Emperors of Rome
Emperor Constantine X

Constantine X  (circa 1006-1067), surnamed Ducas, was Roman emperor of the East from 1059 to 1067. He was a typical representative of the civilian aristocracy. By deliberate neglect of the armed forces he reduced the Byzantine Empire to impotence when it was in mortal danger from Normans, Magyars, Uzes, and, most of all, Seljuk Turks.

His policy made the disaster of Manzikert (1071), where the Seljuks overwhelmingly defeated the Roman army, inevitable. He died in May 1067.

Emperor Petronius Maximus

Flavius Anicius Petronius Maximus became Roman Emperor in 455.

At the age of 19 he was admitted to the council of Honorius, and in 420 held the office of city prefect, becoming consul in 433, and again in 443. After the murder of Valentinian III in 455, Maximus was chosen to succeed him, and married the widowed empress Eudoxia.

She was in league with Genseric the Vandal, who sacked Rome. Maximus was killed.

Emperor Constantius III

Constantius III, a member of a noble Roman family, he became master of the soldiers under the emperor of the West, Honorius.

Constantius distinguished himself in 411 and the years following by overcoming various usurpers in Gaul and forcing the Visigoths to evacuate that region and move on to Spain. The Visigoths also surrendered Galla Placidia, Honorius’ sister, whom they had carried off from the sack of Rome in 410.

Constantius married Placidia in 417. Constantius was virtual ruler of the West and was finally appointed co-emperor by Honorius in February 421, but he died at Ravenna in September of the same year.

Emperor Philip the Arab

Philip the Arab born in Bostra, Arabia in 204 AD. 33rd Emperor of the Roman Empire, reigned from 244-249.

As praetorian prefect during the Persian campaign of Emperor Gordian III, he assisted the assassins of his sovereign and was saluted emperor by the Roman soldiers in 244. He then concluded a disgraceful peace with King Shapur I and returned to Rome, Italy.

After he had defeated the barbarous Carpians in 247, Philip made his 10-year-old son co-ruler as Philip II. In 248, military revolts in the Balkans and in the Orient caused Philip to appoint Gaius Messius Quintus Decius to crush the Balkan rebellion. When Decius, however, had been acclaimed emperor by his troops and then invaded Italy, the Philips took the field against their rival and were slain in battle.

The great domestic event of the reign occurred in 248, when the 1,000 anniversary of Rome’s foundation was celebrated magnificently.

Philip died in Verona, Italy, 249 AD.

Emperor Constantine VIII

Constantine VIII, (960-1028), was Roman emperor of the East from 1025 to 1028. Born in Constantinople, he was the younger brother of Basil II (reigned 976-1025), with whom he nominally served as co-emperor. But during these years he had no influence on policy. He was an old man when he came to be sole ruler, and he proved to be a weak, capricious, and cruel despot. He died at Constantinople on November 12, 1028.

Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus

After the death of Emperor Aurelian, the Roman armies asked the Senate to select the next emperor, and Marcus Claudius Tacitus, an elderly and respected senator, was finally chosen.

His reign was brief (from September 275 to about March 276) but he did win a victory over the Goths in Asia Minor before he was apparently murdered by his own troops at Tyana in Cappadocia. He attempted but failed to reestablish senatorial control over the army.

Emperor Constantius II

Constantius II (317-361 A.D.), Roman emperor.

Flavius Julius Constantius was the second son of Constantine the Great by his wife, Fausta, was born at Sirmium in Illyricum in 317. After the death of Constantine in 337, the Roman Empire was divided among Constantius and his brothers Constantine II and Constans.

Constantius drew the East as his share and for many years was occupied in an inconclusive struggle with the Persians. In the meantime, Constantine II was killed in 340 in a war with Constans, and by 350 the latter had been overthrown by Magnentius, one of his generals. After three years of warfare in Italy and Gaul Magnentius was defeated by Constantius, who then became sole emperor (353).

In his efforts to gain the West, Constantius had appointed his cousin Gallus as caesar (junior emperor) in the East. But Gallus proved unsatisfactory and was executed by Constantius in 354. The latter then returned to the East, leaving his other cousin, Julian (the Apostate), as caesar in the West.

The outbreak of a new Persian war in 359 led Constantius to demand troops in Gaul from Julian. The Gallic soldiers, however, mutinied and proclaimed Julian emperor (360). Before Constantius could confront Julian in battle, he developed a fever at Tarsus, in Cilicia.

Emperor Constantius II died at nearby Mopsucrenae on November 3, 361.

Emperor Constantine VII

Constantine VII (905-956) called Porphyrogenitus, was Roman emperor of the East from 913 to 959. He was born in Constantinople in September 905. The son of Leo VI by his mistress, later fourth wife, Zoe Carbonopsina, Constantine was legitimized by imperial baptism (January 6, 906).

His early life was clouded by sickness and misfortune. From 912 to 944, he was successively under the domination of his uncle, Emperor Alexander, of his mother Zoe, and of the usurper Romanus I Lecapenus, whose daughter Helena he married (May 4, 919). Only in January 945 did Constantine succeed in gaining possession of the throne that was rightfully his. He died in Constantinople, universally regretted, on November 9, 959.

Constantine’s high reputation was won in the realms of literature and the writing of history, and his patronage of all the arts was catholic and beneficent. He became, moreover, in his years of power, an accomplished diplomat. There exist luminating accounts of embassies to or from Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia, and Hungary. He also tried by law to protect the property rights of small landowners and soldiers.

Among the writings with which Constantine was personally concerned is the De thematibus (On the Provinces), a historical and topographical account of the Roman provinces as constituted in his day. More valuable is his account, in the so-called De administrando imperio (compiled 948-952), of the history of the occupants of countries outside the imperial borders; based on information from natives of these countries, this account is surprisingly accurate. His third great work, the so-called De cerimoniis aulae byzantinae, is a minute description of imperial ceremonial, one of the most important documents surviving from the Middle Ages. Constantine also wrote a charming and informative life of his grandfather, Basil I.

His enforced seclusion during the reign of his father-in-law, though bitterly resented by Constantine, gave him leisure for those pursuits that have put mankind forever in his debt.

Emperor Maximinus Thrax

Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus, surnamed Thrax (AD 173-238), Roman Emperor, 235-38.

Originally a Thracian shepherd, he was of gigantic size and enormous physical strength.

Alexander Severus gave him the command of a new legion raised in Pannonia, at the head of which he followed the emperor in his campaign against the Germans on the Rhine. There he induced some of his companions to murder Alexander and his mother, Julia Mamaea.

He was proclaimed emperor; but his cruelty and rapacity, which were the accompaniment of undeniable ability, aroused enemies against him in various parts of the empire.

He was killed by his own soldiers while besieging Aquileia.

Emperor Constantine IX

Constantine IX, (circa 1000-1055), surnamed Monomachus, was Roman emperor of the East from 1042 to 1055. He was the third husband of the empress Zoe, the daughter of Constantine VIII. He was personally spendthrift and dissolute, and accelerated the decline of Roman power that set in after the death of Basil II in 1025.

His throne was shaken by revolt and invasion in 1043 and 1047. And he weakly allowed his patriarch Michael Cerularius to complete the schism with the Catholic Church in 1054. He did, however, encourage education and the arts. But he made no preparation against the imminent perils of the Normans and the Seljuk Turks.

Constantine died in Constantinople on January 11, 1055.