AUGUSTUS 27 B.C. - A.D. 14: Gaius Julius Octavianus, first Roman emperor. Great nephew of Julius Caesar who adopted him as heir to the throne. Joined Mark Antony and Lepidus in forming the Second Triumvirate. Received the title of Augustus from the senate. Ruler of the Roman world in 29 B.C. Died in AD 14 at the age of 77.
AGRIPPA (Friend of Augustus) 27 B.C. - A.D. 14: Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, born 63 B.C. and a close friend of Augustus from boyhood. A renowned commander by both land and sea, he was destined by Augustus to succeed him, but he pre-deceased the emperor in 12 B.C. It has been written of Agrippa that "he is the supreme example in history of a man of the first order whom loyalty constrained to take the second place".
CLAUDIUS A.D. 41 - 54: Tiberius Claudius Drusus, the youngest son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia. A childhood attack of infantile paralysis had left him with a grotesque appearance and it was also assumed that he was weak-minded. He thus took little part in public life, devoting himself to antiquarian studies, until on the death of his nephew Caligula, he was proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard. It soon became clear that he was not as weak-minded as people had thought, and in fact he proved himself a very capable administrator. He began the Roman occupation of Britain. He married his niece, Agrippina Junior, and adopted her son, Nero, who became the heir to the throne. He died in 54, possibly poisoned by orders of Agrippina.
VESPASIAN A.D. 69 - 79: T. Flavius Vespasianus, the son of Flavius Sabinus, a tax-gatherer, and Vespasia Polla. Despite his humble origin, his military skill carried him to a series of important posts, and he commanded part of the forces which invaded Britain under Claudius. In 67 Nero appointed him to quell the Jewish rebellion and he prosecuted the war successfully during the troubled period following Nero's death. In 69, the legions at Alexandria proclaimed him emperor and the Danubian legions followed suit and invaded Italy, defeating the forces of Vitellius. Vespasian reached Rome and quickly set about repairing the damage caused by the civil wars. He proved to be a just and industrious ruler. He died and was deified by the Senate.
TITUS A.D. 79 - 81: Titus Flavius Vespasianus, born in 41, was the elder son of Vespasian and Flavia Domitilla and was educated with Britannicus, the ill-fated son of Claudius. He later served in Germany and Britain and commanded a legion in his father’s Jewish campaign. When Vespasian left to assume the purple, Titus remained to carry on the war and captured Jerusalem in 70. On his return to Rome, Vespasian made him his colleague in the government and his succession in 79 was thus smooth. He proved himself a most benevolent emperor and his premature death in 81 caused great sorrow.
TRAJAN A.D. 98-117: Marcus Ulpius Trojanus held several military posts and was eventually appointed governor of Upper Germany by Nerve who later adopted him as the heir to the throne. On his succession, Trajan decided that the time was ripe for territorial expansion and he successfully undertook the conquest of Dacia which then became a Roman province. He also carried out a spectacular building program in Rome and he constructed or repaired many roads, bridges and aqueducts throughout the Empire. In the later part of his reign, four new provinces were added to the Empire. However, revolts broke out in number of provinces and he withdrew to Antioch. He died on the way back to Rome.
HADRIAN A.D. 117 - 138: P. Aelius Hadrianus, having lost his father at the age of ten, was placed under the care of guardians, one of whom was the future emperor Trajan. He soon embarked upon a military career and in 100 he married Trajan's grand-niece, Sabina. He was adopted by the emperor shortly before the latter's death. Hadrian greatly improved the defenses of the frontiers. He is best known as the builder of the great wall from the Tyne to the Solway. There is little doubt that he was one of the most capable emperors who ever occupied the throne and he devoted his whole life to the improvement of the state. His rule was firm and humane and he was also a patron of the arts. He died at Baiae after a long illness.
SABINA (Wife of Hadrian): The daughter of Matidia and grandniece of Trajan, Sabina married Hadrian in A.D. 100. She accompanied her husband on most of his journeys, but their marriage was very unhappy. She died in A.D. 137 and was consecrated by Hadrian.
