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Greatest Roman Emperors

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Rated 51 points - posted 8 years ago by pxc0 in category People.
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1.

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Trajan (c. 53 - 117) Report Abuse
1784 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 17 comments
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trajan pretty good emperor
Added 4 months ago by guest, 2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Rome reached its greatest extent under him.
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Trajan was called Optimus Princeps (best leader) by his contemporaries for a reason. That legacy continued on even after the collapse of the Empire. If the people of the time period were calling him the Best Emperor, then its safe to say he was the best emperor.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 11 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
He overused resources to conquer more land, that is why Rome lost its conquered lands.
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he was one of the best Emperors but not number 1 for many reasons.
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Trajan was a wildley popular emperor . Trajan made very visible contributions, expanding the Empire's geographical, geopolitical and good will to the farthest reaches of the empire. Trajan held his peoples attention and he gained their trust. Trajan' s r influence over his successors issued in the Glory years of the Roman Republic.
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he was good but not number 1
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He was called Trajan the proud.
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He was an excellent emperor but he valued his own personal glory more than the glory of the empire. He just wanted to conquer more lands even though he knew Rome couldn't keep em. He streched Romes resources to the limit which wasn't a good thing in the long term.
Added 4 years ago by guest, 14 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Traianus was really the greatest rome emperor for many reasons. Even for antique Romans alone!
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Trajan, by far, was the greatest emperor, he restored the title to what emperor was under Augustus, especially given the damage caused by everyone from Tiberius to Domitian which included some of the worst emperors rome ever saw, pushed the empire to the furthest boundaries and secured the empire's future of prosperity all the way to 192 ad by choosing Hadrian as his successor who choose Marcus Aurelius. Theer is a reason why he is listed as as one of the four "Good emperors"; and really was the start sense Nerva served only two years.
Added 5 years ago by guest, 9 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
he's the best Roman emporor the senate even gave him the title 'optimus' for restoring freedom
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He's #3. Doh! =p
Added 6 years ago by guest, -21 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
If Trajan is not in the Top Ten then this list is a joke if not completely worthless. He should really be included somewhere between #2 - #5
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he was the #1 nobody did more to the greatest empire then anybody brought more money home built more things for his people and had one of the best military careers ever
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The unified roman empire had its greatest size in his rule, Trajan was a very good emperor!
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"felicior Augusto, melior Traiano"
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2.

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Aurelian (c. 214 - 275) Report Abuse
1504 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 10 comments
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There's a reason the Senate proclaimed him "Invictus Restitutor Orbis" or "The Unconquered Restorer of the World."
Added 1 year ago by guest, 4 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Dealt a weak hand, but played it well. Importantly, it wasn't just military victory, a lot of his success was through politics as well. A few more years and the empire may have permanently stabilised.
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A capable and at times even great emperor, Aurelian stitched the splintering empire back together at the height of the crisis of the third century. An able general and brilliant politician, he is rightly credited with being one of Rome's greatest emperors. If there are any potential black marks upon his record, one could point to his disastrous attempt at fiscal reform. Its detrimental effect upon the economy was still being felt at the beginning of Diocletian's reign. He was also notable for paving the way for monotheism (eventually to take the form of Christianity) in the Roman Empire by establishing the cult of Sol Invictus.
Added 2 years ago by guest, 12 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
And some of pagan religion ruled over Roman Empire instead of Christianity and maybe in Aurelians days paganism has still chance to beat down christianity. And world today could has been better. Christianity belongs to its beginnings, when was little underground sect. It´s time to change back to human roots and nature and restitute some native believe. Christianity ruled too long over great part of world and nothing better change. They can only pray and who could help praying? Christianity helped to fall Roman Empire. And maybe helping slowly to fall all of our Earth, but we don´t see that.Sorry about these strange worlds and bad english.
Added 4 years ago by guest, -17 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
An outstanding emperor! No other emperor comes even close to his accomplishments. Roman empire would probably exist to this day if this guy could've ruled few decades more.
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Aurelianus The Great should be known. He helped to save Rome Empire. The second place is excellent for him, because is not so known like for example Marcus Aurelius, Octavianus, Hadrianus or Constantinus. And So Hard and Succesful Work in only 5 years of ruling!!! Thats Right to vote him so high!
Added 5 years ago by guest, 16 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
In a mere 5 years,he did what even Caeser himself would not be able to do. Thanks to his reign,the roman culture would last for 1200 more years and more importantly lead to the rise of Christianity. In my eyes he should be No 1,but seeing how the public rate him all the way to No2 make me smile a bit. :)
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He fought a woman and some rebels no great achievement
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Why is he not higher? He brought back the Gallic and Palymyran Empire into the fold and did this all in only five years. Who knows what he could have done had his reign been longer!
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Started the great recovery of the late 3rd century, killed by people who immediately regretted it.
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Augustus (c. 63 BC - 14 AD) Report Abuse
He pretty much invented the position, overseeing the transition from the failed Republic of Rome to the quasi military dictatorship of Emperor Rule. Augustus was a brilliant politician, he was strong while still yielding to the Senate and his rule was one of the most peaceful and prosperous in Roman History, called the Pax Augustus
1191 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 30 comments
Comments:
Octavian was the greatest of them all. Think about it. His father died when he was young. His mum married another and didn't give a moments thought about him. Raised by Julia,the sister of Julius Caesar. After being wrecked and swimming ashore he traverses hostile territory to reach Caesar's camp. After spending time with the great Julius Caesar, the same changed his will in Octavian's favour. Shortchanged by Anthony he shrewdly gained the loyalty of Caesar's veterans and by incremental steps from a disadvantaged position gained supremacy of the Mediterranean world! Not only was he lucky he was incredibly smart and basically forged an empire that lasted 400 years in the west and 1500 years in the East all the while finding a solution to the aversion to kings by creating the Principate!what he lacked as a military man he more than made up for as a political genius! Less charismatic than uncle Julius but Definately #1 by a long distance!
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Augustus had a lot of experience. He knew what he was doing.
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Not a genius military leader, but he had his friend Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa to take care of that. And he was a great politician. He was mostly underrated and being overshadowed of Gaius Julius Caesar (the dictator), but that did not stop him from defeating the soap opera couple Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra VII. And he ruled the longest reign. Pax Romana!
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Militarily most of his achievements should b ecredited to Agrippa which puts him no higher than 3 - 5.
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I believe that Augustus was the greatest, but Trajan,Aurelian, Titus,Julian the Apostate and some other were great as well....
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The greatest Roman Emperor. Nuff said
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Augustus should be 1# or 2# because he was given the title Augustus doesn't it mean great
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It is not clear if he was really greatest emperor. He lived in relative peacefully times for Rome. Rome have not so strong rival in the early years of principate. But how great Augustus were living for example in the third century in very difficult era of Rome? The strongest emperors are for me these like Valerianus, Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus, Aurelianus and Probus. Tragic persons lost their lifes for greatness of Rome, when to be an emperor was over humen power. In opposite of latest christianity emperors. Christianity destroy classic feelings of emperors and their need to live for Rome.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
i wonder why augustus didn't make it as number one emperor of rome... he is far greater than any of the roman emperors... no other emperor had achieved more than he did,he is just the best of them all... he wasn't a military genius,but he is a very genius politician.and his genius in politics is what gave rome its pax romana... putting him on lower than top 3 is an insult to his greatness...
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All Roman emperors claimed god status,not just Augustus
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Augustus was a brilliant leader and politician, as he was able to create an military autocracy while giving the people the illusion that it was still a republic. He used propoganda (e.g. the Res Gestae, claimed bloodline to the gods) to convince people of his great deeds to the people. His rule was quite successful and the people mostly supported him, but he was a master manipulator.
Added 4 years ago by guest, 10 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
He was brilliant in most ways, I'm studying Ancient History and the below comments saying he was a "dictator" is wrong. He refused dictatorship several times and infact there are no contemporary sources at the time that even called him "emperor." Only sources from after his time did and its hard to trust them because they are anachronistic. Nevertheless IF HE WAS, he brought stability to Rome, by restoring temples and increasing Romes wealth and may have been very popular with the roman people (subject to reliability of sources)
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He got the balance right with the senators and with the Imperial Cult.
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Honestly, Augustus had the ability to change the records of him. Any journals or letters from the time that express any political opinion give a sense of ambivalence toward Augustus.
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I rank him 3rd on my list of leaders with the greatest achievements. !st is a tie between Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan.
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It was the Pax Romana not Pax Augustus
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He sound's like a great guy from what I've looked up but i'm NOT the type of girl that believe's what other's say i have to see for myself..
Added 6 years ago by Meashka_babygurl, -13 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
No reason he should be top just because he was first and longest. He was no Trajan or Diocletian.
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While he was certainly clever and established the empire, why is that a good thing? 1.) His new system took away power from the people, 2.) His system ensured a cyclical series of civil wars roughly every hundred years until the empire's demise, 3.) He killed numerous innocent families for both political reasons and to seize their money. He isn't hardly the #1.
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They were Roman Emperors they all had people killed and murdered. Just what makes Augustus an animal as opposed to say Caligula or Nero?
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ya he wasnt only a dictator he was an animal Trajan should be number and the list dhould be like that:1trajan 2hadrian 3Marcus Aurelius 4nerva 5 antinous pius
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He wasnt a dictator, the people of Rome were going to burn down the senate if they didnt vote for him to be made dictator, but he refused.
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He was a great ruler and from the statues I've seen of him He was kinda cute ( for a dead guy and a staue)
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He wans't a "dictator" if he ruled from the senate.
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Great administrator poor general. Others fought for him while stayed safe. As a military leader he fares badly compared to Caesar, Trajan or Constantine.
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Simply the best (better than all the rest, LOL).
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he ruled for 49 years and 4 days which is possibly the longest reign EVER
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He was one of the cleverest as well
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He was good, if you like dictators!!
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He was good!
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4.

