the Roman Empire has a long history. I’ll say anything with the word Rome. It can be roughly divided into several parts: the imperial period, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire.

monarchy period (Roman Kingdom, Etruscan period, 753-509 BC):

implements a non hereditary monarchy.

the governing body of Rome is composed of the king (Rex, lux), the Senate and the Curia assembly (the predecessor of the people’s assembly and the highest authority in the era of Roman monarchy). The king is a lifelong system. After the death of the king, the elders take turns in power until the Senate nominates and the Curia Assembly votes to elect a new king. The king has military, judicial and religious power and occupies the throne for life.

in the late period of the reign, the succession of the reign began to have a hereditary tendency, and the position of the Senate began to decline. In the end, the monarchy has transformed into a tyrant rule characterized by individual autocratic rule, and the Senate is completely under the control and oppression of the monarchy, which has aroused the strong dissatisfaction of nobles and civilians. In 509 BC, takvin, the last king of the Roman monarchy era, was expelled by the Roman people due to tyranny. After that, the Roman people decided not to need the king, but to change to a republic and establish the Roman Republic.

Roman Republic (509-27 BC):

when the Roman people overthrew the monarchy, they chose the republican system at the same time, and changed from the monarchy to the Republic. The Romans banned the form of one man as king and established two consuls with equal power. As the representatives of the supreme power of the Roman Republic, they followed most of the power of the king and enjoyed the power to command the army, interpret and implement laws, preside over religious activities and so on. They were in power together. In order to prevent autocracy, the consul is appointed once a year. The two consuls have the same power, the nature of agreement and the veto power of each other. Whenever a crisis occurs, the two consuls decide, through consultation or by drawing lots, that one of them, as an autocrat, has full power to solve and deal with the crisis, which is called dixituo. Authoritarian officials have supreme control, but they leave their posts immediately after the crisis, and their term of office shall not exceed six months. At the end of the first century BC, the republican regime had come to an end after more than 500 years of operation. There are many contradictions within the Republic and the country is in turmoil. “Spekds” forced him to set a precedent for the “spekds” dictatorship in 82 BC.

we all know what happened later.

klassu, Pompey and Caesar formed a secret alliance to control the Senate, which is known as the former three head alliance in history. Later, when Crassus died, Caesar killed Pompeii, monopolized power, and was appointed a long-term dictator by the Senate. Later, he became a lifelong dictator, consul, people protection officer, Grand Marshal, customs officer, high priest and so on. At this time, the Roman republican system still exists, but the republican system has embarked on the process of qualitative change. The germination of autocratic system found a breeding ground in Caesar. Caesar is moving towards an autocratic monarchy with all kinds of power.

Caesar was assassinated by extremist terrorists of the Republic in 44 BC. After




, Octavian, Anthony and leibida made an open alliance, known as the latter three alliance in history. After that, Anthony and Cleopatra fell in love, gave birth to two children, and left a large province to Cleopatra and her children, which angered the Roman people. The Senate and the citizens’ assembly deprived Anthony of all his power and declared him a public enemy of the motherland. Finally, after Depriving leibida of military power, Octavian, Caesar’s nephew and adopted son, killed Antony, Caesar’s old subordinate, and his family members in a big naval battle.

in AD 27, Octavian accepted the honorary titles of Augustus, the head of state (the chief citizen of the Senate) and the supreme commander.

this year, Rome completely buried the old Republican system and followed the God system.

Roman Empire:

the political system created by Octavian, known as the system of heads of state in history. Due to the Republican psychology of the Roman people, Octavian did not publicly declare the monarchy and still maintained the name of Republic. In fact, it is “the name of the Republic, the monarchy”. Octavian appointed his own successor because of his high status. After his death, his adopted son Tiberius succeeded to the throne and created the imperial succession system from then on.

first explain

compared with the ancient oriental monarchy, the Roman Empire did not have a fixed system of succession to the throne. Under the head of state system, the emperor had the highest ruling power, and most emperors wanted to say that the throne was hereditary, but due to the influence of the republican tradition, the head of state should be elected by the Senate, The hereditary succession of the throne lacks a theoretical basis. In Rome, the head of state is an official, and being head of state is an obligation rather than a right. The theory of election is very fragile under the centralization of power. The army is a special force in the Empire. Under the condition of incomplete throne succession system, it has gradually changed from the defender of the emperor to the manipulator of the emperor.

the orthodox principle of succession to the throne of the Roman Empire is the principle of election. The principle of election is the principle of selecting officials in the Republican period, and it has become an important theoretical basis for the emergence of the head of state in the imperial period. The Roman Empire was built on the basis of five hundred years of republican history, so the construction of the system is bound to be affected by the republican tradition. Although the head of state system founded by Augustus is autocratic in essence, it ostensibly follows the old Republican system. In the formation of the head of state, the election principle and the internal meaning of the head of state limit the establishment of the hereditary theory of the head of state.