ANTONINUS PIUS A.D. 138 - 161: Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus adopted a senatorial career and was consul in 120, later distinguishing himself as proconsul in Asia. He was adopted by Hadrian as his heir in 138, and during the emperor's last months, Antoninus was virtually ruler, and his succession was smooth. The history of his reign is almost a blank in the records, owing to the tranquillity and prosperity which Roman world enjoyed under the patient, judicious and impartial rule. He died at Lorium in 161, and was succeeded by Marcus Aurelius who had been selected by Hadrian as the eventual heir to the throne.
FAUSTINA SENIOR (Wife of Antoninus Pius): Wife of Antoninus Pius, whom she married before his accession, and mother of Faustina Junior. She died in A.D. 141 and was consecrated by Antoninus who also issued a very extensive commemorative coinage in her honor.
MARCUS AURELIUS A.D. 161 - 180: Marcus Annius Verus, the son of Annius Verus and Domitia Lucilla. Hadrian betrothed him to the daughter of Aelius Caesar. After the death of Aelius, he was adopted by Antoninus and took the name of M. Aelius Aurelius Verus. In 139 he was given the title of Caesar and in 145 he married Faustina Junior, the daughter of Antoninus. He became Augustus in 161. He admitted L. Verus as his partner and betrothed him to his daughter Lucilla. The reign was disturbed by many frontier wars, and his legions brought with them a plague which spread throughout the empire. He spent much of his latter part of his reign campaigning on the Danube frontier where he wrote "Meditations". He died in 180 and was immediately deified.
FAUSTINA JUNIOR (Wife of Marcus Aurelius): Annia Galeria Faustina was the younger daughter of Antoninus Pius and Faustina Senior, and was married to Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 145. She was given the title of Augusta on the birth of her first child in A.D. 146, and she subsequently bore many children, one of whom was the future emperor Commodus. She accompanied her husband on his journey to the East in A.D. 175 and died at Halala, a village at the foot of the Taurus Mountains.
COMMODUS A.D. 177 - 192: L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina Junior. He was made Augustus and co-emperor in 177 and accompanied his father to the second Germanic War. On the death of Aurelius in 180, Commodus concluded a peace with the German tribes. He proved a most unworthy son of a noble father. He soon retired from public life and left the administration of the Empire to a succession of favorites. During his last years he seems to have become quite insane: he was fighting wild beasts in the amphitheater, and he believed himself the reincarnation of Hercules and to demand the worship of the people. After numerous unsuccessful plots against his life, he was eventually murdered.
SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS A.D. 193 - 211: Lucius Septimius Severus was a outstanding soldier holding increasingly important commands until, at the death of Commodus, he was governor of Upper Pannonia. He expressed his allegiance to Pertinax, but after his murder and the shameful elevation of Didius Julianus, Severus was saluted as emperor by the troops at Carnuntum. He rapidly disposed of Julianus, Niger, and later defeated Clodius Albinus. Severus spent much of his time campaigning in different parts of the Empire.; in Britain where there was an unrest after a great invasion of barbarians. He repaired Hadrian’s Wall. He invaded Caledonia but without much success. The strain on the old emperor was too much and he died at York.
JULIA DOMNA (wife of Septimius Severus): Born at Emesa in Syria, Julia Domna came to Rome as a young woman and in A.D. 173 was married to Septimius Severus as his second wife. In 188 she bore him a son, the future emperor Caracalla, and in the following year another son, Geta, who was also destined to become emperor. She was a woman of brilliant intellect and Severus often consulted her on matters of importance and was frequently guided by her counsels. In 217, after the murder of her son, Caracalla, she considered her position to be hopeless and committed suicide by a voluntary abstinence from food.
CARACALLA A.D. 198-217: M. Aurelius, originally named Bassianus, the elder son of Severus. In 196 he was given the rank of Caesar and in 198 was created Augustus, although only ten years of age. He accompanied his father to Britain in 208 and led the campaign of 210 in person. On the death of Severus, Caracalla reigned jointly with his brother Geta. However, Geta was assassinated by the orders of Caracalla. His reign was marked by extravagance and cruelty and his wars he achieved more by treachery than by force of arms. He was finally murdered by the orders of Macrinus. The one notable action attributed to Caracalla, was giving to all free inhabitants of the Empire the name and privileges of Roman citizens.