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Antoninus Pius (c. 86 - 161) Report Abuse
1023 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 4 comments
Comments:
It's a shame we don't know much about his reign, because what we do have just says "Good sailor on a calm sea" to me. Not an incompetent ruler, but I wonder how he'd handle some real crisis.
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A very lucky ruler but also a very solid one. Every now and then a steady and unspectacular hand is needed at the wheel.
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Overrated. Although times where good he did not face long term problems facing the Empire and allowed the Parthian Empire to build up to much power.
Added 6 years ago by guest, -16 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
It's sad that he's mostly forgotten. He had the longest reign since Augustus. He had NO major wars, NO tawdry rumors said about him (in fact he only married one woman over his entire life), NO political or religious persecutions. During his reign the empire had it's greatest peace and prosperity.
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5.

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Marcus Aurelius (c. 121 - 180) Report Abuse
The success of his rule can be questioned, The Roman Empire was not as peaceful or prosperous under hsi rule as some others, but Marcus Aurelius is one of the most famous Emperors largely due to his scholarship and intelligence. One of the most famous Stoics in history, Marcus Aurelius wrote a great deal of philosophy and was known as a great, moral man and fine thinker. His contributions to literature and philosophy are the greatest of any Emperor and his writings are still studied today.
1000 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 11 comments
Comments:
He had a lot more on his plate than the previous four good emperors had to deal with, but proved himself equal to the task. A weaker emperor at this time, and you start talking about the Crisis of the Second Century. The succession of Commodus is a big black mark however.
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Marcus Aurelius often faces criticism for the barbarian invasions and plague that took place during his reign, as well as his poor choice of successor. Simply put, a lesser man would have crumbled under the weight of the first two, which were in no way his fault. In fact, at the time of his death, Rome had turned the tide against the invaders and it is reasonable to expect that a conclusive victory would have followed had the next emperor not been a complete incompetent. With regards to the succession of Commodus, Marcus Aurelius deserves some of the blame, as virtually ANYONE would have made a better Emperor. However, it is important to note that Commodus was not his first or even second choice of successor. Also, Rome at that point had developed a highly successful system of collaborative rule that everybody believed would survive Commodus and render his acknowledged stupidity largely irrelevant to the day-to-day reality of governing. Subsequent events, of course, were to prove them wrong.
Added 2 years ago by guest, 7 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
NUMBER 6 SHOULD BE PROBUS
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he wasn't a good emperor he fought the barbarian tribes and the parthians he let the barbarians run amok in the western empire,while he was dealing with the parthins most of his reigb he shared with another person (lucius verus and commodus) he also chose commodus as his sucessor, a horrible choice he was a good emperor, but not as high as he is
Added 4 years ago by guest, -2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Great emperor. Had to deal with wars, financial problems and a great plague early in his reign so all those people saying he didn't do much for the empire is dumb. As a philosopher he was one of the fairest emperors. His only real flaw, his son.
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Shouldn't really be this high, Diocletian, Constantine and Aurelian all gave so much more to the empire. He was a good emperor but just like how Caracella is Septimus Severus' bad legacy, Commodus is his very bad legacy.
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Maybe the only true intellectual to ever rule a major empire or nation, people still read his phillosphy. Shame about the son.
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He was the only emperor to demand that statues of him be seen without a sword in his hand -- he despised violence of all kinds.
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A great philosopher but that does not make a great emperor. He was a good emperor but not equal of Trajan and Antoninus Pius his immediate predecessors.
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Had a nutty son!!
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Great Emperor, finished the war against the germans ( last battle is shown in the movie Gladiator), a thinker as said before, unfortunately his son Commodus was crazy indeed and bad. The last of thr so called time of the 5 good emperors. ( Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius )
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6.

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Diocletian (c. 240? - 305) Report Abuse
Many scholars believe that while Constantine gets all the credit for renewing Rome, it was actually Diocletian who was responsible for saving the Empire after it started to deteriorate from wars, rampant spending and poor rulers.
987 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 14 comments
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Persecuted mass hordes of Christians and other faiths at the time.
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Diocletian was the saviour of the Romans, if he had not stepped in the Empire would have fallen long before he did. Besides, the Great Persecution was largely ignored by most, and it was mostly Galerius anyway.
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The Tetrarchy may have been a temporary solution to the need for the Emperor to be everywhere at the same time but it soon fell into chaos once Diocletian abdicated. It took Constantine I to reunite the empire.
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In spite of his considerable achievements, Diocletian claims that his cabbage farm was one of the greatest. They must have been some amazing cabbages.
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Diocletian may have done a lot to restore the Empire and help it to survive longer than it otherwise would have, but he also did incredible harm to the Empire and Europe in general. In addition to his persecution of the Christians (which was really more Galerius than Diocletian), he solidified trade guilds in such a way that people and their progeny could no longer change professions. He essentially started the proto-serfdom that would define the European economy for the next thousand years, and slow the progress of European innovation incredibly. Boo to Diocletian.
Added 5 years ago by guest, 3 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Most Interesting Rome Emperor for me. And tragic person. One Of the Best Rome Rulers - Diplomats who lived in age when world changed, but not like he wanted. Look to wikipedia, to make the idea about his life. Great man with great ideas!!!
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A great emperor, who brought back stability to the Roman empire, even though the tetrarchy did start to fall apart after he abdicated.
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He was not strong enough to govern the empire alone and had to rely on others to rule. A very poor general who had even lost the battle for the control for the empire, fortunately for Diocletain his rival Carinus was murdered at the moment of his triumph by one of his own. Carinus was quite poor as a general therefore Diocletain was indeed poorer.
Added 5 years ago by guest, -10 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
A monster who killed people because of their religious beliefs. Please don't write nonsense that Constantine did so because its not true STOP DISTORTING HISTORY
Added 5 years ago by guest, -12 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
It's criminal that the guy who basically gave the Roman Empire an extra 100 years still appears on 'Worst Roman Emperor' lists just because he was hard on the Christians - a group aggressively changing Roman society ('paganism' would be made illegal a generation after Constantine). Talk about cultural bias.
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An empire is made up of citizens. And killing those citizens over silly religious matters is a bad move. Also, breaking up the empire is a greatly debatable move. Either way, he doesn't deserve the top 5.
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ehhhh I don't think he should have split the empire. I guess at the time it wasn't a bad idea but in time the two halves began to drift apart the Eastern side to become more Greek and Oriental while the West more Germanic.
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Constantine did too. We are voting on good emperors not good people.
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He killed thousands of innocents in religious persecutions.
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7.

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Vespasian (c. 9 - 79) Report Abuse
Like Augustus and Constantine, Vespasian saved the Empire at a time of great chaos. After the disastrous rule of the Year of the Four Emperors Vespasian's steady hand and no nonsense policies helped save the Empire from financial ruin and set it back on the right track.
986 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 8 comments
Comments:
Should be in the top three. The first Italian, as opposed to Roman, to be Emperor. Also he is the most human and the most likable of all the Emperors. Not his fault that his son and successor Titus died so young.
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Those dates should be (c. 69 - 79) rather than (c. 9 - 79)
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Top 10 for sure. Top 5 seems a little high.
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the republic (while technicaly oligarchy) was so corrupt and dysfunctional that it cuased many civil wars and that eld to dictators like sulla and julius ceaser dictators. Thanks to Augustus and his empire system rome entered a lang period of peace and prosperity kown as pax romania. How could you possible think that the roman republic a better form of government?
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The increased stability and economic gains of his reign should speak for themselves. But he's only a good ruler by the standards of the principate. The republic was a better form of government anyway, since there was little need for military coups.
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Good emperor but not one of the very best.
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Paid for his own history(cough!) PR.
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I agree completely. Vespasian also promoted the keeping of histories by offering financial reward to writers. If anything, he should be higher.
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8.

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Hadrian (c. 76 - 138) Report Abuse
781 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 8 comments
Comments:
hadrian was a great ruler some of you are saying his wal was useless-however, england wasnt reconquered until the fall of the western empirecin 476 he was also a smart person and stupid eddificiers people go to rome to see the pantheon-he mustve done someyhng right pn the religious stiff-all of the emperors until constantine believed roman paganism to be the true religion so t they did meadures to stor christanity besodes, o if the jews didnt wan thejr temple destroyed why did the revolt? top 5
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He was stupid, who would build a ginormous wall thousands of miles away in Britain, During the Byzantine Empire a 12 year old named Theodosian built a wall around the whole city and it stood for thousands of years actually protecting the city of Constantinople.
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To this day we are dealing with the products of his actions, Israel-Palestine, England-Scotland, Romania, etc. He left a legacy of stability for the empire by setting up Antoninus Pius followed by Marcus Aurelius as his successors. Top 5 in my book.
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An extremely talented individual; not only a genuine polymath but a competent soldier and pragmatic administrator. Spent much of his reign touring the empire attending to the provinces. Undertook much building, including the arguable apogee of Roman architecture: the Pantheon in Rome. Bar Kokhba revolt and its repercussions more complex than presented by some. Certainly deserving of the top 10 if not top 5.
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No way , this guy was never fully trusted by trajan, and spent his rule increasing fear and building stupid edifices
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Nope. He did some really insane things like single-handedly starting a war with the Jews by passing restrictive laws and desecrating their temple. The war was long and painful, and cost Rome at least two entire legions.
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thanks for this l v
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good wall
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9.

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Justinian Report Abuse
Technically, an emperor of Byzantium, but that was the successor to Rome, and in his short reign he took Italy back for Rome. If his treasury hadn't been so limited, he most likely could have restored the Roman Empire.
654 points - added 7 years ago by guest - 13 comments
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Despite his flaws (come on, all people have flaws, even Augustus), he was one of the last great Roman Emperors, with later examples including Basil I and II, Alexios I Komnenos, and Michael Palaiologos and his descendant Konstantinos XI Palaiologos Dragases. The fact that people don't recognise the fact that they are Roman Emperors shows how much H. Wolf, that evilly biased historian in Germany, has affected everyone who looks at the Roman Empire in the Medieval Era.
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After the Nika Revolt that left much of Constantinople in ruins, Justinian built the Hagia Sophia, the most magnificent church in Christendom for a thousand years, until its conversion into a Mosque by the Ottomans. This was built in around six years. By contrast, many magnificent Western Cathedrals took decades or centuries to build. However Justinian built so fast, the concrete hadn't set properly, and its original dome collapsed after forty years. In this, we see a good metaphor for Justinian's reign. Any one of his internal reforms, the reclaimation of North Africa, or the restoration of Rome to the Empire would be an achievement worthy of a single man. Doing them all is nothing short of spectacular. However it was done so fast that it couldn't be sustained, and much of Italy was lost after his death. He was a Trajan who didn't have a Hadrian succeed him, determined to properly evaluate what was actually worth keeping. A great man with a mixed record.
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Theoderic the Great was working more as a Practician of Rome than a barbarian overlord. If Justinian allowed the Western provinces to continue on their own, the was a good chance that Africa, Spain, and Italy would reunited on back to the empire on their own.
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According to author "James J. O'Donnell," both wars against the West and East were totally unnecessary, and had disastrous consequences that permanently destroyed any hope of Rome's recovery. Justinian did more harm than good.
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Justinian was a great emperor. Besides the laws, he also expanded the Byzantine Empire. Under his brilliant general Belisarus, he added North Africa,Italy , and Southern Spain to the empire(Belisarius conquered North africa in 538 and helped conquer Italy. Belisarus also dealt with the ever present threat of persia. What mmakes belisrus achievement more amazing is he wasnever trusted fully by justinian and his wife, theadora, and never lead a large army. With their support, he might have reincarnated the roman empire. Justinian also had to deal with 2 devastatibg plagues and a rebellion in Constaintinople, which belisarus smashed. Along with his strong wille wife, justinian rose from a macedonian peaseant to the greatest leader on earth for 40 years.
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The only thing that could qualifiy Justinian for this list was his codification of laws. While a mile-stone and an important accomplishment, it was his only unambiguous triumph. His obsession with monument building and expanding the imperial frontiers through conquest nearly destroyed the empire and took generations to recover from.
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He was as Roman as they came. The last true grand emperor. Big ideas big building s and the last to try to restore the entire empire. May has succeeded if not for the extraordinary events of 535 and the following plague. He also overhauled the laws inventing in a way common law. How Roman is that
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As far as he and the rest of the eastern roman empire saw it, he was a roman emperor. It's just that he never ruled from rome. But, if you check your history books, he did reconquer rome from the ostrogoths.
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Almost succeeded in resurrecting the undivided empire, but failed due to a plague epidemic. Should be much higher.
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Great leader. Not a Roman Emperor, to say that he was is like saying George Washington was one do the great British PMs.
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Perhaps his only lasting accomplishment was his codex of Roman law. The long term effects of his "recovery" of lost territory, especially Itayl, was in the long run ruinously expensive and was a major factor in weakening the Eastern Roman Empire and aided in the loss of Syria, Palestine and Egypt to the Arabs in the 630s/40s.
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hey wow no date NEED IT!!!
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Byzantium , aka Byzantine Empire is the modern name for the eastern roman empire, was very sucesfull like 300 years after the fall of Rome, and could withstand despite many invasions, treason of Republic of Venice and Rise of Islam, until without help from othwe catholic nations collapsed in 1453, unfortunatelly in my opinion, i would like to visit the sucessor of the roman empire. ( stupid people say USA, does not make sense at all)
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10.

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Constatine (c. 250? - 306) Report Abuse
He is best known as the first Christian Emperor, the man who converted Rome to Christianity and convened the Council of Nicaea, the first great council of the Church. However, Constantine is surpassed only by Augustus in political acumen and importance. He saved the collapsing Empire at a time of great strife and thanks to his wise lead it continued on for another thousand years in one form or another.
600 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 21 comments
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In terms of making the Empire stronger, his record is somewhat mixed. If Diocletian's succession plans after his abdication left Civil War likely, Constantine's all but guaranteed it. His economic reforms had long term implications that led to medieval feudalism. However his general influence on world history, beyond the scope of Rome, cannot be denied. And Constantinople remained a significant city for centuries, regardless of whether you think the Medieval Empire can claim to be Roman or not.
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Overrated. He had some deeds on uniting the empire, only to be divided again soon. He made the classical religions of Jupiter, Mars, Apollo vanish from a greater part of the empire, made a monotheism that would soon make enemies of all the other polytheisms just by making them demons.
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Vastly over-rated, caused the fall of the western empire by moving the capital
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Great dude
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A brilliant man, he certainly did the right move of moving the capital, for over thousands of years Byzantine stood as the richest and most powerful Empire in the world. Though I think the converting to Christianity was really good, I don't think that the rule of "if you come to this church you can continue to commemorate other religions" for example Celtic in Ireland many went to this church but continued to kill people in Stone henge a sacrifice to their gods
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One of the biggest "killers" of the classic Antique culture. HOW THE WORLD LOOKS TODAY, IF THE PAGAN RELIGION OF THE DIOCLETIAN AND IULIANUS WAS WON OVER CHRISTIANITY? HOW MANY WARS AND BLOOD AND DEATH FOR THE CHRIST! People are blind and dumm to adore christianity. Why christianity? Because nothing better exists? Christianity has all that long time monopol and is it right? I think that it is sad and tyranny, Antique culture was much more tollerant that all Middleage Era.
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the importance of Rome as a capital had been taken over by other cities. None of the Emperors resided there anymore. Constantine did what Julius Caesar had planned centuries earlier.
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Really!!?!?!?! He Put Rome in Peril by moving the Capital of the Empire
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The Greatest Roman Emperor, superb general, clever statesman, just ruler and if necessary ruthless that is stuff which makes Great rulers
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It's not about converting them to Christians it's about showing them love!
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He destroyed classical culture by making chiristianity legal, because it would soon become the official imperial religion making the greek traditional gods forgotten, the gods that shaped classical culture.
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Called "the Great" by the senate for his military achievements not by Christian scholars. He was ruthless to those who betrayed and to survive a Roman Emperor had to be ruthless!!!!
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Very average Emperor, utterly rutheless to friends and enemies alike but a world class opportunist. Made 'the Great' only by later Christian scholars.
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good emperor , horrible person. killed his own sisters family
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Constantine the Great and that says all
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The greatest Emperor !
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Constantine THE GREAT and he was really great. With Caesar he was the greatest general in Roman history!!!!!!!!
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Constatine was a great emperor and should be placed higher. He made Christianity legal and that then led to the major change of Western Civilization.
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He was a great emperor and should be much higher
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Crazy!!!!!!!!!!
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Constantine was born in 272, and his reign was 306-337.
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11.

