The fourth emperor Claudius is not very known to the common reader. Much better we know the fifth emperor and the last in the dynasty Julius-Claudius, whose name was Nero. In popular culture, it is shown as an evil tyrant.
So it was, Nero was a real paranoid. He saw conspiracies everywhere, and executed hundreds of patricians and common citizens of Rome. He is especially famous for persecution of Christians, who were accused of burning the city of Rome. Many Christians were executed or died in the arena.
Nero considered himself a great poet and actor, he himself performed on stage. He was not interested in politics and government. He committed suicide without leaving his heirs. Thus the Yuliyev-Klavdiyev dynasty was interrupted.
The empire expanded and strengthened. A very important event of this era was the emergence of the Christian religion, which at first in the empire was perceived "in bayonets." Now Rome is the center of Catholicism, but at that time Christianity had just started spreading through the empire, and an organized church, and even more so the Pope, did not yet exist.
The next dynasty of the rulers of Rome was the Flavian dynasty, consisting of only three emperors. The first ruler of this house Vespian was a talented administrator. The empire was fortified with him, and it was he who built the famous Roman Colosseum.
His sons Titus and Domitian were less successful. Domitian began repression, accompanied by confiscations of property convicts. General dissatisfaction turned into conspiracies, and in 96-th year AD. he was killed by conspirators.
The third dynasty of the rulers of the Roman Empire was called the Antonin dynasty. Some readers know the reader for sure thanks to the movie "Gladiator" with Russell Crowe in the title role. This film we already mentioned in the article about the amphitheater in Tunisia, El Jem .
The first four emperors Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus Pius are probably not known to the reader, but nothing of the utmost importance has occurred to them. The fifth emperor Marcus Aurelius was an active ruler, he was also called "philosopher on the throne." The movie "Gladiator" shows that his son Commodus killed him, but there is exact evidence that he died of a plague, the epidemic of which struck the Roman army.
Commodus was a very cruel man, but attributing to him the murder of his father is already a victim of historical authenticity in favor of entertainment from scriptwriters of the film.
Commodus became the next emperor. He was not engaged in public affairs, and according to the testimony of his contemporaries he was attached to debauchery and himself took part in the battles of gladiators. He also began mass executions and confiscation of property repressed. As you already knew, in Rome it was the right path from the throne to the grave.
The Antonin dynasty was interrupted in the same way as the previous two. Commodus was killed as a result of the conspiracy in 193 year. The power passed to one of the most famous emperors of the Roman Empire, Septimius Severus.
After the death of Commodus Emperor Pertinax ascended the throne, who ruled for three months, after which he was killed. The next emperor was proclaimed Didia Julian, who ruled in Rome for two months. It is because of this that they are often not mentioned at all in the lists of rulers.
Septimius Severus commanded several legions and went with them to Italy. Resistance to his troops, no one had, and he took the throne. It was the first emperor of the Roman Empire, who was not Roman by birth.
This era was the beginning of instability in the state. The dynasty of the Severas showed that anyone could become emperor, the main support of the legions.
That's how one of his many sons, Caracalla, gained power. He was a very cruel man, who executed people not even by hundreds, but by thousands.
This dynasty ruled for another 24 years, the emperors of Caracalla, Geta, Heliogabal and Alexander North continued the policy of Septimius Severus. The latter was killed by legionaries, who proclaimed the new ruler of the empire.
The epoch of "emperors from legions" or "soldiers' emperors" began when the rulers were proclaimed legions, the era of a permanent civil war that had devastated the country. For 50 years, countless number of emperors have changed to list them a separate article is needed.
The first ruler of the empire after the long crisis was in 284 Diocletian. But the collapse of the empire was not stopped, it was moving towards the sunset.
In 395, the two states formed the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. The second we will not consider, since it no longer has a direct relationship to Italy.
In this era, the "great migration of peoples" began, and crowds of barbarians poured into the Western Roman empire. In 410, Rome fell under the onslaught of barbarians from Germany and was plundered by them, it was just the first plunder. In 476, the Roman state ceased to exist, and chaos and power were established in Italy.
From 476 to 774, Italy passed from hand to hand. The Ostrogoths, the Byzantines and the Lombards controlled the different parts of the country alternately. Stability came only after the arrival of Charlemagne, who included these lands in his empire.
Rome has long been the center of Christianity and Charlemagne came to the aid of the Pope. The pope crowned him as the emperor of the Great Roman Empire.
The following centuries in the history of Italy consist of the coexistence on the Apennine peninsula of many independent states formed after the collapse of the state of Charlemagne.
To list all of them is too tedious, we will dwell only on a few interesting points. The island of Sicily was captured by the Arabs for a while, there was a Muslim state called the Sicilian Emirate. The Normans conquered the island from the Muslims.
Italian merchants were always very active, and many states in Italy were small in size, but extremely rich. For example, the Venetian Republic or the Republic of Genoa.
Right in the middle of Italy there was a state called "Papal region", which was ruled by the Pope with its capital in Rome.
The history of Italy in modern times to this day read in the third part of this article .