Part 1 - The Roman Empire – 193AD
Read time 4-5 mins
The Roman Empire The Biggest of Them All?
There are still discussions about the true size of the Roman Empire. One thing that is sure is that at its peak, it controlled vast parts of Europe. Their legacy was absolute as the roads they built over 2,000 years ago still exist today, in England, which helps to illustrate how ahead of their time they were.
How did the Roman Empire Stand the Test of Time?
One of the reasons why The Roman Empire existed for so long was due to their succession of Emperors who ensured that The Roman Empire would maintain their stance in the world and even increase their influence.
However, one of the problems with expanding is that it increases the likelihood of control being lost and also internal conflicts which can shake foundations to its core. This is precisely what happened to The Roman Empire when they experienced the infamous Year of Five Emperors.
Roman Empire - The Year of Five Emperors
This was a bleak period for the Empire as 5 different leaders took the mantle of Emperor with each experiencing their own fortune. It was truly a unique year for one of history’s greatest empires.Examples include:
- Being overthrown
- Assassination by the army
- Losing a duel.
The Year of Five Emperors started off with the assassination of Emperor Commodus, portrayed in the Film ‘Gladiator’. His assassination was inspired by The Emperor's erratic behaviour irking those around him. He was eventually assassinated by a Praetorian guard.
After this event, there was some confusion as to who should succeed Commodus. Eventually, Pertinax was named as the successor who would only last 3 months before he became assassinated. Now, it was at this time, something truly drastic happened.
Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD!
Instead of holding elections, or claimants arguing their case for the throne, it was decided that the title of Emperor would be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The winning bidder was Didius Julianus who had a short reign himself and was killed as he fled Rome.
The idea of auctioning off a seat to one of the most feared empires in the world seems a bit foolhardy but nevertheless, it somewhat solved the problem.