The Great Roman Empire has lived for centuries, but now in the book of history. As people use to say, “every rise has a fall”, so do the Romans. It was a great empire; mighty, glorious, and well flourished. But not everyone lived happily in the Roman rule. Several corrupt and cruel rulers have brought miseries and unexplained torture on their public. Some had done this to keep the public loyalty and obedience, while the others just do it as a purpose of amusement.
Stoned and blinded by power, many governors and rulers of the Roman Empire had brought miseries on the lives of innocent people. The public who either were innocent or had made a small mistake that brought them fearsome torture. Medieval times torture as we already know was done using several different tools such as rakes, breast ripper, torture chair, scavenger’s daughter, pendulum, and several other torture tools. Beside torture tools, physical torture was also applied to the prisoners or criminals. Some common physical tortures were dunking, choking, drowning, flaying, beating, and other different physical torture methods.
Many Roman emperors were great and loyal to their public. There were cherished, obeyed, and followed as leaders of glory and power. Other rulers just enjoyed their time on the throne and brought nothing by paying and suffering to their public. Today, I will introduce you some of the worst and cruel Roman emperors of the old empire and the latter half of it.
Also called as “little boots,” Caligula was the worst ruler to ever sit on the Roman throne. He came to the throne after the death of his second cousin, Tiberias. For the first few months, everyone enjoyed for his ascension to the throne. He was loved by many of his fellow people, but a few months later a disease took control of him. After getting better, he brought untold shame, cruelty, and misery to the people around him. He wanted to be prayed by people as a Roman god. He used to punish people by sawing them in front of public. Some historians say that a demon took control of his body and made him do things that couldn’t be described in words. He was assassinated by a Praetorian guard and left in the street to rot and eaten by dogs.
The reign of Elagabalus has seen many different crises owing to his values and norms of ruling the Roman Empire. Civil war, economic disaster, uprising, Germania attacks, and partition at different places of the Roman rule, are all his crimes during his 50 years of rule. He was accused of several different crimes that I can’t even write in this very post.
Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius, the greatest Roman emperor to sit on the throne. A few of us are already familiar of his personality as he was featured in the movie “The Gladiator” as the main antagonist of the movie. He introduced the famous gladiator games in the Roman capital city. He ordered his men to kill the Roman senators of the court. He sentenced many innocent people to be killed in the arena, for his own amusement. He had himself or his men kill several animals such as lions, ostriches, and elephants in the arena. He was killed by a gladiator, Narcissus, who killed him by strangling him during a duel in the arena. For 12 years, he ruled the empire, starting from the year 180 until the year 192.
Caracalla was a different kind of ruler, sadistic, cruel, but not insane. He presided the empire from the year 211 to the year 217. His fearsome norms were to kill any uprising against the throne. He slaughtered the people of Alexandria who made fun of him for killing his co-emperor Geta and his wife. Inviting all the people of Alexandria in the city square, he then ordered his men to kill everyone in the city square; 20000 people died at that day.
Nero was known for his luxury style of life, as he brought charm and luxury in his court, rooms, and royal gardens. He, however, had no interest in the well-being of his people. Being constraint to himself, he disgusts his near people, even his own mother, for disloyalty and treason. As every day of his reign passes, he used to kill everyone close to him. He was accused of treason with the Roman Empire. He was deserted by everyone, even his own guards. He escaped to his villa, but later killed by a praetorian guard.
Tiberius had a taste of luxury life, as most of the previously discussed emperors wanted for them. He ruled the empire from the ear 14 to 17. He left the senate to rule on the chair. For this reason, the Roman senators despise him and his rule on the throne. He was amazed by the might of the captain of his guard, Lucius Sejanus. He built a huge villa, i.e. Villa Jovis, to spend the last day of his life in the villa.
Diocletian rule started at the end of the third century, during the time of crises in the empire. After coming to rule, he strengthened the Roman military and massively improved the Roman economy. However, he was accused of mass execution of Christians in the history. He removed their rights and martyred everyone who opposed his actions. People were killed by throwing them in the arena in the front of lions. People of Rome, who worshiped the Roman gods, enjoyed their execution, along with their emperors.
- Maximinus Thrax
Maximinus Thrax ruled the Roman Empire from the year 235 to 238. He was accused of causing the crises of the 3rd century rule of Rome. He lacked the trust factor inside his heart. He had his guards killed tens of his closest friends, benefactors, and advisers. He went against several different nations closed to Rome, including Germania, Sarmatia, and Dacia, who were not a big threat to the empire. This created a disrespect of his rule among the people of Rome. Several revolts started against Rome, that put the it into a great disaster.
- Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus was an extremist against the religions other than Roman traditional religion. He worshiped the Roman gods and despised the minorities including, Christians and Jews. He had himself killed several minorities during his rule. An estimate says, 3000 Christians and Jews were executed during his rule in the Roman Empire. After the campaign against Caledonia, he fell sick. His son took the throne from him. Rome deprived its armies from Caledonia back to Hadrian wall.
Domitian was also accused of killing masses of Christian living in the Roman borders. He also adopted the fashion of killing his friends, advisors, and senators of the Roman court. Owing to his actions against the senators, his opponents send men including a gladiator to kill him while he was resting in his room.
10 Greatest British monarchs in the history
Previously discussed Roman rulers have made their name in the pages of history; however, they were not loved much by the people of their rule. In the today times, whoever have read their history would also despise their actions on the innocent public of Rome. If you want to read about the greatest British monarchs in the history, they are all here.