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Titus (c. 39 - 79) Report Abuse
599 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 4 comments
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It is a great shame that Titus did not last longer than he did. His humanitarian efforts in dealing with the Vesuvius disaster earned him widespread praise, and he showed every sign of equaling or potentially surpassing his father Vespasian's achievements.
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Titus in the top 10....not sure if he needs to be in it but can't be dropped too much longer. Top 20 for sure, probably top 15. Great charm, charisma and did a solid job in his tenure.....but it was only two years. Reminds me of JFK--one of the great "what ifs" of political leadership.
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should be in top 10. found the roman empire in good shape and made it even better
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A very unfortunate guy, his reign was actually only from 79-81. And during that time he dealt with the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and a large fire in Rome very effectively.
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12.

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Claudius(c. 10 BC - 54 AD) Report Abuse
445 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 5 comments
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despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an efficient administrator. Under his reign, the empire underwent it's first major expansion since the reign of Augustus. He also build many new roads, aqueducts, and many more.. He also built the Ostia port, so he could import the wheat from Egypt. Beside the wheat he also imported corn, so he could alleviate the starvation (because under his reign, like what Agabus said, there was a big starvation).
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Was a historian and it would have been nice if his histories had survived. A pity Agrapinna suppressed his will and made Nero emperor
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Probably a little overrated due to Robert Graves and Dereck Jacobi but not a bad emperor and, at times, a good one. Mid teens is about right.
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Wish we had his study of the Etruscan language today!!!
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Claudius surprised everyone by being a decent leader, despite assumptions that he was an idiot. His reign stabilized the Roman world after the short reign of the emperor Caligula. He incorporated Britain into the Empire, was interested in the arts and sciences, and ruled fairly. His one big fault: Nero was his successor.
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13.

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Probus (276-282) Report Abuse
443 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 5 comments
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A capable emperor and commander who ruled during a time of endemic instability and collapse, Probus tried to stem the bleeding with military campaigns, infrastructure renewal, and resettlement efforts. Had he ruled for longer, his pragmatic yet impressive efforts might have just succeeded. A practical man who always tried to keep his soldiers busy when they were not campaigning, Probus attempted to rebuild the devastated provinces by draining fields, building and rebuilding civic and private structures, and resettling Germanic tribes in depopulated areas. Unfortunately, he was not a particularly astute politician and was unloved by his troops because of the heavy workload he saddled them with. Probus was assassinated in 282 AD.
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Because the discussion is about them being great Emperors and leaders and not good husbands you big dummy!
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kept the Germans out
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great emperor and nice person he's not killed his mother and wife
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Umm.. He killed many,many people including his mother and wife!! how is that good?
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14.

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Septimius Severus (c. 145 - 211) Report Abuse
439 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 5 comments
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Really an awful emperor, probably did more to harm the empire than many that we commonly think of as the "worst of the worst". Severus was competent but his policies were catastrophic in ways that were predictable had he cared at all about the people of the empire who weren't currently members of the army. The fact that he was able to implement his policies should probably count against him in the final analysis. Let's look at his track record, he does very well for himself rising through the ranks and generally not getting killed by Commodus or the Antonine Plague which is impressive. Then he wages a savy and successful civil war after Commodus is assassinated, so far so good, could be another Vespasian. Then Severus becomes emperor and all the bad comes to the surface. He isn't interested in running the state and leaves it all to Plautianus who is incredibly corrupt. Severus as a ruler was first, last and only a military strong man, his vision for the empire didn't go past winning battles and giving prizes to the soldiers. This approach to governance which Severus introduced corrupted the army and turned it into the vicious parasite that would ensure the crisis of the third century. Then to top it off he left the empire to Caracalla (and Geta until Caracalla murdered him) whom Gibbon rightly called "the common enemy of mankind".
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Septimius Severus reminds me a lot of Theodosius: Personally competent and stabilising, bequeathed to Rome a dynasty that was anything but stable (sorry Alexander), laid the seeds for future threats to the empire (generous donatives to the army undermining their discipline) and ended his reign with a costly military campaign. He improved Rome's lot, admittedly easy to do after Commodus, but not in a way that lasted for long.
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Septimius Severus was a harsh but effective ruler who reestablished stability following the chaos after the fall of the Antonine Dynasty. While he did a lot of good for the empire, he also set some dangerous precedents. From Severus onward, the majority of emperors came to view military might as the only viable avenue for attaining and maintaining power.
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A severely underated emperor, Septimus severus was the last good emperor who subdued germanic and african tribes for over a hundred years, conquered all of mesopotamia and made the farthest forays into England conquering almost the entire island save for the absolute northernmost tip up to Caledonia. Under his reign, rome was the largest it would ever be. Severus also rejuvanted the weakening legions through reforms but at the same time was one of the only emperors to discharge and reduce the praetorian guard. He increased the value of roman currency which was in a depression due to the horrible fiscal policies of Commodus by increasing the gold silver/content as well as the increase of gold/silver looted from his campaign in mesopotamia, Severus once again made the Roman economy vibrant. Severus was also one of the great factors in the decline of parthia as parthia would never again recover from the conquest of Severus and in doing so secured the eastern front for the rest of the severan dynasty. Severus was also one of the few emperors to have a stable and happy marriage as well as an agreeable social life with the plebs with whom he was very popular. Being a man of spartan tastes, Severus preferred the company of plebs and soldiers to that of the rich aristocracy, which did make Severus on unagreeable terms with the senate. Despite this, Severus made Rome great once again until the death of Alexander Severus which marked the beginning of the crisis of the 3rd century
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An unlucky fellow who did good for his empire!
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15.

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Tiberius (c. 42 BC - 37 AD) Report Abuse
363 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 7 comments
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Not bad was a little inexperienced due to being a last resort over Gaius, Lucius, and Marcellus
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Forget Robert Greaves Tiberius as the second Emperor has a difficult job. THe Principate could have collapsed following the rule of Augustus but Tiberius was a competent administrator and one of Rome's greatest generals conquering much of the former Yugoslavia together with parts of Switzerland and Germany. 56 when he came to the purple Augustus would hardly have chose him above his grand nephew Germanicus if he doubted Tiberius's abilities.
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In all honesty Tiberius is exemplary of the notion of decent rule. While there certainly were personal faults in his character and near the end of his reign laziness, his percieved cruelty was solely on the nobility and for the people (whom never loved Tiberius) his reign made Rome prosper. He ranks in the middle of the Julio-Claudian dynasty as lacking in greatness of military triumphs (Julius and Claudius) or infrastructure reforms (Augustus) but nor did he have as great a madness and savagery as his successors Caligula and Nero.
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At the time he ruled, the Republic was still fresh in the senate's mind, so I think that he suffered a lot of character defamation. The fact was that he left surpluses, and was probably much better ruler than history gives him credit for. Besides imagine what it must have been to follow the footsteps of Augustus. He didn't have the benefit of a long lengthy history of the emperor's that some other emperor's had; so he had to learn from his own mistakes. So the only other guy that had done the job before him was dead, and it wasn't like Augustus wanted to make Tiberius his heir but destiny forced him to. So Tiberius was never as dutifully trained as say Titus, Hadrian, or Marcus Aurelius.
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he didn't rule. That's why.
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he was a better emperor than people give him credit for.
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History paints a bad reputation for Tiberius because of the treason trials but in reality only 50 people where accused of treason and over half where pardoned. In the end, the Roman Empire was well managed under Tiberius with large surpluses in the Treasury.
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16.

