The Barracks Emperors

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Definition

The “Barracks Emperors” is a term coined by later historians referring to the Roman emperors who were chosen and supported by the army during the period known as the Crisis of the Third Century (also known as the Imperial Crisis, 235-284 CE). In 235 CE Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235 CE) was assassinated by his troops who then chose their commander Maximinus Thrax (235-238 CE) as ruler. Maximinus became the first of these so-called “barracks emperors” who would continue to rule Rome right through the reign of Carinus (283-285 CE) and who characterize the period of instability in Rome during this period. The Crisis of the Third Century was resolved by Emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE) who addressed the causes of the crisis and secured the future of Rome.

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