The Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire


Kelly Macquire
by and
published on 18 August 2023

Did you know that the term Five Good Emperors is from the modern era? This video is all about five emperors of the Roman Empire that are collectively known as the good emperors.

The first of the five, Nerva, reigned from 96 to 98 CE, taking the throne after Domitian of the Flavian Dynasty had been assassinated. Trajan reigned from 98 to 117 and was regarded as a great emperor early on. Hadrian became an even more popular emperor than Trajan. Antoninus Pius, who reigned from 138 to 161, found favor with Hadrian early and was married to his niece Faustina the Elder, to whom he was famously devoted. Marcus Aurelius reigned from 161 to 180 and Lucius Verus between 161 and 169, and the two were almost complete opposites in character. Unlike his predecessors, Aurelius chose his son Commodus, his co-ruler, as heir but Commodus proved to be a disappointment, ending the period of the Five Good Emperors of Rome. According to some historians, Commodus’ reign marks the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire as well as it was followed by the chaotic time of the Year of the Five Emperors and, shortly after, the Crisis of the Third Century.



0:00​ Introduction
0:42 The Five Good Emperors of Rome
3:13 Nerva 96 - 98 CE
4:38 Trajan 98 - 117 CE
6:02 Hadrian 117 - 138 CE
7:09 Antoninus Pius 138 - 161 CE
8:14 Marcus Aurelius 161 - 180 CE
10:10 Outro

Visual Chronology of Roman Emperors: Augustus to Constantine
Antoninus Pius
Marcus Aurelius

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You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

World History Encyclopedia

#History #AncientRome #FiveGoodEmperors #romanemperor

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2023, August 18). The Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 18, 2023.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 18 Aug 2023. Web. 23 Jun 2024.