List of Roman emperors


The Roman emperors were the rulers of the Roman Empire dating from the granting of the title of Augustus to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus by the Roman Senate in 27 BC, after major roles played by the populist dictator and military leader Julius Caesar. Augustus maintained a facade of Republican rule, rejecting monarchical titles but calling himself princeps senatus (first man of the council)[1] and princeps civitatis (first citizen of the state). The title of Augustus was conferred on his successors to the imperial position. The style of government instituted by Augustus is called the Principate and continued until reforms by Diocletian. The modern word 'emperor' derives from the title imperator, which was granted by an army to a successful general; during the initial phase of the empire, the title was generally used only by the princeps. For example, Augustus' official name was Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus.

Augustus, the first Roman emperor

The territory under command of the emperor had developed under the period of the Roman Republic as it invaded and occupied much of Europe and portions of northern Africa and western Asia. Under the republic, regions of the empire were ruled by provincial governors answerable to and authorised by the Senate and People of Rome. During the republic, the chief magistrates of Rome were two consuls elected each year; consuls continued to be elected in the imperial period, but their authority was subservient to that of the emperor, and the election was controlled by the emperor.

In the late 3rd century, after the Crisis of the Third Century, Diocletian formalised and embellished the recent manner of imperial rule, establishing the so-called Dominate period of the Roman Empire. This was characterised by the explicit increase of authority in the person of the emperor, and the use of the style dominus noster 'our lord'. The rise of powerful Barbarian tribes along the borders of the empire and the challenge they posed to defense of far-flung borders and unstable imperial succession led Diocletian to divide the administration geographically of the Empire in 286 with a co-Augustus.

In 313, Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, issued the Edict of Milan along with Licinius that granted freedom in the worship of Christianity. In 330, he established a second capital in Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. For most of the period from 286 to 480, there was more than one recognised senior emperor, with the division usually based in geographic terms. This division was consistently in place after the death of Theodosius I in 395, which historians have dated as the division between the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire.[2] However, formally the Empire remained a single polity, with separate co-emperors in the separate courts. The fall of the Western Roman Empire, and so the end of a separate list of emperors below, is dated either from the de facto date of 476 when Romulus Augustulus was deposed by the Germanic Herulians led by Odoacer or the de jure date of 480, on the death of Julius Nepos, when Eastern emperor Zeno ended recognition of a separate Western court. In the period that followed, the Empire is usually treated by historians as the Byzantine Empire governed by the Byzantine emperors, although this designation is not used universally, and continues to be a subject of specialist debate today.[3]

In the 7th century reign of Heraclius, the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 saw much of Rome's eastern territory lost to the Sasanian Empire, recovered by Heraclius, and then lost permanently to Arab Muslim conquests after the death of Muhammad and establishment of Islam. The Sasanian Empire was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate, ending the Byzantine-Sasanian Wars.

The line of emperors continued until the death of Constantine XI Palaiologos during the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, when the remaining territories were captured by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed II.[4] The Ottoman dynasty carried on using the title of Caesar of Rome.

Counting all individuals to have possessed the full imperial title, including those who did not technically rule in their own right (e.g. co-emperors or minors during regencies), this list contains 194 emperors and 3 ruling empresses, for a total of 197 monarchs.

Legitimacy


The emperors listed in this article are those generally agreed to have been 'legitimate' emperors, and who appear in published regnal lists.[5][6][7] The word 'legitimate' is used by most authors, but usually without clear definition, perhaps not surprisingly, since the emperorship was itself rather vaguely defined legally. In Augustus' original formulation, the princeps was selected by either the Senate or "the people" of Rome, but quite quickly the legions became an acknowledged stand-in for "the people." A person could be proclaimed as emperor by their troops or by "the mob" in the street, but in theory needed to be confirmed by the Senate. The coercion that frequently resulted was implied in this formulation. Furthermore, a sitting emperor was empowered to name a successor and take him on as apprentice in government and in that case the Senate had no role to play, although it sometimes did when a successor lacked the power to inhibit bids by rival claimants. By the medieval (or Byzantine) period, the very definition of the Senate became vague as well, adding to the complication.[8]

Lists of legitimate emperors are therefore partly influenced by the subjective views of those compiling them, and also partly by historical convention. Many of the 'legitimate' emperors listed here acceded to the position by usurpation, and many 'illegitimate' claimants had a legitimate claim to the position. That said, this list uses the following criteria:

  • Any individual who undisputedly ruled the whole Empire, at some point, is a 'legitimate emperor' (1).
  • Any individual who was nominated as heir or co-emperor by a legitimate emperor (1), and who succeeded to rule in his own right, is a legitimate emperor (2).
  • Where there were multiple claimants, and none were legitimate heirs, the claimant accepted by the Roman Senate as emperor is the legitimate emperor (3), at least during the Principate.

So for instance, Aurelian, though acceding to the throne by usurpation, was the sole and undisputed monarch between 270 and 275, and thus was a legitimate emperor. Gallienus, though not in control of the whole Empire, and plagued by other claimants, was the legitimate heir of (the legitimate emperor) Valerian. Claudius Gothicus, though acceding illegally, and not in control of the whole Empire, was the only claimant accepted by the Senate, and thus, for his reign, was the legitimate emperor. Equally, during the Year of the Four Emperors, all claimants, though not undisputed, were at some point accepted by the Senate and are thus included; conversely, during the Year of the Five Emperors neither Pescennius Niger nor Clodius Albinus were accepted by the Senate, and are thus not included. There are a few examples where individuals were made co-emperor, but never wielded power in their own right (typically the child of an emperor); these emperors are legitimate, but are not included in regnal lists, and in this article are listed together with the senior emperor.

Emperors after 395

After 395, the list of emperors in the East is based on the same general criteria, with the exception that the emperor only had to be in undisputed control of the Eastern part of the empire, or be the legitimate heir of the Eastern emperor.

The situation in the West is more complex. Throughout the final years of the Western Empire (395480) the Eastern emperor was considered the senior emperor, and a Western emperor was only legitimate if recognized as such by the Eastern emperor. Furthermore, after 455 the Western emperor ceased to be a relevant figure and there was sometimes no claimant at all. For the sake of historical completeness, all Western Emperors after 455 are included in this list, even if they were not recognized by the Eastern Empire;[9] some of these technically illegitimate emperors are included in regnal lists, while others are not. For instance, Romulus Augustulus was technically a usurper who ruled only the Italian peninsula and was never legally recognized. However, he was traditionally considered the "last Roman Emperor" by 18th and 19th century western scholars and his overthrow by Odoacer used as the marking point between historical epochs, and as such he is usually included in regnal lists. However, modern scholarship has confirmed that Romulus Augustulus' predecessor, Julius Nepos continued to rule as emperor in the other Western holdings and as a figurehead for Odoacer's rule in Italy until Nepos' death in 480. Since the question of what constitutes an emperor can be ambiguous, and dating the "fall of the Western Empire" arbitrary, this list includes details of both figures.

