Roman Emperors in Chronological Order

The history of the Roman Empire is a fascinating narrative of power, intrigue, and cultural transformation. At its zenith, the empire was ruled by a succession of emperors, each leaving their mark on this great civilization. In this article, we will explore the list of Roman emperors in order, highlighting the significant periods and contributions of these leaders.

Table of Contents

List of Roman Emperors in Order

list of roman emperors in order

Here is the complete list of Roman emperors in order:

Julio-Claudian Dynasty (27 BC – 68 AD)

  1. Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD)
  2. Tiberius (14 AD – 37 AD)
  3. Caligula (37 AD – 41 AD)
  4. Claudius (41 AD – 54 AD)
  5. Nero (54 AD – 68 AD)

Year of the Four Emperors (68 – 69 AD)

  • Galba (68 AD – 69 AD)
  • Otho (69 AD)
  • Vitellius (69 AD)
  • Vespasian (69 AD – 79 AD)

Flavian Dynasty (69 – 96 AD)

  • Titus (79 AD – 81 AD)
  • Domitian (81 AD – 96 AD)

Five Good Emperors (96 – 180 AD)

  • Nerva (96 AD – 98 AD)
  • Trajan (98 AD – 117 AD)
  • Hadrian (117 AD – 138 AD)
  • Antoninus Pius (138 AD – 161 AD)
  • Marcus Aurelius (161 AD – 180 AD)

Severan Dynasty (193 – 235 AD)

  • Septimius Severus (193 AD – 211 AD)
  • Caracalla (198 AD – 217 AD)
  • Geta (209 AD – 211 AD)

Crisis of the Third Century (235 – 284 AD)

  • Macrinus (217 AD – 218 AD)
  • Elagabalus (218 AD – 222 AD)
  • Severus Alexander (222 AD – 235 AD)
  • Maximinus Thrax (235 AD – 238 AD)
  • Gordian I (238 AD)
  • Gordian II (238 AD)
  • Pupienus (238 AD)
  • Balbinus (238 AD)
  • Gordian III (238 AD – 244 AD)
  • Philip the Arab (244 AD – 249 AD)
  • Decius (249 AD – 251 AD)
  • Herennius Etruscus (251 AD)
  • Hostilian (251 AD)
  • Trebonianus Gallus (251 AD – 253 AD)
  • Volusian (251 AD – 253 AD)
  • Aemilian (253 AD)
  • Valerian (253 AD – 260 AD)
  • Gallienus (253 AD – 268 AD)

Tetrarchy and Constantinian Dynasty (284 – 363 AD)

  • Diocletian (284 AD – 305 AD)
  • Maximian (286 AD – 305 AD)
  • Constantius Chlorus (293 AD – 306 AD)
  • Galerius (305 AD – 311 AD)
  • Severus (305 AD – 307 AD)
  • Maximinus Daia (308 AD – 313 AD)
  • Licinius (308 AD – 324 AD)
  • Constantine the Great (306 AD – 337 AD)
  • Maxentius (306 AD – 312 AD)
  • Maximinus II (309 AD – 313 AD)
  • Constantine II (337 AD – 340 AD)
  • Constans (337 AD – 350 AD)
  • Constantius II (337 AD – 361 AD)

Valentinian Dynasty and Theodosian Dynasty (364 – 455 AD)

  • Julian the Apostate (361 AD – 363 AD)
  • Jovian (363 AD)
  • Valentinian I (364 AD – 375 AD)
  • Valens (364 AD – 378 AD)
  • Gratian (367 AD – 383 AD)
  • Valentinian II (375 AD – 392 AD)
  • Theodosius I (379 AD – 395 AD)

Decline and Fall of the Western Roman Empire (395 – 476 AD)

  • Arcadius (383 AD – 408 AD)
  • Honorius (395 AD – 423 AD)
  • Constantine III (407 AD – 411 AD)
  • Constans II (408 AD)
  • Constantius III (421 AD)
  • Joannes (423 AD)
  • Valentinian III (425 AD – 455 AD)
  • Marcian (450 AD – 457 AD)
  • Petronius Maximus (455 AD)
  • Avitus (455 AD – 456 AD)
  • Majorian (457 AD – 461 AD)
  • Libius Severus (461 AD – 465 AD)
  • Anthemius (467 AD – 472 AD)
  • Olybrius (472 AD)
  • Glycerius (473 AD – 474 AD)
  • Julius Nepos (474 AD – 475 AD)
  • Romulus Augustulus (475 AD – 476 AD)