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Julian I the Apostate (c. 332 - 363) Report Abuse
350 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 9 comments
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Often Lionized by classicists and those with an anti-Christian agenda, Julian was an eccentric and generally incapable leader whose military misadventures put Rome in serious danger. His brand of paganism has also been criticized for its fanatical and dogmatic overtones, and a large percentage of pagan intellectuals during his reign disliked Julian almost as much as his Christian subjects did.
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Not a bad emperor I wonder what would have happened if that spear hadn't got him
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A great emperor who tried to purge the top heavy Roman bureaucracy of the Empire. Tried to create a permanent tolerance for all religions that couldn't realistically be revoked by a successor. All his actions on religion were mainly to limit the demise of many of the religions of his day. He banned the use of the then holy texts of the Illiad, Odessy, and Aenaid for Christian indocrinization, tried to rebuild the Temple of Solomon, and reversed the exile of all the dissident Christian priests and bishops. Never once did he begin a mass persecution of Christians. As he belived, men must be won over by reason, not force.
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Brave Man, it is pity that he got so little time, that didn't realise his plans.
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I read an interesting book called Julian the Apostate by Adrian Murdoch, and I thought it was fantastic. Julian was a very interesting man.
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His victory at arentoratum- heroism, bad luck that he died when he did, who knows how much he could of done. Great philosopher
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Julian did not reduce his powers and gave the senate no power. He was a dreamer who believed he was Alexander the Great, He was just lucky that his cousin died en route to kick his ass. However the dreamer died stupidly trying to be Alexander, He was not tolerant on religious matters
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Nero was worse or at least just as bad as Caligula.
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In a time of great religious turmoil, Julian attempted to increase the tolerance of all the religious sects: pagans, cults, Christians, etc. He also was one of the few emperors to attempt to drastically reduce his own power, giving much of it back to the senate and the people.
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17.

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Nerva (96-98) Report Abuse
318 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 3 comments
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Nerva, like Antoninus Pius gets more credit than he deserves because of Gibbon's "five good emperors" line. He probably was selected because he was old and didn't have son. But in Nerva's case there was a clear job for him as emperor, keep the empire from falling into civil war in the aftermath of Domician's assassination and pick a good successor. He didn't do much else but he made it possible for Trajan to become emperor and well, see the top of this list.
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A little overrated despite his good intentions. Nerva was forced to take Trajan as his successor since everyone was nervous that a sickly emperor in his mid 60s did not have a son. Nerva was also a poor administrator and bad with finances. Not a bad emperor by any means but nowhere near as good as is often thought.
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Nerva was not a larger-than-life figure like the greatest emperors, but he was aware of his shortcomings and made smart, pragmatic decisions that kept his rule secure as well as strengthening the empire. Most importantly, he picked the right successor and paved the way for the height of Rome's greatness.
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18.

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Constantius II (337-361) Report Abuse
311 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 4 comments
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Constantius II had one basic goal: never lose an inch of the empire his family led. He was often far better at putting down civil wars than he was at dealing with other powers. Being emperor when he ruled was a thankless job with little respite. I don't think most historians would call Constantius a great emperor but he held the empire together for more than 20 years, even as he wiped out much of his family to secure the thrown. Easily deserves to be in the top half of emperors but top 10-12 seems above his reach.
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Hard to look at judge him due to the religious and familial issues but....not an incompetent ruler by any means. While not as gifted as many of the emperors, he did a solid job for more than two decades.
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It's probably not true, what do you think. I think that Constantius II did not win the battle with Julian, maybe Julian or even his own soldiers kicks the Constantius christian ass!!! :)
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If he lived the Empire would have had no Julian, unfortuantely for the Romans, Constantius died before he could kick Julian's ass
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19.

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gaius julius ceaser Report Abuse
292 points - added 8 years ago by guest - 23 comments
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Caesar often gets a bad rap for his role in bringing about the end of the Roman republic. However, this decadent and thoroughly corrupt body had already long-since ceased to be an effective form of representational government. Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and the various Scipiones had, in effect, already killed the Republic. It just took everybody until the first triumvirate to figure this out. In reality, Caesar was a proud and ruthless egotist, but also personally brave, charismatic, and a vigorous reformer. Most importantly, he appears to have genuinely believed in the credo of the Populares, and his efforts on behalf of Rome's common people and veterans were truly impressive.
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he's just damn amazing even better than alexander the great
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this is dumb julius ceaser is way better then Nero
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he championed the silent minority, hail ceaser
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His first name isn't Gaius romans dropped there first name and made their middle name their first name when they became an adult. another thing he was never an empore he was just dictator for life
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he was the best !!!, not the 32nd!!!!!!!!!!
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The best military leader and he had no choice but to overide the Senate to strenghen Rome. The people were galvanized after his Gallic campaigns but the senate's memory of Sulla was too fresh to let Caesar rule. Why he's tragic
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Julius Caesar saved Rome. He help start Rome change into an Empire. this in turn basically gave Rome a chance to regroup and restart. Julius Caesar should be in the top 20.
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If you include ceasar because he was dictator then Sulla must also be included.
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The Roman Republic was a failure to the needs out of the majorities. The rich patricians were the only ones with access to power, the people depended on the charity of the wealthy. The republic was a noble idea corrupted by the greed of men. Julius Caesar did what had to be done. We look at the Roman republic through our current understanding of a republic.
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Do your research! Julius Caesar did not destroy the Roman Republic! The empire was already crumbling long before he was even born. Some say it was the Punic wars that started the ball rolling, and some say it was the reform brought about by the Gracchi brothers. The republic would have collapsed regardless of Julius' reign.
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not even an emperor on wikipedia it is writen "Dictator Of the Roman Republic"
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wasn't even an emperor
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Never emperor. Doesn't belong on list. Doesn't matter how good a ruler he was.
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He loved the people -- gave money and land to the poor. he was a people's ruler.
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He was declared dictator for life so that would be an emperor by most definitions.
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He was never an emperor. The title emperor came after he was dead.
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he wasn't an emperor so why da heck is he here
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because he never became emperor in the 1st place because he got assinated by the senate
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y isnt there a time period when he ruled??????
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Got what he deserved!! Egotistical, brutal, self seeking and cynical man!! Destroyer of the Roman Republic, leading to all the mad emperors!!!
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too bad he wasn't an emperor
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he was the greatest roman of all time
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20.

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Severus Alexander (c. 208 - 235) Report Abuse
267 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 4 comments
Comments:
Would have done well in peace times but was unfit for the job of beating the sassanids. Whether it was personal cowardice or a complete lack of awareness of what the soldiers in his army wanted and expected of him that caused him to mismanage the war efforts is unclear. Either of them would be enough to downgrade him from a good emperor to one who was at best mediocre.
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Was wise and patient for his age, but did not have the force of personality necessary to reign in the army after 40 years of being pandered to, which was the exact cause of his downfall. Also while resorting to diplomacy first is good, didn't really have a good sense of when it's time to shift to arms.
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The senate loved him because he was a puppet in their hands, his mother ruled behind the scenes.
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The Senate Loved him very much. In that time it wasn't very common. He has a wise rule, but he restored and helpes the empire a lot, but his sucessors only made several mistakes.
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21.

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Constantius Chlorus (293-305) Report Abuse
266 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
The most of human member of the Tetrarchy. A much loved and respected emperor by his subjects.
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22.

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Maximian (285-305) Report Abuse
258 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

23.

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Jovian (363-64) Report Abuse
249 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Becoming Emperor at a time when Rome's enemies have you over a barrel doesn't often do wonders for your reputation. The narrative of his cowardice is wholly undeserved, he just accurately assessed that continuing the war wasn't worth it when it risked destruction of the East's ability to defend itself. He then spent his time trying to solidify the empire. I feel for him, but I'd say it's probably good he bowed out when he did, the reaction to his peace deal just begs for revolts and civil war, and with the mass migrations on the horizon that's the last thing Rome needed.
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Jovian gets a bad rap for being forced to clean up the mess left by Julian's death. While he did not sign the best of treaties, he did escape with his army and had a peace pledge for 30 years. In his eight months wearing the purple, Jovian was able to balance between pagans and Christians. It's telling that, even though he never held court in Constantinople, Jovian did not face a rebellion from the West. It's also telling that there are many rumors about how he died--bad mushrooms to carbon dioxide--but few think he was murdered. Jovian had potential and, despite his short reign, he probably deserves to be in the middle of the pack of Roman emperors.
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24.