The Principate


27 BC–68 AD: Julio-Claudian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Augustus
Caesar Augustus
16 January 27 BC – 19 August AD 14 (40 years, 7 months and 3 days) Grandnephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar, became emperor as a result of settlement with the Roman Senate 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14 (aged 75)[10]
Died of natural causes
Tiberius
Tiberius Caesar Augustus
17 September 14 – 16 March 37 (22 years, 5 months and 27 days) Stepson, former son-in-law and adopted son of Augustus 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37 (aged 77)[11]
Died probably of natural causes, possibly murdered at the instigation of Caligula
Caligula
(Gaius)
Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
18 March 37 – 24 January 41 (3 years, 10 months and 6 days) Grandnephew and adoptive grandson of Tiberius, great-grandson of Augustus 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 (aged 28)[12]
Murdered in a conspiracy involving the Praetorian Guard, senators and freedmen
Claudius
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
24 January 41 – 13 October 54 (13 years, 8 months and 19 days) Uncle of Caligula, grandnephew of Augustus, proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard and accepted as such by the Senate 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54 (aged 63)[13]
Probably poisoned by his wife Agrippina, in favour of her son Nero
Nero
Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
13 October 54 – 9 June 68 (13 years, 7 months and 27 days) Grandnephew, stepson, son-in-law and adopted son of Claudius, great-great-grandson of Augustus 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 (aged 30)[14]
Committed suicide after being declared a public enemy by the Senate

68–96: Year of the Four Emperors and Flavian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Galba
Servius Galba Caesar Augustus[15]
8 June 68 – 15 January 69
(7 months and 7 days)
Revolted against Nero and seized power after his suicide 24 December 3 BC – 15 January AD 69 (aged 72)[16]
Murdered by the Praetorian Guard in coup led by Otho
Otho
Marcus Otho Caesar Augustus[15]
15 January – 16 April 69
(3 months and 1 day)
Seized the purple in a coup against Galba 28 April 32 – 16 April 69 (aged 36)
Committed suicide after losing the Battle of Bedriacum to Vitellius[17]
Vitellius
Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus
19 April – 20 December 69
(8 months and 1 day)
Seized power with support of Rhine legions, in opposition to Galba and Otho 24 September 15 – 20/22 December 69 (aged 54)[18]
Tortured and murdered by Vespasian's troops
Vespasian
Caesar Vespasianus Augustus[15]
1 July 69 – 23 June 79
(9 years, 11 months and 22 days)
Seized power with the support of the eastern legions 17 November 9 – 23/24 June 79 (aged 69)
Died of natural causes[19]
Titus
Titus Caesar Vespasianus Augustus[15]
24 June 79 – 13 September 81
(2 years, 2 months and 20 days)
Son of Vespasian 30 December 39 – 13 September 81 (aged 41)
Died of natural causes[20]
Domitian
Caesar Domitianus Augustus[15]
14 September 81 – 18 September 96
(15 years and 4 days)
Brother of Titus and son of Vespasian, was accepted as emperor by the Praetorian Guard and the Senate 24 October 51 – 18 September 96 (aged 44)
Assassinated in a palace conspiracy[21]

96–192: Nerva–Antonine dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Nerva
Nerva Caesar Augustus[15]
18 September 96 – 28 January 98
(1 year, 4 months and 10 days)
Proclaimed emperor after the murder of Domitian. First of the "Five Good Emperors". 8 November 30 – 27/28 January 98 (aged 67)
Died after suffering a stroke[22]
Trajan
Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus[15]
28 January 98 – 11 August 117
(19 years, 6 months and 14 days)
Adopted son and heir of Nerva. His reign marked the geographical peak of the empire. 18 September 53 – 8/11 August 117 (aged 63)
Died of natural causes[23]
Hadrian
Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus[15]
11 August 117 – 10 July 138
(20 years, 10 months and 29 days)
Supposedly adopted by Trajan 24 January 76 – 10 July 138 (aged 62)
Died of natural causes[24]
Antoninus Pius
Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius
10 July 138 – 7 March 161
(22 years, 7 months and 25 days)
Adopted son and heir of Hadrian 19 September 86 – 7 March 161 (aged 74)
Died of natural causes[25]
Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus[26]
7 March 161 – 17 March 180
(19 years and 10 days)
Adopted son and son-in-law of Antoninus Pius. Adoptive brother and co-emperor of Lucius Verus. Last of the "Five Good Emperors". 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 (aged 58)
Died of natural causes (likely the Antonine Plague)[27]
Lucius Verus
Lucius Aurelius Verus
7 March 161 – 23 January 169
(7 years, 10 months and 15 days)
Adopted son and heir of Antoninus Pius and son-in-law of Marcus Aurelius; Co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius until his death 15 December 130 – 23 January 169 (aged 38)
Died of natural causes (Antonine Plague)[28]
Commodus
Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus
17 March 180 – 31 December 192
(12 years, 9 months and 14 days)
Son of Marcus Aurelius, proclaimed co-emperor on 27 November 176 31 August 161 – 31 December 192 (aged 31)
Strangled to death in his bath[29]

193–235: Year of the Five Emperors and Severan dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Pertinax
Publius Helvius Pertinax
31 December 192 – 28 March 193 (2 months and 28 days) Proclaimed emperor after the murder of Commodus 1 August 126 – 28 March 193 (aged 66)
Murdered by the Praetorian Guard[30]
Didius Julianus
Marcus Didius Severus Julianus
28 March – 2 June 193 (2 months and 5 days) Won auction held by the Praetorian Guard for the position of emperor 29 January 137 – 1 June 193 (aged 56)
Executed on orders of the Senate[31]
Septimius Severus
Lucius Septimius Severus Pertinax
9 April 193 – 4 February 211 (17 years, 9 months and 26 days) Proclaimed emperor by the Pannonian legions 11 April 145 – 4 February 211 (aged 65)
Died of natural causes[32]
Geta
Publius Septimius Geta
4 February 211 – 2 February 212 (11 months and 29 days) Son and heir of Septimius Severus, ruled jointly with his brother, Caracalla 7 March 189 – 2 February 212 (aged 22)
Murdered on the orders of Caracalla
Caracalla
(formally Antoninus)
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
4 February 211 – 8 April 217 (6 years, 2 months and 4 days) Son and heir of Septimius Severus, proclaimed emperor on 28 January 198 4 April 188 – 8 April 217 (aged 29)
Murdered by a soldier in a conspiracy possibly involving Macrinus[33]
Macrinus
Marcus Opellius Severus Macrinus
11 April 217 – 8 June 218 (1 year, 1 month and 28 days) Praetorian prefect to Caracalla, whom he possibly conspired to have murdered, and afterwards became himself emperor with consent of the army 164 or 166 – mid-218 (aged approximately 53)
Executed in favor of Elagabalus[34]
Diadumenian
Marcus Opellius Antoninus Diadumenianus
Late May – June 218 Son of Macrinus, named emperor by his father after the eruption of a rebellion in favor of Elagabalus 14 September 208 – June 218 (aged 9)
Caught in flight and executed in favor of Elagabalus[35]
Elagabalus
(formally Antoninus)
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
16 May 218 – 11 March 222 (3 years, 9 months and 23 days) Cousin and alleged illegitimate son of Caracalla, grandnephew of Septimius Severus, proclaimed emperor by the army, in opposition to Macrinus 203 or 204 – 11 March 222 (aged around 18)
Murdered, thrown into the Tiber[36]
Severus Alexander
Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander
13 March 222 – 22 March 235 (13 years and 9 days) Cousin and adopted heir of Elagabalus, grandnephew of Septimius Severus, proclaimed emperor by the troops 1 October 208 – 19/22 March 235 (aged 26)
Lynched by mutinous troops alongside his mother[37]

