Barracks emperor

As soldiers, the Emperor Kaiser referred to in the old historical research often that wielded power in the Roman Empire in the period of 235 bis 284/85. In the earlier research, the Emperor of the years 180-235 ( Commodus and the Severi ) or 284-305 ( Diocletian ) were counted among the soldiers emperors sporadically.

In the time of the soldier emperors called the kingdom crisis of the 3rd century, in which the Empire was subjected to both an increased threat from the outside, had to fight inside with considerable problems falls.


With the not unproblematic term " soldier emperors " the generally strong based on the military empire of that time is called, the role of the Senate ( in the imperial era was in any case of little political importance ) even more marginalized than before. Many, but not all soldiers Kaiser had served up before they came to power in the army and owed ​​their power directly by them, commanded troops. The term was coined soldier emperors in the 19th century, but especially made ​​popular by Franz Altheim ( 1940 ). It can be derived from the descriptions of ancient historians who were set rather senate usually friendly.

The beginning of this era, commonly considered the last part of the Principate or Early Empire, is mostly set in the year 235, in which soldiers the last Severan Severus Alexander killed and raised by Maximinus Thrax one of their commanders to Caesar. The endpoint of the soldier emperors time of accession of Diocletian is considered 284/85, which is usually late antiquity can even begin, because Diocletian took a real transformation of the Roman state before and ended the period of frequent violent change of power. Although it later came to collect emperors from the ranks of the army, but acted this is no longer the rapid upheavals, which had characterized the soldiers Empire. The soldier emperors had different personal backgrounds. Some were of humble origin and relatively uneducated, and focused on their familiar military tasks; others, such as Decius, Valerian or Gallienus, however, belonged to the senatorial elite.

List of soldier emperors

To the individual emperors see also the overview in edited by Klaus -Peter Johne manual.