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Didius Julianus
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Monarch
    (January 30, 133-June 1, 193)
    Born in Milan, Italy
    Birth name was Marcus Didius Severus Julianus
    Emperor of Rome (March 28-June 1, 193)
    He was described by Edward Gibbon as 'a vain old man.'
    After the assassination of the emperor Pertinax, the Praetorian Guard decided to auction off the throne.
    He won with a bid of 25,000 sesterces (equivalent to about $1,000) for each soldier in the Guard.
    He was so unpopular, the Guard had to protect him from stone-throwing mobs whenever he appeared in public.
    As soon as word of how he attained the throne went out, three generals in the provinces refused to recognize his authority and declared themselves emperor.
    He unsuccessfully tried to bribe the nearest (and thus most dangerous) of the generals, Septimus Severus by offering him half the empire.
    After Severus rejected the offer and it became clear that the people of Italy were not going to offer any resistance, he turned to sacrifices and magical rites in an attempt to stop his rival.
    As commander of the XXII Legion, he distinguished himself in military campaigns in Germany.
    Ironically, Severus offered his soldiers a bounty of $2,000 each to leave their posts and march on Rome, twice the size of Julianus' payoff to gain the throne.
    He was beheaded by Severus' soldiers.
    His last words were, 'What harm have I done? Have I put anybody to death?'
    Given that his reign lasted only 66 days, he probably overpaid.

Credit: C. Fishel


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