235–285: Crisis of the Third Century

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Maximinus I "Thrax"
Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus
c. 22 March 235 – c. 24 June 238 (c. 3 years, 3 months and 2 days) Proclaimed emperor by Germanic legions after the murder of Severus Alexander c. 173 – 24 June 238 (aged approximately 65)
Murdered by his men during the siege of Aquileia[38]
Gordian I
Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus
c. March – April 238
(three weeks)
Proclaimed emperor alongside his son, Gordian II, while serving as governor of Africa, in a revolt against Maximinus, and recognized by the Senate Committed suicide upon hearing of the death of his son, Gordian II[39]
Gordian II
Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus
c. March – April 238
(three weeks)
Proclaimed emperor alongside father Gordian I, during revolt in Africa against Maximinus Killed outside Carthage in battle against an army loyal to Maximinus[39]
Pupienus
Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus
c. 22 April – c. 29 July 238 (c. 3 months and 7 days) Proclaimed emperor jointly with Balbinus by the Senate after death of Gordian I and II, in opposition to Maximinus Tortured and murdered by the Praetorian Guard[40]
Balbinus
Decimus Caelius Calvinus Balbinus
c. 22 April – c. 29 July 238 (c. 3 months and 7 days) Proclaimed emperor jointly with Pupienus by the Senate after death of Gordian I and II, in opposition to Maximinus Tortured and murdered by the Praetorian Guard[40]
Gordian III
Marcus Antonius Gordianus
c. 29 July 238 – c. February 244
(512 years)
Grandson of Gordian I, appointed as heir by Pupienus and Balbinus, upon whose deaths he succeeded as emperor 20 January 225 – c. February 244 (aged 19)
Died during campaign against Persia, possibly in a murder plot instigated by his successor, Philip the Arab[41]
Philip I "the Arab"
Marcus Julius Philippus
c. February 244 – c. September 249 (5 years and 7 months) Praetorian prefect to Gordian III, took power after his death Killed at the Battle of Verona against Decius
Philip II "the Younger"
Marcus Julius Severus Philippus
Summer 247 – c. September 249 (2 years) Son of Philip the Arab, named co-emperor in 247 Murdered by the Praetorian Guard[42]
Decius
Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius
c. September 249 – June 251
(1 year and c. 9 months)
Proclaimed emperor by the troops in Moesia, then defeated Philip the Arab in battle c. 201 – June 251 (aged approximately 50)
Killed at the Battle of Abrittus against the Goths[43]
Herennius Etruscus
Quintus Herennius Etruscus Messius Decius
c. June 251 Son of Decius, appointed joint emperor Killed in battle against the Goths alongside his father, Decius[44]
Hostilian
Gaius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus
June – c. November 251
(approximately 5 months)
Son and heir of Decius, accepted as emperor by Trebonianus Gallus Probably died of the plague, possibly killed by Trebonianus Gallus[45]
Trebonianus Gallus
Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus
June 251 – c. August 253 (2 years and 2 months) Proclaimed emperor by the army after Decius's death c. 206 – c. August 253 (aged 47)
Murdered by his own troops, in favour of Aemilian[46]
Volusianus
Gaius Vibius Afinius Gallus Veldumnianus Volusianus
c. August 251 – c. August 253 (2 years) Son of Trebonianus Gallus, appointed joint emperor c. 230 – c. August 253 (aged 23)
Murdered by the soldiers, alongside his father[47]
Aemilian
Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus
c. July – September 253
(2–3 months)
Commander of the army in Moesia, proclaimed emperor by the soldiers after defeating barbarians, and in opposition to Gallus Murdered by his own troops, in favor of Valerian[48]
Valerian
Publius Licinius Valerianus
September 253 – c. June 260
(6 years and c. 9 months)
Army commander in Raetia and Noricum, proclaimed emperor by the legions in opposition to Aemilian Captured at Edessa by the Persian king Shapur I, died in captivity[49]
Gallienus
Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus
September 253 – c. September 268 (15 years) Son of Valerian, appointed joint emperor c. 218 – c. September 268 (aged 50)
Murdered in a conspiracy of army officers, involving his successors Claudius and Aurelian[50]
Saloninus
(Publius Licinius Cornelius) Saloninus Valerianus
January 260 – fall 260 Son of Gallienus, briefly co-emperor Murdered in 260 by the soldiers of Postumus[51]
Claudius II "Gothicus"
Marcus Aurelius Claudius
September 268 – c. April 270[52]
(1 year and c. 7 months)
Victorious general at Battle of Naissus, seized power after Gallienus's death 10 May 214 – 270 (aged 55)
Died of disease, possibly the plague of Cyprian
Quintillus
Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus
c. April–May 270
(17 days or more)
Brother of Claudius Gothicus, proclaimed emperor after his death Committed suicide or killed at the behest of Aurelian[53]
Aurelian
Lucius Domitius Aurelianus
c. May 270 – c. October 275
(5 years and c. 5 months)[54]
Supreme commander of the Roman cavalry, proclaimed emperor by Danube legions after Claudius's death, in opposition to Quintillus 9 September 214 – c. October 275 (aged 61)
Murdered by the troops[55]
Tacitus
Marcus Claudius Tacitus
c. December 275 – c. June 276 (6–7 months) Elected by the Senate to replace Aurelian Died of an illness or killed by his own troops[56]
Florianus
Marcus Annius Florianus
c. June–September 276
(2–3 months)
Likely half-brother of Tacitus, proclaimed emperor by the troops after Tacitus's death Murdered by his own troops, in favour of Probus[57]
Probus
Marcus Aurelius Probus
c. June 276 – c. September 282
(6 years and c. 3 months)[58]
Proclaimed emperor by eastern legions, in opposition to Florianus 19 August 232 – c. September 282 (aged 50)
Murdered by his troops, in favour of Carus[59]
Carus
Marcus Aurelius Carus
c. September 282 – c. July 283
(10 months)[60]
Praetorian prefect to Probus, seized power before or after Probus's murder Died during a campaign against Persia, likely of illness, or possibly killed by lightning[61]
Numerian
Marcus Aurelius Numerianus
c. July 283 – November 284
(1 year and 4 months)
Younger son and heir of Carus, reigned jointly with his older brother, Carinus Died during army march to Europe, probably of disease, possibly assassinated[62]
Carinus
Marcus Aurelius Carinus
283–285
(2 years)
Eldest son of Carus, who appointed him joint emperor Probably died in battle against Diocletian, likely betrayed by his men[63]

The Dominate


284–363: Tetrarchy and Constantinian dynasty

Note: To maintain control and improve administration, various schemes to divide the work of the Roman Emperor by sharing it between individuals were tried after 285. The "Tetrarchy" proclaimed by Diocletian in 293 split the empire into two halves each to be ruled separately by two emperors, a senior "Augustus", and a junior "Caesar".

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Diocletian
Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus
20 November 284 – 1 May 305 (20 years, 5 months and 11 days) Proclaimed emperor by the army after death of Numerian, and defeated Numerian's brother, Carinus, in battle c. 242/245 – 311/312 (aged c. 68)
Abdicated, later died in unclear circumstances[64][65]
Maximian
Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus
1 April 286 – 1 May 305 (19 years and 1 month) Elevated by Diocletian c. 250 – c. July 310 (aged c. 60)
Abdicated with Diocletian, later tried to regain the purple with, and then from, Maxentius, before being finally killed on orders of Constantine I
Galerius
Galerius Valerius Maximianus
1 May 305 – May 311
(6 years)
Appointed Caesar on 1 March 293 by Diocletian, upon whose abdication he succeeded as Augustus c. 258 – May 311 (aged c. 53)
Died of natural causes[66]
Constantius I "Chlorus"
Flavius Valerius Constantius
1 May 305 – 25 July 306 (1 year, 2 months and 24 days) Appointed Caesar to Maximian on 1 March 293, upon whose abdication he succeeded as Augustus c. 250 – 25 July 306 (aged 56)
Died of natural causes[67]
Constantine I "the Great"
Flavius Valerius Constantinus
25 July 306 – 22 May 337 (30 years, 9 months and 27 days) Son of Constantius I, acclaimed by his father's troops. Accepted as Caesar by Galerius in 306, promoted to Augustus in 307 by Maximian, refused demotion to Caesar in 309. 27 February 272 – 22 May 337 (aged 65)
Died of natural causes
Valerius Severus
Flavius Valerius Severus
August 306 – c. April 307
(c. 8 months)
Elevated by Galerius upon Constantius I's death Murdered or forced to commit suicide in September 307 after surrendering to Maximian and Maxentius[68]
Maxentius
Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius
28 October 306 – 28 October 312 (6 years) Son of Maximian, seized power after being initially passed over in the succession Died on 28 October 312 at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, against Constantine I[69]
Licinius
Valerius Licinianus Licinius
11 November 308 – 19 September 324 (15 years, 10 months and 8 days) Elevated by Galerius to replace Severus, in opposition to Maxentius. Defeated Maximinus Daza in a civil war to become sole emperor of the East in 313. c. 265 – 325 (aged around 60)
Defeated, deposed and put to death by Constantine I[70]
Maximinus II "Daza"
Galerius Valerius Maximinus
310 – c. July 313
(3 years)
Named Caesar by his uncle, Galerius, and proclaimed Augustus by his troops in 310 Died c. July 313
Defeated in civil war against Licinius, died shortly afterward[71][72]
Valerius Valens
Aurelius Valerius Valens
October 316 – c. February 317 General under Licinius, elevated in opposition to Constantine Executed in lead-up to a peace settlement between Licinius and Constantine[73][74]
Martinian
Mar(...) Martinianus
July – 19 September 324
(2 months)
Senior bureaucrat under Licinius, elevated in opposition to Constantine Deposed by Constantine and banished to Cappadocia, executed the following year[75]
Constantine II
Flavius Claudius Constantinus
9 September 337 – April 340 (2 years and 7 months) Son and heir of Constantine I, acclaimed by the troops jointly with his brothers, Constantius II and Constans 7 August 316 – April 340 (aged 23)
Killed in war against his brother, Constans[76]
Constantius II
Flavius Julius Constantius
9 September 337 – 3 November 361 (24 years, 1 month and 25 days) Son and heir of Constantine I, acclaimed by the troops jointly with his brothers, Constantine II and Constans 7 August 317 – 3 November 361 (aged 44)
Died of natural causes[76]
Constans I
Flavius Julius Constans
9 September 337 – 18 January 350 (12 years, 4 months and 9 days) Son and heir of Constantine I, acclaimed by the troops jointly with his brothers Constantine II and Constantius II c. 323 – c. January 350 (aged 23)
Overthrown and killed by Magnentius[76]
Vetranio 1 March –

