Herodian's Roman History

Herodian (c.170 - c.240): Greek historian, author of a History of the Roman Empire since the Death of Marcus Aurelius in which he describes the reign of Commodus (180-192), the Year of the Five Emperors (193), the age of the Severan dynasty (211-235), and the Year of the Six Emperors (238).

The translation was made by Edward C. Echols (Herodian of Antioch's History of the Roman Empire, 1961 Berkeley and Los Angeles) and was put online for the first time by Roger Pearse (Tertullian.Org). The version offered on these pages is hyperlinked and contains notes by Jona Lendering.

Book One


The Reign of Commodus (180-192)

  1. Introduction;
  2. Marcus Aurelius, the perfect emperor;
  3. Marcus' final years;
  4. Death of Marcus in Vindobona;
  5. Commodus becomes emperor;
  6. Commodus breaks off the northern war;
  7. Commodus returns to Rome;
  8. Conspiracy of Lucilla;
  9. Conspiracy of Perennis;
  10. Insurrection of Maternus;
  11. Digression on the Mother of the gods;
  12. Plague;
  13. Fall of Cleander, Commodus' praetorian prefect;
  14. Fire destroys Rome;
  15. Commodus gladiator;
  16. Commodus' plans for the New Year;
  17. Commodus assassinated.

Book Two


The Year of Five Emperors (193)

  1. Pertinax becomes emperor;
  2. Pertinax and the army;
  3. Pertinax and the Senate;
  4. Pertinax' policy;
  5. Pertinax murdered by angry soldiers;
  6. The empire is sold to Didius Julianus;
  7. Julianus runs into financial troubles;
  8. Pescennius Niger is proclaimed emperor in Syria;
  9. Septimius Severus thinks about becoming emperor;
  10. Severus' speech to his soldiers;
  11. Severus' march on Rome;
  12. Chaos in Rome;
  13. Severus disarms the Praetorian Guard;
  14. Severus prepares for war against Niger;
  15. Clodius Albinus recognized as caesar.

Book Three

Septimius Severus

The Reign of Septimius Severus (193-211)

  1. Niger prepares for war against Severus;
  2. Severus in Asia Minor;
  3. Severus crosses the Taurus mountains;
  4. The battle of Issus; death of Niger;
  5. Severus tries to dismiss Albinus;
  6. Severus' war against Albinus;
  7. Severus defeats Albinus near Lyon;
  8. Severus' revenge on the adherents of Albinus;
  9. Severus' war against the Parthian Empire;
  10. Severus is worried about his sons;
  11. Conspiracy of Plautian;
  12. End of Plautian;
  13. Severus and his sons;
  14. Severus' British expedition;
  15. Death of Severus in York.

Book Four


The Reign of Caracalla (211-217)

  1. Severus' sons Caracalla and Geta become emperor;
  2. Funeral of Severus;
  3. Bad relations between Caracalla and Geta;
  4. Caracalla kills Geta;
  5. Caracalla in the Senate;
  6. Execution of adherents of Geta;
  7. Caracalla's Germanic War;
  8. Caracalla in the East;
  9. Massacre in Alexandria;
  10. Diplomatic contacts;
  11. Caracalla's Parthian war;
  12. Macrinus feels himself threatened;
  13. Macrinus has Caracalla killed;
  14. Accession of Macrinus;
  15. Peace with Parthia.

Book Five


The Reign of Heliogabalus (218-222)

  1. Macrinus and the Senate;
  2. Macrinus and the army;
  3. Soldiers proclaim Heliogabalus emperor;
  4. Death of Macrinus;
  5. Heliogabalus' unusual behavior;
  6. Heliogabalus' religious excesses;
  7. Heliogabalus adopts Alexianus;
  8. Death of Heliogabalus.

Book Six

Severus Alexander

The Reign of Severus Alexander (222-235)

  1. Return to normalcy in Rome;
  2. The Sasanian Empire makes territorial demands;
  3. Severus Alexander declares war against the Sasanians;
  4. Diplomatic moves;
  5. Alexander's Persian War;
  6. End of the Persian War;
  7. Germanic incursions;
  8. Maximinus proclaimed emperor;
  9. Alexander killed by his soldiers.

Book Seven

Maximinus Thrax

The Reign of Maximinus (235-238)

  1. Maximinus recognized;
  2. Maximinus' war against the Alamans;
  3. Maximinus' tyranny;
  4. Revolt in Africa;
  5. The Gordians made emperor;
  6. Execution of the praetorian prefect;
  7. Revolt in Rome;
  8. Maximinus prepares a march on Rome;
  9. End of the two Gordians;
  10. The Senate appoints Pupienus and Balbinus;
  11. The Roman populace attacks the praetorians;
  12. Civil war in Rome.

Book Eight


The Year of the Six Emperors (238)

  1. Maximinus marches on Rome;
  2. Siege of Aquileia;
  3. Negotiations at Aquileia;
  4. Failure of the siege of Aquileia;
  5. Disappointed soldiers kill Maximinus;
  6. Relief;
  7. Pupienus in Aquileia;
  8. Soldiers kill Pupienus and Balbinus; beginning of the reign of Gordian III.