The Nerva–Antonine dynasty comprised seven Roman Emperors, who ruled over the Roman Empire from 96 to 192. The Emperors were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus. The first five of the six successions saw the reigning Emperor adopt the candidate of his choice to be his successor. They are thus referred to as Adoptive Emperors.
The rulers commonly known as the Five Good Emperors were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. The term Five Good Emperors was coined by Machiavelli in 1503, who argued that most of the Roman emperors who inherited the throne by birth were bad, whereas those who came to it through adoption were good.
The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon described the period of the Five Good Emperors rule as one “during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous.”