the head of Rome is different from the monarch in the East. In the East, the monarchy is granted by God, and the monarch’s power is considered to be given by heaven and born. This power is privateMaterialized power belongs to a hot power, so it can be naturally transferred to the successor in the succession of the throne. In Rome, the power of the emperor was entrusted to a personal mission theoretically elected or recognized by Roman citizens. Power is granted to a specific individual. With the end of an individual’s life, his power will end. That is, the supreme power of the empire is not transferred from one individual to another, but must be mediated by the state. Therefore, the Roman emperor was the representative of one country followed by another. In this regard, there is no problem of inheritance between Roman emperors. Their power is taken over from the state, the Senate and the people, just as consuls replace each other in the same position. In this way, there is no imperial power in theory. Although the change of dynasties has become a common practice, a Roman emperor does not automatically succeed his father through hereditary rights. Only with explicit authorization can he inherit his father’s inheritance and ascend the throne.

experienced a long civil war in the late Roman Republic. Octavian finally defeated Anthony and became the only master of the Roman world. Octavian actually became a real dictator with political, military and religious power, but he preserved and rebuilt the Senate, which symbolized the Republic. The reason is the perfection of the Republican democratic system and the deep-rooted concept of the Republic. Augustus created the head of state system, which is a combination of power and dictatorship in essence. Republicanism and centralization are opposites in themselves. Moreover, when the head of state symbolizing power is to be inherited, it is bound to conflict with the republican tradition.. Psychologically, the social psychology of Rome at that time did not allow Augustus to abolish the Senate. When he reached his centralization of power, he was eventually assassinated. Caesar’s tragedy made Augustus realize the position of traditional Republic in the eyes of the Romans. When Augustus restored the peace in Rome and rebuilt the state institutions in Rome, he first adopted the hidden and gradual means of strengthening centralization, striving to follow the precedent for each additional official position. It seems that the position of the head of state is subject to the supreme authority of the law and compatible with the traditional spirit of harmony. Therefore, the monarchy he established also put on the cloak of Republic, which is called the Fuhrer system. He appeared not as an emperor, but as the “first citizen” of the Fuhrer. Theoretically, the head of the Yuan Dynasty is produced by the Senate and cannot be inherited, which is in line with the spirit of democracy and Republic. But when power is concentrated in one person’s hands, selfish desires will follow, and the heads of state want to leave the throne to those they feel satisfied with. After Augustus was in power, he also tried to find an heir in his family. The hereditary throne and the Republican election are inherently contradictory. In this way, in the case of the conflict between the two contradictory affairs, there are many loopholes in the throne succession system, and the throne succession has uncertainty, which makes the throne transfer chaotic and complex.

the Senate election did not limit the scope of the successors to the Roman throne. In the East, the heir to the throne is limited to the family with blood relationship, and follows the two principles of the father’s death, the son’s inheritance and the establishment of the line. After the emperor’s death, his son will inherit the throne first, and only choose other members when there is no son. The heir of the emperor is not mature in time or has poor intelligence, nor can he change the candidate for the throne. This hereditary system is accepted by the people in concept and law. But in Rome, in theory, anyone with high moral standing and ability can become a candidate for the head of state.

Caesar and Octavian both rely on the army to obtain the supreme rule, which vaguely indicates that the emperor’s power is based on the army, and the empire is actually an empire of military dictatorship. From the title of the emperor, we can see that the word emperor was originally emperor, which means the supreme commander of the army in Latin. When translated into Chinese, the title of a person with similar status is the emperor.




because there was no specific system for the evolution of the Roman Empire, the army was able to intervene, the situation became complex and changeable, and caused the succession of the throne to be unprincipled and chaotic.

based on the information I checked in the library and Wikipedia, I sorted out the succession process of the throne from the establishment of the imperial system by Augustus to the division of the eastern and Western Roman empires. You can feel it. You can skip it if you are too lazy to see it.

Julian Claudian Dynasty:

in the early Roman Empire can almost be summarized as adoptive inheritance.

adopted son inheritance was popular in the Romans. In ancient Rome, adoption was not a secret thing, nor was it considered shameful, and the adopted child did not have to break off the relationship with his original family. Like an engagement, adoption is a way to strengthen family ties and political alliances. Adopted children usually enjoy the benefits of both the original family and the current family. Almost all the rich families in Rome adopted children and passed them on to other families.




each emperor is not necessarily directly related by blood. For example, Octavian and his successor Tiberius are not related by blood. The reason why they are recognized as the same Dynasty is that their in laws and adopted children form the same family. Therefore, they are recognized as the same Dynasty, which is quite different from the concept of one family name in China.