SEVERUS ALEXANDER A.D. 222 - 235: M. Aurelius Severus Alexander, the son of Julia Mamaea and Gessius Marcianus, was adopted by Elagabalus, his cousin, and given the title Caesar. After the murder of Elagabalus he was acknowledged as emperor. Alexander ruled the empire wisely. In 232 he had to fight Sassanid Ardashir who had overthrown the Arsacid kingdom of Parthia and was threatening Syria and Cappadocia. The campaign was partial success. Alexander had to return to the West where disturbances on the German frontier necessitated his presence. However, before the fighting actually began the soldiers proclaimed Maximinus, one of their commanders, emperor. Alexander and Julia Mamaea were murdered at the camp near Mainz.
MAXIMINUS I A.D. 235 - 238: C. Julius Verus Maximinus joined the ranks of the Roman army during the reign of Septimus Severus. He gained rapid promotion until, during the reign of Severus Alexander, he was given the command of a legion. In 235 he was in charge of levies of recruits on the Rhine, when he was proclaimed emperor by the army. His reign was characterized by hatred of the nobility and ruthless cruelty towards anyone suspected of conspiring against him. The rebellion of the Gordiani in Africa, in 238, was followed by a defection in Rome, when Balbinus and Pupienus were elected joint emperors by the Senate. Maximinus invaded Italy, but his troops finally mutinied and murdered both him and his son Maximus.
GORDIAN III A.D. 238-244: M. Antonius Gordianus was the grandson of Gordian I and the nephew of Gordian II. He was given the title of Caesar by the joint emperors Balbinus and Pupienus, and after their murders he was proclaimed Augustus by the Praetorian guards. Little is known about his reign, one of the few recorded events of which was a rebellion in Africa, promptly suppressed, in A.D. 240. In 242 Gordian set off for the East to direct the Persian campaign in person, and first actions were so successful that the enemy were compelled to evacuate Mesopotamia; but due to treachery on the part of M. Julius Philippus, the praetorian prefect, the loyalty of troops was undermined, and Gordian was deposed and murdered near Circesium in Mesopotamia.
PHILIP I A.D. 244-249: M. Julius Philippus, a native of Arabia, was appointed to the post of praetorian prefect by Gordian III. He brought about the deposition and murder of the young emperor. The chief event of his reign was the celebration, in 248, of the thousandth anniversary of the foundation of Rome. There were magnificent games with many wild beasts, most of which had been collected by Gordian for his Persian triumph. A series of coins was also struck to commemorate the event. The latter part of his reign was troubled by a number of pretenders, and in 249 he had to take the field in person to deal with the rebellious legions of Decius. The two armies met near Verona and in the ensuing battle he was defeated and killed together with his son.
TRAJAN DECIUS A.D. 249 - 251: C. Messius Quintus Traianus Decius attained senatorial rank early in his career and was governor of Lower Moesia from 234-8. Following the abortive rebellion of Pacatian in Upper Moesia, Philip dispatched Decius to restore order; but the rebels forced the latter, under threat of death, to assume the purple and march upon Italy. In the ensuing battle, which was fought near Verona, Philip and his son were slain and Decius was left undisputed master of the empire. His reign was spent in fighting the barbarians on the Northern frontier, and in a battle against the Goths at Abrittus. Decius was defeated and killed . The reign of Decius is best known for his rigorous persecution of the Christians, in which Pope Fabian lost his life.
GALLIENUS A.D. 253 - 268: P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus, son of Valerian, was made co-emperor soon after his father elevation. After the capture of Valerian by the Persians, Gallienus became a ruler of the whole empire subject not only to fierce barbarian attacks, but rent by internal revolts, famine and plagues. Much of the Roman East came under the control of Odenathus of Palmyra. Gaul, Spain and Britain were lost to the central government when Postumus established an independent empire. Although an able soldier, Gallienus was not the man to reconstitute an empire showing every sign of disintegration. He was eventually murdered at the siege of Milan. The future emperors Claudius and Aurelian were involved in the assassination conspiracy.
SALONINA (Wife of Gallienus): Cornelia Salonina was the wife of Gallienus and the mother of Valerian II and Saloninus. She was murdered with her husband in A.D. 268.
