Can you name all the emperors, by order?!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by JayAg47, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    Write down the names of Roman emperors just off the top of your head as soon as you read the question!
    Here's a bunch of Roman emperors to keep it numismaticaly relevant :p
    Antonius Pius
    Marcus Aurelius/ Lucius Verus
    Clodius Albinus
    Septimius Severus
    Maximian Thrax
    Gordian I
    Gordian II
    Pupienus and Bulbinus (lol)
    Gordian III
    Philip the Arab
    Trajan Decius
    Constantine I
    Constantine II
    Julius Nepos
    Romulus Augustulus
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    This is probably about as far as I would get, nowadays, off the cuff, without some headscratching. I could name some other sequences, but it gets spotty for me after the Five Good Emperors.
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  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    PS- that's a wonderful looking pile o' silver.
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  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I suggest you learn groups that go together like the year of 5 emperors (193) to avoid omitting Didius Julianus and Pescennius Niger or the Severans to get Severus Alexander. Most people would place Caracalla before Geta. Marjorian came a century and a half later but learning the tetrarchs as a group would have solved that since I assume you meant Maximian.

    This is a good exercise but you may be bothered when you get older that you can name 200 Romans and recognize their portraits but you can't remember the names of people you know in daily life.
  6. Claudius_Gothicus

    Claudius_Gothicus Well-Known Member

    Claudius I
    Antoninus Pius
    Marcus Aurelius with Lucius Verus
    Didius Julianus
    Are Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger counted as emperors or usurpers?
    Septimius Severus
    Caracalla with Geta (initially)
    Macrinus with Diadumenian (Augustus only in his final days)
    Alexander Severus
    Maximinus I
    Gordian I with Gordian II
    Pupienus and Balbinus
    Gordian III
    Philip I with Philip II
    Decius with Herennius Etruscus (Augustus only in his final days)
    Trebonianus Gallus, first with Hostilian and later with Volusian
    Valerian with Gallienus (later alone)
    Saloninus (very briefly)
    Gallic emperors: Postumus, Marius, Victorinus, Tetricus I with Tetricus II
    Claudius II
    Carinus with Numerian
    Diocletian with Maximian (2nd reign alone)
    Constantius I with Galerius
    Flavius Severus (also with Galerius)
    Maximinus II
    Licinius I with Licinius I
    Valerius Valens and later Martinian (with Licinius)
    Constantine I
    Constantine II with Constans I and Constantius II
    Magnentius, Nepotian and Vetranio (not sure if they count as usurpers)
    Procopius (usurper or not? He controlled Constantinople, after all)
    Valentinian I with Valens
    Valentinian II with Gratian and later Thedosius I
    Magnus Maximus with Flavius Victor (they were briefly recognized as legitimate, if I remember correctly)
    Honorius with Arcadius (initially, later with Constantius III and Theodosius II)
    Constantine III with Constans II (I think they were briefly recognized)
    Valentinian III (west)
    Petronius Maximus (west)
    Avitus (west)
    Majorian (west)
    Libius Severus (west)
    Anthemius (west)
    Olybrius (west)
    Glycerius (west)
    Julius Nepos (west)
    Romulus Augustus (west)
    Marcian (east)
    Leo I (east)
    Zeno with Leo II (initially) (east)
    Basiliscus with Marcus (briefly) (east)
    Anastasius (byzantine)
    Justin (byzantine)
    Justinian (byzantine)
    After Justinian I don't know any Byzantine emperor, but as far as Romans go, I have memorized them all, I don't think I missed anybody.
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  7. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I have enough trouble compiling the want list of emperors I wish to buy. You guys sometimes add to it, but I do have my limits. It draw the line at most usurpers who never made emperor and have no interest in their sons who had short lives due to murder or suicide.

    Another confusing era comes after Diocletian decided to retire which resulted in protracted fight for supremacy. There were too many guys named “Max!”
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  8. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I took a Roman history class in college. We had to memorize all the Roman emperors and their years up to a certain point. It might have been Constantine. The good news is, we were not responsible for the third century chaos period. That helped.

    You would be surprised what feats of memory you can perform do you have to do it. I guess this is why persons in the Early Modern period could go see a play and then come back and jot down a good bit of its dialogue with remarkable accuracy in their diaries. It’s believed that premodern persons had to depend on their memory a lot more than we moderns do, and thus their capacity for memorization was far greater. Or maybe we have the same capacity, but they were forced to use theirs much more routinely.
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  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    I could do better on 1st century Roman emperors than I could on 19th century US presidents, at any rate.

