Roman Emperors

Learning Goals: I will be able to describe the contributions both good and bad of select Roman Emperors and assess their impact on Roman society.
Focus Questions:

  • Were Emperors “good” for Rome? What constitutes a ‘good’ emperor versus a ‘bad’ emperor? Is there such a thing as a benevolent (well meaning, kindly) dictator?


  1. Research the following five “good” emperors of Ancient Roman. Why were each considered “good” emperors? Provide three reasons that the emperor was “good”.
    i) Octavian
    ii) Trajan
    iii) Hadrian
    iv) Marcus Aurelius
    v) Constantine
  2. Go “Ugly Hunting” on five other Emperors to dig up dirt, bad actions etc during the emperor’s reign or subsequent legacy. Provide three reasons that the emperor was “bad”.
  • BBC: Rome’s Pivotal Emperors
  • Five Good Emperors
  • Top 10 Greatest Emperors of Ancient Rome
  • Roman Emperors: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!
  1. Discussion Questions:
    a) Is the essence of a good ruler rooted in gaining, expanding and consolidating power, or in improving society for all?
    b) Did rule by “Emperor” solve the problems of the Roman Republic?

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