The Five Good Emperors of Ancient Rome and the Decline of the Roman Empire

TLDR The five good emperors of ancient Rome, including Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, brought stability and expansion to the empire during the period of Pax Romana. However, the reign of Commodus, the son of Marcus Aurelius, marked the beginning of the end for the Roman Empire.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 There were five consecutive emperors during the peak of Pax Romana who were considered good at their jobs, although being a good emperor doesn't necessarily mean being a good person in ancient Rome.
02:22 The five good emperors began with the selection of Marcus Kokius Nerva as emperor by the Senate, who aimed to stabilize the empire and undo the damage caused by Domitian.
04:34 Nerva selected Trajan as his successor, who is widely considered one of the best emperors in Roman history and expanded the empire to its largest extent.
06:40 Hadrian, Trajan's successor, consolidated his power and took steps to reform the government, including the construction of Hadrian's Wall and the Pantheon, and had a scandalous relationship with a Greek teenage boy named Antinous.
08:45 Antoninus Pius succeeded Hadrian as emperor and had a long and peaceful reign, known for his kindness and lack of military involvement, although there is little surviving documentation about him; he adopted two sons as co-emperors, Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius, who were the first rulers in Roman history to rule together.
10:57 Marcus Aurelius, the last of the good emperors, was known for his military campaigns, his stoic philosophy, and his book Meditations, but his reign marked the end of the Nerva Antonine dynasty and the period of Pax Romana because his son, Commodus, became a terrible emperor.
13:04 Commodus, the son of Marcus Aurelius, was a terrible emperor who depleted the empire's funds, engaged in gladiatorial games, and was eventually killed by his own Praetorian Guard, marking the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire according to Edward Gibbon.
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