25 December 350 (9 months and 24 days)

General of Constans, proclaimed emperor in opposition to Magnentius and temporarily recognized by Constantius II Compelled to abdicate and retire, died 6 years later
Julian
"the Apostate"
Flavius Claudius Julianus
3 November 361 – 26 June 363 (1 year, 7 months and 23 days) Acclaimed by the Gallic army in early 360, became sole undisputed emperor after the death of his cousin, Constantius II 331 – 26 June 363 (aged 31–32)
Last non-Christian emperor of Rome. Mortally wounded during campaign against Persia.[77]

363–395: from Jovian to Theodosius

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Jovian
Jovianus
27 June 363 – 17 February 364 (7 months and 21 days) Commander of Julian's household guard, acclaimed as emperor by the troops after Julian's death 331 – 17 February 364 (aged 33)
Allegedly died due to inhaling poisonous fumes[78][79]
Valentinian I
Valentinianus
26 February 364 – 17 November 375 (11 years, 8 months and 22 days) Elected by the army to replace Jovian 3 May 321 – 17 November 375 (aged 54)
Died of natural causes
Valens 28 March 364 – 9 August 378 (14 years, 4 months and 12 days) Elevated by his brother, Valentinian, and given charge of the eastern provinces c. 328 – 9 August 378 (aged 49)
Killed at the Battle of Adrianople against the Goths[80]
Gratian
Gratianus
24 August 367 – 25 August 383 (16 years and 1 day) Elevated by his father, Valentinian I 18 April 359 – 25 August 383 (aged 24)
Overthrown and killed by Magnus Maximus[81][82]
Valentinian II
Valentinianus
22 November 375 – 15 May 392 (16 years, 5 months and 23 days) Son of Valentinian I, elevated by Pannonian army, accepted as nominal ruler of Italy and north Africa by Gratian and Valens 371 – 15 May 392 (aged 21)
Found hanged, probably committed suicide
Theodosius I 19 January 379 – 17 January 395 (15 years, 11 months and 29 days) Appointed by Gratian to replace Valens in the east.
Last Roman emperor to personally rule both halves of the empire.
11 January 347 – 17 January 395 (aged 48)
Died of natural causes
Magnus Maximus 383 – 28 August 388 (5 years) Usurped power from Gratian, recognized as ruler of Gaul, Britain, and Hispania by the other emperors Died on 28 August 388 (aged 53)
Executed by Theodosius I in Aquileia after the Battle of the Save
Victor 384 or 387 – August 388 Elevated by his father, Magnus Maximus Executed by count Arbogast at the behest of Theodosius I
Eugenius 22 August 392 – 6 September 394 (2 years and 15 days) Secretary of Valentinian II, elevated by the master of soldiers, Arbogast, after Valentinian's death Died 6 September 394
Defeated at the Battle of the Frigidus and executed by Theodosius

Western emperors


395–455: Theodosian dynasty

Note: Theodosius I was the last person to rule both halves of the Roman Empire, dividing the administration between his sons Arcadius and Honorius on his death.

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Honorius 17 January 395 – 15 August 423 (28 years, 6 months and 29 days) Raised to the purple on 23 January 393 by his father, Theodosius I, after the death of Valentinian II, and became western emperor upon his father's death 9 September 384 – 15 August 423 (aged 38)
Died of edema
Constantine III
Claudius Constantinus
407 – c. September 411
4 years
Usurper who declared himself emperor in the west in 407, recognized as co-emperor by Honorius in 409. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. Died in September 411
Abdicated, executed immediately thereafter
Constantius III 8 February – 2 September 421 (6 months and 25 days) A prominent general and courtier, elevated by his brother-in-law Honorius as a reward for his military successes. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. Died on 2 September 421, of natural causes, shortly after his elevation
Joannes 27 August 423 – May 425 (1 year and 9 months) A senior bureaucrat, proclaimed emperor by the master of soldiers, Castinus, to replace Honorius. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. Died in June or July 425
Defeated by the Eastern Roman army, captured and executed
Valentinian III
Placidus Valentinianus
23 October 425 – 16 March 455 (29 years, 4 months and 21 days) Son of Constantius III and nephew of Honorius, elevated by the Eastern Empire after the death of Joannes 2 July 419 – 16 March 455 (aged 35)
Murdered by retainers of Aetius

455–480: Last western emperors

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Petronius Maximus 17 March – 31 May 455 (2 months and 14 days) A prominent senator, seized power after instigating the death of Valentinian III, whose widow he then forcibly married. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. c. 397 – 31 May 455 (aged 58)
Lynched by a mob in the lead-up to the Vandal sack of Rome
Avitus
Eparchius Avitus
9 July 455 – 17 October 456 (1 year, 3 months and 8 days) A prominent Gallo-Roman aristocrat, proclaimed emperor by the Visigoths after Petronius's death. Recognized by the Roman Senate, but not the Eastern Empire. Died in 457
Deposed by Ricimer and Majorian. Became bishop of Placentia, but died soon after, possibly murdered.
Majorian
Julius Valerius Maiorianus
28 December 457 – 2 August 461 (3 years, 7 months and 5 days) A leading officer in the Italian army, proclaimed emperor by the troops. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. c. 420 – 7 August 461 (aged 41)
Deposed and executed by the master of soldiers, Ricimer
Libius Severus 19 November 461 – 14 November 465 (3 years, 11 months and 26 days) A senator, elevated by the master of soldiers, Ricimer. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. Died on 14 November 465
Anthemius
Procopius Anthemius
12 April 467 – 11 July 472 (5 years, 2 months and 29 days) Son-in-law of eastern emperor Marcian, elevated by Marcian's successor Leo I Died on 11 July 472
Murdered by Ricimer's nephew, Gundobad
Olybrius
Anicius Olybrius
11 July – 2 November 472 (3 months and 22 days) Son-in-law of Valentinian III, elevated by Ricimer in opposition to Anthemius. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. Died of natural causes on 2 November 472, shortly after his elevation
Glycerius 3/5 March 473 – 24 June 474 (1 year and 3 months) Elevated by the patrician Gundobad. Not recognized by the Eastern Empire. Deposed by Julius Nepos, appointed bishop of Salona afterward
Julius Nepos June 474 – 480
Driven out of Italy on 28 August 475 by the master of soldiers, Orestes
Head of the Roman army in Dalmatia, seized power from Glycerius. Recognized by the Eastern Empire. Last claimant to the western imperial office. Continued ruling Dalmatia as a Roman rump state after Odoacer's 476 coup in Italy. Murdered by several of his retainers in 480.
Romulus
("Augustulus")
31 October 475 – 4 September 476 (10 months and 4 days) Appointed by his father, the master of soldiers, Orestes, after the deposition of Nepos. Not recognized outside Italy. Deposed by Odoacer, which effectively ended the Western Empire in Italy. Most likely lived out his life in obscurity on a private villa.

