Aureus of Emperor Carus
48th Emperor of the Roman Empire
Reign 282–283 (alone);
283 (with Carinus)
Predecessor Probus
Successor Carinus and Numerian
Born c. 222
Narbo, Gallia Narbonensis
Died July or August 283 (aged 61)
Beyond the River Tigris, Mesopotamia
Issue Carinus, Numerian, Aurelia Paulina
Full name
Marcus Numerius Carus (from birth to accession);
Caesar Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus (as emperor)

Carus ( Latin: Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus; [1] [2] c. 222 [3] – 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, shortly after his forces sacked its capital Ctesiphon. He was succeeded by his sons Carinus and Numerian, creating a dynasty which, though short-lived, provided further stability to the 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

The top panel at Naqsh-e Rustam depicts the victory of Bahram II over Carus. The victory of Bahram II over Hormizd I Kushanshah is depicted in the bottom panel. [13]

Bestowing the title of Caesar upon his sons Carinus and Numerian, [14] [15] 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. [16] Having defeated the Quadi and Sarmatians on the Danube, [17] for which he was given the title Germanicus Maximus, [18] Carus proceeded through Thrace and Asia Minor, annexed Mesopotamia, pressed on to Seleucia and Ctesiphon, and marched his soldiers beyond the Tigris. [19]

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. [20] The victories of Carus avenged all the previous defeats suffered by the Romans against the Sassanids, and he received the title of Persicus Maximus. [21]

Carus' hopes of further conquest were cut short by his death, which was announced after a violent storm. [22] His death was variously attributed to disease, [23] the effects of lightning, [24] a wound received in the campaign against the Persians, [25] or an assassination planned by his Praetorian prefect, Lucius Flavius Aper. [26] 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. [27]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Carus
беларуская: Марк Аўрэлій Кар
čeština: Carus
Cymraeg: Carus
dansk: Carus
eesti: Carus
Ελληνικά: Κάρος
español: Caro
Esperanto: Karo
euskara: Karo
فارسی: کاروس
français: Carus
galego: Caro
hrvatski: Kar (car)
Bahasa Indonesia: Carus
עברית: קארוס
ქართული: კარუსი
Kiswahili: Kaizari Carus
македонски: Кар
norsk: Carus
occitan: Carus
polski: Karus
română: Carus
Scots: Carus
српски / srpski: Кар
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kar (car)
suomi: Carus
svenska: Carus
Tagalog: Carus
Türkçe: Carus
українська: Марк Аврелій Кар
Tiếng Việt: Carus
Yorùbá: Carus
Zazaki: Carus
中文: 卡鲁斯