POSTUMUS A.D. 259 - 268: M. Cassianius Latinius Postumus, man of humble origin, Postumus was a soldier of great merit and was appointed commander of the Rhine legions by Valerian. He rebelled against Gallienus, and ruled Gaul, Spain and Britain firmly and wisely for almost a decade. He was completely successful not only in fighting back the German tribes from the Rhine frontier, but also in thwarting the repeated attempts of Gallienus to recover the lost provinces. Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus rebelled against Postumus, and although the usurper was quickly attacked and destroyed, the refusal of Postumus to allow his troops to sack Moguntiacum (Mainz), which had supported the rebel, led to his own assassination.
CLAUDIUS II GOTHICUS A.D. 268 - 270: M. Aurelius Claudius obtained the imperial favor by his talents, and became one of the leading generals under Valerian and Gallienus. On the assassination of the latter, in the plot against whom he is said to have taken part, he was immediately proclaimed emperor and then proceeded to inflict a crushing defeat on the Alamanni, who had invaded Raetia and penetrated into Italy. In 269 he marched against a large army of Goths, and though the Roman army was hopelessly outnumbered, he won a brilliant victory over the invaders in a great battle fought at Naissus in Upper Moesia. Unfortunately, some of the wandering Gothic survivors contracted plague which spread to the Roman army and claimed the life of Claudius.
AURELIAN A.D. 270 - 275: L. Domitius Aurelianus, born to humble parents, adopted a military career, and by his skill became one of the Empire’s greatest generals. After the death of Claudius Gothicus, he was proclaimed emperor by his troops, and after the suicide of Quintillus, he was left as undisputed master of the Empire. During his short reign he completely restored the Roman Empire to its former extent, with the exception of Dacia which was abandoned in 271. He put an end to the Palmyrene Empire in the East and Gallo-Roman Empire in the west. He began the building of fortified wall around Rome, not completed until the reign of Probus. Aurelian fell victim to a conspiracy of his chief officers and was assassinated at Caenophrurium in Thrace.
VABALATHUS A.D. 271 - 272: The son of Zenobia Vabalathus became joint ruler of Palmyra with his mother on the assassination of Odenathus. Gallienus refused to grant him the titles which had been conferred upon Odenathus, and Claudius Gothicus did likewise, though neither emperor was able to challenge the power of Palmyra in the East. Aurelian, however, did grant Vabalathus these titles, but in A.D. 271 the latter was proclaimed Augustus and Aurelian marched against the rival emperor. In the ensuing straggle the Palmyrene Empire fell to Aurelian, and Zenobia and Vabalathus were taken as captives to Rome.
TACITUS A.D. 275 - 276: M. Claudius Tacitus. After the murder of Aurelian, the soldiers of the Illyrian army, wishing to dissociate themselves from the assassins, sent a request to Rome that the Senate should nominate the new ruler, and pledged themselves to support the choice. After some delay the Senate selected Tacitus, an elderly senator who claimed descent from the great historian, and he was proclaimed Augustus. Although 75 years of age, the new ruler soon joined the army in Thrace and repelled a Gothic invasion of Asia Minor. However, the exertions of this campaign and the inclement climate proved too much for the aged emperor, and he died in Cappadocia in April, 276.
PROBUS A.D. 276 - 282: M. Aurelius Probus adopted the profession of arms and gained rapid promotion until, by the reign of Aurelian, he had become one of the leading generals. Soon after the death of Tacitus he was proclaimed emperor by his troops and, following the murder of Florianus, he became undisputed master of the Roman world. His reign was notable not only for his considerable military successes, but also for his attempt to restore the Empire’s economic life. To this end he introduced viticulture into several of the western provinces, and had been able to carry out all his plans, the Roman State might have recovered much of its power and prestige. However, in the autumn of 282 he was murdered by a band of mutinous soldiers.
CARINUS A.D. 283 - 285: M. Aurelius Carinus, the elder son of Carus, was given the rank of Caesar after his father’s death. When his father and his younger brother set out for the Eastern frontier, Carinus was left in Rome to look after the government of the Western provinces, and he was raised to the rank of Augustus. In 285 he left Rome to meet the challenge of Julianus who was proclaimed emperor in Pannonia, and was marching against Italy. Carinus defeated him near Verona, but then had to advance against Diocletian who had been proclaimed emperor by the eastern army following the death of Numerian. Carinus was victorious, but soon afterwards was murdered by one of his own officers, and the Empire fell into the hands of Diocletian.
