Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stability and Moderation

You scored as Antoninus Pius, Your attention to good character and stability has earned you your standing as Antoninus Pius. Your long and moderate reign is probably one of the most peaceful epochs in human history up to the modern age. It is too bad more emperors did not share your humility.

Antoninus Pius


Marcus Aurelius


























Which Roman Emperor Are You?
created with

HT: Parableman. One interesting result is that four of my top five results are from the period AD 96-180, and constitute four of Gibbon's so-called "Five Good Emperors," who were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Of that period Gibbon says:

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. The vast extent of the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded respect. The forms of the civil administration were carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and the Antonines, who delighted in the image of liberty, and were pleased with considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws. Such princes deserved the honour of restoring the republic had the Romans of their days been capable of enjoying a rational freedom.

Of Antoninus Pius in particular, Gibbon says:

Titus Antoninus Pius has been justly denominated a second Numa. The same love of religion, justice, and peace, was the distinguishing characteristic of both princes. But the situation of the latter opened a much larger field for the exercise of those virtues. Numa could only prevent a few neighbouring villages from plundering each other's harvests. Antoninus diffused order and tranquillity over the greatest part of the earth. His reign is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for history; which is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. In private life, he was an amiable as well as a good man. The native simplicity of his virtue was a stranger to vanity or affectation. He enjoyed with moderation the conveniences of his fortune, and the innocent pleasures of society: and the benevolence of his soul displayed itself in a cheerful serenity of temper.

Of course, as with most of Gibbon's comments, later historians have found more than enought to require some qualification of these claims. But it's nice nonetheless.

[I've taken the liberty of correcting the misspelling 'epics' to 'epochs'. It raises the interesting question of what a peaceful epic would be, though.]

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