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List of Roman usurpers

Description : The following is a list of usurpers in the Roman Empire. For an overview of the problem and consequences of usurpation, see Roman usurpers. In the Byzantine Empire (476–1453), rebellion and usurpation were so notoriously frequent (in the vision of the medieval West, where usurpation was rare) that the term "byzantine" became a byword for political intrigue and conspiracy. For usurpation in the Byzantine Empire, see List of Byzantine usurpers.KeyThe following individuals began as usurpers, but... Page:l1313


The following is a list of usurpers in the Roman Empire. For an overview of the problem and consequences of usurpation, see Roman usurpers. In the Byzantine Empire (476–1453), rebellion and usurpation were so notoriously frequent (in the vision of the medieval West, where usurpation was rare) that the term "byzantine" became a byword for political intrigue and conspiracy. For usurpation in the Byzantine Empire, see List of Byzantine usurpers.

Key

  • kPG, killed by the Praetorian Guard
  • kS, killed by own soldiers
  • kB, killed in battle
  • e, executed
  • S, suicide
  • dates are beginning and end of reign
  • origin of the rebellion indicated where possible
  • the list is complete until the advent of the tetrarchy in the end of the 3rd century

Usurpers who became legitimate emperors

Further information: List of Roman emperors

The following individuals began as usurpers, but became the legitimate emperor either by establishing uncontested control of the empire or by confirmation of their position by the Roman Senate or by the legitimate emperor.

First Imperial civil war; the year of the four emperors

  • Galba – killed January 15, 69
  • Otho – committed suicide April 16, 69
  • Vitellius – killed December 22, 69
  • Vespasian – secured the throne

Second Imperial civil war

  • Pertinax (193)
  • Didius Julianus (193)
  • Septimius Severus (193-211)

Crisis of the Third Century

  • Macrinus (217-e.218) in Syria, former prefect of the Praetorian Guard
  • Maximinus Thrax (235-kS.238) in the Rhine, former centurion
  • Gordian I and Gordian II (238) in Africa, suicide and death in battle
  • Philip the Arab (244-kS.249) in the East, former prefect of the Praetorian Guard
  • Decius (249-kB.251) in Pannonia
  • Trebonianus Gallus (251-253)
  • Aemilianus (kS.251) in Moesia
  • Valerian (253-e.260) in the Rhine, executed by the Persians
  • Claudius II Gothicus (268-270)
  • Aurelian (270-kPG275)

Western Empire

  • Maxentius (307–312)
  • Vetranio (350)
  • Magnus Maximus (383-388) and Flavius Victor (384-388)

The following last emperors of the West were all accepted by the Senate but never recognized as colleagues by the Emperor of the East:

  • Constantine III and Constans II (407-411)
  • Joannes (423-425)
  • Petronius Maximus (455)
  • Avitus (455-456)
  • Libius Severus (461-465)
  • Olybrius (472)
  • Glycerius (473-474)
  • Romulus Augustulus (475-476)

Usurpers not considered legitimate emperors

The following individuals proclaimed themselves emperor (or were proclaimed or appointed as emperor), but are not considered as legitimate emperors because they did not oust the ruling emperor, or did not establish control of the whole empire, or were not accepted by the senate or other imperial colleagues.

They are listed here under the emperor whose rule they attempted to usurp. The noted date is the attempted year of usurpation.

Claudius: 41–54

  • Lucius Arruntius Camillus Scribonianus (41), the imperial legate of Dalmatia. Considered a possible successor to Caligula, he committed suicide on the island of Issa after his troops abandoned him.

Galba: 68–69

  • Nymphidius Sabinus (68), Nero's Praetorian Prefect, declared himself emperor after Nero's suicide, claiming he was the illegitimate son of Caligula. Killed by the Praetorian Guard as Galba approached Rome.

Titus: 79–81

  • Terentius Maximus, in Asia, took refuge with Artabanus, a Parthian leader, resembled Nero

Domitian: 81–96

  • Lucius Antonius Saturninus (89), in Germania Superior, governor of Germania Superior, could not bring in Germanic allies because the Rhine thawed, put down by

Marcus Aurelius: 161–180

  • Avidius Cassius (175), in Egypt and Syria, governor of Syria, declared himself emperor upon the rumor that Marcus Aurelius had died, continued his revolt even upon learning Marcus Aurelius was alive.

Septimius Severus: 193–211

  • Pescennius Niger (193-194), in Egypt, Asia and Syria, governor of Syria, proclaimed himself emperor after the death of Pertinax, defeated in battle and killed while fleeing to Parthia.
  • Clodius Albinus (196-197), in Britain and Gaul, governor of Britain, originally Septimius Severus's ally until Pescennius Niger was killed, killed at the battle of Lugdunum.

