The Barracks Emperors

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.

More about: The Barracks Emperors

Timeline

  • 235 CE - 284 CE
    The Crisis of the Third Century in Rome; period of the Barracks Emperors.
  • Mar 235 CE - May 238 CE
    Reign of Roman Emperor Maximinus Thrax.
  • 18 Mar 235 CE
    Assassination of Alexander Severus and his mother, which begins crisis and period of Barracks Emperors.
  • 238 CE - 244 CE
    Reign of Gordian III in Rome.
  • 22 Mar 238 CE - 12 Apr 238 CE
    Reign of Gordian I and Gordian II in Rome.
  • Apr 238 CE - Jul 238 CE
    Reign of Balbinus and Pupienus in Rome.
  • 244 CE - 249 CE
    Reign of Philip the Arab in Rome.
  • 249 CE - 251 CE
    Reign of Decius in Rome.
  • 251 CE
    Reign of Hostilian in Rome.
  • 251 CE - 253 CE
    Reign of Gallus in Rome.
  • 253 CE - 260 CE
    Reign of Roman emperor Valerian with his son Gallienus as co-emperor.
  • 253 CE
    Reign of Aemilianus in Rome.
  • 253 CE - 268 CE
    Reign of Gallienus in Rome.
  • 260 CE - 269 CE
    Postumus rules the "breakaway" Gallic Empire.
  • 268 CE - 270 CE
    Reign of Claudius Gothicus in Rome.
  • c. 270 CE - 272 CE
    Zenobia rules the "breakaway" Palmyrene Empire.
  • Sep 270 CE - c. Sep 275 CE
    Reign of Roman emperor Aurelian.
  • 271 CE - 274 CE
    Tetricus I rules the Gallic Empire until defeated by Aurelian.
  • 275 CE - 276 CE
    Reign of Tacitus in Rome.
  • 276 CE
    Reign of Florianus in Rome.
  • 276 CE - 282 CE
    Reign of Probus in Rome.
  • 282 CE - 283 CE
    Reign of Carus in Rome.
  • 283 CE - 285 CE
    Reign of Numerian and Carinus in Rome.
  • 284 CE - 305 CE
    Reign of Diocletian who resolves the Crisis of the Third Century and eventually divides the Roman Empire for easier management.
Membership