The Leonid Dynasty (474 – 518 AD):

  • Zeno (474 AD – 491 AD)
  • Basiliscus (475 AD – 476 AD)
  • Anastasius I (491 AD – 518 AD)

The Justinian Dynasty (518 – 711 AD):

  • Justin I (518 AD – 527 AD)
  • Justinian I (527 AD – 565 AD)
  • Justin II (565 AD – 578 AD)
  • Tiberius II Constantine (578 AD – 582 AD)
  • Maurice (582 AD – 602 AD)

The Phocas Era (602 – 610 AD):

  • Phocas (602 AD – 610 AD)

The Heraclian Dynasty (610 – 711 AD):

  • Heraclius (610 AD – 641 AD)
  • Constantine III Heraclius (641 AD)
  • Heraclonas (638 AD – 641 AD)
  • Constans II (641 AD – 668 AD)
  • Constantine IV (668 AD – 685 AD)
  • Justinian II (685 AD – 695 AD)
  • Leontios (695 AD – 698 AD)
  • Tiberius III (698 AD – 705 AD)
  • Justinian II (705 AD – 711 AD) – Second Reign

Transitional Period (711 – 716 AD):

  • Philippikos Bardanes (711 AD – 713 AD)
  • Anastasios II (713 AD – 716 AD)

The Iconoclast Controversy and Revival (717 – 741 AD):

  • Theodosios III (715 AD – 717 AD)
  • Leo III (717 AD – 741 AD)

Iconoclasm and Restoration (741 – 1028 AD)

  • Constantine V (741 AD – 775 AD)
  • Artabasdos (742 AD – 743 AD)
  • Leo IV (775 AD – 780 AD)
  • Constantine VI (780 AD – 797 AD)
  • Irene (797 AD – 802 AD)
  • Nikephoros I (802 AD – 811 AD)
  • Staurakios (811 AD)
  • Michael I (811 AD – 813 AD)
  • Leo V (813 AD)
  • Michael II (820 AD – 829 AD)
  • Theophilos (829 AD – 842 AD)
  • Michael III (842 AD – 867 AD)

Macedonian Dynasty (867 – 1028 AD)

  • Basil I (867 AD – 886 AD)
  • Leo VI (886 AD – 912 AD)
  • Alexander (912 AD – 913 AD)
  • Constantine VII (913 AD – 959 AD)
  • Romanos I (920 AD – 944 AD)
  • Romanos II (959 AD – 963 AD)
  • Nikephoros II (963 AD – 969 AD)
  • John I Tzimiskes (969 AD – 976 AD)
  • Basil II (976 AD – 1025 AD)
  • Constantine VIII (1025 AD – 1028 AD)

The Comnenian Period (1081 – 1185 AD)

  • Romanos III (1028 AD – 1034 AD)
  • Michael IV (1034 AD – 1041 AD)
  • Michael V (1041 AD)
  • Constantine IX (1042 AD – 1055 AD)
  • Theodora (1055 AD – 1056 AD)
  • Michael VI (1056 AD – 1057 AD)
  • Isaac I (1057 AD – 1059 AD)
  • Constantine X (1059 AD – 1067 AD)
  • Romanos IV (1068 AD – 1071 AD)
  • Michael VII (1071 AD – 1078 AD)
  • Nikephoros III (1078 AD)
  • Alexios I (1081 AD – 1118 AD)

The Angelid and Comnenid Dynasties (1118 – 1185 AD)

  • John II (1118 AD – 1143 AD)
  • Manuel I (1143 AD – 1180 AD)
  • Alexios II (1180 AD – 1183 AD)
  • Andronikos I (1183 AD – 1185 AD)

The Angelid Dynasty (1185 – 1204 AD)

