Carus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus;[1][2] c. 222 – July or August 283) was Roman Emperor from 282 to 283, and was 60 at ascension. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube frontier with success.

He died while campaigning against the Sassanid Empire, probably of unnatural causes, as he was reportedly struck by lightning.[3] He was succeeded by his sons Carinus and Numerian, creating a dynasty which, though short-lived, provided further stability to the resurgent empire.

Antoninianus of Carus
Antoninianus of Emperor Carus
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Reign282–283 (alone);
283 (with Carinus)
SuccessorCarinus and Numerian
Co-emperorCarinus (283)
Bornc. 222
Narbo, Gallia Narbonensis
DiedJuly or August 283 (aged 61)
Beyond the River Tigris, Sasanian Empire
IssueCarinus, Numerian, Aurelia Paulina
Full name
Marcus Numerius Carus
Regnal name
Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus


Antoninianus of Carus
An Antoninianus of Carus.

Carus, whose name before the accession may have been Marcus Numerius Carus,[4] was born, according to differing accounts, either in Gaul, Illyricum or Africa.[5] Modern scholarship inclines to the former view, placing his birth at Narbo (modern Narbonne) in Gaul[6][7] though he was educated in Rome.[8] Little can be said with certainty of his life and rule. Due to the decline of literature, the arts, and the want of any good historians of that age, what is known is almost invariably involved in contradiction and doubt.[9] He was apparently a senator[10] and filled various posts, both civil and military, before being appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard by the emperor Probus in 282.[11]

Two traditions surround his accession to the throne in August or September of 282. According to some mostly Latin sources, he was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers after the murder of Probus by a mutiny at Sirmium.[12] Greek sources however claim that he rose against Probus in Raetia in a usurpation and had him killed.[13] The often unreliable Historia Augusta is aware of both traditions, although it prefers the former.[14] He does not seem to have returned to Rome after his accession, contenting himself with an announcement to the Senate.[15] This was a marked departure from the constitutionalism of his immediate predecessors, Tacitus and Probus, who at least outwardly respected the authority of the senate, and was the precursor to the even more despotic military autocracy of Diocletian.[16]

Campaign against the Sassanids and death

Naghsh-e rostam, Irán, 2016-09-24, DD 10
Panels at Naqsh-e Rustam, symbolizing the supposed victories of Bahram II over Carus (top) and Hormizd I Kushanshah (bottom).[17]

Bestowing the title of Caesar upon his sons Carinus and Numerian,[18][19] he left Carinus in charge of the western portion of the empire to look after some disturbances in Gaul [20] and took Numerian with him on an expedition against the Persians, which had been contemplated by Probus.[21] Having inflicted a severe defeat on the Quadi and Sarmatians on the Danube,[22] for which he was given the title Germanicus Maximus,[23] Carus proceeded through Thrace and Asia Minor, annexed Mesopotamia, pressed on to Seleucia and Ctesiphon, and marched his soldiers beyond the Tigris.[24]

The Sassanid King Bahram II, limited by internal opposition and his troops occupied with a campaign in modern-day Afghanistan, could not effectively defend his territory.[25] The Sasanians, faced with severe internal problems, could not mount an effective coordinated defense at the time; Carus and his army may have captured the Sasanian capital of Ctesiphon.[3] The victories of Carus avenged all the previous defeats suffered by the Romans against the Sassanids, and he received the title of Persicus Maximus.[26] Rome's hopes of further conquest, however, were cut short by his death; Carus died in Sasanian territory, probably of unnatural causes, as he was reportedly struck by lightning.[3]


Like the splendid conquests of Trajan, 160 years before, Carus' gains were immediately relinquished by his successor. His son Numerian, naturally of an unwarlike disposition, was forced by the army to retreat back over the Tigris.[27] The report of the lightning strike was evidently widely accepted in the camp, and the superstitious awe of the troops inclined them to ascribe Carus' death to the wrath of the Gods. Rumors had been spread of dark oracles, affixing the limits of the Empire on the Tigris, and threatening destruction against the Roman who should presume beyond the river in arms. Persia was abandoned to her rightful possessors, and not till Diocletian, a decade later, was the Persian contest decided in Rome's favor, by that emperor's decisive victory.

