The Nerva-Antonine dynasty
The reign of the five good emperors, or the reign of the adoptive emperors as this dynasty is often called, since almost all emperors where not with blood related to their predecessors but instead where adopted. This dynasty is unique as it provided five emperors in a row that where all just, benevolent and good. Ruling over the empire through its golden age, leaving it stronger than it ever was or ever will be again. Some historians like Edward Gibbon even go so far as to say this was the greatest time in all of human history: “If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.” And indeed all this would change when Commodus took the throne, the last emperor of this dynasty to rule and the first that wasn’t adopted. His cruelty and madness saw him assassinated, bringing an end to the dynasty and the pax romana (roman peace). His death also marked the end of the golden age and the beginning of another civil war for the throne.
(Note that this is a simplified version of the imperial family tree, for the sake of keeping an organized overview all the less important countless siblings, cousins and children of the emperors where not included.)
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