The Sad Tale of Didius Julianus, the Man Who Bought the Roman Empire

Marble busts of Didius Julianus who bought the Roman Empire at the end of the 2nd century AD in a facial reconstruction artwork created by Daniel Voshart. Source: Daniel Voshart / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

In the year 193 AD an auction took place that sent shockwaves throughout the ancient world, as buyers competed for the greatest prize of a generation, the Roman Empire.


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