Top 10 Greatest Roman Emperors !

The appointed rulers of the Roman that began after the end of the roman republic were Roman emperors. The legitimacy of an emperor’s rule depended on his control of the military and the Senate’s recognition. By the Senate, an emperor would normally be proclaimed by his troops, invested with imperial titles. The Roman people refused the first emperor Augustus the Great, to be seen as a Monarch while considering their other emperors equivalent to kings.

People in the high-standing society who fulfilled the criteria had a very great opportunity to become an emperor. Julius Caesar’s death ended the Roman Republic’s age, and Augustus marked the beginning of the Roman Empire from 27 BC until 476 AD. Several Emperors ruled during this era, dividing their reigns into several dynasties.

Who was the greatest Roman Emperor of all time?

Augustus:  Reign: 16 January 27 BC to 19 August AD 14 

Who was Rome’s worst Emperor?

Caligula: 37 – 41 A.D.

So, the top ten emperors who ruled ancient Rome have been listed here:

10. Constantine The Great

Regnal Name:Flavius Valerius Constantinus
Reign:25 July 306 to 22 May 337 
Life Details:27 February 272 – 22 May 337 (aged 65)
DeathDied of natural causes
Succession:Son of Constantius I, proclaimed Emperor by his father’s troops. Accepted as Caesar by Galerius in 306, promoted to Augustus in 307 by Maximian, refused a demotion to Caesar in 309.

Flavius Valerius Constantinus Augustus, the renowned Emperor of Roman history, became the first Christian Emperor. He has been chronicled as an important leader. He soon converted an indispensable part of the Roman Empire’s Christian empire, being the first Christian Emperor. The “Church of the Holy Sepulcher,” which was commissioned in the faithful burial site of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, was built by Constantine and became the most sacred church of Christian origin. He realized that Christian support was needed, as Christianity was rising, and ultimately he became the first emperor to accept the faith to be a major historical Christian figure. Built on his order in Jerusalem’s supposed tomb, the Holy Sepulcher’s Church was the holiest place in the Christian community. 

Constantine The Great

9. Emperor Justinian

Regnal Name: Dominus Noster Petrus Augustus
Reign:1 April 527 – 14 November 565
Life Details:c. 482 – 13/14 November 565 (aged 83)
DeathDied of natural causes
Succession:Nephew of Justin I

Justinian I was the last Roman Ruler of an empire split by war, nicknamed “The Last Rome” by contemporary historians. By 476 A.D., the Barbarians had overcome the Western part of the Empire, leaving it Emperor from 526 to 565 AD only in the Eastern part of the Empire (Byzantine empire). During his tenure, Emperor Justinian struggled to re-bring the glory and the lost western half of the great Roman Empire. His brilliant military generals Belisarius and Narses invaded and seized much of the Empire, including Rome’s town. Justinian was renowned for establishing a unified code of law, the Justinian Codes, based on a collection of Roman laws already used. Subsequently, this code was used as the foundation for all law systems in the West. The church of St. Sophia, which later became the center of East Orthodox Christianité for many centuries, was also overseen by Justinian in his capital Constantinople. 

Emperor Justinian

8. Emperor Antoninus Pius

Regnal Name:Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius
Reign:25 July 306 to 22 May 337 10 July 138 – 7 March 161 (22 years, seven months, and 25 days)25 July 306 to 22 May 337 
Life Details:19 September 86 – 7 March 161 (aged 74)
DeathDied of natural causes
Succession:Adopted son and heir of Hadrian

Between 138 and 161 AD, Anthony Pius ruled the Roman Empire. He became his successor by Emperor Hadrian after Hadrian’s death. He made his first ordinance in honor of the former Emperor Hadrian when he became Emperor. Following that, Marcus Aurelius also took as his son the role of his successor. His reign was very quiet, and no major military maneuvers are recorded in his period.

He created temples, theatres, and mausoleums, encouraged roman foods, drinks, arts, and science, honored the teachers of rhetoric and philosophy and gave them financial incentives. Among Roman Emperors, Antoninus was practically unique because he handled these crises without leaving Italy once. His contemporaries and later generations applauded this style of government very much.

