10 November 2008
Emperors on Parade!
...Here comes a parade of Emperors from Rome! Some, like Nero and Titus are well known to you. Others like Galba are perhaps not so well known. Nonetheless this parade is dedicated to bringing you into a closer acquaintance with Romes Emperors from 54-80 AD
...Nero; 54-68 AD
..Nero's float is lavishly decorated with magnificent mosaics featuring himself as a god. This Emperor is obviously greedy and grasping. He is known for his wasteful expenditure of public taxes on his own unparalleled palace - a building covered with gold. It has been reported by the writer Suetonius that when Nero's "golden house" was finally finished the emperor said "Good, now I can live like a human at last!"
..A sickening spectacle, almost to horrendous for us to describe, also adorns the side of Nero's float. Christians accused of starting fires in Rome and of being disruptor's of the peace, have been covered in tar and tied to poles. Nero is using them as human torches. It is said that he put these "human torches" all around his palace gardens while holding vast parties for Romes elite. ( As a side note, Nero was the last of the Augustinian emperors)
...Galba; 68-69 AD
..Emperor Galba had an extremely short reign, not even a year. I suppose this is why his float is so hastily thrown together. Even the ribbons look bedragled.
..Galba came to power through intrigue. You see, after Nero's death there was a scrabble for the throne. No one knew who should be emperor since Nero had been the last of the Augustinian line. 69 AD is known as the "Year of Four Emperors", with Galba as the first. Galba gained his position through bribing the Praetorian guard; in a few months the Praetorian guard grew tired of Galba and had him murdered. We will let his float pass on without further notice.
...Otho and Vitellius; 69 AD
..This is one mixed up float, it can't seem to make up its mind. Half of it is dedicated to Otho and the other half to Vitellius! It seems the people of Rome couldn't decide who should be their emperor.
..In the end Vitellius killed Otho in battle but ended up loosing his own life to Romes new choice, Vespacian.
...Vespasian; 69-79 AD
..Okay, this float is a little better. At least we know who its for.
..The Emperor Vespasian was a good choice for the Roman people as far as stability goes. He had two sons to continue the line when he died. We call this family the Flavian Dynasty. Vespasian was also a just and strong leader. During his reign many people were granted Roman citizenship and the great Colosseum began to be built.
...Titus; 79-81 AD
..Titus was a warlike man and his float clearly shows it. The side are lined with Roman shields and Jewish spoils. It was this Emperor who captured the city of Jerusalem and desecrated the temple. He brought back all the riches of the Jewish temple for his own building projects, gold marble, bronze, and precious jewels.
..During Titus rule the Colosseum begun by his father was finished. Titus also commissioned a great arch, called the Arch of Titus, which commemorates his victories over the Jews. It still stands today.
...Domitian; 81-96 AD
..Once again we detect signs of an arrogant and self seeking Emperor. Domitian was Titus' younger brother and the last of the Flavian Dynasty. His float is lavishly decorated but very unpopular with the people. looking around we see anger and rioting, the Roman Senators seem particularly displeased. The Praetorian guard walk along happily however, Domitian was their choice. Despite his guards protection though, Domitian was assassinated in 96 AD
...Nerva; 96-98 AD
..Nerva was the first Empera brought to office without the say of the Praetorian Guard. The people and the Senate had had enough of greedy and biased Emperors. This time they chose a humble Lawyer named Nerva who was known for honesty.
..Emperor Nerva respected the Senate and they appreciated him for it. He opened up the ability for men in other parts of the empire to become a part of the Roman Senate. In history he is known as the first of the "Five Good Emperors".
...Trajan; 98-117 AD
..Rising from the middle of Trajans float we can see a tall pillar called Trajans column. On it is celebrated the Emperors many victories in Romania and the Middle East. Under Trajan the empire reached its greatest extent.
...Hadrian; 117-138 AD
..Hadrian was the first non-Italian Emperor to rule Rome. He was adopted from Spain by Trajan to become his heir.
..His float is surrounded by a miniature replica of Hadrian's Wall, a massive building project in Britain and Germany. Hadrian was concerned over how large the Empire was when he came to office. How could he protect Rome's borders?
..After spending over half of his rule surveying Romes many provinces, Hadrian decided to let many of the territories go. He also built fortifications to keep Romes enemies out.
...Antonius Pius; 138-161 AD
..A large and sumptuous float approaches us next. Antonius Pius ruled Rome when she was at the height of her power. As we see the float draw closer we notice it is wobbling though. War is on the horizon as barbarian hordes gather distantly.
...Marcus Aurelius; 161-180 AD
..Marcus Aurelius was by necessity a warrior. He had to be a strong and active leader for his people. During his reign the barbarians began to make advances which could not be ignored. Then a plague struck the land killing thousands of people. The world was watching closely, Marcus Aurelius was the last of Romes "Five Good Emperors".