The Roman WorldNerva-Antonine DynastyBoundless World History
The Nerva-Antonine DynastyThe Golden Age of Rome was a period of prosperity that fell under the “Five Good Emperors”of the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty: Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.LEARNING OBJECTIVESDescribe the characteristics of the Golden Age and the achievements of the FiveGood EmperorsKEY TAKEAWAYSKey PointsThe first five of the six successions within the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty werenotable in that the reigning emperor adopted the candidate of his choice tobe his successor, rather than choosing a biological heir.Looking For Essentials To Keep You Safe? We've Got T
Although much of his life remains obscure, Nerva was considered a wise andmoderate emperor by ancient historians. Nerva’s greatest success was hisability to ensure a peaceful transition of power after his death, thus foundingthe Nerva-Antonine Dynasty.Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over thegreatest military expansion in Roman history, and led the empire to attain itsmaximum territorial extent by the time of his death.Hadrian was known to be a humanist and a philhellene, renowned for hisbuilding projects and commitment to his military lifestyle.Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor, enjoyed not only militarysuccesses during his reign, but also authored a defining Stoic tome onequanimity in the midst of conflict.Key TermsMarcus Aurelius: Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 CE, as well as a notableStoic philosopher.Hadrian: Roman Emperor from 117 to 138 CE. Known for his grand buildingprojects and his philhellenism.Trajan: Roman emperor from 98 CE until 117 CE. Ocially declared by theSenate as optimus princeps, and known for his bold expansion of Romanborders.Nerva-Antonine DynastyThe Nerva-Antonine Dynasty was a dynasty of seven Roman Emperors who ruled over theRoman Empire during a period of prosperity from 96 CE to 192 CE. These emperors are Nerva,Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus.The first five of the six successions within this dynasty were notable in that the reigningemperor adopted the candidate of his choice to be his successor. Under Roman law, anadoption established a bond legally as strong as that of kinship. As such, the second throughsixth Nerva-Antonine emperors are also called Adoptive Emperors.
The importance of ocial adoption in Roman society has often been considered as aconscious repudiation of the principle of dynastic inheritance, and has been deemed as one ofthe factors of the period’s prosperity. However, this was not a new practice. It was common forpatrician families to adopt, and Roman emperors had adopted heirs in the past; EmperorAugustus had adopted Tiberius, and Emperor Claudius had adopted Nero. Julius Caesar,dictator perpetuo and considered to be instrumental in the transition from Republic to Empire,adopted Gaius Octavius, who would become Augustus, Rome ‘s first emperor. Moreover, there