DIOCLETIAN A.D. 284 - 305: Caius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus. Born at Dioclea in Dalmatia from where his name was derived. Held commands under Probus, Aurelian and Carus. Was proclaimed emperor at the death of Numerian. Was associated with Maximianus I, and later with Galerius and Constantius Chlorus viciously persecuted the Christians, but on the other hand, he did much to reform the internal affairs of the empire. He abdicated in 305 and lived out his life in retirement. He was 68 at his death.
MAXIMIANUS A.D. 286 - 305: Aurelius Valerius Maximianus. Emperor 286-305. Born in Pannonia of humble origin. He was associated with the emperor Diocletian. He abdicated with Diocletian (305), but returned to champion the cause of his son, Maxentius, who had claimed the throne in opposition to Galerius and Constantius. Because of complicity in a plot against Constantine, he was ordered to end his own life.
SEVERUS II A.D. 306-307: Flavius Valerius Severus, Caesar, 305-306; Augustus, 306-307. Created Caesar by Galerius who also named him Augustus. He was unsuccessful in battle with Maxentius and was forced to commit suicide.
LICINIUS A.D. 308 - 324: Publius Flavius Galerius Valerius Licianus Licinius. Given the rank of Augustus by Galerius. He married a half-sister of Constantine the Great and with him issued the edict of Milan recognizing Christianity. He and Maximinus Daza agreed to rule jointly. Maximinus, however, attacked him and was defeated. There was not lasting amity between Licinius and Constantine and in making war upon Constantine, Licinius was seized and slain. He was probably 55 years of age at his death.
CONSTANTINE THE GREAT AD 307-337: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus. Caesar, 306-308; Augustus, 308-337. Son of Constantius Chlorus. At the time he was proclaimed Caesar by his father there were five claimants to the throne. Defeated Maxentius and then Licinius to secure authority. Devoted much time to internal administration, strengthening of the borders, elimination of abuses. By the Edict of Milan he recognized Christianity. Called the Council of Nicaea (325) where the Nicene Creed was adopted. Chose Byzantium as the new capital of the empire and renamed it Constantinople. He was probably 57 years of age at his death.
GALERIUS A.D. 305 - 311: Caius Galerius Valerius Maximianus. Caesar, 293-305; Augustus, 305-311. Created Caesar by Diocletian. Was beaten by the Persians, but subsequently inflicted a great defeat upon them. Extremely inimical to Christians and probably had much to do with persuading Diocletian to persecute them. As emperor he elevated Licinius to the rank of Caesar. He died in 311.
CRISPUS Caesar, A.D. 317-326: Flavius Julius Crispus. Son of Constantine the Great. He was a great popular favorite and this possibly was, in part, the cause of his death, by his father’s orders.
CONSTANTINE II A.D. 337-340: Flavius Claudius Constantinus, the eldest son of Constantine the Great and Fausta, was born in A.D. 314. He was created Caesar in 317, and at the age of eighteen he distinguished himself in a campaign against the Goths. On the division of the Empire following the death of Constantine the Great, he received Spain, Gaul and Britain as his sphere of government. However, he soon quarreled with his younger brother, Constans, over the division of the territories, and early in 340 he crossed the Alps and invaded Italy, only to be killed in an ambush near Aquileia.
CONSTANS A.D. 337 - 350: Flavius Julius Constans, the youngest son of Constantine I and Fausta, was born about A.D. 320 and was raised to the rank of Caesar in 333. On the division of the Empire he received Italy, Africa and the Balkans, though later surrendered Thrace and Constantinople to his brother Constantius. In 340 his brother Constantine, invaded his territories but was defeated and killed, thus leaving Constans master of the western half of the Empire. In A.D. 350, while on a hunting expedition in Gaul, he received a word that Magnentius had rebelled and his legions had joined the revolt. Constans fled in the direction of Spain, but was overtaken and murdered near the fortress of Helene at the foot of the Pyrenees.
CONSTANTIUS II A.D. 337 - 361: Flavius Julius Constantius, the second son of Constantine I and Fausta, was given the rank of Caesar in 324, soon after the defeat of Licinius. On the division of the Empire he received all the eastern territories from Asia Minor to Cyrenaica, and 2 years later he acquired Thrace. Following the death of Constans in 350, he marched against Magnentius, recognized by most of the western provinces, and gained victory over the usurper and Magnentius was finally destroyed, and Constantius spent the next few years campaigning on the Danube frontier. In 360 he received news that his cousin Julian had been proclaimed Augustus at Paris by his troops. Constantius set out for the West, was attacked by fever and died at Mopsucrene.