Note: The classical Roman Empire is usually said to have ended with the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, with its continuation in the East referred to by modern scholars as the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire, or the Medieval Roman Empire; the latter two beginning to replace the former in more modern scholarship.

Eastern emperors


395–457: Theodosian dynasty

Note: Theodosius I was the last person to rule both halves of the Roman Empire, dividing the administration between his sons Arcadius and Honorius on his death.

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Arcadius 17 January 395 – 1 May 408 (13 years, 3 months and 14 days) Raised to rank of Augustus by his father, Theodosius I, on 19 January 383, and became senior eastern emperor after his father's death 1 January 377 – 1 May 408 (aged 31)
Theodosius II 1 May 408 – 28 July 450 (42 years, 2 months and 27 days) Son and successor of Arcadius, elevated to rank of Augustus on 10 January 402 10 April 401 – 28 July 450 (aged 49)
Died of injuries suffered during a hunting accident
Marcian
Marcianus
25 August 450 – 27 January 457 (6 years, 5 months and 1 day) Elevated by the master of soldiers, Aspar, and married Theodosius II's sister, Pulcheria, for legitimacy c. 392 – 26 January 457 (aged 65)
Died of gout

457–518: Leonid dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Leo I
"the Great"
7 February 457 – 18 January 474
(16 years, 11 months and 11 days)
Chosen by the army c. 401 – 18 January 474 (aged 73)
Died of dysentery
Leo II
"the Small"
18 January – 10 November 474
(9 months and 23 days)
Grandson of Leo I, crowned on 17 November 473 c. 467 – c. 17 November 474 (aged 7)
Cause unknown, possibly poisoned
Zeno 17 November 474 – 9 April 491
(17 years)
Named co-emperor by his son Leo II on 29 January 474. c. 425 – 9 April 491 (aged 66)
Died of dysentery or epilepsy
Basiliscus 9 January 475 – August 476
(1 year, 7 months)
Seized throne from Zeno Starved to death in Limnae (in Cappadocia) by Zeno
Marcus 9 January 475 – August 476
(1 year, 7 months)
Son of Basiliscus. Starved to death alongside his father, Basiliscus
Anastasius I
"Dicorus"
11 April 491 –9 July 518
(27 years, 2 months and 28 days)
Son-in-law of Leo I c. 430 – 9 July 518 (aged 87)
Died of natural causes

518–602: Justinian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Justin I
Iustinus
10 July 518 – 1 August 527
(9 years and 22 days)
Elected by army Died of natural causes at age 77.
Justinian I "the Great"
Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus
1 April 527 – 14 November 565
(38 years, 7 months and 13 days)
Nephew of Justin I Died of natural causes at age 83.
Justin II
Iustinus
14 November 565 – 5 October 578
(13 years)
Nephew of Justinian I Died of natural causes at age 58.
Suffered dementia
Tiberius II Constantine
Tiberius Constantinus
5 October 578 – 14 August 582
(3 years, 10 months)
Adopted son of Justin II, crowned as Caesar and regent on 7 December 574 14 August 582
(aged 62)
Natural causes
Maurice
Mauricius Tiberius
14 August 582 – 27 November 602
(20 years)
Son-in-law of Tiberius II Executed by Phocas
Theodosius 26 March 590 – 27 November 602
(12 years)
Son of Maurice 4 August 583/585– 602
(aged c. 16–19)
Executed by supporters of Phocas
Phocas 23 November 602 – 5 October 610
(8 years)
Seized throne 547 – 5 October 610
(aged 62–63)
Executed

610–695: Heraclian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Heraclius
(Φλάβιος Ἡράκλειος)
Flavius Heraclius
5 October 610 – 11 February 641
(30 years)
Revolt c. 575 – 11 February 641
(aged 65 or 66)
Natural causes
Constantine III
(Ἡράκλειος Κωνσταντῖνος)
Heraclius Constantinus
11 February – 25 May 641
(3 months)
Son of Heraclius, crowned on 22 January 613 3 May – 24/26 May 641
(aged 28)
Tuberculosis
Heraklonas
(Κωνσταντῖνος Ἡράκλειος)
with
David Tiberius
11 February 641 – September 641
(7 months)
Son of Heraclius, crowned on 4 July 638; his brother Tiberius briefly served as co-emperor. Unknown, but probably before 642
Constans II
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
Heraclius Constantinus
September 641 – 15 July 668
(27 years)
Son of Constantine III. succeeded his uncle Heraklonas after he was deposed as emperor. 7 November 630–15 July 668
(aged 37)
Assassinated
Constantine IV
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
with
Heraclius & Tiberius
September 668 – September 685

659 – 681 (Heraclius & Tiberius)

Oldest son of Constans II, co-emperor since 13 April 654. His brothers Heraclius and Tiberius, co-emperors since 659, served as co-emperors until they were mutilated and deposed by Constantine in 681. 652 – 685
(aged 33)
Dysentery
Justinian II "the Slit-nosed"
(first reign)
(Ἰουστινιανὸς ὁ Ῥινότμητος)
685 – 695 Son of Constantine IV, co-emperor since 681 Exiled to Crimea

695–717: Twenty Years' Anarchy

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Leontios
Λεόντιος Αὔγουστος
695 – 698 Revolt February 706
Executed
Tiberius III Apsimarus
(Τιβέριος Αὔγουστος)
698 – 705 Revolt February 706
Executed
Justinian II
(second reign)
with
Tiberius
August 705 – 4 November 711 Returned on the throne with Bulgar support. Named son Tiberius as co-emperor in 706. 668/669 – 4 November 711
(aged 42)
Killed by the army
Philippikos Bardanes
(Φιλιππικὸς Αὔγουστος)
4 November 711 – 3 June 713 Revolt Died in 713
Anastasius II Artemios
(Ἀναστάσιος Ἀρτέμιος)
4 June 713 – November 715 Bureaucrat and secretary under Philippikos, he was raised to the purple by the soldiers Died in 718 during attempt to regain the throne
Theodosius III
Θεοδόσιος
May 715 – 25 March 717 Chosen by troops Unknown. Became a monk.

717–802: Isaurian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Leo III the Isaurian
(Λέων ὁ Ἴσαυρος)
25 March 717 – 18 June 741 Rebellion c. 685 – June 741 (aged 56)
Died of Edema
Constantine V
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
18 June 741 – 14 September 775 Son of Leo III 14 September 775 (aged 57)
Died of Carbuncle
Artabasdos
(Ἀρτάβασδος)
with
Nikephoros
June 741/742 – 2 November 743 Son-in-law of Leo III. Usurped throne. Proclaimed his son Nikephoros as co-emperor in 741/742
Leo IV the Khazar
(Λέων ὁ Χάζαρος)
14 September 775 – 8 September 780 Son of Constantine V, crowned in 751 750 – 780 (aged 30)
Died of tuberculosis
Constantine VI
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
8 September 780 – 19 August 797 Son of Leo IV, crowned on 14 April 776 771 – 797 (aged 26)
Died after being blinded by his mother
Irene of Athens
(Εἰρήνη)
19 August 797 – 31 October 802 Regent during minority of Constantine VI. Seized throne from son in 797. First Byzantine empress regnant. c. 752 – 9 August 803
(aged 51)

802–813: Nikephorian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Nikephoros I
(Νικηφόρος)
31 October 802 – 26 July 811 Rebellion 750 – 26 July 811
(aged 60–61)
After the Battle of Pliska
Staurakios
(Σταυράκιος)
26 July 811 – 2 October 811 Son of Nikephoros I c. 780 – 11 January 812
(aged ~30)