In the sphere of civil affairs, Carus is remembered principally for the final suppression of the authority of the senate, which had been partially restored under Tacitus and Probus. He declined to accept their ratification of his election, informing them of the fact by a haughty and distant dispatch. He was the last emperor to have united a civil with a military education, in that age when the two were increasingly detached; Diocletian (Imp. 284-305), who succeeded Carus after the brief reign of the latter's sons, was to confirm and formalize the separation of professions, and the autocratic foundation of the imperial rule.[28]

Though Carus was known throughout his life for his austere and virtuous manners, the suspicion of his complicity in Probus' death, along with his haughty conduct towards the senate, tarnished his reputation before his death, and Julian, as Gibbon observes, conspicuously places him among the tyrants of Rome, in his catalogue of The Caesars.[29]

See also


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • Leadbetter, William, "Carus (282–283 A.D.)", DIR
  • Jones, A.H.M., Martindale, J.R. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I: AD260-395, Cambridge University Press, 1971
  • Potter, David (2013). Constantine the Emperor. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199755868.
  • Southern, Pat. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, Routledge, 2001
  • Gibbon. Edward Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire (1888)
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carus, Marcus Aurelius" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.


  1. ^ In Classical Latin, Carus' name would be inscribed as MARCVS AVRELIVS CARVS AVGVSTVS.
  2. ^ Jones, pg. 183
  3. ^ a b c Potter 2013, p. 26.
  4. ^ Jones, pg. 183
  5. ^ Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (The Modern Library, 1932), ch. XII., p. 292
  6. ^ Victor, 38:1
  7. ^ The tradition that he was one of the so-called "Illyrian Emperors", based on the unreliable vita Cari embedded in the Augustan History, was accepted uncritically by Joseph Scaliger, who assumed the other sources were wrong, and followed by Edward Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. (Tom B. Jones, "A Note on Marcus Aurelius Carus" Classical Philology 37.2 (April 1942), pp. 193–194).
  8. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 4:2
  9. ^ Gibbon, ibid; and ch. XIII., p. 340
  10. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 5:4
  11. ^ Gibbon, ch. XII., p. 292
  12. ^ Jerome, Chron. s. a. 282
  13. ^ Zonaras, 12:29
  14. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 6:1
  15. ^ Southern, pg. 132
  16. ^ Gibbon, p. 293; and ch. XIII., pp. 328, 329
  17. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica [1]
  18. ^ Zonaras, 12:30
  19. ^ Victor 38:2
  20. ^ Gibbon, ch. XII., p. 293
  21. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 7:1
  22. ^ Gibbon, p. 294. Enemy casualties are given at over 36,000.
  23. ^ Leadbetter,
  24. ^ Zonaras, 12:30
  25. ^ Leadbetter,
  26. ^ Southern, pg. 133
  27. ^ Gibbon, p. 296
  28. ^ Gibbon, ch. XIII., pp. 328-33.
  29. ^ Gibbon, ch. XII., p. 293 and note.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Roman Emperor
Served alongside: Carinus (283)
Succeeded by
Carinus and Numerian
Political offices
Preceded by
Probus ,
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Carinus
Succeeded by

Year 283 (CCLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Carus and Carinus (or, less frequently, year 1036 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 283 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Carinus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Carinus Augustus; died 285) was Roman Emperor from 283 to 285. The elder son of emperor Carus, he was first appointed Caesar and in the beginning of 283 co-emperor of the western portion of the empire by his father. Official accounts of his character and career, which portray him as debauched and incapable, have been filtered through the propaganda of his successful opponent, Diocletian.

Carl Gustav Carus

Carl Gustav Carus (3 January 1789 – 28 July 1869) was a German physiologist and painter, born in Leipzig, who played various roles during the Romantic era. A friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, he was a many-sided man: a doctor, a naturalist, a scientist, a psychologist, and a landscape painter who studied under Caspar David Friedrich.

