Ca'rus, (Marcus Aurelius,) a Roman emperor, born
at Narbo, (now Narbonne.) Under the emperor Probus
he held the high office of prefect of the praetorium. At
the death of Probus in 282 A.D., Carus was elected his
successor by the army. In 283 he marched against the
Persians, leaving his son Carinus to govern Italy. Having
taken Seleucia and Ctesiphon, he was about to pursue
his conquests, when he died suddenly, (283,) or, as some
report, was killed by lightning.
Decline and Fall of the " Roman Empire ;" Vopiscus, Carus.
Marcus Aurelius Carus (c. 230 – July or August 283) was
Roman Emperor from 282 to 283. During his short reign, Carus
fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube
frontier with success. During his campaign against the
Sassanid Empire he sacked their capital Ctesiphon, but died
shortly thereafter. He was succeeded by his sons Carinus and
Numerian; creating a dynasty which, though shortlived,
granted further stability to a resurgent empire.
Carus, whose name before the accession may have been Marcus
Numerius Carus, was born, probably, at Narbo (modern
Narbonne) in Gaul, but was educated at Rome. He was a
senator, and had filled various civil and military posts
before he was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard by
the emperor Probus in 282. After the murder of Probus at
Sirmium, Carus was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers.
Although Carus severely avenged the death of Probus, he was
himself suspected of having been an accessory to the deed.
He does not seem to have returned to Rome after his
accession, but contented himself with an announcement of the
fact to the Senate.
Bestowing the title of Caesar upon his sons Carinus and
Numerian, he left Carinus in charge of the western portion
of the empire, and took Numerian with him on the expedition
against the Persians which had been contemplated by Probus.
Having defeated the Quadi and Sarmatians on the Danube,
Carus proceeded through Thrace and Asia Minor, annexed
Mesopotamia, pressed on to Seleucia and Ctesiphon, and
marched his soldiers beyond the Tigris. The Sassanid Emperor
Bahram II, limited by internal opposition, could not
effectively defend his territory. For his victories, which
avenged all the previous defeats suffered by the Romans
against the Sassanids, Carus received the title of Persicus
Carus' hopes of further conquest were cut short by his
death. One day, after a violent storm, it was announced that
he was dead. His death was variously attributed to disease,
the effects of lightning, or a wound received in a campaign
against the Persians. The facts that he was leading a
victorious campaign, and that his son Numerian succeeded him
without opposition, suggest that his death may have been due
to natural causes.
A Roman emperor, who succeeded Probus. He was first appointed, by the latter, prætorian prefect, and after his death was
chosen by the army to be his successor, A.D. 282. Carus created his two sons, Carinus and Numerianus, Caesars, as soon as
he was elevated to the Empire, and, some time after, gave them each the title of Augustus. On the news of the death of
Probus, the barbarians put themselves in motion, and Carus, sending his son Carinus into Gaul, departed with Numerianus
for Illyricum, in order to oppose the Sarmatae, who threatened Thrace and Italy. He slew 16,000, and made 20,000
prisoners. Proceeding after this against the Persians, he made himself master of Mesopotamia, and of the cities of
Seleucia and Ctesiphon, and took in consequence the surnames of Persicus and Parthicus. He died, however, in the midst of
his successes, A.D. 283. (See Aper.) His whole reign was one of not more than sixteen or seventeen months. Carus was
deified after his death. According to Vopiscus, by whom his life was written, he held a middle rank between good and bad