Marcus Aurelius played an important role in the Roman Empire. A Stoic philosopher, Marcus was part of the Five Good Emperors and the last emperor of the Pax Romana—a 200-year-long period of relative peace in the Roman Empire. Also a writer, his work Meditations is regarded by many as one of the greatest works of philosophy.
The dictator of Italy from 1925 to 1945, Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in 1919. It opposed class discrimination and supported nationalism. But when in power, Mussolini crushed rival political parties, trade unions, free press and free speech. He was overthrown by his former colleagues in the Fascist government in July 1943 and ultimately shot dead in April 1945.
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who played a key role in the political affairs of France during the rule of her sons, a period which came to be known as the age of Catherine de' Medici. Catherine is credited with saving the monarchy from deposition during the French Wars of Religion.
Charles V served as the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Italy, and King of Germany from 1519 to 1556. From 1516 to 1556, he ruled as the King of Spain. His personal union of the American and European territories was the first collection of kingdoms that were described the empire on which the Sun never sets.
Nero was the fifth Roman emperor whose rule was associated with tyranny. Five years into his reign, he had his mother Agrippina killed. The Great Fire of Rome, which occurred during his reign, is believed to have been instigated by him for political reasons. He was also responsible for eliminating many Christians from the empire.
Pope Alexander VI served as the pope from 1492 to 1503. Due to his involvement with several mistresses, Alexander is regarded as one of the most controversial popes of the Renaissance. However, during his papacy, a new architectural era surfaced in Rome as he encouraged the development of fine arts; famous personalities like Pinturicchio, Raphael, and Michelangelo worked for him.
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor reigned as the King of Sicily, King of Germany, King of Italy, and King of Jerusalem. An avid patron of the arts and science, Frederick played an important role in supporting literature. He promoted the Sicilian School of poetry, which played an influential role in developing literature in Italy.
Umberto II, the only son of King Victor Emmanuel III, was the last king of Italy and ruled for just 34 days, from May 9 to June 12, 1946, and then went into exile. Also known as Re di Maggio, he was the de facto head of state since 1944.
Romulus Augustus went down in history as the last Western Roman emperor. The son of Orestes, who was killed by German warrior Odoacer, Romulus was spared and allowed to move to southern Italy. Though not much is known of him, it is believed he lived till the rule of Theoderic.
Victor Emmanuel II of Italy reigned as the king of Sardinia from 1849 to 1861. He then became the first king of a united Italy in 1861 and reigned as its king until his death in 1878. Since he played a major role in the Second Italian War of Independence, Italians started referring to him as Father of the Fatherland.
Alexander Severus reigned as the Roman emperor from 222 until his death in 235. He was the last emperor of the famous Severan dynasty. Alexander Severus’ death not only brought an end to the Severan dynasty, but also marked the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century, a period of hardship during which the great Roman Empire almost collapsed.
Umberto I of Italy reigned as the king of Italy from 1878 until his death in 1900. His reign witnessed an attempted colonial expansion by Italy into the Horn of Africa, successfully annexing Somalia and Eritrea. Loathed by anarchists because of his approval of the Bava Beccaris massacre, Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by an anarchist named Gaetano Bresci.