Octavian passed on his adopted son Tiberius after his death.

Tiberius passed on his adopted son Caligula after his death.

in A.D. 41, the guards assassinated Caligula, and Claudius I, who supported Caligula, ascended the throne.

in AD 54, after Claudius died, his adopted son Nero ascended the throne. Nero was a famous tyrant in the history of Rome. He ignored national politics and was cruel and bloodthirsty.

in A.D. 68, Galba, a general in Spain, rebelled and established himself as emperor. The Senate immediately recognized Galba as emperor, declared Nero the enemy of the motherland and sentenced him to death. The Julian Claudian Dynasty ended and the four emperors began to compete for the throne.

four emperors contend for the throne:


after Galba became emperor, due to his old age and infirmity, he was unable to control the situation, which led to the support and self-respect of generals everywhere.

in January A.D. 69, vitellius, the governor of lower Germania, became emperor. At the same time, Galba was killed by his subordinate Ossur, who established himself as emperor.

in March, vitellius sent troops to compete for the throne with Ossur, who was defeated and committed suicide.

in July, Wei paxiang, the general who calmed the Jewish rebellion, became emperor.

in October, vepaxiang defeated vitellius and ended the battle for the throne.

fravidian Dynasty:

in 79 AD, after the death of vepaxiang, his son Titus ascended the throne.

in 81 ad, Titus died and his younger brother tumishan ascended the throne.

in 96 ad, tumishan died in a court coup. The Flavian Dynasty ended the Antonian Dynasty (the period of the five SAGES):

after tumishan’s death, the Senate elected Nerva, the former consul who participated in the coup, as emperor. The Antony Dynasty opened.

in A.D. 98, after Nerva died, his adopted son turajen ascended the throne.

in 117 A.D., Trajan died and his adopted son Hadrian ascended the throne. Hadrian made the transition from head of state to absolute monarchy.

in 138, Hadrian died and his adopted son Antony ascended the throne.

after the death of Antony in 161 A.D., the throne was inherited by two adopted sons verus and Marco orillo, which was the first joint rule of the two emperors in Roman history.

in 169 ad, verus died, and the Empire returned to the situation of an emperor.

in A.D. 180, mark Aurelio died. The Antony Dynasty ended.




during this period, the transmission of the throne was stable, the politics of the Roman Empire was clear and the national strength was strong.

later Empire:

after the death of Marco orillo, his son kangmaode succeeded to the throne.

after Kang maode died, the guards helped the city governor pertinax to the throne. Pertinax was just a puppet. When he wanted to clean up the military discipline, he was immediately killed by the guards. After the death of pertinax, the guards actually announced that they would auction the throne. Whoever pays more will be the emperor.

after competition and bargaining among many people, Julianus bought the throne at a price satisfactory to the guards. But Julianus had no followers, but was just a puppet, and the federal armies despised him.

Syrian governor Nigel took the lead in establishing himself as emperor. Then the governor of Pannonia, Severus, rebelled and attacked Rome. The Senate instead declared Severus emperor and executed Julianus.

after the death of seviru Dynasty

, the two sons karakara and Gaeta ascended the throne at the same time. Within a year, karakara killed Gaeta.

in 217 A.D., karakara was killed by the guards when he set out to fight. Then, markrinus, the commander of the guard, established himself as emperor and took diadumenian as the co ruling emperor.

in 218 A.D., severu’s wife and sister incited a rebellion, and maklinus and dialdumenian were killed. The 13-year-old grandson of elgarus.

in 222 ad, due to the uncontrolled obscenity of elbagarus, Misha killed him and made his other 14-year-old grandson Severus emperor.

in A.D. 235, the army rebelled and Alexander Severus was killed. The end of the seviru Dynasty.

the crisis of the third century

after the death of Alexander Severus, the army made Maximinus Trax emperor.

in 238 ad, Trax was secretly instructed by the Senate to kill the guards. Then, in the same year, the Senate launched four emperors, all of whom were killed. Gordian III, who subsequently ascended the throne, was only 13 years old and a puppet of the guards.

in 244 A.D., the army elected Arab Philip to the throne. In 249 A.D., Arab Philip was killed by rebel general desius.

in 251 ad, diosius died in the war with the Goths.

