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Dates of the Roman Emperors

Timelines and Chronologies of the Rulers of the Roman Empire


Roman History Timeline > Roman Emperors

The period of the Roman Empire lasted for about 500 years before all that was left was the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine period belongs to the Middle Ages. This site focuses on the period before Romulus Augustulus was removed from the imperial throne in A.D. 476. It starts with Julius Caesar's adopted heir, Octavian, better known as Augustus, or Caesar Augustus. Here you will find different lists of Roman emperors from Augustus to Romulus Augustulus, with dates. Some focus on the different dynasties or centuries. Some lists show the relationships between the centuries more visually than others. There is also a list that separates eastern and western rulers.

1. List of Roman Emperors

Prima Porta Augustus at Colosseum
CC Flickr User euthman
This is the basic list of Roman emperors with dates. There are divisions according to dynasty or other grouping and the list does not include all the pretenders. You'll find the Julio-Claudians, Flavians, Severans, tetrarchy emperors, the dynasty of Constantine, and the other emperors not assigned a major dynasty.

2. Table of Late Eastern and Western Emperors

The Byzantine Emperor Honorius, Jean-Paul Laurens (1880).
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
This table shows the emperors of the period after Theodosius in two columns, one for those in control of the western section of the Roman Empire, and those in control of the eastern, centered in Constantinople. The end point of the table is A.D. 476, although the eastern Empire continued.

3. Early Emperors Visual Timeline

Perhaps a bit old-fashioned, this timeline shows the decades of the first century A.D. with the emperors and their dates of rule along the line for each decade. Also see 2nd Century Order of the Emperors timeline, 3rd Century, and 4th century. For the fifth century, see Roman Emperors After Theodosius.

4. Table of the Chaos Emperors

The Humiliation of the Emperor Valerian by the Persian King Sapor by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
This was a period when the emperors were mostly assassinated and one emperor followed the next in rapid succession. The reforms of Diocletian and the tetrarchy put an end to the period of chaos. Here is a table showing the names of many of the emperors, their dates of rule, dates and place of birth, their ages at accession to the imperial throne, and the date and manner of their deaths. For more on this period, please read the relevant section on Brian Campbell's The Romans and Their World.

5. Principate Timeline

The period of the Roman Empire, prior to the A.D. 476 Fall of Rome in the West, is often divided into an earlier period called the Principate and a later period called the Dominate. The Principate ends with the Tetrarchy of Diocletian and starts with Octavian (Augustus), although this timeline for the Principate starts with events leading to the replacement of the Republic with emperors and includes events in Roman history not directly connected with the emperors.

6. Dominate Timeline

Julian the Apostate
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
This timeline follows the preceding one on the Principate. It runs from the tetrarchy period under Diocletian and his co-emperors to the fall of Rome in the West. Events include not only the reigns of the emperors, but some events like persecutions of Christians, ecumenical councils, and battles.

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