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The Year of the Five Emperors Posted by on Aug 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

History has shown that anytime you have more than one emperor reigning in succession in one year, that year marks a time of instability in Rome. Believe it or not there was once a time in history called a Year of the Five Emperors.

Publius Helvius Pertinax was emperor for only 86 days. Pertinax’s bodyguards betrayed him because they felt he did not pay them enough for their loyalty to him. Pertinax’s own bodyguards killed him and sold the office of Emperor to the highest bidder.

Marcus Didius Severus Julianus was emperor for about three months. He obtained the position of Emperor by buying off Pertinax’s bodyguards. Julianus was never accepted by the people of Rome. Angry mobs would throw stones and hurl insults. Encouraged by the mob, his bodyguards deserted him. Julianus was eventually executed.

Gaius Pescennius Niger usurped Julianus’s throne when he saw how unpopular Julianus was. Niger did not get to remain as Emperor. He was defeated in battle against a general named Severus, and was killed while fleeing to Parthia.

Decimus Clodius Septimius Albinus With Niger defeated, Albinus decided to take the title of Emperor for himself. Unfortunately, General Severus wanted the title for himself, and contested Albinus for the throne in the Battle of Lugdunum. Albinus was defeated, decapitated, and trampled by Severus’s horse.

Lucius Septimius Severus was the fifth emperor to finally end the period of instability in Rome. He was able to maintain power by executing anyone who protested or posed a threat to his power.

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