  • Isaac II (1185 AD – 1195 AD)
  • Alexios III (1195 AD – 1203 AD)
  • Isaac II (Restored) (1203 AD – 1204 AD)
  • Alexios IV (1203 AD – 1204 AD)
  • Alexios V (1204 AD)

Let’s delve into a detailed explanation of the list of Roman emperors in order, covering key periods and dynasties:

list of roman emperors in order

Julio-Claudian Dynasty (27 BC – 68 AD):

The Julio-Claudian dynasty is a crucial period in Roman history, marking the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. Here’s a detailed overview of this dynasty:

  • Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD): Augustus, formerly known as Octavian, was the first Roman Emperor. He played a pivotal role in the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. Augustus brought about an era of relative stability, known as the Pax Romana, during which the Roman Empire expanded, and its borders were secured.
  • Tiberius (14 AD – 37 AD): Tiberius succeeded Augustus and ruled as the second Roman Emperor. His reign was marked by competent administration but also a growing air of authoritarianism. Tiberius was known for his reclusive lifestyle on the island of Capri.
  • Caligula (37 AD – 41 AD): Caligula, whose real name was Gaius, became the third emperor. His rule was notorious for extravagance, cruelty, and madness. He is remembered for appointing his horse as a consul, among other eccentric actions.
  • Claudius (41 AD – 54 AD): Claudius, a rather unlikely emperor, succeeded Caligula. He was known for his administrative reforms, including the expansion of the Roman Empire. Despite physical disabilities, Claudius proved to be an effective ruler.
  • Nero (54 AD – 68 AD): Nero, who succeeded Claudius, is remembered for his controversial reign. He initially enjoyed popularity but later faced criticism for his extravagant lifestyle, persecution of Christians, and the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. The fire led to widespread destruction, and Nero’s response, including blaming Christians for the fire, remains a subject of historical debate. His reign ended with his suicide in 68 AD.

Year of the Four Emperors (68 – 69 AD)

The “Year of the Four Emperors” (68 – 69 AD) was a turbulent period in Roman history characterized by rapid changes of power and civil conflict. Here is an overview of the emperors who reigned during this chaotic year:

  • Galba (68 AD – 69 AD): Servius Sulpicius Galba was the first emperor of this tumultuous year. He was proclaimed emperor by the legions in Spain after Nero’s suicide. However, his rule was brief and marked by financial difficulties and political turmoil in Rome. Galba was assassinated in January 69 AD.
  • Otho (69 AD): After Galba’s assassination, Otho, a former governor of Lusitania, declared himself emperor. His rule lasted for just a few months. Otho faced a challenge from Vitellius, one of his generals, and in a desperate attempt to avoid civil war, he took his own life in April 69 AD.
  • Vitellius (69 AD): Aulus Vitellius, a general in the Roman legions, emerged as the third emperor in this chaotic year. His short-lived reign was marked by extravagance and gluttony. Vitellius faced a significant challenge from Vespasian’s forces in the East.
  • Vespasian (69 AD – 79 AD): Vespasian was proclaimed emperor by his legions in the East, marking the end of the Year of the Four Emperors. He was a skilled military commander and a more stable ruler than his predecessors. Vespasian’s reign saw the beginning of the Flavian Dynasty, and he is remembered for restoring order and prosperity to the Roman Empire.

Flavian Dynasty (69 – 96 AD)

The Flavian Dynasty, which spanned from 69 AD to 96 AD, marked a period of stability and consolidation following the chaos of the Year of the Four Emperors. The two emperors of this dynasty were Titus and Domitian:

  • Titus (79 AD – 81 AD): Titus was the elder son of Vespasian and became the second emperor of the Flavian Dynasty. His reign is remembered for several significant events. Notably, he oversaw the completion of the Flavian Amphitheatre, which is commonly known as the Colosseum. This grand structure became a symbol of Roman engineering and entertainment.
  • Domitian (81 AD – 96 AD): Domitian, the younger son of Vespasian, succeeded his brother Titus as emperor. His reign was marked by a shift towards more autocratic rule, leading to some tensions within the Roman aristocracy. He sought to centralize power and enhance the emperor’s authority.

