Serbia - the homeland of Roman emperors

Updated: May 6


The Roman Empire was founded after the reforms implemented by Octavian Augustus, in the last three decades of the first century BC. This country is considered one of the largest, wealthiest, most densely populated and by far the most powerful empires in the world. At the height 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 experienced its turmoils. The third century was known as the century of crisis, and thanks to the skills and abilities of its leaders, the destruction of the country would have been postponed for two centuries. In those periods of uncertainties, the large number of emperors ruled for a brief period of time , apparently with no set goals nor ideals to aspire to.

The Roman Empire, photo source: www.pinterest.com

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: www.pinterest.com

Please, take some time to read about the emperors born in the territory of the now Serbia, and what recognitions they were awarded with in their lifetime.


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

Trajan Decius

Trajan Decius, photo source: http://www.newsweek.rs/

2. Hostilian (Gaius Valens Hostilianus Quintus Augustus, died 251), lived in a castle in Viminacium (a Roman city and a military camp). He ruled for a short period of time (merely for 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 of plague. He is famous for the execution of the Christian monk of Saint Valentine which is among Roman Catholics normally referred to as Valentine's Day.


4. Aurelian (Aurelian, 270-275), was born and lived on a small farm, near Sirmium. His sudden and untimely death prevented him from conquering Mesopotamia in Asia.


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


6. Maximilian Herculius (Maximianus Herculius, 285-305) ruled for 20 years. In the town of Graz, Austria, there lies his unexplored Imperial Palace. He was known as a cruel and heartless dictator with a huge army and disciples.


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 which ruled the empire until 363 years AD. He was born in Dardania, which is believed to have built the Troy, given their superb legal, economic and negotiation skills.


8. Gallery (Galerius, 293-311), during his lifetime, he was capable of creating a unique state in which the government was upheld and respected. He was born on the territory of Romania; leaving Felix Romuliana behind in the background, the 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 an outstanding emperor, but because of political and ideological pressures, was forced to commit suicide.


11. Constantin 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.

Constanstin the Great

Constantine the Great, photo source: www.wikipedia.com

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.