Carlos Carús

Carlos Carús Suárez was a Mexican football forward who played for Mexico in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He also played for Deportivo Toluca.

Carus, Oregon

Carus is an unincorporated community in Clackamas County, Oregon, United States. It is located about seven miles south of Oregon City, on Oregon Route 213.Carus post office ran from 1887 to 1907. The name may have come from a misreading of the name "Carns" on the application to the Post Office Department. It is unknown whether it was to be named for a place in another state or for a local family. The Fred Vonder Ahe House, now located in Molalla, served as the post office when it first opened. David Hunter was the first postmaster.In 1915 the community had two sawmills, a daily stagecoach to Oregon City and a twice-daily stagecoach to Canby. As of 1990 there was a school and a church. Carus Elementary School is part of the Canby School District. A cemetery near the community is owned by the Followers of Christ.


Carus-Verlag is a German music publisher founded in 1972 and based in Stuttgart.Carus was founded by choral conductor Günter Graulich and his wife Waltraud with an emphasis on choral repertoire. The catalogue currently includes more than 26,000 works (January 2016).

The company produces the standard editions of the complete works of Josef Rheinberger and Max Reger.

Carus Lectures

The Carus Lectures are a prestigious series of three lectures presented over three consecutive days in plenary sessions at a divisional meeting of the American Philosophical Association. The series was founded in 1925 with John Dewey as the inaugural presenter. The series was scheduled irregularly until 1995, when they were scheduled to occur every two years. The series is named in honor of Paul Carus by Mary Carus and is published by Open Court. In his introduction to the inaugural speech, Hartley Burr Alexander praised the series as an unusual opportunity of presenting ideas "with no institutional atmosphere to further the free play of the mind upon all phases of life."

Carus Mathematical Monographs

The Carus Mathematical Monographs is a monograph series published by the Mathematical Association of America. Books in this series are intended to appeal to a wide range of readers in mathematics and science.

Carus Publishing Company

The Carus Publishing Company is a publisher with offices in Chicago and Peru, Illinois. Its Peterborough, New Hampshire office was closed June 30, 2015. It owns the Open Court Publishing Company as well as the Cricket Magazine Group, and Cobblestone Publishing. Open Court is known for their Popular Culture and Philosophy books, while Cricket and Cobblestone produce a range of children's magazines.

Carus's other magazines for children and teens include Appleseeds, Ask, Babybug, Cicada, Click, Cobblestone, Cricket, Dig into History, Faces, Ladybug, Muse, Odyssey, and Spider.

Carus was founded in 1973 and was acquired by the Canadian company ePals Corporation in December 2011.

Carus and The True Believers

Carus and The True Believers were an Australian folk, country, roots and reggae band formed in 1995 in Perth. They released three studio albums, before founding mainstay, Carus Thompson, went solo in 2008 and subsequently issued three studio albums.

Cricket (magazine)

Cricket is an illustrated literary magazine for children published in the United States, founded in September 1973 by Marianne Carus whose intent was to create "The New Yorker for children."

LaSalle, Illinois

LaSalle is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States, located at the intersection of Interstates 39 and 80. It is part of the Ottawa-Peru, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area. Originally platted in 1837 over one square mile (2.6 square kilometers), the city's boundaries have grown to 12 sq mi (31 km2). City boundaries extend from the Illinois River and Illinois and Michigan Canal to a mile north of Interstate 80 and from the city of Peru on the west to the village of North Utica on the east. Starved Rock State Park is located approximately 5 mi (8 km) to the east. The population was 9,609 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to be 9,328 by July 2014. LaSalle and its twin city, Peru, make up the core of the Illinois Valley. Due to their combined dominance of the zinc processing industry in the early 1900s, they were collectively nicknamed "Zinc City."


