Nervan-Antonine dynasty  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Nervan-Antonian dynasty is a dynasty of seven consecutive Roman Emperors, who ruled over the Roman Empire from 96 to 192. These Emperors are Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and Commodus.

Since the first five rulers - from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius are also seen as representing a line of virtuous and just rule, they also have been dubbed the Five Good Emperors.

A unique feature of these Emperors is their method succession, under which an Emperor adopted the candidate of his choice to be his successor. Under Roman law, an adoption established a bond legally as strong as that of kinship Because of this, these rulers are also called Adoptive Emperors.

This has often been considered as a conscious repudiation of the principle of dynastic inheritance and has been deemed as one of the factors of the period's prosperity. The naming by Marcus Aurelius of his son Commodus was considered to be an unfortunate choice and the beginning of the Empire's decline.

However, adoptive succession was actually due to a lack of biological heirs. All but the last of the Adoptive Emperors actually had no son to succeed them and thus were forced to pick a successor somewhere else, and as soon as the Emperor could look towards a biological son to succeed him, adoptive sucession was set aside.

The dynasty may be broken up into the Nervan-Trajan dynasty (also called the Ulpian dynasty (after their common nomen gentilis Ulpius) and Antonine dynasty (after their common name Antoninus).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nervan-Antonine dynasty" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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