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Majorian (457-461) Report Abuse
According to historian Edward Gibbon, Majorian "presents the welcome discovery of a great and heroic character, such as sometimes arise, in a degenerate age, to vindicate the honour of the human species"
246 points - added 5 years ago by guest - 5 comments
Comments:
Very much in the mold of Aurelian, a man dealt a weak hand but played it effectively. Tragically undermined by the political instability though. If given free reign could have halted the decline for at least a few decades.
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The last Western Emperor to actually take the job seriously, Majorian was a vigorous, capable ruler who very nearly succeeded in saving Rome during its twilight. A brilliant military commander, he reconquered most of western Europe. An able ruler, he passed anti-corruption laws and promoted religious tolerance, fiscal reform, senate accountability, and greater gender equality. His murder, at the hands of the kingmaker Ricimer, proved to be the penultimate nail in the coffin for Rome.
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Although history has relegated him to footnote status, Majorian should be recognized as Rome's last true hero and one of history's great what-ifs. Originally brought to power in concert with the manipulations of the kingmaker Ricimer, Majorian was intended to be a puppet. It quickly became clear that he was much more, and the relatively young Western Emperor immediately instituted a series of vigorous reforms and brilliantly successful military campaigns. Rome had twice been sacked within the preceding decades, and the empire was crumbling everywhere the 'barbarians' touched it. Through conquest and treaty, Majorian restored the bulk of Western Europe to Roman rule, and was on his way to do so in Africa until treachery caused his fleet to burn at anchor. On the home front, he embarked upon an ambitious restoration of Rome’s former glory. He passed laws forbidding the demolition of historically important monuments, worked to curb the influence of the church on the state, attempted to increase the birthrate far more gently than Augustus had, ensured the legal enshrining of women's inheritance and succession rights, strengthened the economy and minted new coins, began rebuilding the military as a Roman institution as opposed to a semi-mercenary barbarian army, and tried to restore transparency and accountability to both the senate and civil service. This final effort was a step too far, as the senate had long since ceased to resemble a responsible body. Ricimer, worried that his puppet was no longer dancing to his tune, and the senate, worried that their gravy train was coming to an end, conspired to remove Majorian from power. While heading back to Italy from campaign, the emperor disbanded his army at the Rubicon. He was struck down by Ricimer’s mercenaries, tortured, and beheaded. With him disappeared Rome's last great hope.
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Yes, You are right, i forgot to west part of roman empire. Majorianus was one of the last west roman emperors named to throne by Ricimer. Sorry abut my previous comment!!!
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Majorianus was emperor? After weak Theodosius II (408-450) ruled 450-457 Marcianus and after him Leo I 457-474. Marcianus and Anastasius I (491-518) were two of the best early byzantine (pre Justinianus) emperors.
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25.

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Lucius Verus (161-169) Report Abuse
235 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
He didn't have the personal virtues to be a great emperor, but he at least knew to let competent folk do the job for him.
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It's easy to forget Lucius Verus since his star simply gets eclipsed when compared to Marcus Aurelius. Not an incompetent ruler by any means though probably does not need to break the top 15 either.
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Verus is very Underrated
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26.

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Vitellius (69) Report Abuse
232 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
A largely forgotten emperor who ruled briefly during the year of four emperors, Vitellius was a well-intentioned man who would have made a decent rule during better times. Though best known for his gluttony, he should perhaps be better remembered for the small but important reforms to the army and the civil service that he pushed through during his short reign. No soldier by any stretch of the imagination, Vitellius was in the process of peacefully resigning his office in the face of a challenge from Vespasian when he was taken and executed without due process.
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Nowhere near as bad as is popularly thought. Yes, he was fat. Yes, he was a glutton. I think a lot of his political enemies who wrote histories--looking at you Suetonius--trash the man a bit too much.
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27.

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Galerius Report Abuse
He won a decisive victory against the Persians which lead to a highly favorable peace for Rome.
229 points - added 7 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
One of the true Romans, all for Rome. At the end of his life he canceled all his antichristianity laws and give christians freedom.
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A good military commander who brought some stability to Rome during times of upheaval. However, he is best remembered for his brutal repression and persecution of Christianity, and the lengthy power struggle that he engaged in with his co-emperors and various attempted usurpers.
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If Galerius was monster, that later christians emperors were monsters too, they all discriminated peoples of pagan religions and many of them were killed too. Christianity was mighty monster mafia-like organisation. All the history of christianity is written by blood and lust for might and money. How would Christ like that all? Shame on christians!!!!
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A monster who caused horrible sufferings to thousands just because of religion.
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28.

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Constans (337-50) Report Abuse
215 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
He was pretty good!!
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29.

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Claudius Gothicus (268-270) Report Abuse
214 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Very Famous and Succesful General ruled in very difficult age.
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Conqueror of the Goths ....should be higher
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30.

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Gordian III (238) Report Abuse
210 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Ruling from 238-244, Gordian III was only thirteen years of age at the start of his reign. Unfortunately, he is mainly remembered as a puppet of the senate and his father in law, Timesitheus (head of the praetorian guard). However, the youngest of the Gordians actually showed signs of growing into a very good ruler. Though not a military man, at the age of eighteen, he led his troops into battle against the encroaching Mesopotamians and crushed them at the battle of Resaena. Charismatic, literate, humble, and genuinely good-natured, he was greatly mourned by the Roman people and senate alike upon his mysterious and untimely passing.
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Ruled 238-244
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31.

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Constantine II (317-337) Report Abuse
205 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
He didn't rule for long, and didn't do much we remember in that time. His younger brothers ran circles around him in jockeying for position, and he died in an attempt to force his will on them.
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32.

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Domitian (c. 51 - 96) Report Abuse
191 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 4 comments
Comments:
Ruthless, brutal, and autocratic, but also efficient and effective, Domitian was loved by the common people and loathed by the senate and upper classes. As a result, he suffered significant character defamation in the years after his reign. However, his rule, while repressive and marked by religious and civil persecution, laid the foundations for the coming Pax Romana of the next century.
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Generally despised as a tyrant and for going after Christians but a seriously underrated emperor.
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He was a tyrant and unpopular, but he was effective and ruled the empire well.
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C'mon guys, this guy laid the foundation for the pax romana! He fortified lines of defence in across the rhine,fought succesful border wars, reacted with capable speed, created a stronger currency and was very loved with the military and most of the people, his stupid wife conspired against him to take his life.
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33.

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Valentinian I (364-75) Report Abuse
187 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
Was very good at putting out fires, but his high handed and uncompromising manner started quite a few fires that he then had to put out. A good man to handle a crisis, but needed a more diplomatic attitude when there wasn't a crisis.
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Known as the 'last great western emperor,' Valentinian I was a man of many contradictions. A fierce, bold, and terribly temperamental ruler, he did his best to hold the decaying empire together during its waning days. Marked by his hatred of wealth, the wealthy, and of sophistication in general, Valentinian, at times, could be brutal and repressive. Though seeing himself as a common soldier, the emperor was often rude and high-handed towards those he met with and a poor judge of ability in his administrators. Conversely, he was also noted for his efforts on behalf of the poor and common citizens of the empire, his encouragement and funding for advances in medicine, and his promotion of religious freedom and tolerance. Throughout his reign, Valentinian was a man under a great deal of duress, often exacerbated by his fiery nature. He died of a stroke in 375 AD in modern-day Germany after flying into a rage over what he perceived as rudeness by visiting diplomats from the Quadi tribe.
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Probably the last great western emperor (after Valentinian I only Theodosius I was important but made some mistakes, Constantius III could be great, but ruled only few months and Aetius was really great person and one of those so called "the last Romans", but never ruled like emperor.
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34.

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Otho (69) Report Abuse
171 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Not a great emperor or even a good one but his death was the right thing to do.
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35.

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Caracalla (198-209) Report Abuse
169 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
Remembered by some as the emperor responsible for the construction of the famous baths named after him, Caracalla is also praised by some as the ruler who had the foresight and wisdom to grant full citizenship to all freemen within the Roman Empire. However, this seemingly enlightened act was only undertaken to increase tax revenues after reckless financial policies had devalued the Roman currency. Perhaps the Caracalla's most lasting legacy is as the monster who murdered his brother at what was intended to be a peaceful parley and reconciliation and went on to purge most of his extended family. He is infamous, as well, for the murder of upwards of 20 000 citizens in the city of Alexandria who refused to acknowledge his propaganda regarding the murders. His peace and marriage proposal to the Parthians in 216 was used as an excuse to massacre the guests and bride following the wedding, inspiring the events of the 'Red Wedding' in author George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.' All in all, one Rome's absolute worst emperors.
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Caracalla is one of the worst rome emperors. He thought that he is new Alexander The Great not Iulianus, but whole his military focuses was catastrophy.
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Caracalla was a total psychopath. He was nowhere a good emperor. The only thing of worth he left were the astounding baths in Rome.
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36.