Emperor Antoninus Pius

7. Emperor Vespasian

Regnal Name:Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus
Reign:21 December 69 – 24 June 79 (9 years, six months, and three days)
Life Details:17 November 9 – 23/24 June 79 (aged 69)
DeathDied of natural causes
Succession:Seized power with the support of the eastern legions

The reign of Vespasian was a revered Roman emperor from 69 A.D. to 79 A.D. He established the Flavian dynasty, which for 27 years ruled the Roman Empire. His reign started during one of the most tumultuous periods in Roman history as the Romans recovered from the antiques of the notorious Kingdoms such as Nero and Caligula. Vespasian was given the task of putting balance in Rome to bear by himself a down-to-earth man and a capable General who proved his success on the battlefield. And he did that during his ten-year rule, gaining his name as one of Roman’s greatest emperors. His eldest son, Titus, succeeded Vespasian after he died in 79 A.D., and became the first emperor to succeed his biological son automatically. That succession began in the Flavian dynasty, which took over 27 years for the Roman Empire’s reins.

Emperor Vespasian

6. Emperor Claudius

Regnal Name:Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
Reign:24 January 41 to 13 October 54 
Life Details:1 August 10 BC – 13 October A.D. 54 (aged 63)
DeathProbably poisoned by his wife Agrippina, in favor of her son Nero
Succession:Uncle of Caligula, grandnephew of Augustus, proclaimed Emperor by the Praetorian Guard and accepted by the Senate

Claudius was one of the first of Italy’s born Roman emperors. For 13 years, from 41 A.D. to 54 A.D., he ruled as Emperor. Drusus and Antonia Minor were married to him. Since he was limp and mildly daring, his family members ignored him and were not permitted to enter him into public until he became a consul. These perceived misfortunes finally saved his life during the purge because his actual and imagined foes, instead of Tiberius and Caligula, did not see him as a threat.

In the nobility and the Senate’s eyes, his rule was deemed fragile because they were very opposed to his triumph, but his greatest support was the army. But Claudius proved to be an able and effective administrator, despite all of these things and his obvious lack of experience. 

Emperor Claudius

5. Emperor Hadrian

Regnal Name:Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus
Reign:11 August 117 – 10 July 138 (20 years, ten months, and 29 days)
Life Details:24 January 76 – 10 July 138 (aged 62)
DeathDied of natural causes
Succession:Supposedly adopted by Trajan

The Publius Aelius Hadrianus, born in an Italian ethnic family and between 117 and 138 AD, became the Roman Emperor. Hadrian’s wife proclaimed the next Emperor before Trajan’s death. Historians have formally proclaimed Trajan to be his heir apparent. As an Emperor, Hadrian visited nearly every province under his rule and connected himself with the locals in a practical way. Fortunately, there were very few crisis conflicts during his reign, despite his outstanding efforts and reputation as an excellent military administrator. The only remarkable exception was the Second Roman-Jewish War, which he dealt with very intelligently. His main challenge was to maintain an alert and responding army, so he raised false alarms to test his army’s training and reaction to a crisis at times. But despite his reputation as a powerful military manager, his rule was characterized by a general absence of major disputes, apart from the Second Roman-Jewish war, which he cleverly dealt with.

Emperor Hadrian

4. Emperor Tiberius

Regnal Name:Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
Reign:24 January 41 to 13 October 54 
Life Details:1 August 10 BC – 13 October A.D. 54 (aged 63)
DeathProbably poisoned by his wife Agrippina, in favor of her son Nero
Succession:Uncle of Caligula, a grandnephew of Augustus, proclaimed Emperor by the Praetorian Guard and accepted by the Senate

From 14 to 37 A.D., the Emperor of Rome was Tiberius Claudius Nero. His mother’s name was Livia Drusilla, who was Augustus’ wife in 39 B.C. He was Augustus’ stepson by this marriage. The event that brought about Tiberius Julius Caesar’s change of name led his stepfather Augustus to adopt Tiberius later as his heir. This title was the name of the emperors who succeeded him. However, Tiberius left the imperial treasury almost three billion Cistercians after his death, with the overwhelmingly negative image of the Roman historian. He wanted to construct new bases and use diplomacy to deal with conflict rather than starting costly conquests. Characteristically, Tiberius was deemed a dictator without a genuine wish to be a broody.