Five Good Emperors (96 – 180 AD)

The “Five Good Emperors” is a term used to describe a period of relative stability, wise governance, and prosperity in the Roman Empire. This period, which spanned from 96 AD to 180 AD, was characterized by a succession of emperors who were known for their just rule and effective administration. Here are the emperors of the “Five Good Emperors” era:

  • Nerva (96 AD – 98 AD): Nerva was the first of the “Five Good Emperors.” His reign was marked by a commitment to a policy of adopting capable heirs rather than hereditary succession. Nerva’s rule was relatively short but significant, as he set the stage for a period of political stability and good governance.
  • Trajan (98 AD – 117 AD): Trajan, a skilled military commander, is often regarded as one of the greatest Roman emperors. His reign was marked by territorial expansion and the Roman Empire’s greatest territorial extent.
  • Hadrian (117 AD – 138 AD): Hadrian is remembered for his commitment to consolidation and defense of the empire rather than further expansion. He ordered the construction of Hadrian’s Wall in Britain and is known for his extensive travels throughout the empire.
  • Antoninus Pius (138 AD – 161 AD): Antoninus Pius followed Hadrian and continued the policy of consolidation and stability. He was known for his legal reforms and his role in managing the Roman Empire’s internal affairs with a sense of justice.
  • Marcus Aurelius (161 AD – 180 AD): Marcus Aurelius, a philosopher-emperor, is perhaps the most famous of the “Five Good Emperors.” He ruled during a challenging period marked by conflicts along the empire’s borders, particularly with the Germanic tribes.

Severan Dynasty (193 – 235 AD)

The Severan Dynasty, which reigned from 193 AD to 235 AD, marked a period of significant military activity and political instability within the Roman Empire. Here are the key emperors of the Severan Dynasty:

  • Septimius Severus (193 AD – 211 AD): Septimius Severus emerged as the first emperor of the Severan Dynasty following a period of civil war. His reign was characterized by extensive military campaigns, including conflicts in Parthia and against rival claimants to the throne.
  • Caracalla (198 AD – 217 AD): Caracalla was the elder son of Septimius Severus. His rule was marked by a more autocratic and militaristic approach. He is known for extending Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the empire, a policy known as the Constitutio Antoniniana
  • Geta (209 AD – 211 AD): Geta was the younger son of Septimius Severus and ruled jointly with his brother Caracalla for a brief period. However, tensions and rivalries marked their co-rule. After their father’s death, Caracalla had Geta murdered, solidifying his own rule

Crisis of the Third Century

Here are the emperors who ruled during this crisis:

  • Macrinus: A former Praetorian prefect, became emperor after the assassination of Caracalla. His rule was short-lived.
  • Elagabalus: Elagabalus, known as Heliogabalus, was an unconventional and controversial emperor
  • Severus Alexander: Severus Alexander succeeded Elagabalus and was known for his attempts at reconciliation and negotiation with various factions.
  • Maximinus Thrax: Maximinus Thrax, a military leader, seized power and ruled with a focus on the military.
  • Gordian I: Gordian I and his son, Gordian II, briefly ruled as co-emperors during a rebellion against Maximinus Thrax.
  • Gordian II: He ruled alongside his father, Gordian I, but their joint reign was short.
  • Pupienus: Pupienus, along with Balbinus, was appointed emperor during a time of political turmoil.
  • Balbinus: Balbinus ruled as co-emperor alongside Pupienus for a brief and tumultuous period.
  • Gordian III: The grandson of Gordian I, became emperor at a young age. His reign was marked by military campaigns and tensions with the Sassanid Empire.
  • Philip the Arab: Philip the Arab succeeded Gordian III and is known for his attempts at diplomacy with the Sassanids and his reign during a challenging period.
  • Decius: He initiated a policy of persecution against Christians, making him one of the first emperors to do so.
  • Herennius Etruscus: He ruled briefly as co-emperor alongside his father Decius.
  • Hostilian: Hostilian, another son of Decius, had a brief and uneventful reign.
  • Trebonianus Gallus: Trebonianus Gallus, a former general, became emperor after Decius’ death.
  • Volusian: Volusian ruled alongside Trebonianus Gallus during a period of considerable challenges.
  • Aemilian: Aemilian briefly seized power during a rebellion against Trebonianus Gallus.
  • Valerian: A respected general, became emperor. His reign saw challenges from the Sassanids and his capture by the Persians.
  • Gallienus: The son of Valerian, ruled during a period of crisis and faced external threats and internal challenges.