Died of gangrene

Michael I Rangabe
(Μιχαὴλ Ῥαγγαβέ)
with
Theophylact
(Θεοφύλακτος)
2 October 811 – 11 June 813 Son-in-law of Nikephoros I, appointed his son Theophylact (born c. 793) as co-emperor on 25 December 811 January 11 844
(aged ~74)

Died in a monastery on Prote Island, Theophylact died in a monastery on Plate Island on January 15 849

Leo V the Armenian
(Λέων ὁ Ἀρμενίας)
with
Constantine
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
12 July 813 – 25 December 820 Rebellion, appointed his son Symbatios as co-emperor under the name Constantine on Christmas 813 Murdered by successor's conspirators; Constantine died in exile in monastery on Prote Island at a later date

820–867: Amorian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Michael II the Amorian
(Μιχαὴλ ὁ Ἀμορίου)
25 December 820 – 2 October 829 Chosen after murder of predecessor c. 775 – 2 October 829
(aged ~54)
Theophilos
(Θεόφιλος)
with
Constantine
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
2 October 829 – 20 January 844
c. 834 – 835 (Constantine)
Only son of Michael II and co-emperor from 12 May 821, briefly reigned with his son Constantine for a few months 805 – 20 January 842
(aged 37)

Died after an unknown disease, his son Constantine died in infancy

Michael III the Drunkard
(Μιχαὴλ ὁ Μέθυσος)
20 January 842 – 24 September 867 Son of Theophilos 19 January 840 – 24 September 867
(aged 27)

Assassinated by successor

867–1056: Macedonian dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Basil I the Macedonian
(Βασίλειος ὁ Μακεδών)
with
Constantine
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
24 September 867 – 29 August 886
867 – 3 September 868 (Constantine)
Co-emperor since 26 May 866, full emperor upon death of predecessor. ¿811? – 29 August 886
(aged 75)

Died in a hunting accident

Leo VI the Wise
(Λέων ὁ Σοφός)
29 August 886 – 11 May 912 Son of Basil I (potentially in reality the son of Michael III), co-emperor since 6 January 870. 19 September 886 – 11 May 912
(aged 45)
Alexander
(Ἀλέξανδρος)
11 May 912 – 6 June 913 Son of Basil I, co-emperor since 879. 23 November 870 – 6 June 913 (aged 42)

Died of exhaustion after a game of tzykanion

Constantine VII
(Κωνσταντῖνος)
6 June 913 – 9 November 959 Son of Leo VI, co-emperor since 15 May 908, sole ruler from 27 January 945 17/18 May 905– 9 November 959 (aged 54)

Possibly poisoned by his son Romanos II

Romanos I Lekapenos
(Ῥωμανὸς Λεκαπηνός)
with
Christopher Lekapenos
(Χριστόφορος Λακαπηνός)
and
Stephen Lekapenos
(Στέφανος Λακαπηνός)
and
Constantine Lekapenos
(Κωνσταντίνος Λακαπηνός)
17 December 920 – 16 December 944

20 May 921 – August 931 (Christopher)

924 – 945 (Stephen & Constantine)

Regent for the young Constantine VII, crowned himself senior emperor during Constantine VII's minority. Proclaimed his three sons Christopher, Stephen and Constantine as co-emperors. Was overthrown by Stephen in 944, who briefly ruled as senior emperor (for a few weeks) until he himself was overthrown by Constantine VII. Died as a monk on 15 June 948. Christopher died in August of 931. Both Stephen and Constantine died in exile as monks; Stephen on Easter 963 on Lesbos and Constantine in 946–948 on Samothrace trying to escape exile and reclaim imperial power
Romanos II
(Ῥωμανὸς)
9 November 959 – 15 March 963 Son of Constantine VII 15 March 963
(aged 24–25)

Possibly poisoned

Nikephoros II Phokas
(Νικηφόρος Φωκᾶς)
16 August 963 – 11 December 969 Chosen by the army, acted as senior emperor during the regency of young emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII 11 December 969
(aged 56–57), Constantinople

Assassinated by successor John I Tzimiskes

John I Tzimiskes
(Ἰωάννης Τζιμισκής)
11 December 969 – 10 January 976 Nephew of Nikephoros II Phokas, succeeded as senior emperor and regent for the young emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII Died on 10 January 976 (aged 50–51),

poisoned by Imperial chamberlain Basil Lekapenos

Basil II
"the Bulgar Slayer"

(Βασίλειος ὁ Βουλγαροκτόνος)
10 January 976 – 15 December 1025 Eldest son of Romanos II 958 – 15 December 1025
(aged 67–68)
Constantine VIII Porphyrogenetos
(Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Πορφυρογέννητος)
15 December 1025 – 11 November 1028 Second son of Romanos II, co-emperor since 962. 960 – 11/12 November 1028
(aged 68)
Romanos III Argyros
(Ῥωμανὸς Ἀργυρός)
15 November 1028 – 11 April 1034 Chosen by Constantine VIII to marry his daughter Zoe and succeed him as emperor. 968 – 11 April 1034
(aged 65–66), allegedly murdered
Michael IV the Paphlagonian
(Μιχαὴλ ὁ Παφλαγών)
12 April 1034 – 10 December 1041 Succeeded Romanos III as Zoe's husband and emperor. 1010 – 10 December 1041
(aged 31), died after a long illness.
Michael V Kalaphates
(Μιχαὴλ ὁ Καλαφάτης)
13 December 1041 – 21 April 1042 Nephew and adopted son of Michael IV. 1015 – 24 August, 1042
(aged 27).

Deposed, blinded, castrated and tonsured after attempting to sideline Zoe and her sister Theodora.

Zoe Porphyrogenita
(Ζωὴ ἡ Πορφυρογέννητη)
21 April 1042 – 12 June 1042 Daughter of Constantine VIII. Her three husbands, Romanos III (1028–1034), Michael IV (1034–1041) and Constantine IX (1042–1050) ruled alongside her. She briefly ruled as full "emperor" in 1042. c. 978 – June 1050
(aged 72)
Theodora Porphyrogenita
(Θεοδώρα ἡ Πορφυρογέννητος)
21 April 1042 – 31 August 1056 Younger sister of Zoe, raised to co-empress in 1042. c. 980 – 31 August 1056
(aged 75–76), died after sudden illness.
Constantine IX Monomachos
(Κωνσταντῖνος Μονομάχος)
11 June 1042 – 11 January 1055 Zoe's third husband c. 1000 – 11 January 1055
(aged ~55), died after illness.
Michael VI Bringas
(Μιχαὴλ Βρίγγας)
31 August 1056 – 31 August 1057 Chosen as successor by Empress Theodora on 22 August 1056 Died in 1059, confined to a monastery after having been deposed by his successor.
Isaac I Komnenos
(Ἰσαάκιος Κομνηνός)
8 June 1057 – 22 November 1059 Rebellion Died around 1061 (aged 53) after having voluntarily abdicated.

1059–1081: Doukid dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Constantine X Doukas
(Κωνσταντῖνος Δούκας)
24 November 1059 – 22 May 1067 Chosen successor of Isaac I Komnenos 1006 – 22 May 1067
(aged 61)
Romanos IV Diogenes
(Ῥωμανὸς Διογένης)
1 January 1068 – 24 October 1071 Married to Constantine X's widow and senior emperor as guardian of her sons by Constantine X 1030 – 1072
(aged 42), died after having been deposed, blinded and exiled while in captivity after the Battle of Manzikert
Michael VII Doukas
(Μιχαὴλ Δούκας)
with
Andronikos Doukas
(Ἀνδρόνικος Δούκας)
and
Konstantios Doukas
(Κωνστάντιος Δούκας)
and
Constantine Doukas
(Κωνσταντίνος Δούκας)
22 May 1067 – 31 March 1078

1068 – 1070s (Andronikos)
1060 – 1078 (Konstantios)
1074 – 1078 (Constantine)

