Man in the Box
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Joined: Oct 2009
How the Caesars Died
A list of the cause of death for every Roman emperor between Augustus and Constantine:
Augustus, d. 14 AD
Died naturally. Cassius Dio claims that he was fed poison by his wife Livia, and this either killed him or at least contributed to his declining health.
Tiberius, d. 37 AD
Gaius "Caligula", d. 41 AD
Murdered by a conspiracy that included his wife and his Praetorian prefect. Was stabbed repeatedly with weapons, presumably swords.
Claudius, d. 54 AD
Died naturally. Contemporary gossip that claimed Agrippina fed him poisoned mushrooms has been accepted as fact in many modern sources.
Nero, d. 68 AD
Dethroned and commited suicide; he would have been killed by Praetorian cavalrymen had he not.
Galba, d. 69 AD
Murdered and decapitated in the Forum by Praetorian guardsmen acting on the orders of Otho, not their prefect Laco.
Otho, d. 69 AD
Commited suicide with a dagger thrust to the abdomen after the defeat at Cremona.
Vitellius, d. 69 AD
Captured and drug through the Forum by Vespasian's soldiers, killed after being brutally tortured.
Vespasian, d. 79 AD
Died naturally at an advanced age. "Oh dear, I'm becoming a god!"
Titus, d. 81 AD
Exact cause of death is unknown. It was widely believed that he was wasting away of an incurable disease. Plutarch believes that he died from a chill he got from exposure to cold water. Contemporary gossip accused his brother Domitian of feeding him poisoned fish.
Domitian, d. 96 AD
Domitian was the victim of a large plot that included members of his household, the Praetorian prefects Petronius and Norbanus, his wife, and some of his slaves. He and the freedman Stephanos apparently killed each other during a struggle in Domitian's bedroom; the latter was stabbed repeatedly in the groin and elsewhere with daggers.
Nerva, d. 98 AD
Trajan, d. 117 AD
Hadrian, d. 138 AD
Antoninus Pius, d. 161 AD
Lucius Verus, d. 169 AD
Died of plague brought back from the East.
Marcus Aurelius, d. 180 AD
Believed to have died of plague.
Commodus, d. 192 AD
Killed on New Year's Eve by a plot including his mistress and government officials. The killer was a gladiator named Narkissos, who may have strangled or drowned the Emperor while he was taking a bath.
Pertinax, d. 193 AD
Killed by a javelin thrown by a common soldier during a Praetorian mutiny.
Didius Julianus, d. 193 AD
Executed by Danubian soldiers sent into the palace by Severus when the latter occupied Rome.
Pescennius Niger, d. 195 AD
Beheaded by Severan cavalry after being captured during his flight into Parthia.
Clodius Albinus, d. 197 AD
Executed in the aftermath of the Battle of Lugdunum.
Septimius Severus, d. 211 AD
Geta, d. 211 AD
Treacherously murdered by centurions in the service of his brother.
Antoninus "Caracalla", d. 217 AD
Murdered by a Praetorian soldier in the service of Macrinus.
Macrinus, d. 218 AD
After his defeat at Immae, he was captured and executed by a centurion in Chalcedon. A similar fate befell his son and co-ruler Diadumenianus in Parthia.
Antoninus "Elagabalus", d. 222 AD
Murdered and mutiliated by the Praetorians who were digusted both by his sexual excesses and his plans to murder his cousin.
Severus Alexander, d. 235 AD
Perished during a mutiny along the Rhine that was probably organized by his successor.
Maximinus Thrax, d. 238 AD
Cut down by frustrated soldiers during the Siege of Aquilea.
Pupienus and Balbinus, d. 238 AD
Senatorial emperors killed by the Praetorians after a short and powerless reign.
Gordian I, d. 238 AD
Lynched himself after his son's defeat.
Gordian II, d. 238 AD
Killed in Battle near Carthage.
Gordian III, d. 244 AD
Died during a Persian campaign. He may have died of wounds suffered during battle, or he may have been killed by his Praetorian prefect Philip the Arab.
Philip the Arab, d. 249 AD
Executed by mutinous Praetorians.
Decius, d. 251 AD
Killed by Goths during the Battle of Abrittus.
Trebonianus Gallus, d. 253 AD
Killed by his soldiers while attempting to put down the revolt of Aemilianus.
Aemilian, d. 253 AD
Killed by soldiers who didn't want to face the Rhine legions of Valerian on the battlefield.
Valerian, date of death unknown
Valerian was captured by Persians in 260 AD and never returned to the Roman Empire. Some believe that he died as a slave in Persia, others that he was executed by Shapur. Either way, his dead body was stuffed as used as a decoration in a Persian Temple.
Gallienus, d. 268 AD
Killed by a plot of his officers at the siege of Mediolanum.
Claudius II Gothicus, d. 270 AD
Believed to have died of plague, though there were whispers that he had been murdered - probably by Aurelian.
Quintillus, d. 270 AD
Commited suicide by opening his veins.
Aurelian, d. 275 AD
Killed in the Balkans by a plot of the officers, orchestrated by the bitter freedman Eros.
Tacitus, d. 276 AD
The manner of Tacitus' death is unknown; he may have been a victim of fever, plague, plotting officers, or a mutiny of the soldiers in Syria and Asia Minor.
Florian, d. 276 AD
Probably killed by his soldiers, though his health was already failing at this point.
Probus, d. 282 AD
Deserted by his men in Sirmium, took refuge in a tower but was hauled out and killed by the soldiers.
Carus, d. 283 AD
Died during a Persian campaign. He may have died of age, disease, murder, or (according to the traditional explanation) a strike by lightning.
Numerian, d. 284 AD
Probably killed by his prefect Aper.
Carinus, d. 285 AD
Killed in or directly after a battle with Diocletian; supposedly he was killed by his bitter prefect Aristoboulos, whose wife he had seduced.
Constantius Chlorus, d. 306 AD
Severus II, d. 307 AD
Executed by Maxentius.
Maximianus, d. 308 AD
May have commited suicide or been murdered by Constantine.
Galerius, d. 311 AD
Died of sickness.
Maxentius, d. 312 AD
Drowned while fleeing across the Milvian Bridge when defeated by Constantine.
Diocletian, d. 316 AD
Retired from the purple in 305; died peacefully in retirement eleven years later.
Constantine I, d. 337 AD