    Though I’m an American, I could probably also spontaneously reel off the names of every Tudor and later English monarch from ~1500 onwards, just from numismatic associations, without relying on that little mnemonic jingle that British schoolchildren no doubt learn (I’ve heard it recited, but can’t do it.)
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  10. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    That's no joke! I was at a museum where there was a display of Roman coins. Talking with the curator, I named off each emperor/empress without a problem. Yesterday, I called a bowling buddy. When his wife answered the call, I couldn't remember her name and I see her every week.
  11. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    My want list goes up to Constantine. I am close to completing it although some guys, like Gordian Africanaus I and II, cost a lot money and might not be in my future. Most all of what they did was die. At least Didius Julianus bid for the emperor's chair at auction. That's a lot more interesting.

    I have looked at the collection past Constantine, and have a list, but I'm not sure I want to keep going.

    This I can do back that to Cnut. The British names are easier for me to remember than than the Roman ones. Some might call that "cultural bias."

    I have at least one coin for each them too. The big sleeper is Henry IV. He's tough has nails to find, and most the coins are terrible with two to three thousand dollar price tags on them. I opted for a gold noble instead. If you have to pay a lot money, why not go for something that looks impressive instead of something that looks like the cat swallowed and brought back up?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Things get foggy for me around the Wars of the Roses, and there were altogether too many Henrys and Edwards, so they're a blur to me- at least the pre-Tudor ones.
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  13. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    List of Emperors fo Roman, Chinese, etc. works well for me on Wikipedia.

    I am also reading Chronicles books: of Roman Republic, of Chinese, of Roman Empire, of Pharaohs, of Mayan Kings and Queens... and various others.

    Helps me understand much better than rote memorization.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  14. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I'm bothered by the question of 'legitimate' vs. 'usurper'. If we count as 'usurper' anyone who named himself Augustus in opposition to the standing ruler (who may very well have been equally as 'usurper' in the first place) we would have to include Septimius Severus, Diocletian, Constantine and a few other big names. The Gordians were recognized at Rome but never ruled there. I wonder if they ever actually saw a coin bearing there portraits or if the travel time was longer than their lives. Augustus may have been the most successful 'usurper' of them all since he invented the concept of Empire and turned the previous system into a rubber stamp. It is popular to say someone had to be recognized by the Senate to be legitimate but the fact was that the Senate did what they were told (sometimes it was necessary to kill a few of them to remind them of that fact).

    My answer is we should know all those who claimed to be Augusti and we have reason to believe they actually existed. Coins suggest someone actually existed more surely than being mentioned by some historian who wrote years after the period in question. If we collect coins and insist on defining 'complete' to suit what we can own we are cheating.

    When it comes to the 'Year of Five Emperors' a lot depends on definition. The Wikipedia article fails to distinguish between titles Augustus and Caesar. The coins we have of Clodius Albinus as Augustus are dated to time after the end of 193 so we have to wonder exactly when we count his reign. There are no foolproof answers to some of these matters but the days of measuring ability in history class by list memorization skills has passed. Collect what you will. Understand rather than recite.
  15. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Geeze, do I know what you mean. I can recite, in chronological order, all the presidents of the US in the order that they served from elementary school, my street address and phone number from my childhood home, the name of our first dog, the streets all around that first home, my first coin (1865 US three cent piece purchased when I was 14) but I can't tell what I had for breakfast yesterday morning, what the name of the street is in back of my house, or what my latest coin purchase was. I find that I buy coins because they look good, get them home and find I already have the same coin and it's better than the one I just bought. I hope i have my grand kids straight.
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  16. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    You have Edwards I, II and III right together. Edward #1 was over six feet tall and was known "longshanks." He was heavy in the Mel Gibson movie, "Braveheard." Edward #2 was gay and probably died by having a hot poker driven up his rump. Edward #3 was great king for much of his reign, but then he got old and senile. He introduced gold coinage to (more) modern England.

    Edward III Half Noble

    Edward III Half Noble O.jpg Edward III Half Noble R.jpg

    Edward IV played musical chairs with the crown with Henry VI. He was quite the ladies’ man and loved to eat. He died at age 40 or so probably from over indulgence. He introduced the gold Angel to British coinage.

    Edward IV Angel

    Edward IV Angel O.jpg Edward IV Angel R.jpg

    Edward V was Edward IV's son. He died in the Tower of London, on the orders of Richard III although some say Henry VII, who was Henry VIII's daddy. The Spink guide attributes some coins to him, but they are way out of my price range.

