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Roman Emperors and Philippopolis

The names and faces of the people who ruled the Roman Empire attract the attention of all generations. Wrapped in mystery, full of extravagance, the life of Roman Emperors is subject to speculation, scandals and colorful stories. After nearly 2000 years it is difficult to understand what is true and what is fiction. But the individuals that supported the power of this great state structure for more than 400 years from Britain to Jordan deserve our attention.

Officially, history accepts 12 AD for beginning of the conquest of the lands of Thracian tribes (now Bulgarian lands) by the Romans. On the map of the Roman Empire first appeared the province of Moesia – the area lying north of Stara Planina (Balkan mountain). Later on, in 45 AD, the lands of the last independent kingdom of Thracian tribes were overpowered. After the death of the Thracian ruler Rhoemeralces, in 46 AD Thrace was also declared a Roman province.

Who were the Roman Emperors whose decisions influenced the development of the Bulgarian lands? Whose decisions affected the development of one of the oldest cities in Europe? Who were the people who approved the construction of buildings and facilities whose ruins we discover and admire?

Julio-Claudian dynasty
The most famous are the first five emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. They ruled the Roman Empire from 31 BC to 68 AD. These are the rulers who have established the imperial government, controlled by a single person. None of these emperors was succeeded by their own son.

Flavian dynasty
The Flavian dynasty is the first one to rule the Roman Empire without any representatives of noble blood. However its members had direct family connection. Titus inherited the throne from his father Vespasian. After the death of Titus he was succeeded by his younger brother Domitian. The Flavians ruled the Empire between 69 AD and 96 AD - a time of stability and prosperity.

Nerva-Antoninе dynasty
"The Five Good Emperors" - Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius - are among the most successful Roman Еmperors. They ruled from 96 AD to 180 AD. In this period the Roman Empire expands its borders to the maximum and reaches its zenith. The whole period is remarkable for stability,  lack of discords, progress of construction and rise of crafts and arts. The last ruler of the dynasty, Commodus, is notorious for his cruelty and tyranny. He ruled the Empire for 12 years - from 180 AD to 192 AD.

Severan dynasty
These are the first emperors originating from North Africa. They ruled the Roman Empire between 193 AD and 235 AD. Apart from the Flavian and Nerva-Antoninе dynasty, the Severans also had a share in building and raising the significance of Philippopolis as important city in the province of Thrace. Two of its representatives, the Emperors Caracalla and Elagabalus,  visited Philippopolis personally.

Emperors during the Crisis of the Third century
Trajan Decius was one of many Roman emperors who ruled the Empire in the 3rd century. He was the first emperor whose origin was from the Balkans. Decius took the name Trajan to honor the great emperor, his ethics and dignity. Trajan Decius and his son Herennius Etruscus were the first to be killed by a foreign enemy in a battle.