Complete List of Roman Emperors and their length of reign: From Augustus to Romulus Augustulus

Ancient Rome, a civilization that gave us magnificent arches and architectural works, and literature from the likes of Cicero, Virgil and Ovid, is said to have been founded around the 8th century BC. And for the next three hundred years or so, ancient Rome, i.e. the Roman Kingdom (8th century BC – 6th century BC), was ruled by kings. The Roman Kingdom then gave way for the Roman Republic, which lasted for about five hundred years (i.e. from around 509 BC to 27 BC).

Roman Emperors

Roman Emperors | Image: Statue of Roman Emperor Trajan, posing in military garb, in front of the Amphitheater of Colonia Ulpia Traiana in the Xanten Archaeological Park

As a result of the political and military maneuvers of Roman generals and politicians – like Sulla, Marcus Licinius Crassus, Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar and Octavian (Augustus) – the Roman Republic ended up being replaced by Imperial Rome, whose first emperor was the Roman general and politician Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar. Augustus’ four-decade reign ushered in about five hundred years of imperial government, which ended in the 5th century AD when the Western Roman Empire collapsed.

World History Edu presents in a chronological order the list of Western Roman emperors and their length of reign.

Roman Emperor Reign Born Died Cause of death Dynasty/Era
Augustus 31 BC–14 AD 63 BC 14 AD Natural causes Julio-Claudian
Tiberius 14–37 AD 42 BC 37 AD Natural causes or murdered by his adopted son and heir Caligula Julio-Claudian
Caligula 37–41 AD 12 AD 41 AD Murdered by the Praetorian Guard Julio-Claudian
Claudius 41–54 AD 10 BC 54 AD Likely poisoned by his wife Agrippina Julio-Claudian
Nero 54–68 AD 37 AD 68 AD Committed suicide Julio-Claudian
Galba 68–69 AD 3 BC 69 AD Murdered by members of the Praetorian Guard under the instruction of Otho Year of Four Emperors
Otho January-April 69 AD 32 AD 69 AD Committed suicide Year of Four Emperors
Aulus Vitellius July-December 69 AD 15 AD 69 AD Murdered by Vespasian’s soldiers Year of Four Emperors
Vespasian 69–79 AD 9 AD 79 AD Natural causes Flavian/Year of Four Emperors
Titus 79-81 AD 39 AD 81 AD Natural causes Flavian
Domitian 81-96 AD 51 AD 96 AD Assassinated Flavian
Nerva 96–98 AD 30 AD 98 AD Natural causes Nerva-Antonine
Trajan 98–117 AD 53 AD 117 AD Natural causes Nerva-Antonine
Hadrian 117–138 AD 76 AD 138 AD Natural causes Nerva-Antonine
Antoninus Pius 138–161 AD 86 AD 161 AD Natural causes Nerva-Antonine
Marcus Aurelius 161–180 AD 121 AD 180 AD Natural causes Nerva-Antonine
Lucius Verus 161-169 AD 130 AD 169 AD Natural causes Nerva-Antonine
Commodus 177–192 AD 161 AD 192 AD Murdered in a conspiracy involving the Praetorian Prefect Nerva-Antonine
Publius Helvius Pertinax January-March 193 AD 126 AD 193 AD Murdered by the Senate on the orders of Septimius Severus Year of Five Emperors
Marcus Didius Severus Julianus March–June 193 AD 133 AD 193 AD Murdered by a palace soldier Year of Five Emperors
Pescennius Niger April 193 – May, 194 AD c. 135 AD 194 AD Killed while fleeing from Antioch Year of Five Emperors
Clodius Albinus Imperial pretender, 193-197 c. 150 197 AD Executed in Lugdunum, likely on the orders of Severus Year of Five Emperors
Septimius Severus 193–211 AD 145 AD 211 AD Natural causes Severan dynasty/Year of Five Emperors
Caracalla 198-217 AD 188 AD 217 AD Murdered by a soldier Severan
Publius Septimius Geta 209–211 AD 189 AD 211 AD Murdered by his brother, Caracalla Severan
Macrinus 217–218 AD c. 165 218 AD Murdered during a revolt by troops Interlude
Diadumenian May–June 218 208 AD 218 AD Executed Interlude
Elagabalus 218–222 AD c. 204 AD 222 AD Murdered by the Praetorian Guard Severan
Severus Alexander 222–235 AD 208 AD 235 AD Lynched by the troops Severan
Maximinus 235–238 AD c. 138 AD 238 AD Murdered by his soldiers Year of the Six Emperors
Gordian I March–April 238 AD c. 158 AD 238 AD Committed suicide Gordian/Year of Six Emperor
Gordian II March–April 238 AD c. 192 AD 238 AD Killed in battle Gordian/Year of Six Emperor
Pupienus Maximus April 22–July 29, 238 AD c. 168 AD 238 AD Murdered by the Praetorian Guard Year of Six Emperor
Balbinus April 22–July 29, 238 AD c. 178 AD 238 AD Murdered by the Praetorian Guard Year of Six Emperor
Gordian III 238–244 AD 225 AD 244 AD Died in a battle against Persia Gordian/Year of Six Emperor
Philip I (Philip the Arab) 244–249 AD c. 204 AD 249 AD Killed in the Battle of Verona
Philip II 247–249 237 AD 249 AD Murdered by the Praetorian Guard
Decius 249–251 AD c. 201 AD 251 AD Killed at the Battle of Abrittus Decian
Herennius Etruscus May–June 251 c. 227 AD 251 AD Killed at the Battle of Abrittus Decian
Hostilian c. June-July, 251 AD c. 251 AD Died of plague or killed by Trebonianus Gallus
Trebonianus Gallus June 251 – August 253 206 AD 253 AD Murdered by his soldiers
Gaius Vibius Volusianus November 251 – August 254 230 AD 253 AD Murdered by his soldiers
