Torch: U.S. LXVII Spring 2018 - Page 14


Spring 2018 · Torch:U.S. · FEATURE

1. Pertinax

Following the violent end of Commodus in 192 C.E., his successor Pertinax struggled to reinstate order. The son of a former slave, Pertinax was favored by the Senate because of his humble beginnings, and his future seemed promising. Pertinax’s doom was decided when he tried to reform the decadent behavior of the elites, curb the spending of the Praetorian Guard, and condemn palace officials for embezzlement of funds from the treasury. Predictably, the Praetorian Guard disliked these reforms. They stormed the palace and murdered Pertinax only 87 days into his reign. Pertinax, your short reign left a shallow impact on Rome and an even shallower dent on history. At least you tried.

2. Didius Julianus

The immediate successor to Pertinax, Didius Julianus found himself on the throne by buying it. Julianus had been something of a revolutionary during Commodus’ reign and had been exiled. Upon Pertinax's death in March of 193 CE, Julianus saw a chance to buy his way back into Roman life. As a successor to Commodus and Pertinax, Julianus did not have particularly large shoes to fill, but he was an unpopular ruler never-the-less, because he had purchased the emperorship. Almost immediately after he became emperor, 3 other commanders claimed the throne, and, in June of the same year, the Senate recognized Septimius Severus as emperor and sentenced Julianus to death. After ruling for less than 4 months, he was assassinated in his home on June 2, 193.