Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 206 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MARCUS DIDIUS SALVIUS JULIANUS, Roman emperor for two months (March 28—June 2) during the year A.D. 193. He was the grandson of the famous jurist Salvius Julianus (under Hadrian and the Antonines), and the son of a distinguished general, who might have ascended the throne after the death of Antoninus Pius, had not his loyalty to the ruling house prevented him. Didius filled several civil and military offices with distinguished success, but subsequently abandoned himself to dissipation. On the death of Pertinax, the praetorian guards offered the throne to the highest bidder. Flavius Sulpicianus, the father-in-law of Pertinax and praefect of the city, had already made an offer; Didius, urged on by the members of his family, his freedmen and parasites, hurried to the praetorian camp to contend for the prize. He and Sulpicianus bid against each other, and finally the throne was knocked down to Didius. The senate and nobles professed their loyalty; but the people made no attempt to conceal their indignation at this insult to the state, and the armies of Britain, Syria and Illyricum broke out into open revolt. Septimius Severus, the commander of the Pannonian legions, was declared emperor and hastened by forced marches to Italy. Didius, abandoned by the praetorians, was condemned and executed by order of the senate, which at once acknowledged Severus.
DENIS DIDEROT (1713-1784)

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