Tetrarchy and Constantinian Dynasty (284 – 363 AD)

Here are the key emperors and developments during this era:

  • Diocletian: Diocletian’s reign began this period and was characterized by a series of important reforms. He introduced the concept of the Tetrarchy.
  • Maximian: Maximian was appointed as the co-emperor (Augustus) by Diocletian, and together they ruled the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, respectively.
  • Constantius Chlorus: Constantius Chlorus was one of the Caesars in the Tetrarchy system. He ruled over the Western Roman Empire and played a crucial role in stabilizing the region.
  • Galerius: Galerius served as the Eastern Caesar under Diocletian. His reign saw the continuation of the Tetrarchy system.
  • Severus: Severus briefly ruled as Caesar in the Western Roman Empire after the retirement of Constantius Chlorus.
  • Maximinus Daia: Maximinus Daia became one of the Caesars in the Eastern Roman Empire following Galerius’s death.
  • Licinius: Licinius was another important figure in the Tetrarchy system. He became the co-emperor (Augustus) in the Eastern Roman Empire after the death of Galerius.
  • Constantine the Great: Constantine, one of the most renowned emperors in Roman history, emerged as a major figure during this period. He became the Caesar in the West and later played a pivotal role in uniting the Roman Empire under his rule.
  • Maxentius: Maxentius, the son of Maximian, declared himself emperor in Rome, leading to conflicts with other emperors, including Constantine.
  • Maximinus II: Maximinus II, also known as Maximinus Daia, had a turbulent reign as Caesar in the East and engaged in conflicts with Licinius and Constantine.
  • Constantine II: Constantine’s sons, including Constantine II, succeeded him, maintaining his dynasty’s rule.
  • Constans: Constans, another son of Constantine, ruled over a portion of the Western Roman Empire.
  • Constantius II: The third son of Constantine, Constantius II, took control of the Eastern Roman Empire and played a significant role.

Valentinian Dynasty and Theodosian Dynasty (364 – 455 AD)

The period of the Valentinian and Theodosian Dynasties, spanning from 364 AD to 455 AD, was marked by significant political developments and transitions in the Roman Empire. Here are the key emperors and events during this era:

  • Julian the Apostate (361 AD – 363 AD): Julian, known as the Apostate, sought to revive pagan traditions and reduce Christian influence. His reign was marked by religious reforms and an attempt to return to the traditional Roman gods.
  • Jovian (363 AD): Jovian succeeded Julian as emperor but had a brief reign, during which he faced challenges related to the empire’s precarious situation.
  • Valentinian I (364 AD – 375 AD): Valentinian I became emperor in 364 AD, assuming rule over the Western Roman Empire. He was known for his efforts to strengthen the Roman military and secure the empire’s borders.
  • Valens (364 AD – 378 AD): Valens, the brother of Valentinian I, became the co-emperor (Augustus) in the Eastern Roman Empire. His reign saw significant challenges, particularly the Gothic War and the Battle of Adrianople.
  • Gratian (367 AD – 383 AD): Gratian succeeded Valentinian I as emperor in the West. His reign faced difficulties, including unrest among Roman legions and revolts in various regions.
  • Valentinian II (375 AD – 392 AD): Valentinian II was the younger brother of Gratian and became emperor of the Western Roman Empire after the death of Valentinian I.
  • Theodosius I (379 AD – 395 AD): Theodosius I is one of the most significant emperors in Roman history. He was appointed as the co-emperor (Augustus) in the East by Gratian, and later became the sole ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Decline and Fall of the Western Roman Empire (395 – 476 AD)

Here are the key emperors and events during this era:

  • Arcadius: Arcadius ruled the Eastern Roman Empire during this period, while his younger brother Honorius governed the Western Roman Empire.
  • Honorius: Honorius inherited the Western Roman Empire at a challenging time. His reign saw the weakening of the empire’s central authority and the loss of key provinces to barbarian incursions.
  • Constantine III: He was proclaimed emperor by his troops in the Western Roman Empire, but his rule was brief and marked by conflict.
  • Constans II: He briefly ruled as emperor after Constantine III’s abdication.
  • Constantius III: He served as co-emperor alongside Honorius but had a short reign.
  • Joannes: Joannes, another short-lived emperor, briefly took control of the Western Roman Empire.
  • Valentinian III: A child emperor, assumed the throne with significant influence from his mother Galla Placidia.
  • Marcian: He ruled the Eastern Roman Empire and played a role in restoring religious orthodoxy and stability.
  • Petronius Maximus: He seized power in Rome but faced unpopularity and a tumultuous reign.
  • Avitus: He became emperor, but his reign was marked by significant opposition and conflict.
  • Majorian: Majorian, a skilled military leader, sought to restore the Roman Empire’s strength but had a brief rule.
  • Libius Severus: He assumed the throne, but his reign was characterized by ongoing instability.
  • Anthemius: He ruled the Western Roman Empire and attempted to stabilize the situation but faced opposition.
  • Olybrius: He had a brief and tumultuous reign as emperor.
  • Glycerius: He was recognized as emperor but faced significant challenges to his authority.
  • Julius Nepos: He took control of the Western Roman Empire but had limited influence over its territories.
  • Romulus Augustulus: Romulus Augustulus, the final Western Roman Emperor, reigned for a short period before the deposition by Odoacer, a barbarian chieftain, in 476 AD.

The Leonid Dynasty (474 – 518 AD):

The Leonid Dynasty, which reigned from 474 to 518 AD, played a significant role in the late Roman and early Byzantine period. Here are the key emperors of this dynasty and their respective reigns:

  • Zeno (474 AD – 491 AD): Zeno became emperor in 474 AD and ruled for 17 years. His reign was marked by challenges, including the invasion of the Western Roman Empire by Odoacer, the Germanic king of Italy. Zeno’s rule was characterized by shifting alliances and conflicts with both internal and external forces.
  • Basiliscus (475 AD – 476 AD): Basiliscus was a usurper who briefly held the throne from 475 to 476 AD. His reign was marked by a power struggle with Zeno and religious controversies, including the Acacian Schism.
  • Anastasius I (491 AD – 518 AD): Anastasius I succeeded Zeno and ruled for nearly three decades. His reign was characterized by financial and administrative reforms, as well as religious policies, including efforts to reconcile theological disputes. Anastasius is known for stabilizing the Byzantine Empire and leaving a legacy of economic prosperity.

The Justinian Dynasty (518 – 711 AD):

The Justinian Dynasty, which spanned from 518 to 711 AD, was a pivotal period in the history of the Byzantine Empire. Here are the key emperors of this dynasty and their respective reigns:

  • Justin I (518 AD – 527 AD): Justin I ascended to the throne in 518 AD and ruled for nine years. He was a capable emperor who worked to stabilize the empire. Justin I is known for appointing his nephew Justinian I as his co-emperor and successor.
  • Justinian I (527 AD – 565 AD): Justinian I is one of the most renowned emperors in Byzantine history. His reign was marked by ambitious military campaigns to reclaim lost territories, including the reconquest of Italy and North Africa. Justinian is also famous for his comprehensive legal reform, resulting in the “Justinian Code.”
  • Justin II (565 AD – 578 AD): Justin II succeeded Justinian I but faced significant challenges, including external threats and economic difficulties. His reign was marked by periods of instability and a decline in Byzantine power.
  • Tiberius II Constantine (578 AD – 582 AD): Tiberius II Constantine became emperor and ruled for four years. His reign saw conflicts with the Persian Empire and efforts to stabilize the Byzantine economy.
  • Maurice (582 AD – 602 AD): Maurice ruled the Byzantine Empire for nearly two decades. His reign was marked by military campaigns, including the Balkans and the Eastern Front. Maurice was known for his strategic and administrative abilities.

