In 68 A.D. Galba after Nero’s death , he had wanted to hand over power to his chosen successor in his family. In fact, the experience of the Jul’io-Claudian family , which had led to power inept individuals or dangerous , such as Caligula or Nero, was not to happen again . The problem is that he chose Piso Licinianus , and that this triggered the reaction of Otho , with the consequences that we know well , that is a civil war , the killing of the same Galba and a year of struggle, in which you have followed the Four Emperors .
Then the Flavian dynasty seemed to have solved the problem , under the empire of the good and the excellent Titus Vespasian , but the rise to power of Domitian revived the issue. Nerva, who was an old senator, who took power after Domitian had taken exactly as Galba after Nero continued the dream of Galba and carried it out . The new system is established on a long established custom among the Romans : the adoption . Do not forget that he was adopted by Augustus Caesar , Tiberius by Augustus, and Nero by Claudius. With the emperors from Nerva up to Antoninus Pius , however, the system consisted in taking someone for personal, family , or external pressures , but deliberately choose the one that would have served as emperor better than any other time of the Roman citizen .
Since , however , all of these emperors , if only for the fact that they were adopted , they are related, some historians have adopted the title of Antonini for them, while other historians have them simply called emperors for adoption. The fact is that during their reign , and during one of the next dynasty , that of the Severi, instead all related to each other , Rome experienced its greatest period of internal peace , held by the institutions, and foreign expansion .
He passed by Antonini to Severi because the emperor adopted by Antoninus Pius , Marcus Aurelius was succeeded by his son Commodus , who showed oddities similar to those of Domitian, calling himself Hercules, Rome and Colonia Commodiana calling , and proving openly unjust and violent enough to be killed violently by a gladiator, as he says, albeit with some invention is not trusted, the movie “Gladiator .”
You must save the emperors of this period were :
Antoninus Pius 138-161
Marcus Aurelius 161-180
his son Commodus 180-193
Septimius Severus 193-211
his son Caracalla 211-217
Severus Alexander 222-235
From 235 onwards, there was a period of anarchy, a continuous succession of dozens of emperors even for very short periods , in some cases a few days, demonstrating how the third century was a seculum horribile , but as the annus horribilis 69 . In the third century created the foundations of the crisis and the fall of the ‘ Roman Empire .
The secret of the success of the Antonines and the Severi was to have well- incarnate at the same time the model of western and eastern empire , becoming well-wishes by the Senate in the west, as if the emperor was merely the first of the judges, in the manner of Augustus, but consider becoming an absolute monarch in the East. The only exceptions were in fact Commodus and Elagabalus , who sought to establish itself in a dictatorial manner , and for this they were the only ones of these emperors to die a violent death , struck down by a conspiracy .
This was also the era of the great jurists :
in 130 A.D. Hadrian fill in the ‘ Perpetual Edict , laying the foundations of the code of Roman law, which will be completed later under Emperor Justinian.
This period was also the era of famous jurists such as Ulpian , who under the Emperor Alexander Severus stared at the formula according to which the emperor is absolute , that is, in Latin princeps legibus solutus , a prince dissolved by any law.