Pertinax was the first emperor (January 1, 193 – March 28, 193 CE) of plebeian origin. He was the son of a freedman trading in timber. He made a career in the army, where he was a military commander.
As a centurion, and later a cohort commander, he distinguished himself in battles with the Parthians in Syria. Then he fought in Britain and on the Danube during the wars with the barbarian Marcomanni. His talent and merits were appreciated by emperor Marcus Aurelius appointing him consul.
Then he was governor of several provinces, after which he became the prefect of Rome. The day after the murder of Commodus (January 1, 193 CE) he was proclaimed emperor, but his reign was short, because already on March 28, 193 CE he too was murdered by the Praetorian Guard. Despite his short reign, he is believed to have been a judicious ruler.