Elagabalus: 218–222

  • Gellius Maximus (219), in Syria, executed, originally an officer of Legio IV Scythica
  • Verus (late 219), in Syria, executed, commander of Legio III Gallica
  • Uranius (c. 221), questioned existence and date; sources place him in 253
  • Seleucus (after 221). He could be Julius Antonius Seleucus, in Moesia, or M. Flavius Vitellius Seleucus, consul for 221

Alexander Severus: 222–235

  • Sallustius (c. 227), in Rome, raised to Caesar by Alexander, executed for attempted murder, prefect of the Praetorian Guard
  • Taurinus (S. date unclear), in the East, committed suicide in the Euphrates after being hailed Augustus

Maximinus Thrax: 235–238

  • Magnus (235), ordered some soldiers of Maximinus to destroy the bridge that allowed the Emperor to cross back the Rhine, a former consul
  • Quartinus (235), in the East, supported by soldiers loyal to former emperor Alexander Severus

Gordian III: 238–244

  • Sabinianus (240), in Africa, governor of the province

Philip the Arab: 244–249

  • Iotapianus (kS.248), in the East
  • Pacatianus (kS.248), in the Danube frontier, killed by soldiers
  • Silbannacus in the Rhine, questioned existence
  • Sponsianus in Moesia, questioned existence

Decius: 249–251

  • Priscus (249-k?252) in the East, Philip's brother
  • Licinianus (250) in Rome, executed
  • Valens Senior in Illyria, great-uncle of Valens Thessalonicus

Gallienus: 253–268

Main article: Gallienus usurpers
  • Ingenuus (260) in Pannonia, committed suicide, former governor
  • Macrianus Major, Macrianus Minor and Quietus (September 260 – Autumn 261) in the East, all killed by their own soldiers in different occasions
  • Regalianus (260) in Pannonia, ruled with his wife
  • Balista (also: Ballista) (Autumn e.261) in the East, former Praetorian prefect, associated with the former
  • Piso (kS.261) in Achaea, questioned existence
  • Valens (k.261) in Achaea, killed by Macrinus, former governor
  • Memor (e.261) in Egypt
  • Mussius Aemilianus (261 - Spring e.262) in Egypt
  • The emperors of the Gallic Empire
  • The fictitious usurpers:
    • Celsus
    • Saturninus— Possibly the villain in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus
    • Trebellianus

Claudius II: 268–270

  • Censorinus (269-kS.270), almost certainly non-existent: "attested" only by the Augustan History (Trig. Tyr. 33) with no literary, epigraphical, numismatic support of any kind.

Aurelian: 270–275

  • Domitianus (270–271)most probably in Southern Gaul. He was probably encouraged by Aurelian's difficulties in dealing with an Alamannic incursion into Italy that occurred early in his reign. His bid for power could have been suppressed by Aurelian's Praetorian Prefect, Placidianus who was in the Rhone valley at the time or by Tetricus, the Gallic Emperor.
  • Felicissimus (k.271) in Rome, a civil servant involved in corruption
  • Septimius (kS.271) in Dalmatia
  • Urbanus (271), questioned existence
  • Firmus (k.273) in Egypt, questioned existence

Probus: 276–282

  • Bonosus (280)
  • Proculus (280)
  • Saturninus (280)

Carus, Carinus, Numerian: 282–284

  • Sabinus Julianus

Diocletian: 284–305

  • Amandus and Aelianus: 285
  • Carausius: 286–293
  • Allectus: 293–296
  • Domitius Domitianus: 297
  • Aurelius Achilleus: 297–298
  • Eugenius: 303

Galerius: 305–311

  • Domitius Alexander (308-e.311)

Constantine I: 309–337

  • Calocaerus (e.333/334)

Constantius II: 337–361

  • Magnentius and Decentius (350–353)
  • Nepotianus (350)
  • Claudius Silvanus (355)

Valentinian I: 364–375

  • Procopius (366)
  • Marcellus (366)
  • Theodorus (372)
  • Firmus (372-375)

Theodosius I: 379–395

  • Eugenius (392-e.394)

Honorius: 395–423

  • Marcus: 406-407
  • Gratian: 407
  • Maximus of Hispania: 409-411, 420-421
  • Priscus Attalus: 409-410, 415-416
  • Jovinus: 411-413
  • Sebastianus: 412-413
  • Heraclianus: 412-413, e

Valentinian III: 423–455

  • Bonifacius: 427
  • Flavius Aëtius: 432

Anthemius: 467–472

  • Arvandus: 468
  • Romanus: 470


Unsuccessful regional usurpers after the fall of Rome (476)

  • Burdunellus (e.496), in the Ebro valley
  • Peter (e.506), in the Ebro valley
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