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Damnatio List

Emperors Whose Memory Was Erased by Senate Decree - Damnatio memoriae


Picture of dmanatio of Geta - Septimius Severus Arch With Geta Obliterated

Septimius Severus Arch With Geta Obliterated

Xerones - Creative Commons License From Flickr

Certain emperors were deemed worthy of being stricken from memory. This striking is referred to by the Latin damnatio or damnatio memoriae, which is a modern term. Damnation comes from the Latin word damnatio.

A name that appeared on a monument could be physically crossed out, as can be seen in the triumphal arch for Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons. Likewise, on the Berlin tondo showing the parents Septimius Severus, his wife Julia Domna, and their sons, Geta and Caracalla, Caracalla had his brother's name removed. Statues would be destroyed and names removed from records. Coins would be melted down.

The source for the following chronological list of emperors of Rome whose names were erased by Senate decree is the classic work on inscriptions by Sir John Edwin Sandys -- Latin Epigraphy (1927).

  • Caligula*
  • Nero
  • Domitian
  • Commodus
  • Albinus
  • Geta
  • Macrinus
  • Diadumenianus
  • Helopgabalus/Antoninus
  • Severus Alexander
  • Maximin I
  • Maximus I
  • Gordian III
  • Philip I, II
  • Traianus Decius
  • Herennius Etruscus
  • Hostilianus
  • Aemilianus
  • Gallienus
  • Aurelian
  • Probus
  • Carus
  • Carinus
  • Numerianus
  • Diocletian
  • Maximian I, II (Galerius)
  • Flavius Severus
  • Maximin Daia
  • Maxentius
  • Licinus I
  • Constantine II
  • Constans I
  • Magnentius
  • Maximus II

* Cassius Dio 60.4.5-6 "And yet, when the senate desired to dishonour Gaius [Caligula], he [Claudius] personally prevented the passage of the measure, but on his own responsibility caused all his predecessor's images to disappear by night. 6 Hence the name of Gaius does not occur in the list of emperors whom we mention in our oaths and prayers any more than does that of Tiberius; and yet neither one of them suffered disgrace by official decree."

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