Son of Constantine X Doukas and co-emperor since 1059, resigned the throne in 1078. Andronikos died in the 1070s while Konstantios briefly succeeded Michael as senior emperor before being handed over to the usurper Nikephoros III and exiled. Michael's son Constantine was also raised to co-emperor in 1074. 1050 – 1090
Konstantios died in the Battle of Dyrrhachium on 18 October 1081, having been recalled as a general by Alexios I. Constantine was later raised to co-emperor again under Alexios I and died in 1095
Nikephoros III Botaneiates
(Νικηφόρος Βοτανειάτης)
31 March 1078 – 4 April 1081 Rebellion 1001 – 10 December 1081
(aged 80), died after having been deposed and exiled to a monastery

1081–1185: Komnenid dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Alexios I Komnenos
(Ἀλέξιος Κομνηνός)
with
Constantine Doukas
(Κωνσταντίνος Δούκας)
(second co-emperorship)
4 April 1081 – 15 August 1118

1081 – 1087 (Constantine)

Rebellion, nephew of Isaac I Komnenos, appointed Constantine Doukas (a previous co-emperor under Michael VII) as co-emperor in 1081. Replaced Constantine with his own son John II in 1087. 1056 – 15 August 1118
(aged 70)
John II Komnenos
(Ἰωάννης Κομνηνός)
with
Alexios Komnenos
(Ἀλέξιος Κομνηνός)
15 August 1118 – 8 April 1143

1122 – 1142 (Alexios)

Son of Alexios I, co-emperor since 1087, appointed his son Alexios co-emperor in 1122 13 September 1087 – 8 April 1143
(aged 55)

Accidentally cut himself on a poisoned arrow. Alexios died in Attaleia on 2 August 1142 of a fever

Manuel I Komnenos
(Μανουὴλ Κομνηνός)
8 April 1143 – 24 September 1180 Son of John II 28 Nov. 1118 – 24 September 1180
(aged 61)
Alexios II Komnenos
(Ἀλέξιος Κομνηνός)
24 September 1180 – September 1183 Son of Manuel I 14 Sept. 1169 – October 1183
(aged 14)

Deposed and killed by successor

Andronikos I Komnenos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Κομνηνός)
with
John Komnenos
(Ἰωάννης Κομνηνός)
September 1183 – 12 September 1185 Nephew of John II (son of his brother Isaac), uncle of Alexios II, appointed his son John as co-emperor in November 1183 c. 1118 – 12 September 1185
(aged 66–67)

Overthrown and lynched in a popular uprising, John also seized and probably killed

1185–1204: Angelid dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Isaac II Angelos
(Ἰσαάκιος Ἄγγελος)
(first reign)
12 September 1185 – 8 April 1195 Rebellion
Alexios III Angelos
(Ἀλέξιος Ἄγγελος)
8 April 1195 – 17/18 July 1203 Rebellion, elder brother of Isaac II c. 1153 – 1211
(aged 58),
Died in captivity in the Empire of Nicaea
Alexios IV Angelos
(Ἀλέξιος Ἄγγελος)
1 August 1203 – 27/28 January 1204 Raised to the throne by the Fourth Crusade alongside his father Isaac II c. 1182 – 8 February 1204
(aged 21–22)

Strangled by successor

Isaac II Angelos
(Ἰσαάκιος Ἄγγελος)
(second reign)
1 August 1203 – 27/28 January 1204 Restored to the throne by the Fourth Crusade alongside his son Alexios IV September 1156 – 25 January 1204
(aged 47)

Died possibly of shock or poison

Alexios V Doukas "Murtzuphlus"
(Ἀλέξιος Δούκας ὁ Μούρτζουφλος)
5 February 1204 – 12 April 1204 Coup in the Imperial Palace, son-in-law of Alexios III c. 1140 – December 1204
(aged 64)

Captured by crusaders of the newly founded Latin Empire and publicly executed

1204–1261: Laskarid dynasty

Note: Between 1204 and 1261 there was an interregnum when Constantinople was occupied by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade and the Empire was divided into the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus, which were all contenders for rule of the Empire. The Laskarid dynasty of the Empire of Nicaea is considered the legitimate continuation of the Roman Empire because they had the support of the (Orthodox) Patriarch of Constantinople and managed to re-take Constantinople.

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Theodore I Laskaris
(Θεόδωρος Λάσκαρις)
1205 – November 1221 His brother Constantine Laskaris was elected emperor by the citizens of Constantinople on the day the city fell to the Crusaders; he later fled to Nicaea, where Theodore organized the Greek resistance to the Latins. Proclaimed emperor after Constantine's death in 1205, Theodore was crowned only in 1208. c. 1174 – November 1221
(aged 48)
John III Doukas Vatatzes
(Ἰωάννης Δούκας Βατάτζης)
15 December 1221 – 3 November 1254 Son-in-law of Theodore I c. 1192 – 3 November 1254
(aged 62),
Nymphaion
Theodore II Laskaris
(Θεόδωρος Λάσκαρις)
3 November 1254 – 16 August 1258 Son of John III c. 1222 – 18 August 1258
(aged 36),
Magnesia

Epilepsy

John IV Laskaris
(Ἰωάννης Λάσκαρις)
16 August 1258 – 25 December 1261 Son of Theodore II Christmas 1250 – c. 1305
(aged 55)

Blinded and imprisoned by successor in 1261, died in captivity

1261–1453: Palaiologan dynasty

Portrait Name Reign Succession Life details
Michael VIII Palaiologos
(Μιχαὴλ Παλαιολόγος)
1 January 1259 – 11 December 1282 Senior emperor and regent of John IV Laskaris, grandnephew of John III by marriage and great-grandson of Alexios III, his reign in Constantinople began on 15 August 1261 1223 – December 11, 1282
(aged 58)
Andronikos II Palaiologos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Παλαιολόγος)
11 December 1282 – 24 May 1328 Son of Michael VIII, crowned on 1272 25 March 1259 – 13 February 1332
(aged 72)
Michael IX Palaiologos
(Μιχαήλ Παλαιολόγος)
21 May 1295 – 12 October 1320 Son of Andronikos II, reigned alongside him as co-emperor with full imperial style 17 April 1277 – 12 October 1320
(aged 43)
Andronikos III Palaiologos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Παλαιολόγος)
24 May 1328 – 15 June 1341 Son of Michael IX, named co-emperor in 1316 and rival emperor since 1321. Deposed his grandfather Andronikos II in 1328 and reigned as sole emperor 25 March 1297 – 15 June 1341
(aged 44)

Possibly chronic malaria

John V Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Παλαιολόγος)
(first reign)
19 November 1341 – 12 August 1376 Son of Andronikos III Deposed
John VI Kantakouzenos
(Ἰωάννης Καντακουζηνός)
with
Matthew Kantakouzenos
(Ματθαίος Ασάνης Καντακουζηνός)
8 February 1347 – 4 December 1354

1353 – 1357 (Matthew)

Maternal relative of the Palaiologi, declared co-emperor by John V in 1341 and recognized as senior emperor on 21 May 1347 following a civil war. Appointed his son Matthew as co-emperor in 1353 c. 1292 – 15 June 1383
(aged 90 or 91), deposed and in exile as a monk in the Peloponnese, Matthew was defeated in 1357 and later served as the governor of the Morea until his death on the same day as his father
Andronikos IV Palaiologos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Παλαιολόγος)
12 August 1376 – 1 July 1379 Son of John V, co-emperor since 1352, deposed his father John V in 1376 11 April 1348 – 28 June 1385
(aged 37)
John V Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Παλαιολόγος)
(second reign)
1 July 1379 – 14 April 1390 Restored to the throne after overthrowing his son Andronikos IV Deposed
John VII Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Παλαιολόγος)
(first reign)
14 April 1390 – 17 September 1390 Rebellion, son and co-emperor of Andronikos IV, deposed his grandfather John V 1370 – 22 September 1408
(aged 38)
John V Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Παλαιολόγος)
(third reign)
17 September 1390 – 16 February 1391 Restored to the throne after overthrowing his grandson John VII 18 June 1332 – 16 February 1391
(aged 58)
Manuel II Palaiologos
(Μανουὴλ Παλαιολόγος)
with
John VII Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Παλαιολόγος)
and
Andronikos V Palaiologos
(Ἀνδρόνικος Παλαιολόγος)
16 February 1391 – 21 July 1425
1403 – 1408 (John VII)
1403 – 1407 (Andronikos V)
Son of John V, co-emperor since 1373. John VII, who previously usurped the throne, was proclaimed co-emperor in 1403, keeping the title until his death in 1408. John VII also proclaimed his son, Andronikos V, co-emperor but Andronikos died before his father, in 1407. The imperial status of John and Andronikos was purely honorary. 27 June 1350 – 21 July 1425
(aged 75)

John died 22 September 1408 at Thessaloniki, Andronikos died aged 7 on September 24th, 1407.

