Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Year of the Five Emperors - 193 AD

The Year of the Five Emperors was 193 AD, in which five men claimed the title of Roman emperor: Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus, and Septimius Severus. The year was a period of civil war when multiple rulers vied to be Caesar. The unrest began with the murder of Commodus on New Year's Eve 192 AD.

Didius Julianus
Pertinax was named emperor, but he was opposed by the Praetorian Guard when he attempted to initiate reforms and was killed after 3 months. Didius Julianus purchased the title from the Praetorian Guard. His winning bid was 25,000 sestertii per guard, a huge sum. Didius Julianus failed to deliver this remuneration, and was powerless as rebellions flared up from generals in the provinces. He was ousted by Septimius Severus and executed on June 1.
Severus was declared Caesar by the Senate, but Pescennius Niger declared himself emperor. This started a civil war between Niger and Severus; both gathered troops and fought throughout the empire. Niger eventually lost the civil war near the city of Issus. Decimus Clodius Albinus was a Roman imperial pretender between 193 and 197. He was proclaimed emperor by the legions in Britain and Hispania after the murder of Pertinax in 193, and proclaimed himself emperor again in 196, before his final defeat and execution the following year. After defeating his enemies, Severus was the sole Caesar. It was the start of the Severan dynasty.