GALUS died at the hands of soldiers in 253 A.D. Valerian and gallienus succeeded to the throne.

in 259 ad, Persian dumus, the general of the Rhine region, established himself as emperor.

in 269 A.D., the Bagauda movement of slave and Li Nong uprising broke out in Gaul. The uprising established itself as emperor and lasted until 286.

the iliac Emperors

gallienus was killed by his subordinates less than a year after he reformed the military, and Claudius II ascended the throne.

after Claudius II died of the plague in 270 A.D., aurelian ascended the throne. He reunited the Roman Empire and was named “world restorer”.

in 275 ad, aurelian was killed when he was on his expedition to Ilan Shahr. The Senate elected tahitus as emperor, which was the last time the Senate elected the emperor.

tahitus was killed within one year of his reign, and the army promoted Probus as emperor.

in 282 ad, after the murder of Probus, Carus ascended the throne.

after the violent death of Carus in 283, his younger brother karinus succeeded to the throne.

was worn by the commander of the guards in 284 adKrishna rebelled, defeated carinus and became the ruler of the Empire.




were jointly ruled by the four emperors




. After becoming emperor, dekri officially changed the head of state system into monarchy.

dekri first chose a new title for himself, calling himself Dominus and God. He removed all false titles from his title and set himself as the supreme monarch.

Diocletian implemented the joint rule of the four emperors. There were two emperors in the East and West, one was the principal, called Augustus, the other was the deputy, called Caesar, and the highest power belonged to Diocletian. It is also stipulated that the deputy is the adopted son and son-in-law of the principal. The principal has been in office for 20 years and must give way to the deputy. Eastern Augustus Diocletian, Caesar Galerius. Western Augustus Maximian, Caesar Constantius I.

in 305 A.D., Diocletian abdicated after 20 years, and Maximian abdicated at the same time.

in the west, Constantius I, who ascended the throne, died in Britain just over a year ago, and his son Constantine I ascended the throne.

in 312 ad, he defeated Maxentius and unified the West.

are in the East. After the death of Galerius in 311, Licinius, who ascended the throne, unified the East.

in 314 ad, Licinius and Constantine broke out in conflict, without winning or losing.

in 323 ad, they fought again, Licinius was defeated, and Constantine became the only ruler of the Empire. In 33kds, the Roman Empire of Constantine and the Roman Empire of sikds and sikds were killed by Constantine and sikds.

Constantius II became the sole ruler in 353.

in 361 A.D., Julian, the apostle, a cousin of Constantius II, rebelled. Constantius II died while conquering Julian, and Julian took power.

Julian died in battle in 363. Jovian was made emperor by the army. The Constantine Dynasty ended and the Valentinian Dynasty began.

Valentinian Dynasty

in 364 ad, yovian was poisoned and died. Valentinian I, an officer of the Danube River, was made emperor by the army. Then he divided the eastern empire to his younger brother valens.

in 376 ad, Valentinian I died and Valentinian II succeeded to the throne.

in 378, wallens was killed in battle, and then the East was jointly ruled by Gratian and Theodosius.

in 383 ad, Gratian died.

Valentinian II was killed in 392. The Valentinian Dynasty ended and the Theodosius Dynasty began.


in 394 ad, after defeating the Western usurper Eugenius, Diogenes I became the sole ruler of the Empire, which was the last unification of the Roman Empire.

Theodosius died in 395 A.D. he divided the empire into two, with the eldest son Arcadius in the East and the youngest son honorius in the West.

the specific list of emperors is detailed in the list of Roman Emperors

Western Roman Empire:

after the division of the eastern and Western Roman Empire, Alaric, the leader of the Visigoths, surrounded Rome for the second time in 409 and established a puppet emperor, Honorius, who was trapped in Ravenna, retained his throne with the support of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Valentinian III ascended the throne after the death of honorius in 423.

the rebellion of Maximus broke out in 454 A.D. Petronius maximus plotted to kill Valentinian III, and then he became emperor.

on June 2, 455 A.D., geserik, the leader of the kingdom of vandal, invaded Rome, and Petronius maximus was killed.

later, eight emperors appeared in the west, but they were all puppets. Real power is in the hands of barbarian born military leaders.

during the 16 years of lichimer’s administration, avitus, mocorian and libius severu were abolished, antmius, the emperor supported by the East emperor, was killed, and olibrius was established.

during the reign of gondolabed, rigliserius.

when Oreste was in power in 475, he simply established his son Romulus Augustus as emperor.

in 476 ad, theodoiac rebelled against Oreste, deposed Romulus Augustus, declared allegiance to Zeno, the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, transferred the national emblem of the Western Roman Empire to the Eastern Roman Empire, and the Western Roman Empire perished.

for a detailed list of emperors, see the Western Roman Empire

Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) (330-1453):

after the Roman Empire was divided into East and west parts, the eastern part was known as the Byzantine Empire due to its capital Byzantium (i.e. Constantinople, now Istanbul).

from Constantine I changed the tradition of the Roman emperor and established the Constantine Dynasty, the history of Byzantine Empire opened the chapter of “family and world” politics.

the Byzantine Empire had no emperors