Aemilian June–September 253 AD c. 210 AD 253 AD Murdered by his troops Decian
Valerian 253–260 AD c. 199 260 AD Died while being held captive by the Persian king Shapur I Valerian
Gallienus 253–268 AD c. 218 AD 268 AD Murdered in a conspiracy involving some army officers Valerian
Claudius II Gothicus 268–270 AD 214 AD 270 AD Died of the plague of Cyprian Gordian
Quintillus c. April–May, 270 AD 270 AD Committed suicide Gordian
Aurelian 270–275 AD 214 AD 275 AD Murdered by the troops Gordian
Tacitus 275–276 AD 276 AD Likely murdered, or died of a fever Tacitus
Florian June–September 276 AD 232 AD 276 AD Murdered by his own troops Tacitus
Probus 276–282 AD 232 AD 282 AD Murdered by his own soldiers Tacitus
Carus 282–283 AD c. 222 AD 282 AD Died in a military campaign against the Persians Caran
Numerian 283–284 AD 284 AD Died during a military campaign in Europe Caran
Carinus 283–285 AD 285 AD Died in a battle against Diocletian Caran
Diocletian 284-305 AD c. 245 AD c. 311 AD Abdicated and later died of an illness
Maximian West, 286–305 AD c. 250 AD 310 AD Abdicated and was later killed
Constantius I West, 305–306 AD c. 250 AD 306 AD Natural causes Constantinian
Galerius East, 305-311 AD c. 258 AD 311 AD Natural causes
Severus II 306–307 AD 309 AD Murdered, or forced to commit suicide
Maxentius 306–312 AD c. 283 AD 312 AD Died at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, against Constantine I
Constantine I 306–337 AD c. 272 AD 337 AD Natural causes Constantinian
Galerius Valerius Maximinus 310–313 AD c. 270 AD 313 AD Died from a disease
Licinius 308–324 AD c. 265 AD 325 AD Unknown
Constantine II 337–340 AD 316 AD 340 AD Killed in a war against his brother, Constans I Constantinian
Constantius II 337-361 AD 317 AD 361 AD Fever Constantinian
Constans I 337–350 AD c. 320 350 AD Killed by the Roman general Magnentius Constantinian
Gallus Caesar (Flavius Claudius Constantius) east, 351–354 AD 325 AD 354 AD Executed Constantinian
Julian 361–363 AD 331 AD 363 AD Died of wounds sustained during a campaign against the Persians Constantinian
Jovian 363–364 AD 331 AD 364 AD Likely died of indigestion
Valentinian I 364–375 AD 321 AD 375 AD Stroke Valentinianic
Valens East, 364-378 AD 328 AD 378 AD Killed at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD Valentinianic
Gratian 367–383 AD – co-emperor with Valentinian I 359 AD 383 AD Killed by an officer of Magnus Maximus Valentinianic
Valentinian II west, 37315–392 AD 371 AD 392 AD Likely committed suicide Valentinianic
Theodosius I east, 379–392 AD; west, 392–395 AD 347 AD 395 AD Natural causes Theodosian
Arcadius east, 383–395 AD as co-emperor; 395–402 AD as sole emperor c. 377 AD 408 AD Natural causes Theodosian
Magnus Maximus west, 383–388 AD c.335 AD 388 AD Executed after a defeat at the Battle of Save in 388 AD
Honorius west, 393–395 AD as co-emperor; 395–423 AD as sole emperor c. 384 AD 423 AD Died of hydropsy (i.e. swelling in the body’s tissue) Theodosian
Theodosius II east, 408–450 AD 401 AD 450 AD A fall from his horse Theodosian
Constantius III west, 421 AD, co-emperor 421 AD Severe illness
Valentinian III west, 425–455 AD 419 AD 455 AD Murdered Valentinianic and Theodosian
Marcian east, 450–457 AD c. 392 457 AD Natural causes Theodosian
Petronius Maximus March 17–May 31, 455 AD c. 397 AD 455 AD Murdered during the Vandalic sack of Rome
Avitus west, 455–456 AD c. 390 AD 456 AD Deposed and died later in 456
Majorian west, 457–461 AD c. 420 AD 461 AD Deposed and later executed
Libius Severus 461–465 AD 465 AD Natural causes
Anthemius west, 467–472 AD 480 AD Murdered by Gundobad, the king of the Burgundians
Olybrius west, April–November 472 AD 472 AD Natural causes
Glycerius west, 473–474 AD 474 AD Unknown
Julius Nepos west, 474–475 AD 480 AD Fled Rome and was murdered by his retainers
Romulus Augustulus west, 475–476 AD c. 465 AD c. 513 AD Unknown

More facts about Roman Emperors

Roman Emperors

First Roman emperor Augustus

August Caesar, Rome’s first emperor, ruled for about four decades, from 27 BC till 14 AD. He is credited with pushing the empire’s boundaries as he annexed numerous territories.

The Roman emperor who holds the title of having the greatest military expansion is Trajan. After inheriting the throne from Emperor Nerva, Trajan set out on a massive expansion project which resulted the Roman Empire reaching its maximum territorial extent. The empire covered large places around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, West Asia, and North Africa.

At that stretch, the Roman Empire was in the region of 5 million square kilometers. This made it one of the largest empires in ancient world history, along with the likes of the Achaemenid Empire during the reign of Darius the Great, and the Macedonian Empire during the reign of Alexander the Great.

The 3rd and 4th centuries AD witnessed the most number of Roman emperors.

Read More: Top 10 Greatest Roman Emperors


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