In our time, the general rule of thumb with Roman emperors is the more despotic, corrupt, incestuous and puppy-kicking, the more popular and recognisable. Names like Nero, Commodus, Caligula, have earned infamy even amongst those unfamiliar with Roman history.
Contrary to this are the Roman emperors who in their own time were beneficient rulers. Hadrian the Philhellene, Trajan the builder, Marcus Aurelius the philosopher.
On the Ides of March we recall Julius Caesar, controversial in his role due to his unmetered desire for control that led ultimately to him becoming a perforated slip hazard on the senate floor.
Let’s draw attention to Antoninus Pius, with a reign of 23 years his was one of the most stable periods of leadership. His dying word, aequanimitas (equanimity) adequately characterises his rule, a time of progressive legal reform, increased support of the arts and sciences, extensive public building projects, and of minimal military activity and/or disturbance across the empire.