Titus Lucretius Carus (; c. 15 October 99 BC – c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is the philosophical poem De rerum natura, a didactic work about the tenets and philosophy of Epicureanism, and which is usually translated into English as On the Nature of Things. Lucretius has been credited with originating the concept of the three-age system which was formalised from 1834 by C. J. Thomsen.

Very little is known about Lucretius's life; the only certain fact is that he was either a friend or client of Gaius Memmius, to whom the poem was addressed and dedicated.De rerum natura was a considerable influence on the Augustan poets, particularly Virgil (in his Aeneid and Georgics, and to a lesser extent on the Eclogues) and Horace. The work virtually disappeared during the Middle Ages, but was rediscovered in 1417 in a monastery in Germany by Poggio Bracciolini and it played an important role both in the development of atomism (Lucretius was an important influence on Pierre Gassendi) and the efforts of various figures of the Enlightenment era to construct a new Christian humanism.

Music publisher (sheet music)

The term music publisher originally referred (before the growth of recorded music and popular music) to publishers who issued printed sheet music.

Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig, founded 1719

Schott, Mainz, 1770

Oxford University Press, Oxford, founded 18th century

Edition Peters, Leipzig, 1800

Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag, Leipzig, founded 1807

Casa Ricordi, Milan, founded 1808

G. Schirmer, Inc., New York, founded 1861

Ernst Eulenburg, Leipzig, founded 1874

Zimmermann, founded 1876

Universal Edition, Vienna, 1901

Bärenreiter, founded 1923

Dr. J. Butz, Bonn, founded 1924

Boosey & Hawkes, London, founded 1930

Hans Sikorski, Hamburg, 1935

PWM, Kraków, founded 1945

G. Henle Verlag, Munich, founded 1948

Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart, founded 1972

Edition Güntersberg, Heidelberg, founded 1990


Numerian (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Numerius Numerianus Augustus; died 20 November 284) was Roman Emperor from 283 to 284 with his older brother Carinus. They were sons of Carus, a general raised to the office of praetorian prefect under Emperor Probus in 282.

Open Court Publishing Company

The Open Court Publishing Company is a publisher with offices in Chicago and La Salle, Illinois. It is part of the Carus Publishing Company of Peru, Illinois.

Paul Carus

Paul Carus (German: [ˈkaːʀʊs]; 18 July 1852 – 11 February 1919) was a German-American author, editor, a student of comparative religion and philosopher.

Probus (emperor)

Probus (; Latin: Marcus Aurelius Probus Augustus; c. 19 August 232 – September/October 282), was Roman Emperor from 276 to 282.

Probus was an active and successful general as well as a conscientious administrator, and in his reign of six years he secured prosperity for the inner provinces while withstanding repeated inundations of hostile barbarian tribes on almost every sector of the frontier.After repelling the foreign enemies of the empire Probus was forced to handle several internal revolts, but demonstrated leniency and moderation to the vanquished wherever possible. In his reign the facade of the constitutional authority of the Roman Senate was fastidiously maintained, and the conqueror who had carried his arms to victory over the Rhine professed himself dependent on the sanction of the Senate.Upon defeating the Germans Probus re-erected the ancient fortifications of emperor Hadrian between the Rhine and Danube rivers, protecting the Agri Decumates, and exacted from the vanquished a tribute of manpower to resettle depopulated provinces within the empire and provide for adequate defense of the frontiers.Despite his widespread popularity, Probus was killed in a mutiny of the soldiers while in the middle of preparations for the Persian war, which would be carried out under his successor Carus.

The Monist

The Monist: An International Quarterly Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal in the field of philosophy. It was established in October 1890 by Edward C. Hegeler. After ceasing publication in 1936, the journal resumed publication in 1962 and has been continually published since then. Each issue contains papers on a single, pre-announced topic.

The journal's editors-in-chief have included Paul Carus (1890-1919), Mary Hegeler Carus (1919-1936), Eugene Freeman (1962-1983), John Hospers (1983-1991), Barry Smith (University at Buffalo, 1992–2016), Fraser MacBride (University of Manchester, 2017-present). Since January 2015 the journal has been published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Hegeler Institute.

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