Controversial Act: Initially supported the persecution of Christians.

Constantine the Great (306 - 337 AD)

Conversion to Christianity and the Edict of Milan granting religious tolerance.

Foundation of Constantinople as the new capital.

Council of Nicaea (325 CE) to address theological disputes.

Controversial Act: Ordered the execution of his wife and son.

bottom of page