The Phocas Era (602 – 610 AD):

The Phocas Era, which lasted from 602 to 610 AD, was defined by the reign of the emperor Phocas. Here is a brief overview of this period:

  • Phocas (602 AD – 610 AD): Phocas, a Byzantine general, seized power in a violent coup d’état in 602 AD, overthrowing the emperor Maurice. His rule was marked by brutality and instability. Phocas faced internal opposition and external threats, including the rise of the Persian Sassanid Empire.

The Heraclian Dynasty (610 – 711 AD):

Here are the key emperors of this dynasty and their respective reigns:

  • Heraclius (610 AD – 641 AD): Heraclius was a pivotal figure in Byzantine history. He came to power in a time of crisis, facing the Persian Empire and the Avar-Slavic invasion. Heraclius successfully reclaimed lost territories and introduced significant administrative and religious reforms, notably the adoption of Greek as the official language.
  • Constantine III Heraclius (641 AD): Constantine III briefly ruled in 641 AD but had a very short reign, lasting only a few months.
  • Heraclonas (638 AD – 641 AD): Heraclonas was co-emperor with his father Heraclius, but his rule was short-lived due to internal conflicts and his young age.
  • Constans II (641 AD – 668 AD): Constans II succeeded his father, Heraclius, and ruled for nearly three decades. His reign saw various challenges, including conflicts with the Arabs and internal unrest. Constans II made significant efforts to consolidate his power and centralize the government.
  • Constantine IV (668 AD – 685 AD): Constantine IV was the son of Constans II. His reign was marked by military campaigns and conflicts, particularly against the Umayyad Caliphate. He was known for his diplomatic and military skills.
  • Justinian II (685 AD – 695 AD) – Second Reign: Justinian II returned to power in his second reign after being overthrown in his first reign. His rule was marked by efforts to consolidate his authority and reforms in the empire’s administration.
  • Leontios (695 AD – 698 AD): Leontios briefly held the throne but faced opposition and was eventually overthrown.
  • Tiberius III (698 AD – 705 AD):  Tiberius III ruled for seven years, but unrest characterized his reign, and Justinian II eventually rose to power once again.

Transitional Period (711 – 716 AD):

Here are the key emperors of this period and their respective reigns:

  • Philippikos Bardanes (711 AD – 713 AD): Philippikos Bardanes became emperor in 711 AD after overthrowing Justinian II. His reign, though relatively short, was marred by conflicts, including opposition from supporters of the deposed Justinian II.
  • Anastasios II (713 AD – 716 AD): Anastasios II succeeded Philippikos Bardanes in 713 AD. His reign was marked by attempts to stabilize the empire after the upheaval of previous years. However, his rule was relatively brief.

The Iconoclast Controversy and Revival (717 – 741 AD):

The Iconoclast Controversy and Revival, which unfolded from 717 to 741 AD, was a significant period in Byzantine history, marked by religious and political conflicts over the use of religious icons. Here are the key emperors of this era and their respective reigns:

  • Theodosios III (715 AD – 717 AD): Theodosios III assumed the throne in 715 AD. His rule was relatively short, and he faced various challenges, including the Arab-Byzantine wars. Theodosios III’s reign ended with the ascent of a more prominent figure, Leo III.
  • Leo III (717 AD – 741 AD): Leo III, also known as Leo the Isaurian, became emperor in 717 AD. His reign marked a critical turning point in Byzantine history. Leo III initiated the Iconoclast Controversy, a theological dispute that revolved around the veneration of religious icons.

Iconoclasm and Restoration (741 – 1028 AD):

During this era, the conflict over the veneration of religious icons and their subsequent restoration marked significant developments in Byzantine history.

  • Constantine V (741 AD – 775 AD): Known for his strong stance on iconoclasm, Constantine V’s reign saw the suppression of the veneration of icons.
  • Artabasdos (742 AD – 743 AD): Ruled briefly during a period of political turmoil.
  • Leo IV (775 AD – 780 AD): Attempted to strike a balance between iconoclasm and iconophile sentiments.
  • Constantine VI (780 AD – 797 AD): Faced controversies surrounding his mother Irene and the iconoclasm debate.
  • Irene (797 AD – 802 AD): Reversed iconoclasm policies and promoted the restoration of icons.
  • Nikephoros I (802 AD – 811 AD): Continued Irene’s iconophile policies.

