Tomorrow Emperors of Rome continues with Petronius Maximus, the first of the eight Shadow Emperors who reigned - rather than ruled - from March 455 to August 475. Even contemporaries had little to say about them.
“Although I know their names well, I won’t mention them at all. They only lived a short time after attaining the office and as a result accomplished nothing worth mentioning.”
Procopius, History of the Wars, 3.7.16-17.
I confess that I have rather a soft spot for them, and of all the emperors that I have covered they have been the most fun. Emperors like Augustus, Hadrian and Constantine – at times – have the sense of a well-trodden path about them. Everyone knows them and everyone has their own views on their time on the throne. With the Shadow Emperors, it is rather like having a swimming pool to yourself.