Monday, September 26, 2016

Thirty-three Roman Emperors

Chart #8 shows the relationships of 33 Roman Emperors from the Flavian Dynasty with Vespasian who ruled from 69 to 79 CE down to Olybrius who ruled in 472. The numbers in parenthesis after the Rulers names are the order in which they ruled. However, there were about another 45 rulers not shown on this chart interspersed among those shown here.  Although I am related to everyone on these charts in some fashion, there are only 17 of these rulers that are my direct ancestors (those not shown in blue).

I will make some comments on the history of only a few of these Emperors.

Emperor Vespasian, who lived from 9 to 79 CE is probably best known as being the commander who besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion. After Nero's death the Empire was thrown into an era of civil war.  Vespasian left the siege of Jerusalem to his son, Titus, so he could join forces with others which eventually led the Senate to declare him as the new Emperor. Vespasian should also be remembered as the one who built the famous Roman Colosseum.

There is not much to say about some Emperors, as there were several who ruled a very short time. For example, Gordian I and his son Gordian II ruled jointly for only a month in 238.

Constantius Chlorus was emperor from 293 to 306, the founder of the Constantinian Dynasty. Legend says that his wife Helena "the Fair" was the daughter of a British noble Coel II Cadfanson of Colchester, Earl of Gloucester, although historians believe she was actually of Greek descent. She was a Christian before the conversion of her famous son, Constantine the Great. The story goes that St. Helena went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem after Constantine became Emperor. There she uncovered many of the holy sites where Jesus walked and even found the true cross, whereby fragments of the cross were placed in many churches throughout Europe.

The son of Constantius Chlorus and Helena, Constantine the Great (288-337) is a very pivotal figure in the history of Europe. He should be remembered for two very remarkable events. First, the legend is that he won a victorious battle after seeing the sign of the cross in the sky carrying the message "with this sign, you will conquer". Thus he stopped the Christian persecutions and legalized Christianity. This paved the way for the Christian Church to eventually become the most powerful force in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Secondly, Constantine converted the Greek city of Byzantium to become an eastern capital of the Roman Empire, and renamed it Constantinople. This city became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which lasted for a thousand years. We will take a look at some Byzantine Emperors genealogy in a later post.

Theodosius the Great was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire.

Olybrius, the last Emperor in the west (Rome) on Chart #8  ruled for less than a year in 472. But the last ruler of the western Roman Empire was Romulus Augustus who ruled in 475-6. Though I am also descended from him, I am not showing any charts on him. But you can find him in my online genealogy database. Romulus Augustus was the target of much mockery, even in his own day. His name alone invited ridicule. Romulus being the legendary first king of Rome, and Augustus its glorious first emperor. Some historians still record his name as Augustulus, which means "little emperor". Odoacer, of non-Roman ancestry, captured the city of Ravenna and forced Romulus to abdicate on 4 September AD 476. Odoacer became the first King of Italy. Although he is in my database, he is not shown as a direct ancestor. The second King of Italy was Theodoric the Great, with ancestry from the East Goths and is in my genealogy. I will probably write about this in a later blog.

Lots of good information found in "The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476 " by Michael Grant. Link to Amazon shown below.

Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:

Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog. Also see the prior blog for other books.

Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software:

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