The Nerva-Antonine Dynasty By Charles River Editors
- Narrated by: Elias Anderson
- Length: 3 hrs and 15 mins
- Release date: 02-23-23
The Nerva-Antonine Dynasty By Charles River Editors AudioBook Summary
“The Five Good Emperors,” a reference to the five emperors who ruled the Roman Empire between 96 and 180 CE (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius), was a term first coined by Machiavelli and later adopted and popularized by historian Edward Gibbon, who said that under these men, the Roman Empire “was governed by absolute power under the guidance of wisdom and virtue.”
This period of 84 years is generally regarded as the high point of the Roman Empire, at least after Augustus, but what is uncertain and a matter of ongoing debate is whether the five emperors were personally responsible for the situation and the accompanying prosperity enjoyed throughout the empire at the time, or if they were simply the beneficiaries of the Pax Romana, inaugurated by Augustus in the early part of the 1st century CE. In other words, historians have wondered whether anyone in power during those years would have enjoyed the same rewards.
The description of these rulers as “good” is also a matter of interpretation, with some scholars suggesting they were only “good” in comparison to the preceding emperor (Domitian) and the emperor who followed Marcus Aurelius (Commodus). Both of them were horrible rulers in every aspect, making their near contemporaries look all the better.