Compare Rome's bad and good emperors (Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelias). What made them particularly good or bad?
Caligula, whose real name was Gaius, was received by the romans with a sigh of relief. The people had high hopes in his leadership and at the beginning he did not disappoint. He brought back exiles and destroyed the records of treason against the people since he was earlier a victim of the same oppression. This is seen as the only good thing that he did because later he fell ill and recovered but behaved strangely from there on. He forced senators to bow and kiss his feet among other acts of cruelty since he believed he was a god. He did this until his demise at the hands of one of his advisors. He is generally regarded as a bad emperor.
Nero, he started off well by ending secret trials, banning capital punishment, offering an opportunity for slaves to seek legal redress against oppressive masters and even reducing taxes. He also changed, however, and what started off as simple extravagance ended up with the emperor murdering citizens at will and performing other acts of cruelty. At the end he committed suicide after a revolt by his people and he is regarded as a tyrant.
Domitian, he is also regarded as a tyrant. He believed he was a god and sought to be addressed as such. He banished all and even minor dissidents and was known for severe brutality against citizens. He was later on murdered by a group of people including his own wife.
Nerva, he promised to end Domitian tyranny and he succeeded. This ended badly when the soldiers killed all those who participated in Domitian's death. Nerva lost his will to lead and died soon after.
Trajan, he is regarded as a good emperor. He respected other leaders and his office. He was successful in battle, increasing the territory of his empire and he was known to be very generous.
Hadrian started off on bad footing by being directly involved in the execution of four senators. He rectified this through his active leadership. He personally took responsibility to resolve problems that his people faced throughout the empire. He traveled to the farthest corners of this vast empire and offered solutions based on his field experience. At the end his brutality gave him a bad reputation and made him unpopular.
Antoninus Pius was known for sound morals and is regarded as a good leader. He pardoned several people wrongfully sentenced to death by hadrian when he was sick. He ruled with utmost compassion and moderation. He instituted policies that protected slaves from cruelty. He also believed in the rule of law, ultimately making him very popular among the people.
Marcus Aurelius was known to be a dutiful and peaceful emperor by his citizens. He had a hard time balancing between war efforts with his enemies and government affairs. In spite of this hardship he was still able to deliver justice to his people sometimes at night because of his busy schedule. He cleared the misunderstanding about rumors of his death peacefully and honorably.