Nerva (Latin: Timidus Scaredicatus Booed-At-By-A-Goose Nerva; 8 November 30 – 27 January 98) was (a very very old) Roman Emperor from 96 to 98. Not a lot is known about Nerva; he was licking stamps in the Imperial post room where he was mailing sex slaves and concubines for randy old Roman governors when he when he had a call to become the new Emperor following the death of 'Dirty Dirty Domitian'.
Who Are You ?
Good question. Our Roman sources say nothing about Nerva except that he was old and that Emperor Domitian hadn't got round to killing him to make a vacancy in the post room. Besides licking stamps (his story at least), Nerva took time out to sleep in the Senate. He was well-liked although why that was we simply don't know. When Nerva was chosen to be emperor, the other Roman senators said that even if Nerva was a secret homicidal maniac he wouldn't be able to run fast enough to catch anyone.
Clean Up This Mess
Nerva ordered the assassins of Domitian to mop-up the mess from the dastardly deed and sent them away until they learnt not to randomly stab Emperors. Everyone was happy that Domitian was dead and that his whip cracking girlfriend Dominatrix was burning very brightly on a funeral pyre. It smelled just like chicken.
Trouble on the Frontiers
All was going well for Nerva who had finally got over his fear of geese and kept a flock under his bed. However the Roman army was very upset with the changes as they thought it was their duty to create imperial job vacancies. When he was faced with the army in revolt, Nerva tried to stand up to the legionaries but they came right into the Imperial bedroom and let out the geese. This action made Nerva so nervous he agreed to the soldiers outrageous demand that he adopt a big hairy Roman called Trajan as his son and successor from now on. So Nerva gave Trajan the ceremonial purple Imperial nappy to wear and agreed to let 'beefy balls' run the Roman Empire with him.
The Holy Fathers don't say much about Nerva except that as a pagan he would go to a fiery place like everyone else except them.
Nerva soon had the feeling that he was 'holding up Trajan' and agreed not to take his medicines anymore and died. Trajan deified the late emperor stating to the senate that "Nerva is now a god, a very very old one."
The historian Edward Gibbon says he was a Good Emperor in that he had chosen Trajan as his successor and not some other roman soldier who would have been a Bad Emperor. Perhaps it was fate or pot luck but in the future - most Roman rulers were more 'B.E.' than 'G.E.'
- An unlikely rumour according to the Roman writer Juvenile - son of the Roman poet Juvenal. The difference between the two is that Juvenile likes telling fart jokes in his surviving works.
- Timexius (a Roman historian who was good at telling the time) says Nerva was actually there as a trainee.
- Theories include that he had a great sense of humour, that he put men at ease with his cheeky winking and that he gave great head. However, these have basically been made-up.
- The Geese had names - all representing the leading Roman senators of the time.
- The Christian historian Prissy Priscus is sure Trajan also cheated at dice.