Theophilos (829 AD – 842 AD):

A period marked by tensions with the Abbasid Caliphate and the spread of Islamic influence.

  • Michael III (842 AD – 867 AD): Came to power as a young emperor and faced regency challenges.
  • Macedonian Dynasty (867 – 1028 AD): A period of resurgence for the Byzantine Empire under the Macedonian rulers.
  • Basil I (867 AD – 886 AD): Founded the Macedonian Dynasty and strengthened the empire.
  • Leo VI (886 AD – 912 AD): Known for his legal and administrative reforms.
  • Alexander (912 AD – 913 AD): A brief reign.
  • Constantine VII (913 AD – 959 AD): Notable for his literary contributions.
  • Romanos I (920 AD – 944 AD): Focused on military campaigns.
  • Romanos II (959 AD – 963 AD): Died at a young age.
  • Nikephoros II (963 AD – 969 AD): Faced military challenges.
  • John I Tzimiskes (969 AD – 976 AD): Expanded the empire’s territory.
  • Basil II (976 AD – 1025 AD): Known as Basil the Bulgar-Slayer for his military successes.
  • Constantine VIII (1025 AD – 1028 AD): A period of political instability during his reign.

The Comnenian Period (1081 – 1185 AD):

This era saw the rise of the Comnenian dynasty and significant military conflicts.

  • Romanos III (1028 AD – 1034 AD): Married Empress Zoe.
  • Michael IV (1034 AD – 1041 AD): His reign marked by palace intrigues.
  • Michael V (1041 AD): A brief and tumultuous reign.
  • Constantine IX (1042 AD – 1055 AD): Oversaw military campaigns.
  • Theodora (1055 AD – 1056 AD): Ruled as regent for her young son.
  • Michael VI (1056 AD – 1057 AD): His rule was marked by conflicts with the military.
  • Isaac I (1057 AD – 1059 AD): Faced military revolts.
  • Constantine X (1059 AD – 1067 AD): Oversaw the final decline of the Byzantine military.
  • Romanos IV (1068 AD – 1071 AD): Faced the defeat at the Battle of Manzikert.

The Angelid and Comnenid Dynasties (1118 – 1185 AD):

This period saw the rise of the Angelid and Comnenid dynasties and continued military conflicts.

  • John II (1118 AD – 1143 AD): Known for his military campaigns against the Turks.
  • Manuel I (1143 AD – 1180 AD): Oversaw the height of the Comnenian dynasty’s power.
  • Alexios II (1180 AD – 1183 AD): A period of political unrest.
  • Andronikos I (1183 AD – 1185 AD): A controversial ruler who faced opposition.

The Angelid Dynasty (1185 – 1204 AD):

This period included the rule of Isaac II and the tumultuous events leading up to the Fourth Crusade.

  • Isaac II (1185 AD – 1195 AD): Faced significant challenges, including the Norman invasion.
  • Alexios III (1195 AD – 1203 AD): Ruled during a turbulent time.
  • Isaac II (Restored) (1203 AD – 1204 AD): Briefly returned to power.
  • Alexios IV (1203 AD – 1204 AD): Faced the arrival of the Fourth Crusade.
  • Alexios V (1204 AD): The Fourth Crusade led to the sack of Constantinople.


The list of Roman emperors in order reflects the dynamic history of an empire that shaped the course of Western civilization. From Augustus to the Byzantine emperors, each ruler played a unique role in the rise and fall of this great empire.


Who was the first Roman Emperor?

Augustus, also known as Gaius Octavius, was the first Roman Emperor.

What is the significance of the “Year of the Four Emperors”?

The Year of the Four Emperors, in 69 AD, was a period of intense power struggles in the Roman Empire.

What were some of the major challenges faced by Roman emperors?

Roman emperors faced challenges such as political intrigue, military conflicts, economic problems, and societal issues.

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Henry Stewart
Henry Stewart

Meet Michelle Koss, the list enthusiast. She compiles lists on everything from travel hotspots to must-read books, simplifying your life one list at a time. Join the journey to organized living!.

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