JULIAN II A.D. 360 - 363: Flavius Claudius Julianus, born in Constantinople about 332, was the half-brother of Gallus and a nephew of Constantine the Great. He was imprisoned by Constantius II at the time of Gallus’ execution, but his life was spared, and later he was restored to the Imperial favor and given the rank of Caesar 355. About the same time he married Constantius’ youngest sister, Helena. In 360 his troops rose in revolt against Constantius and proclaimed Julian Augustus. Julian set out to meet Constantius, who died in Cilicia on his way to put down the revolt, leaving Julian in undisputed possession of the Empire. After less than 2 years of sole rule, however, he was killed in battle against the Persians (June 26th, 363).
JOVIAN A.D. 363 - 364: Flavius Jovianus was the captain of the imperial guard under Julian and, following the latter’s death, he was proclaimed emperor by the army. The new ruler lacked the great ability of his predecessor and immediately began to withdraw his troops from Persian territory. In order to ensure a safe retreat he concluded a shameful peace with the Persians by which the Romans surrendered most of the territories which they had acquired during the reign of Diocletian. Having reached Roman territory Jovian set out for Constantinople, but was accidentally suffocated at Dadastana, in Galatia, through a brazier of charcoal having been left in his bed-chamber (February 16th, 364).
VALENTINIAN I A.D. 364-375: Flavius Valentinianus, adopted a military career and ultimately rose to high rank under Julian and Jovian. Shortly after the latter’s death he was proclaimed emperor at Nicaea, and about a month later he created his younger brother, Valens, co-emperor. The Empire was then divided between the two rules, Valentinian being content to leave the government of the Eastern provinces to his brother, while he himself concentrated on the defense of the Rhine frontier. Late in 375, while in residence at Bregetio, in Pannonia, Valentinian granted an audience to a deputation of Quadi; enraged at the impudence of the barbarians, the emperor was seized with an apoplectic fit and died soon afterwards.
GRATIAN A.D. 367 - 383: Flavius Gratianus, the son Valentinian I and Severa, was given the rank of Augustus in A.D. 367, when only seven years old. After his father’s death in 375 he became the ruler of the Western part of the Empire. His four-year-old half-brother, Valentinian II, was also ranked Augustus at this time. After the catastrophe at Hadrianopolis the Eastern part of the Empire also passed into Gratian’s hands, but he found it expedient to elevate his general Theodosius to be his colleague in the government of these provinces. In A.D. 383 Magnus Maximus, was proclaimed Augustus by his troops in Britain and invaded Gaul. Gratian, deserted by his own soldiers, fled in the direction of the Alps, but was overtaken and murdered at Lugdunum.
THEODOSIUS I A.D. 379 - 395: Flavius Theodosius, the son of the famous Count Theodosius who cleared Britain of invaders during Valentinian I, became the foremost generals. After the catastrophe of Hadrianopolis, Gratian elevated him to Augustus and he succeeded to the trone of the Eastern division. He set about rescuing the East from the Gothic onslaught, but no sooner he finished than he had to turn his attention to the West, where Magnus Maximus had overthrown Gratian and was threatening Valentinian II. He defeated Maximus, but six years later he again had to march against a Western usurper, Eugenius, the nominee of Arbogastes. By his victory over Eugenius, he extended his rule over the entire Empire, but five months later, he died of dropsy.
VALENS A.D. 364 - 378: Flavius Valens, the younger brother of Valentinian I, was raised to the rank of Augustus in 364. Given the government of the Eastern provinces, much of his reign was spent in campaigning against the Goths on the Danube frontier and in countering the Persian menace in the East. In 376 the Visigoths, hard pressed by the Huns, sought permission to cross the Danube and settle on Roman territory. Valens granted this permission, but Goths were so badly treated by the Romans that they broke into revolt and devastated the countryside of Moesia and Thrace. Valens advanced against the barbarians, but in a great battle near Hadrianopolis in 378, the Roman army was almost annihilated and the emperor was slain.