Here's a mnemonic means of recalling the first five of the emperors of ancient Rome:

" Caesars all, FIVE AT 'C' - Guys' ClaN "

All are Caesars:
..[named after Julius Caesar d.44BC]

...Augustus (27BC-AD14)
....Tiberius (AD14-37)
.....'Caligula' (Gaius) (AD37-41)
.......Claudius (AD41-54)
.........Nero (AD54-68)

"Caesar" was originally the name of a particular patrician (meaning hereditary aristocratic) family of ancient Rome, the most notable of whom was the dictator Julius Caesar. He himself was never an emperor but was assasinated on the Ides of March in 44BC (for planning to become a King) when Rome was still a Republic.

The family name was continued by his adopted son Augustus, who eventually became the first emperor, and who handed it down to his own son-in-law Tiberius. It continued to be used by Caligula, Claudius and Nero as members of Caesar's "family" either by adoption or by female descent. The family became extinct with the death of Nero, but afterwards each succeeding emperor retained the name "Caesar" as part of their title.

  1. Augustus, the first Roman emperor (ruled 27BC-AD14), was born Octavius before being adopted later by his great-uncle Julius Caesar. Ruling as Octavius Caesar in a Triumvirate with Mark Anthony and Lepidus after Caesar's assassination in 44BC, he eventually became supremely powerful. The later name Augustus was only a title given to him by the senate and the people in 27BC to express their veneration for him upon his establishment of the Empire in that year. He lived to the age of 76, and was probably the only early emperor to die peacefully.
  2. Tiberius Claudius Nero (ruled AD14-37), the son of Augustus' wife Livia, was also married to Augustus' daughter Julia, and was thus twice related to his predecessor. In AD26 he left Rome and never returned, taking up residence in Capri from AD27 until his death there ten years later - a death caused or accelerated by his successor.
  3. 'Caligula' (ruled 37-41AD) was actually a diminutive nickname (meaning "bootykins") given to the next successive emperor by the Roman army because of his boyhood habit of wearing small caligulae or soldier's boots. His contemporaries called him by his real name of Gaius Caesar, and he was a great-nephew of Tiberius. After a promising first eight months, he then became a licentious madman until being murdered (along with his wife and daughter) by officers of the praetorian guard.
  4. Claudius I (full name Tiberius Claudius Germanicus, ruled 41-54AD), the surviving nephew of Tiberius, succeeded his own nephew Caligula at the age of 50. A weak ruler, he was eventually poisoned by his fourth wife (also niece) Agrippina so that her son Nero might succeed him.
  5. Nero (born Domitius Ahenobarbus, ruled 54-68AD) was not only the great-nephew and stepson of Claudius but also his son-in-law (through marriage to Claudius' daughter Octavia). Many blamed him for the great fire at Rome in AD64 (the legendary "fiddling while Rome burned"). Four years later he was overthrown by a revolt and committed suicide to avoid capture.

The first Emperor can also be remembered for having a month of the relatively new Roman calendar named after him, just like his predecessor:

Julius, then first Augustus.. (July, then 1st August)

Here's a further mnemonic "formula" for remembering three of the key Roman events/dates mentioned earlier, from which the addition of "10s" and "14s" can give five more key dates:

27BC + 27 ADD = 54 (5th empe-ror)
27 BC = Empire (Augustus)   (14AD=died)
AD 27 = Capri (Tiberius)   (+10=died, +14=Gaius died)
AD 54 = Nero Emperor   (+10=fire, +14=died)


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