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Nerva's three major weaknesses were the circumstances of his proclamation as emperor, his desire to be a benign rule and the fact that he was childless. His predecessor, the emperor Domitian was assassinated because he was a tyrannical ruler who instituted many treason trials against his opponents. Yet, Rome remained deeply divided. Despite many people hating Domitian, there were still many people who supported him. Nerva failed to deal with this situation.

Nerva was proclaimed emperor by the senate in haste, within hours of the news of the assassination of Domitian to prevent a civil war. He might have been considered a safe choice because he was old and childless. He lacked widespread support in the empire. Despite the fact that many senators suffered with Domitian's many treason trials, there still was a pro-Domitian faction in the senate. Therefore, Nerva's attempts to involve the senate in his government were only partially successful, even though he stopped the treason trials, returned the property confiscated by Domitian to its owners, released the people who had been imprisoned and gave amnesty to those who had been exiled.

To gain support among the people Nerva gave a sum of money to each Roman citizen, granted a large number of plots of land for the poor, exempted people from the inheritance tax and made loans to the rich conditional to paying an interest of 5% to the local council for the support of the needy. However, the expenses that this generosity involved got the treasury into trouble.

To appease the Praetorian (imperial) Guard, Nerva gave them a generous donation and sacked their head, who had been involved in Domitian's assassination. However, support for Domitian was still strong in the army and the Praetorian Guard considered his measures insufficient. They demanded the execution of the assassins, but Nerva refused.

In his efforts to be a benign ruler, Nerva allowed the senate to continue to prosecute those who had been Domitian's informers. This led to anarchy as the senators acted in their personal interest and tried to settle scores with personal enemies. It was said that Domitian's tyranny was preferable to Nerva's anarchy. A plot against him was discovered, but he refused to execute the conspirators. This met the disapproval of the senate. As he had no heir, Nerva considered adopting the governor of Syria to have him as his successor. This was opposed by those who supported the general Trajan. The Praetorian Guard sieged his palace, took him hostage and forced him to meet their demand to hand over the assassins of Domitian for execution. His reputation was irreparably damaged. Nerva realised that without the support of the senate and the army his position was untenable. He adopted Trajan as his successor and shared power with him. Three months later he had a stroke and died soon afterwards. His reign lasted only just over 16 months.

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15y ago

he dedicated the forum built by Domitian to connect the forum of Augstus to the forum of peace and would be known as the forum of nerva and he repaired the Colosseum

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The Roman Emperor : Marcus Cocceius Nerva Caesar Augustus .

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