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Carus (282-283) Report Abuse
150 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
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A well-regarded military emperor and top-notch commander who ruled briefly during the late third century, Carus suffered the unique misfortune of being struck and killed by lightning while in his tent on campaign against the Sassanids. At the time, he was enjoying great success and was generally held in high esteem, making his death that much more tragic and assassination rather unlikely. He was succeeded by his sons Carinus and Numerian, granting Rome a brief reprieve and stability during a tumultuous period.
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37.

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Phillip the Arab (244-49) Report Abuse
130 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Viewed by some as a fairly good emperor, Phillip the Arab was also complicit in the assassination of the promising young Gordian III. His lavish celebrations, military campaigns, and fiscal incompetence nearly bankrupted Rome.
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38.

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Elagabalus (c. 204 -222) Report Abuse
130 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 4 comments
Comments:
All prejudices aside, simply not a very good emperor. Elagabalus came to the throne through political maneuverings at the tender age of 14. During his reign, he caused religious upheaval by installing an Eastern Sun God at the head of the Roman pantheon and making himself the high priest. Many contemporary sources describe him as a transsexual, which was not offensive in and of itself. However, his wildly exhibitionist displays (and indulgent and childish behaviour) caused endless scandal and made a mockery of the office of the princeps. While he is often given credit for being the first emperor to allow women into the senate, this seemingly forward-thinking reform was actually the result of power-brokering on the part of his grandmother, Julia Maesa.
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Partied harder than any other emperor. Only appears on Worst lists thanks to puritans like Gibbon.
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His craziness and cruelty are over rated. Plus he established the cult of Sol Invictus, was nice to Christians, and built the largest temple in Rome. Not a great emperor, in all probability a mad emperor, but realise he's not the worst emperor.
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The glutton - crazy with his food!
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39.

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Gallienus (253-268) Report Abuse
125 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Spent life trying to protect the Empire from its many enemies: The Gallic, Palmyrene, and Sassanid Empires. Succeeded in putting down many rebellions and usurpers. His luck ran out though when he was murdered. Would have loved to see more from him.
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Gallienus must be much more higher. He lived in very complicated era of Rome Empire, had many rivals inside Roman Empire. He did some victories over barbarians even and try to reform army. He stopped killing Christians too. Read about him in Wikipedia!!!
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40.

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Pertinax (93) Report Abuse
122 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 5 comments
Comments:
Pertinax, who actually ruled during the year 193 (the headliner is incorrect), was a former senator and a very highly placed man within the Roman political sphere. Originally a compromise candidate (his advanced age helped as well), he proved to be a harsh and unpopular disciplinarian intent on reforming the senate and machinery of government. Predictably, this got him assassinated.
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Every reason to expect he would have been a good emperor if not cut short by the greed of the praetorians. He was in the process of reforming the excesses of the system, including the rampant corruption among the praetorians. It got him killed.
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Bad year of ruling - 193 is right not 93!
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Pertinax was a very famous man - senator, before he was voted caesar. He ruled three month only, but if he could rule longer, he might has been very good emperor perhaps. Read about him in Wikipedia!!!
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Was a courteous and just ruler and tried to restore Rome back to its former stability after the tyranny of Commodus.
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41.

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Geta (209-211) Report Abuse
110 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
Had similar vices to his brother. His only real plus was his more amiable nature. His murder makes him more sympathetic, but I have no doubt a Geta who strikes first will be remembered much like Caracalla is today.
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poorly he got damnatio memoriae
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Poor Geta. Got murdered before he stood a chance.
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42.

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Nero (54-68) Report Abuse
87 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 10 comments
Comments:
deserved to be 3rd to last with caligula and commodus behind him
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Basically was indulging himself whilst Rome was burning. Horrible excuse for an emperor.
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Truly one of Rome's worst emperors, Nero was an indulged, temperamental, and irresponsible tyrant who did not so much rule Rome as he made it his personal playground. Had he not been emperor, he would have most likely have been seen as a harmless fop, but his ambition, eccentricity, and lack of accountability led to vicious excesses that threw the Roman economy into turmoil. A supreme egotist, he traveled to Greece, mandated that an Olympics be held in his honour, entered said Olympics, and proceeded to collect 1081 Gold Medals seeing as nobody dared to upstage the Emperor. Perhaps his only significant positive contribution was the well-executed rebuilding of Rome following the great fire of 64 AD.
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what are you thinking he was the worst roman ever
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Why the hell is he even near the top 30's? He along with Elagabalus were the worst emperors ever!
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When he rebuilt the city after the fire, one third of the land that was destroyed turned into his own large palace.
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He also rebuilt much of the city after the great fire, negotiated peace with Parthia until Trajan broke the treaty and invaded Parthia. And acted in plays,sang, and did poetry for the people. there was a few bad thing's. at the time the Christians weren't to well liked anyway's except by fellow Christians. Id say he would be in the top 15.
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Nero burned Christians to light his dinner parties. Not a nice guy at all!!!
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He killed his own mother and wife!! How the HELL do you call that good?
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Most of the people on this list didn't survive for two years on the throne. Nero ruled over a decade. The bar isn't exactly very high here! duh!!!!
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43.

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Trebonianus Gallus (251-253) Report Abuse
86 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

44.

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Volusianus (251-53) Report Abuse
82 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

45.

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Decius (249-51) Report Abuse
77 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

46.

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Carinus (282-84) Report Abuse
71 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
A difficult emperor to evaluate, given that virtually all of what we know about him has been filtered through the propaganda machine of his successful challenger and successor, Diocletian. When this type of writing was not made up of outright lies, it tended to embellish existing negative character traits. Like his father Carus, Carinus was most likely a military man, noted for his bravery, ruthlessness, and womanizing ways. However, the portrayal of him as one of Rome's absolute worst emperors in completely unreliable and largely false.
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One of the worst emperors
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47.

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Maximinus Thrax (235-238) Report Abuse
68 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
A career soldier with no concept of civic institutions and pretty much zero ability to govern anything outside of a military camp. His solution to most problems was force of arms and he failed even in his strong suit, getting bogged down in a useless siege and getting killed by his own men. He helped create a horrible period of civil war and instability. Absolutely one of the worst emperors of all time.
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Why is Maximinus not at the bottom of the list? He essentially began the Crisis of the Third Century....
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48.

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Pupienus (238) Report Abuse
67 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Best name of any emperor. Ever.
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49.

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Balbinus (238) Report Abuse
57 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

50.

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Galba (68-69) Report Abuse
52 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
In my classes, I'm trying to learn about Galba, I need to know if he was a good guy, or a bad guy. Do you know any sites with information about him? Also, do you know why this is asking me to "Do the math"
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Galba was extremely strict and would not compromise with anybody. This ultimately lead to his downfall. He is said to have been "the best emperor ever, if he wasn't emperor."
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Extremely overrated. Incompetent and a tyrant who is whitewashed by modern historians who find virtue in his rule.
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51.

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Aemilianus (253) Report Abuse
50 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

52.

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Gordian II (238) Report Abuse
47 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
He and his father died too soon to rate how good he was, probably bad enough to get them killed that soon.
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53.

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Gordian I (238) Report Abuse
47 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

54.

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Florianus (276) Report Abuse
46 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

55.

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Marcus Claudius Tacitus (276) Report Abuse
44 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

56.