Emperor Tiberius

3. Emperor Trajan

Regnal Name: Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus
Reign:28 January 98 – 8 August 117 (19 years, six months, and 11 days)
Life Details:18 September 53 – 8 August 117 (aged 63)
DeathDied of natural causes
Succession:Adopted son and heir of Nerva. His reign marked the geographical peak of the Empire.

Named the greatest ruler, Optimus Princeps, Trajan reigned from A.D. 98 to AD 117 as Roman Emperor. Emperor Trajan won the hearts of all because of his polite welfare system that greatly loved the lower class of society. He had led many incursions into other areas as both a military man and an emperor, extending the Empire significantly. The Senate cannot be excluded from his admirers’ list. Overall he was highly regarded. He was the leader who had survived his reputation in 19 century. The Five Good Emperors’ notions were popularised by the historian Edward Gibbon in the 18th century, Trajan being second. 

Emperor Trajan

2. Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Regnal Name:Imperator Caesar Marcus Augustus
Reign:7 March 161 to 17 March 180 (19 years and ten days)
Life Details:26 April 121 – 17 March 180 (aged 58)
DeathDied of natural causes (likely the Antonine Plague)
Succession:Adopted son and son-in-law of Antoninus Pius. Adoptive brother and co-emperor of Lucius Verus. Last of the “Five Good Emperors.”

The Third Emperor of Rome was Marcus Aurelius. He was a committed Stoic influential philosopher, and the last of five great Roman emperors was highly praised. He ruled for 19 years, from AD 161 to AD 180. The Empire in East and Central Europe, during the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatian wars, defeated a revitalized Parthian empire as the Germanic threat became an alarming reality. During his rule, the Empire was defeating the revitalized Parthian Empire. If Avidius Cassius had gained momentum, the possible East revolt could have caused severe problems, but Aurelius rapidly suppressed it. In his lifetime, Aurelius was called The Philosopher King because of all his resounding philosophies, a name called The philosopher after his death.

Emperor Marcus Aurelius

1. Emperor Augustus

Regnal Name:Imperator Caesar Divi filius Augustus
Reign:16 January 27 BC to 19 August AD 14 
Life Details:23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14 (aged 75)
DeathDied probably of natural causes, possibly poisoned by his wife Livia in favor of her son Tiberius.
Succession:Grandnephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar became Emperor due to a settlement with the Roman Senate.

At the top of the list is a very clear choice – Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire, who reigns for the most time from 27 BC to 14 A.D., for 41 years. The Senate named Augustus as an honor for his excellent accomplishments, and he was born under the name Octavio. Together with Mark Antony, he took revenge for Caesar’s death before he collapsed. He defeated Antony Mark and Cleopatra, the renowned Egyptian queen, then formed a new constitution for the great Empire and the Roman Senate. Augustus was the first sovereign of the Roman Empire, which lasted almost 1500 years, helping to form the Roman Empire’s backbone. He was not only the first emperor but also one of the better rules of ancient times. He was greatly applauded. And the Senate eulogized him in the way of Roman God soon after his death. Emperor Augustus’s sheer work allowed him to gain a lasting place in the history of the country.

Emperor Augustus


Many of which had a stable and comparatively peaceful reign, a series of various emperors were seen in the Roman Empire. But Rome also saw periods of crises, as one year with four emperors and another year with no less than six. And some rather notorious emperors like Caligula and Nero were known, the reigns of which led to great upheaval. The minimum reign was ten years for every Emperor mentioned here.

They also contributed significantly to the expansion of Roman borders and Roman ancient civilization. However, the renowned statesman Julius Caesar is one name that should not be forgotten. He began with the well-known state and Senate led to a series of events leading to the Roman Empire’s establishment.

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