Serbia - the homeland of Roman emperors

The Roman Empire was created after the reforms implemented by Octavian Augustus, in the last three decades of the first century BC. This country is considered as one of the largest, richest, most populous and most powerful empires in the world. At the culmination of its power, the Roman Empire spread across three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa). During its existence from 27 BC to 476 AD, the capital Rome has experienced ups and downs. The third century was known as the century of crisis, and thanks to the skill and ability of its leaders, destruction of the country was postponed for two centuries. In these unstable periods, the large number of emperors ruled shortly, with no goals and ideals.

The Roman Empire, photo source:

In Serbia, 17 emperors were born including the first Roman emperor (Trajan Decius).

And in nowadays, you can notice cultural, historical and religious influence and all those legacy of the Romans in this area. Sirmium (today’s Sremska Mitrovica) was the city in Pannonia, an ancient province of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire, photo source:

Please, take some time to read who were the emperors born in the territory of Serbia, and how they’ve been recognized in their lifetime.

1. Trajan Decius (Trajan Decius, 249-251), was a very capable warrior and military leader. He was born in the village Budalija (today Martinci near Sremska Mitrovica); remembered as the first Roman emperor who was killed in the battle against the Goths. Also, he was a well-known persecutor of Christians.

Trajan Decius, photo source:

2. Hostilian (Gaius Valens Hostilianus Quintus Augustus, died 251), lived in a castle in Viminacium (Roman city and military camp). He ruled shortly (a couple of months). At the age of 40, he died of plague.

3. Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II Gothicus, 268-270), ruled for only two years before he and his predecessor died by plague. He’s famous for the execution of the Christian monk of Saint Valentine who’s in Catholicism celebrated as Valentine's Day.

4. Aurelian (Aurelian, 270-275), was born and lived on a small farm, near Sirmium. Sudden death prevented him to conquer Mesopotamia in Asia.

5. Prob (Probus, 276-282), the inheritor of Aurelius also lived near today’s town of Sremska Mitrovica. He’s considered to be the creator of viticulture in Serbia; in the Fruska Gora he planted his first vineyards. He died in Asia, where was killed by his own army.

6. Maximilian Herculius (Maximianus Herculius, 285-305), ruled for 20 years. In the place of Graz in Austria, is still his unexplored Imperial Palace. He was known as a cruel and heartless dictator with big army and followers.

7. Constantius Chlorine (Constantius Chlorus, 293-306), was an emperor of the Western Roman Empire, father of Constantine the Great, and also the founder of the dynasty that ruled the empire until 363 years AD. He was born in Dardania, and it’s believed that the Dardanians built Troy, considering their best legal, economic and negotiation skills.

8. Gallery (Galerius, 293-311), during his life, he was able to make a unique state in which the government was respected. He was born on the territory of Romania; behind him stayed Felix Romuliana, ancient palace near city of Zajecar.

9. Maximin Daja (Maximinus Daia, 305-313), was born in eastern Serbia (near Negotin), in the province of Upper Moesia. Adopted Edict of Toleration didn’t prevent the prosecution of the Christians. He built up the four palaces, located on three different continents.

10. Flavius Sever (Flavius Severus, 305-307), was an emperor of the Western Roman Empire, born in the city of Nis. He was considered as an outstanding emperor, but because of political and ideological pressures, was forced to commit suicide.

11. Constanstin the Great (Constantine I the Grate, 306-337), the history celebrates him; he’s considered as one of the most important Roman emperors born in the territory of Serbia. The Edict of Milan (a proclamation that permanently established religious toleration for Christianity), was the outcome of a political agreement between Constantine I and Licinius in February 313 AD.

Constantine the Great, photo source:

12. Licinius (Licinus, 307-324), in a short period ruled together with Constantine, bringing the Edict of Milan, but he withdrew his signature and continued persecution of Christians. He was executed after he tried to raise revolt against Constantine.

13. Constantius II (Constatntius II, 337-361), was one of three sons of Constantine the Great. He was very successful in conquers, but didn’t want to independently conduct all public affairs, so he promoted his cousin to the rank of an emperor.

14. Vetranio (Vetranio, 350), ruled briefly, along with its predecessor Constantius. He was an experienced soldier and officer, and after the death of their compatriots in the civil war, he moved to Sirmium and there continued to rule until his death.

15. Jovian (Jovian, 363-364), reigned less than a year. For the emperor was chosen by mistake and he’s remembered as a bad negotiator. He’s also the only Roman emperor born in the territory of Singidunum (today’s Belgrade).

16. Gratian (Flavius Gratianus, 375-383), was an emperor of the Western Roman Empire. During his rule, Christianity became the dominant religion; pagan cults in Rome were prohibited including the Altar of Victory (ancient goddess).

17. Constantius III (Constantius II, 421), was born in Naissus (today’s Nis) and noted as a military leader with brilliant mind; but he died after spending a year on the throne. His son was Valentinian III, the last important monarch of the Western Roman Empire.

Viminacium, one of the best preserved and largest cities of the Roman Empire, in whose territory were born almost all Roman emperors, tells us how important is Serbian cultural heritage. At the time of territory expansion and economic boom of the Roman state, Viminacium had between 35 and 48 thousand inhabitants. Today, tourists in this beautiful town, can endlessly enjoy, starting from the Archaeological Park, over the imperial mausoleum, to the Roman amphitheater. Also, in this city (and the military camp), was founded one of the most beautiful and best preserved monogram of Christ, Constantine the Great saw it in a dream; maybe because of that - he won a battle after he ruled the entire Rome.

#romanemperors #theromanempire #serbia #trajandecius #constantinethegreat #viminacium

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