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Heraclius Report Abuse
While technically an Eastern Roman Emperor who ruled over a century after the fall of the West, it is said that if the Arab invasions had not occured during his reign, he would have been remembered as the greatest Roman general since Caesar. He launched a series of reforms that would decrease corruption in the state, reorganized the military into a more effficient form, and began the promotion of a compromise doctrine of Chrstianity called Monothelitism. His greatest accompishment however would be the recovery of the majority of the Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire from years of Sassanid Persian rule that extended from Egypt in the South to only a few miles from Constantinople.He would gain a major victory over the Persians at the Battle of Nineveh in 627 A.D., leading to the end of the intermittent Roman-Sassanid Wars and a defeat the Persians would never recover from. Unfortuately for Heraclius he would be unable to celebrate in his victory over the Persians for long, because only two years after his victory at Nineveh, in 629 the Arab Invasions would begin in full force.
41 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
In a vacuum it's easy to chastise him for losing everything south of Anatolia, but that's a surface reading of the situation. Having to deal with a wholly new force a few years after you and a rival empire concluded a 25 year long war is a challenge for anyone, and I think the defense of the core provinces is to his credit, especially when you consider that the Sassanids were completely conquered by the same force. I doubt any Emperor could have done much more.
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The Theme System he organized after the fall of the ERE's provinces to the Arabs would go on to strengthen the defence of Asia Minor until the dissaster at Manzikert in 1079, over 400 years later. I've always wondered what would have happened to the Roman Empire's continuation in the east if the last Roman-Sassanid War had occured a few decades before it actually did.
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Would have been remembered as the greatest Roman General since Caesar or Trajan if he didn't have the bad luck of those Arab Invasions 2 years after his greatest accpmplishment.
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57.

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Quintillus (270) Report Abuse
41 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

58.

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Herennius Etruscus (251) Report Abuse
39 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

59.

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Alexios I Komnenos Report Abuse
38 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Komnenos was a truly impressive ruler - both a military and political genius in the mold of Aurelian eight hundred years earlier. He was not, however, a Roman, much as the Byzantine rulers may have viewed themselves as Roman Emperors.
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Oversaw the Komnenian Restoration when the Turks were about to sweep the remnants of the Roman Empire awat in the 1000s-1100s.
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60.

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Hostilian (251) Report Abuse
38 points - added 6 years ago by guest -

61.

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Theodosius I (c.347- c.395) Report Abuse
Last Emperor over both the Western and the Eastern halves of the Roman Empire, he would go on to make Christianity the sole official religion of the Empire, and began the major Christian persecutions of the various pagan faiths througout the empire. In his edicts against paganism, he reinforced Constantine I 's ban on pagan sacrifice, forbid divination on pain of death, destroyed various elements of pagan beliefs, and enforced the cooperation of magistrates in the persecution of paganism by criminalizing failure to enforce his persecutions. Among the elements of paganism he extinguished were the Oracle at Delphi, the Removal and disapearance of the Altar of Victory from the Senate (placed there by Augustus after his victory over Mark Antony at Actium), the disolution of the Vestal Virgins and the extingishing of their sacred fire in the Temple of Vesta in Rome, most likely ended the celebration of the Ancient Olympic Games as the last recorded celebration was in 393 during his reign, outlawed forms of divination and magic, destroyed various other pagan sites, issued proscriptions angainst any form of pagan sacrifice or worship even in one's own home, and finally declared all forms of pagan religions, "Religio Illicita" or "Illicit religion". All of this done despite the fact that the majority of the Rome and its various provinces contained at the least a half pagan population. An altogether despicable and fanatical emperor.
33 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
His settlement of the Gothic War laid the seeds for provinces to break away from the West over the next century, and his dynasty was critically undermined by his early death. Personally effective as a stabilising force, but did not build much that would last beyond him.
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The last strong emperor of a united empire. Deserves better. The rise of (sometimes fanatical) Christianity was not under his control.
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62.

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Basil II (976 - 1025) Report Abuse
Regained the Balkans, parts of Anatolia for the dwindling Byzantine Empire. Devoted his life to restoring the once-great Roman Empire. Last effective Byzantine ruler. And because apparently the length of reign matters, he reigned for 49 years. 9 Years longer than "Augustus."
21 points - added 10 months ago by guest -

63.

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Andronikus III (1328-1341) Report Abuse
Though Andronikus was in the late Byzantine Empire, he tryed to rejuvinate the empire though many campaigns against the Bulgars and Turks.
20 points - added 10 months ago by guest -

64.

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Didius Julianus (93) Report Abuse
16 points - added 6 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Actually bought the title of emperor in an auction from the praetorian guard after they murdered Pertinax for threatening their gravy train. He barely ruled for a month before he was crushed by Septimius Severus and the praetorians, having got their money, abandoned him to his fate. Pathetic and absolutely one of the worst emperors, setting some seriously damaging precedents in his short attempt at rule.
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Bad year - 193 is right not 93!
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65.

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ANASTASIUS I (491-518) Report Abuse
One of the best early Byzantine or East-Roman emperor. He left rich imperial treasury for the next emperors Justin I and Justinianus I, of that fact could Justinianus finance all his succesfully wars against Vandalic and Ostrogothic Kingdoms.
15 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

66.

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Sulla Report Abuse
10 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
Had the best of intentions, but the road to hell and all that. All his reforms meant squat when he demonstrated an ambitious general could set the law aside.
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For Gaius Julius Caesar the Roman consul and later dictator who was more famous in military than in politics (I'm not saying if he was bad at it or not, if possible please don't bother commenting about it) to be called an emperor, Sulla being listed as an emperor is not that irrelevant.
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While Sulla was never an Emperor he was one of the most important Dictators and was a rare example of fufilling pledges that his dictatorial powers were temporary. Ended civil war and attempted great constitutional reform but in retirement was assassinated.
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67.

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Licinus (c. 263-c.325) Report Abuse
8 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

68.

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CONSTANTIUS III 423 Report Abuse
After The Fall Of Stilicho (after 410) he was one of the most important man in the Western Rome Empire. He was great general, who put down the usurper Constantinus III and save empire from total chaos. Just that kind of Men needs in these years of decline and loosing territories the Western part of Roman Empire. It was very bad thing for empire, that death came for Constantius III only few months after his coronation of Ruler of West.
7 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
All his greatest achievements were before he was crowned, though had he continued in that streak he'd definitely be a contender for best 5th Century Emperor. However there was also maneuvering that suggests he may have been positioning for war with Constantinople, which would have done the West no favours. That's speculation though, and Emperor or not he was a credit to the empire.
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69.

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5) Probus Report Abuse
Probus did more than Aurelian to restore the Empire, Probus deserves to ranked right behind Aurelian or in Front, i would rank 1) Diocletian 2) Augustus 3) Hadrian 4) Aurelian 5) Probus
4 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

70.

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Honorius II Report Abuse
Honorius was one of the last good roman emperors, he succeeded in pushing the Vandals out of Rome and Italia.
1 point - added 2 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Assuming you mean the son of Theodosius I - there is no Honorius II - he wasn't outright bad, he just left little impact on the world. He started as an eight year old boy and it was left to his court to run things, and for rivals to enter the court and jockey for position, while he didn't do much of anything. In the 5th century west, very few emperors contributed much. Most decisions were taken by generals and advisors.
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71.

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Macrinus (217-218) Report Abuse
1 point - added 6 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
He deposed the despot Caracalla, so he can't be that bad.
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72.

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Postumus (c. ? - 268) Report Abuse
0 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 -

73.

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Valerian (c. 200? - 260) Report Abuse
-2 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 1 comment
Comments:
Why is just Valerianus so down? He only try to do the best for Rome with his son Gallienus. He was cruel to christians but it is not reason to be bad ruler. Catastrophe was his action against Persians for future years of empire, for its existence even. And is wonder that Gallienus was able to save his life for next 8 years and of lost part of empire he made many victories over the german tribes, was great soldier. But unlucky ruler. Maybe when he did not be assassinated in 268, he was able to beat Postumus and put Galia back to empire.
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74.

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Commodus (c. 161 - 192) Report Abuse
-52 points - added 8 years ago by pxc0 - 3 comments
Comments:
He's pretty much the reason the Pax Romana ended. Horrible emperor.
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Thought he was the incarnation of Heracles, randomly killed members of the Senate, participated in Gladiatorial games (gladiators-- despite what we may think-- were either slaves or political prisoners and were not viewed as respectable or heroic), and most importantly drained Rome of its funds and allowed the Praetorian Guards to become unruly. If anything, he was the instigator for the gradual decline of the Empire after the Five Good Emperors.
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How the hell do you end up with a harem of 2000?
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75.

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Caligula Report Abuse
Crazy!!1
-65 points - added 7 years ago by guest - 9 comments
Comments:
Good thing he was left out in the street to rot where dogs and birds ate him ,
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Commodus and Nero were bad, but, this guy... he was down right insane.
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really :D ? ? ? Are you sure :D :D :D Caliga was the WORST ever dears!
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he was a really good emperor before he got sick and became insane
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A horse for a senate EPIC
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is this for real? he made a donkey a member of senate.... INSANE.
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Totally immoral.
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mad as hell maybe played too much chess
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Blame Julius Caesar !!!
Added 6 years ago by guest, -7 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
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