Marcus Nerva

Marcus Nerva

Roman Emperor
Date of Birth: 08.11.0030
Country: Italy

  1. The Life of Emperor Nerva, Marcus Cocceius Nerva
  2. The Power Struggle and Succession
  3. Legacy and Death

The Life of Emperor Nerva, Marcus Cocceius Nerva

Emperor Nerva, Marcus Cocceius Nerva, was a Roman emperor who ruled from 96 to 98 AD. On the day of Domitian's assassination, September 18, 96 AD, the Roman Senate proclaimed the distinguished and esteemed senator Marcus Cocceius Nerva as emperor, at the age of 66. Under the new emperor, Rome, which had been tormented by Domitian, breathed a sigh of relief. As Tacitus writes, the reign of Nerva and his successor Trajan was a "period of rare happiness, when everyone could think what they wanted and say what they thought" (Tac. Hist. I, 1). "Nerva brought together things that were hitherto incompatible - principate and freedom" (Tac. Agr. 3). "A sign of the new era was that people who had previously desired nothing more than to go unnoticed by the emperor began to prosper" (Plin. Pan. 90). Nerva managed state funds very frugally, making him the most economical of all emperors (Plin. Pan. 51).

The Power Struggle and Succession

However, despite all his virtues, Nerva managed to save his life only at the cost of sharing power. In the autumn of 97 AD, a rebellion erupted in Rome led by the Praetorian Guard, and Nerva had no choice but to hastily adopt Trajan, who was leading the troops into Rome. As Pliny the Younger rightly said, Nerva handed over the "imperial power that was on the verge of collapsing on the emperor's head" to Trajan (Plin. Pan. 6).

Legacy and Death

On January 25, 98 AD, Nerva passed away and was deified. In Rome, Nerva immortalized his name with the construction of the Trajan's Forum (or Forum of Nerva), which had already been initiated during Domitian's reign. Ruins of this forum can still be seen today.