Time to die: the violent deaths of the Roman emperors according to a single pattern

the Reign of the Roman Empire can hardly be called a safe “job”. Even gladiators survived more often in battles than the leaders of the ancient powers died peacefully in old age from natural causes.

According to the findings of a new study, two-thirds of the Roman emperors faced the greatest risk of violent death in the first year of stay in power.

If the ruler was “at execution” for the next seven years, the probability of violent death gradually decreased. Five years, this index remained at a minimum. And then again increased.

such interesting conclusions came engineer aerospace systems Joseph Saleh (Joseph Saleh) from Georgia Institute of Technology.

He examined data on the life and death 69 the rulers of the United Roman Empire (from 31 BC to 395 ad).

43 the Emperor (62%) died a violent death. In 79% of cases they were killed, and 12% died on the battlefield and another 9% had committed suicide.

Data were obtained from peer-reviewed online encyclopedia De Imperatoribus Romanis.

According to Saleh, according to historical records the death of each ruler is usually considered as a separate event, which had certain prerequisites. No patterns in the timing of the reign of the Roman emperors still no one found.

meanwhile, statistical model, is composed of scientists, showed that the probability of a violent death of the Roman emperors corresponds to the dynamics of wear and the “death” of engineering systems.

Applying the statistical methods used to validate component reliability in engineering design, Saleh defined the “sample” period of time between the beginning of the reign of the Emperor and his violent death.

As explained by the scientist, in engineering design reliability of a component or process is defined as the probability that it will still work at some point in time. This technical parameter is called the mean time to failure. The time until failure of a component or process (when the device becomes unsuitable for repair) is called, respectively, the time to failure.

By analogy the reign of the Roman emperors can be called “time to death”.

“the Murder of Caesar.” Karl Theodor Piloty, 1865, Museum of lower Saxony.Photo Wikimedia Commons.

As already mentioned, the leaders of the Roman Empire faced a high risk of violent death in the first year of his reign. Often this was because the Emperor could not cope with their responsibilities or did not meet subjects for other reasons.

the same pattern is observed in engineering: a system components fail too soon. Usually this happens due to the inability to function as intended.

After the first year at the helm of the risk of death of Roman emperors declined and stabilized to the eighth year of the reign. But after 12 years of control power, the risk of being killed again increased.

the same thing happens with mechanical and electrical components: when the work of all parts was established, the risk of failure or breakdown of the system is reduced. Over time, however, it increases again due to material fatigue, wear, corrosion, and other factors.

If you draw these patterns on the chart, in both cases, the obtained U-shaped curve.

Thus, the disparate historical events together demonstrate the kind of “pattern of violent death,” the Roman emperors.

According to the scientist, in the future it would be interesting to analyze from this point of view, other historical events.

Scientific paper with a detailed description of this work is presented in the journal Palgrave Communications.

we will Add that earlier “News.Science” (nauka.vesti.ru) told me about where it was killed Julius Caesar, and about the discovery of the rare coins with the image of Nero.

in addition, archaeologists found a giant statue of one of the Roman emperors and the alleged tomb of another.

Text: To.Science