The most biggest lie about roman emperors

Jan 2016
Victoria, Canada
That they all passed their spare time in orgies. Actually some of them had very strict family values.
On a related note, that the Roman Emperors spent their time relaxing in ivory towers, watching games and plays while the people starved and the empire crumbled (or something), which seems to be a pretty common idea in the popular consciousness. While half-true in a couple isolated cases, being an emperor was hard; it was draining, it could be unimaginably stressful, it was incredibly dangerous, it was life-encompassing, and it was inescapable (unless you were Diocletian). We get our image of absolute rulership from the ordered pleasantries of Versailles, but an Emperor of Rome was as likely to be trudging around the German frontier, maneuvering through senatorial and palatial intrigues, and warding off assassination as enjoying the fruits of the empire. The sheer amounts of wealth, power, and prestige brought by the position were enough to make it enviable to most men, but assuming it was a huge and irreversible burden.


Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
That Augustus was the first Emperor.

First, this is a recent development dating to inter-war period of the 20th century; and even then it did not proliferate as an idea until the just the past few decades. Even in the 90s and early 2000s (when I was in school) this wasn’t the academic position - although now you hear it everywhere. But it’s really not a very good position.

First and foremost - if you were educated prior to recently, you would not learn that there was a precise date of the “end of the republic and beginning of the empire.” You’d learn that the concept of Empire developed long before Caesar. The Roman Empire was 1 third democracy, 1 third oligarchy, and 1 third Monarchy. That during the Punic wars popular generals befab to unbalance the system until the time of the Gracchis, Marius, and Sulla. Then later the first Triumvirate and the domination of Caesar. Or something along those lines.

In terms of the defacto line and rule, it would be Julius Caesar. Being assassinated isn’t an argument otherwise there are great deal of others who couldn’t be considered Emperors either - many rules under one year. And the “Caesar was Dictator, not Emperor.” is an utterly pointless argument as many Emperors are dictators, Monarchs, or elected officials, or even spiritual leaders. If arguing semantics is the goal, then you’d be forced to argue that there were no Roman Emperors. But the basic concept of an Emperor is someone who leads or rules an Empire - and Caesar was both.

But even before Caesar there were several that could be considered Emperors given their level of authority over the Roman Empire - even if their position wasn’t lifelong.

And if it is an argument about titles and passing down titles - Augustus wouldn’t be considered the first on this either, it would be Tiberius. But the titles the Emperor changed over time as well.

The legacy of Augustus was rather the beginning of the Pax Romana, not the Empire or the Emperors.

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