    Edward VI was Henry VIII's long desired, but sickly son. He died at age 16. I think that he very intelligent and had a lot of potential, never to be realized.

    Edward VI Half Pound

    Edward VI half pound O.jpg Edward VI half pound R.jpg

    Now we skip all the way up to the 20th century to Edward VII. He could have called himself "Albert" but he didn't want to upstage his father. He was a playboy all of his life, but showed great diplomatic skills when he helped craft a peace treaty between long time rivals, France and England.

    Edward VII Matte Proof Two Pounds

    1902 2 Pounds O.jpg 1902 2 Pounds R.jpg

    Edward VIII was what I would call "the black sheep of the family." He abdicated so that he could marry Wallace Simpson. He also liked the Nazis which said a great deal about his other shortcomings. I don't have a coin for him. The few coins that were made with his portrait are patterns and are beyond my price range.

    So there you have all of the "British Edwards."
  17. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    We shall agree to disagree. I shall continue to "cheat." The last son of a usurper would have cost me $500. He was around long enough "to have a cup of coffee" as they say in Major League Baseball.

    Perhaps we could comprise and say that I collect "successful usurpers." Since they did not have very many elections in Rome, you were a usurper, the son of a usurper or an adopted child of an emperor.
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  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    I have the roman emperors memorized, along with most of the usurpers and I don't get hazy until after Constans II...but like you say, if I can't remember the name of an actor in a movie I just saw or my neighbor 's name who is walking his dog I am in trouble.
  19. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I share the coin problem but have one child and one grandchild so that has not been a problem....yet. The last time I saw my grandmother we had a nice talk about the old days and why I had not seen her for so long. She thought I was her son (my uncle) killed in WWII before I was born. I saw no reason to dispute it and ruin her day. I will yield here hoping one of our regulars will chime in with his comment on aging.

    Which Constans II? We have the son of Constantine III and the Byzantine one a couple hundred years later. That brings up why Julian II got that number and whether #1 was Didius Julianus or Julian of Pannonia.
    I am quite good with that concept but still wonder how we decide how long you have to survive to be successful. In most cases 'success' was more related to how close to Rome you were but that does not explain the Gordians (whose coins I have not collected). Sometimes I feel like I need to know more about who was in charge but was not emperor. Who ordered the striking of coins for the Gordians? What went on in Rome between the death of Didius and the arrival of Severus suggests to me that Didius was more deserving of the title usurper than was Pescennius (losing due to location rather than ability). We will never know how history would have worked out had Severus been stationed far away and Pescennius near Rome. We might have been spared Caracalla and Elagabalus but we would miss their great stories.
  20. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Let's do the Henrys. Oddly enough there are eight of them too.

    Henry I can to power when his brother William I, or Rufus, was killed in a "hunting accident." Henry was all to quick to grab the treasury and the crown. He did not attend his brother's funeral. He died after eating a big plate of eels.

    Henry I's pennies were terrible. This one is way above average.

    Henry I penny S-1275.jpg

    Henry II was the first Plantagenet king. His mother, Matilda, should have been the Queen of England, but the nobles would not accept a woman as their leader in those days. He had problems with his wife and sons, Richard I and John, who wanted him out of the way. He got into big trouble with a couple of knights took him at his word and killed Thomas Becket.

    Henry II Penny O.jpg Henry II Penny R.jpg

    Henry III is generally viewed as a weak king because he had problems formulating consistent policies. He was most influenced by the last adviser he had seen. His great achievement was the re-building of Westminster Abby. He made an abortive attempt at a British gold coinage which failed.

    Henry III Penny O.jpg Henry III Penny R.jpg

    Henry IV took the crown from Richard II. He had serious health problems for much of his reign. Same say he contracted leprosy while on a Crusade. He believed that God was punishing him.

    For much his reign, Henry's coins were too heavy and contained too much silver. Many of them were sent to the continent and melted, which makes them rare today. Reform came, but it was too late to help modern collectors. Henry IV coins are hard to find.

    This gold noble was not cheap, but it beat the profoundly ugly, and close to equally expensive alternatives.

    Henry IV Noble me O.jpg Henry IV Noble me R.jpg

    Henry V had a short but successful reign. He forged alliances with the British nobles and took lots of French territory. When he died his son had a claim to be the king of England and France.

    Henry could not wait to be king. One story has it that he was caught trying his father's (Henry IV) crown on for size. Henry died young from dysentery. This is a Henry V two pence.

    Henry V 2 Pence O.jpg Henry V 2 Pence R.jpg

    Continued next message
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  21. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    The one who ruled Byzantium between 641-668
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