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The Roman Empire was one of the most feared in history. After the assassination of their leader, Commodus, it triggered the famous Year of Five Emperors.
3 Mins

When The Roman Empire Was Sold in Auction

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Rome Auctions Off Their Empire

The first auction of our series goes all the way back to the height of the Roman Empire.

During the troubled times of The Roman Empire, the decisions they made were causing unrest among the army, citizens and politicians. 

Why? The Roman Empire was a symbol of strength, ruthlessness and control around the world. This legacy inspired numerous attempts to reach their heights but no one came close apart from the British.

In fact, their legacy still lives on today as the roads they built in Britain over 2,000 years ago still exist! 

If you missed our countdown's preview then check it out here: Iconic Auctions Which Made History.

How did the Roman Empire come to be?

The Rise of The Roman Empire

The story of the Roman Empire is a fascinating aspect of history. 

Do you remember those westerns when you heard the line "this town isn't big enough for the both of us"? This thinking was the precursor to the Punic Wars which lasted over 100 years.

Fought between The Romans and The Carthaginians, it went on to decide the fate of Western Europe, parts of Asia and the Middle East.

After the Romans won, they set their sites on claiming the former lands of the Carthaginians and even further in search of riches and power.

They succeeded in conquering overseas and grew in power and influence.

How Big Was the Roman Empire?

There are still discussions about the true size of the Roman Empire.

At its peak, it controlled vast parts of Western Europe to the exception of Germany and parts of Scandinavia. 

Even though they had a strong presence, they were still a Mediterranean empire.

With great power comes even more problems as communication became incredibly difficult and revolts started to form which ultimately led to the demise of the Roman Empire. 

The Collapse of The Roman Empire

One of the reasons why The Roman Empire existed for so long was due to their succession of Emperors. They ensured that The Roman Empire maintained its stance in the world and even increase their influence!

However, one of the problems with this endeavour to expand was the increasing likelihood of control being lost and internal conflicts arising. This culminated into the foundation of the empire being shaken to its core.

A strong leader was all they needed to fix their problems but the opposite happened. The Roman Empire entered their darkest period called The Year of Five Emperors.

Roman Empire - The Year of Five Emperors

The Year of Five Emperors started off with the assassination of Emperor Commodus, portrayed in the Film ‘Gladiator’. 

After this event, there was some confusion as to who should succeed Commodus. Eventually, Pertinax was named as the successor. He lasted only 3 months before he was assassinated. 

This was a bleak period for the Empire as 5 different leaders took the mantle of Emperor with each experiencing their own fate. It was truly a unique year for one of history’s greatest empires.

Examples include:

  • Being overthrown.
  • Assassination by the army.
  • Losing a duel.
  • Being killed as they fled.

Instead of holding elections, or claimants arguing their case for the throne, it was decided that the title of Emperor would be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Final Words

Who needs a city hall debate when the highest bidder wins? The winning bidder was Didius Julianus who had a short reign himself as he was killed as he fled Rome.

What a time to be alive. 

Next in our series features Marilyn Monroe and the iconic dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch.