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For other uses, see Carus (disambiguation).
48th Emperor of the Roman Empire
Aureus of Emperor Carus
Reign 282–283
Full name Marcus Numerius Carus (from birth to accession);
Caesar Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus (as emperor)
Born c. 224
Birthplace Narbo, Gallia Narbonensis
Died July or August 283 (aged 59)
Place of death Beyond the River Tigris, Mesopotamia
Predecessor Probus
Successor Carinus
Issue Carinus, Numerian, Aurelia Paulina

Carus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus;[1][2] c. 224[3] – July or August 283) was Roman Emperor from 282 to 283. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube frontier with success.

During his campaign against the Sassanid Empire, he sacked their capital Ctesiphon, but died shortly thereafter. He was succeeded by his sons Carinus and Numerian, creating a dynasty which, though short-lived, granted further stability to a resurgent empire.


An Antoninianus of Carus.

Carus, whose name before the accession may have been Marcus Numerius Carus,[4] was likely born at Narbo (modern Narbonne) in Gaul[5][6] but was educated in Rome.[7] He was a senator[8] and filled various civil and military posts before being appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard by the emperor Probus in 282.[9]

After the murder of Probus at Sirmium, Carus was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers.[10] Although Carus severely avenged the death of Probus, he was suspected as an accessory to the deed.[11] He does not seem to have returned to Rome after his accession, contenting himself with an announcement to the Senate.[12]

Campaign against the Sassanids and Death[edit]

Bestowing the title of Caesar upon his sons Carinus and Numerian,[13][14] he left Carinus in charge of the western portion of the empire and took Numerian with him on an expedition against the Persians, which had been contemplated by Probus.[15] Having defeated the Quadi and Sarmatians on the Danube,[16] for which he was given the title Germanicus Maximus,[17] Carus proceeded through Thrace and Asia Minor, annexed Mesopotamia, pressed on to Seleucia and Ctesiphon, and marched his soldiers beyond the Tigris.[18]

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.[19] The victories of Carus avenged all the previous defeats suffered by the Romans against the Sassanids, and he received the title of Persicus Maximus.[20]

Carus' hopes of further conquest were cut short by his death, which was announced after a violent storm.[21] His death was variously attributed to disease,[22] the effects of lightning,[23] or a wound received in the campaign against the Persians.[24] The fact that he was leading a victorious campaign, and his son Numerian succeeded him without opposition, suggest that his death may have been due to natural causes.[25]

See also[edit]


Primary Sources[edit]

Secondary Sources[edit]

  • 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
  • Southern, Pat. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, Routledge, 2001
  • Canduci, Alexander (2010), Triumph & Tragedy: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Immortal Emperors, Pier 9, ISBN 978-1-74196-598-8 
  • Gibbon. Edward Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire (1888)
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). 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. ^ Canduci, pg. 105
  4. ^ Jones, pg. 183
  5. ^ Victor, 38:1
  6. ^ 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).
  7. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 4:2
  8. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 5:4
  9. ^ Canduci, pg.105
  10. ^ Zonaras, 12:29
  11. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 6:1
  12. ^ Southern, pg. 132
  13. ^ Zonaras, 12:30
  14. ^ Victor 38:2
  15. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 7:1
  16. ^ Canduci, pg. 105
  17. ^ Leadbetter, www.roman-emperors.org/carus.htm
  18. ^ Zonaras, 12:30
  19. ^ Leadbetter, www.roman-emperors.org/carus.htm
  20. ^ Southern, pg. 133
  21. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 8:3
  22. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Cari", 8:2
  23. ^ Victor, 38:3
  24. ^ Zonaras, 12:30
  25. ^ Leadbetter, www.roman-emperors.org/carus.htm
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Roman Emperor
Succeeded by
Carinus and Numerian
Political offices
Preceded by
Probus ,
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Carinus
Succeeded by

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2240 news items

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:42:38 -0700

Maybe you have old photos that show Carus' buildings in their earlier days. If so, we want to hear from you,” said Carus' Communications Coordinator Kegan Pakula. “Carus has overcome many challenges and celebrated many successes in the last 100 ...

Richmond Standard

KTVU San Francisco
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:44:18 -0700

A man who'd been in charge of upholding the law for three decades is now accused of breaking it. Richmond police arrested an off-duty Walnut Creek Police Officer for allegedly donning a mask and beating a woman with a baseball bat on August 16.
Bureau County Republican
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:03:45 -0700

"We expect and encourage all members to act as mentors and advisors for businesses aided by the fund," said founding member Inga Carus, chairman and CEO of Carus Group Inc., headquartered in Peru. "We all come from different business backgrounds.


Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:07:30 -0700

Hebe Carus, the RSPB's Futurescapes Officer for the Cairngorms, said: “The return of the water vole to Insh Marshes is great news and all the staff and volunteers on the reserve are delighted. “Concerted efforts across the Cairngorms National Park to ...
Sun, 24 Aug 2014 17:00:00 -0700

Other stops on the two-day tour included Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, the Grundy Museum in Morris, a LaSalle Canal boat ride, the Hegeler-Carus Mansion in LaSalle and the LaSalle County Historical Museum in Utica. “We live in the area and never ...
Bureau County Republican
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:37:28 -0700

He just moved here from Europe and is married to Inge Carus," Pisarczyk said. "He's an avid flyer. He has two stunt planes out here, a biplane and the corporate jet, and he's interested in promoting flying and getting young kids involved, so we can get ...
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:00:43 -0700

Another founding member, Inga Carus, chairman and CEO of Carus Group, said those participating in the initiative come from different business backgrounds. "As a group we have a great deal to offer in terms of experience, contacts and have the ability ...
Journal Gazette and Times-Courier
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:41:15 -0700

Mayor Carus Icenogle presented a silver tea set to Mrs. Rogers as part of her prize. J. Elwood Popham of Charleston is present of the Mattoon Kennel Club... MATTOON -- Kenneth Coble, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Coble of Mattoon, learned Sunday that ...

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