Roman Emperors Essay

1096 words - 5 pages

Goodness is a subjective term, one that tends to represent a person’s righteousness and generous actions. However, when speaking of a good emperor in the Roman Empire, one must also realize that goodness must also relate to how that emperor made the empire better. The five so-called good emperors were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. How were they good? Trajan was the best emperor because he was able to have not only a great relationship with the Roman Senate and people, but also because he was able to make the empire greater, whereas the other emperors were only moderately good because they accomplished only one of the above qualities.

Trajan was ...view middle of the document...

For instance, he was plagued by financial difficulties and was unable to control and influence the Roman army. Moreover, his lack of influence on the Praetorian Guard led them to revolt and him in desperate need to adopt an heir. In terms of relations with the Senate and people, Nerva was a great emperor. He swore that there would no longer have senatorial deaths as long as he was emperor. Moreover, he gained the support of the Roman people by ending the corrupt treason trials and releasing those that had been imprisoned by those trials, as well as granting amnesty to those who had been exiled. Nerva then returned all the properties that Domitian had taken into his possession. He was a champion of the poor because he not only allowed for economic reforms that alleviated the tax burden on the poor but also granted allotments of land to the poor. This generosity, however, proved to be consequential as Nerva was left with a tremendous amount of expenses, thus straining the economy of Rome. Hadrian, like Nerva, was also a moderately good emperor because he had a poor relationship with the Senate and yet he was able to bring some positives to the empire.

For instance, Hadrian was able to establish cities in Egypt and Greece, as well as rebuilding the pantheon and building Trajan’s forum. Moreover, Hadrian contributed ideas and plans to the architects of the buildings. His most important structure, however, was Hadrian’s Wall, which allowed not only for the army to look out for incoming foreign invaders but also was built to display Rome’s power. However, Hadrian abandoned the Trajanic provincial acquisitions of Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Armenia, thus decreasing the amount of territory in the Roman Empire. Moreover, there was unrest in Rome. For instance, rumors of a conspiracy lead to the assassination of four consular and Hadrian incurring a long-term hostility from the senate. Antoninus Pius succeeded Hadrian as emperor and was a moderately good emperor because of his kindness toward the people but also due to the limited resources, which have made it difficult to understand the extent to which Antoninus benefited the empire. Antoninus Pius gained the respect of the people by introducing principles based on humanity and...

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