John VIII Palaiologos
(Ἰωάννης Παλαιολόγος)
21 July 1425 – 31 October 1448
(23 years, 3 months and 10 days)
Son of Manuel II, co-emperor since 1416 and full emperor from 19 January 1421 18 December – 31 October 1448
(aged 55), Constantinople
Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos
(Κωνσταντῖνος Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος)
6 January 1449 – 29 May 1453
(4 years, 4 months and 23 days)
Son of Manuel II 8 February 1405 – May 29, 1453 (aged 48)

Refused to surrender Constantinople to the sultan Mehmed II and died fighting during the final Ottoman attack

See also


Notes


  1. Rubicon. Holland, T. Abacus, 978-0349115634
  2. Chester G. Starr, A History of the Ancient World, Second Edition. Oxford University Press, 1974. pp. 670–678.
  3. Herrin, Judith (2011-03-12). "The Glories of Byzantium". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  4. Asimov, [title?], p. 198.
  5. Lee, pp. 163164.
  6. Goldsworthy, pp. 425440
  7. Breeze & Dobson, pp. 251255
  8. Moss, Henry, The Birth of the Middle Ages Clarendon Press (London) 1935; Folio Society reprint (London) 1998; pp. 24-28, 281-284.
  9. "Roman Emperors After Theodosius I". Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  10. DIR, "Augustus"; Kienast, pp. 61, 63.
  11. Kienast, p. 76; DIR, "Tiberius".
  12. Kienast, p. 85; DIR, "Gaius (Caligula)".
  13. Kienast, p. 90; DIR, "Claudius".
  14. Kienast, pp. 96–97.
  15. Encyclopædia Britannica
  16. Hammond, p. 24; Kienast, p. 102; DIR, "Galba".
  17. Hammond, pp. 24–25; Kienast, p. 105; DIR, "Otho".
  18. Kienast, p. 106; DIR, "Vitellius".
  19. Cooley, p. 490; Kienast, p. 108; DIR, "Vespasian", "Titus".
  20. Hammond, p. 27; Kienast, p. 111; DIR, "Titus".
  21. Hammond, p. 27; Kienast, p. 115; DIR, "Domitian".
  22. Hammond, p. 27; Kienast, p. 120; DIR, "Nerva".
  23. Kienast, p. 122; Hammond, pp. 28, 39; DIR, "Hadrian".
  24. DIR, "Hadrian"; Kienast, p. 28; Hammond, p. 29.
  25. Kienast, p. 134; Hammond, pp. 30–31.
  26. Around this time, 'Caesar' and 'Augustus' start to be regarded less as personal names and more as imperial titles. In particular, 'Caesar' is used to denote the heir-apparent, as opposed to 'Augustus', which indicates the emperor himself. Hammond, pp. 29–31.
  27. Kienast, pp. 137–138; Hammond, p. 32.
  28. Hammond, p. 32.
  29. Hammond, pp. 32–33; Kienast, pp. 147–148; DIR, "Commodus".
  30. Hammond, p. 33; DIR, "Pertinax".
  31. Hammond, p. 33; DIR, "Didius Julianus".
  32. Hammond, p. 34; DIR, "Septimius Severus".
  33. Hammond, pp. 35, 36; DIR, "Caracalla"; Cooley, p. 475.
  34. Kienast, p. 169; DIR, "Macrinus"; Cooley, p. 476.
  35. Hammond, pp. 36–37; Kienast, pp. 170–171; DIR, "Macrinus".
  36. DIR, "Elagabalus"; Kienast, p. 172; Cooley, p. 476.
  37. Cooley, p. 476; DIR, "Alexander Severus".
  38. DIR, "Pupienus and Balbinus".
  39. DIR, 'Gordian I', 'Pupienus and Balbinus'.
  40. DIR, 'Pupienus and Balbinus', 'Gordian III'.
  41. DIR, 'Gordian III'; Kienast, p. 195.
  42. DIR, "Philip the Arab".
  43. DIR, 'Decius'; Kienast, p. 204.
  44. Kienast, p. 206; Peachin, p. 33.
  45. Kienast, p. 207; Peachin, p. 34.
  46. DIR, 'Trebonianus Gallus and Gaius Vibius Volusianus'; Kienast, p. 209.
  47. Kienast, p. 210; Peachin, p. 36.
  48. DIR, 'Aemilius Aemilianus'; Peachin, pp. 36–37.
  49. DIR, 'Valerian and Gallienus'; Peachin, pp. 37–38.
  50. DIR, 'Valerian and Gallienus'; Peachin, pp. 39–40.
  51. Kienast, p. 221.
  52. Stein, pp. 45, 50. Claudius's death has also been dated to c. August, based on evidence from Egyptian coin issues. Weigel in DIR, 'Claudius II Gothicus', wrote that "this view was raised over a century ago and has not generally prevailed". DIR, 'Aurelian', says that literary sources all favor a death date early in the year, but nonetheless dates Claudius's death to September without any explanation.
  53. DIR, 'Quintillus'; Stein, pp. 46, 50.
  54. For the dates, Stein, pp. 46, 50; PLRE I, p. 130. The date of Aurelian's acclamation, variably said to have been May or September 270, presents the same problem as the date of Claudius's death. The literary sources of antiquity say that Aurelian's reign lasted 512 years, matching with the earlier date. Some modern sources (e.g. Peachin, pp. 43–44) argue in favor of September based on Egyptian documents, but, according to Weigel in DIR, "Claudius II Gothicus", these are unreliable. According to Stein, p. 46, the earliest document attesting Aurelian as emperor is dated 25 May.
  55. DIR, 'Aurelian'; Stein, pp. 46, 50; Kienast, p. 234; Peachin, pp. 43–44.
  56. DIR, 'Tacitus', 'Probus'; Watson, pp. 110, 225, 250 (n. 46).
  57. DIR, 'Florian'; Peachin, pp. 46–47.
  58. Chronograph of 354; Eutropius, Breviarium Historiae Romanae 9.17.
  59. DIR, 'Probus'; Peachin, p. 47.
  60. Chronograph of 354
  61. DIR, 'Carus'; Peachin, p. 49; Kienast, p. 258.
  62. DIR, 'Numerian'; Peachin, pp. 49–50; Kienast, p. 260.
  63. DIR, 'Carinus'; Kienast, p. 161.
  64. Barnes, pp. 4, 30–32.
  65. Kienast, pp. 266–267.
  66. PLRE I, pp. 574–575; Cooley, p. 502.
  67. Barnes, p. 4; Kienast, p. 280.
  68. Kienast, p. 290; DIR, "Severus II".
  69. Kienast, p. 291; DIR, "Maxentius".
  70. PLRE I, p. 509; DIR, "Licinius".
  71. RE, vol. IV.2, col. 1986–1990 (Daia).
  72. Barnes, p. 6–7.
  73. Kienast, p. 296.
  74. Barnes, p. 15.
  75. Kienast, p. 297.
  76. Kienast, pp. 310, 312, 314; Barnes, p. 8.
  77. DIR, "Julian the Apostate".
  78. RE, vol. IX.2, cols. 2006–2011 (Iovianus 1).
  79. Kienast, p. 326.
  80. Kienast, p. 330.
  81. RE, vol. VII.2, cols. 1831–1839 (Gratianus 3).
  82. Kienast, p. 333.

References