Pescennius Niger

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History, Facts and Information about Pescennius Niger- Usurper
The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and information about the Emperor Pescennius Niger and the all-powerful Caesars who ruled the empire of Ancient Rome. Read about the life of Pescennius Niger who can be described, or remembered, as:

 "The Black Emperor"

Short Biography about the life of Pescennius Niger
Short Biography profile and facts about one of the most famous Romans of all, in the life of Pescennius Niger, Emperor of Rome and provinces of the Roman Empire.

  • Name commonly known as: Pescennius Niger
  • Latin Roman Name: Gaius Pescennius Niger Justus
  • Reigned as Roman Emperor / Caesar: 193 - 194 (A usurper)
  • Dynasty / Historical Period: The Year of the Five Emperors (192 - 193)
  • Place and Date of Birth: Pescennius Niger was born c. 140 in Aquinum
  • Name of previous Emperor: The previous emperor before Pescennius Niger was Didius Julianus
  • Family connections / Genealogy
    • Name of Father: Annius Fuscus
    • Name of Mother: Lampridia
  • Place and Date of Death: Pescennius Niger died 194 in Antioch
  • Name of next Emperor:  The successor to Pescennius Niger was Septimius Severus howeverClaudius Albinus was also in competition for the throne, yet another usurper in the Year of the Five Emperors

Interesting facts about the life of Pescennius Niger
Obtain a fast overview of the times of the Roman Emperor Pescennius Niger from the following facts and information about his life. The armies in the provinces rose in revolt when they received news that Didius Julianus had won the auction for the role of emperor and refused to acknowledge his authority as the new ruler of Rome. Claudius Albinus commanded the legions in Britain, Septimius Severus those in Pannonia, and Pescennius Niger the army of the East - all three men wanted the throne. Niger was tall, in appearance attractive; and his hair grew back in a graceful way toward the crown of his head. His voice was so penetrating that when he spoke in the open he could be heard a thousand paces away. Pescennius Niger was proclaimed emperor in Syria. However, Septimius Severus was acknowledged as the lawful emperor by the Senate in June 2, A.D. 193. Severus marched against Pescennius Niger across the Bosporus and in 194 won a battle against the forces of Pescennius Niger near Cyzicus. Pescennius Niger hurried to the scene but was defeated near Nicaea, with the result that most of the cities of the Province of Asia came into the hands of Severus. Niger escaped with his life and fled to Antioch. The possession of this city was decided by a battle fought south of Issus in which Pescennius Niger was defeated. He tried to escape but was overtaken by enemy troops and was killed towards the end of 194. He was decapitated and his severed head was exhibited by order of Septimius Severus before the besieged city of Byzantium. His wife and children were also put to death.

Was Pescennius Niger a Black Roman Emperor?
Was Pescennius Niger a Black Roman Emperor? An interesting question but unfortunately there is no definitive answer. There was a prophesy that a "black man" would seize the throne and meet his end by violence. Pescennius Niger is described as a "black man" in some translations of Roman history. The name "Niger" means "black", contrasting him with one of his rivals for the Roman throne, Claudius Albinus, whose name means "white".

Dynasties of Roman Emperors - Year of the Five Emperors (192 - 193)
The Year of the Five Emperors (192 - 193). Following the murder of Commodus Rome saw a year of turmoil and chaos in Rome. Pertinax becomes emperor but is murdered by angry soldiers. The empire is then sold to Didius Julianus who is soon ousted and Pescennius Niger is proclaimed emperor in Syria. Septimius Severus then marches on Rome and disarms the Praetorian Guard which resulted in Claudius Albinus being recognized as Caesar. He loses the power struggle with Septimius Severus who is proclaimed Emperor and begins the Severan Dynasty.

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