A bust of the Roman emperor Tacitus, who ruled in 275-276 CE. A Roman was elected heir to the throne – after the death of well-liked Aurelian – at the age of 75.
Earlier there was a time of “interregnum” and it was probably the widow of Aurelian – Ulpio Severina – who made decisions in the state, to the choice of Tacitus. Tacitus received the purple from the Senate – it was the last such election of a ruler in ancient Rome.
Tacitus was not held in high esteem by the military (which played a major role in the election of rulers in the 3rd century), but his identity was approved. He fought against Goths, Alans and Heruli – hence the nickname Gothicus Maximus.
According to the accounts of several sources (Aurelius Victor, Eutropius or the “Historia Augusta”), the emperor died of fever. There have also been rumours that he was murdered.
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