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Nerva (Marcus Cocceius Nerva)nûrˈvə, c.A.D. 30–A.D. 98, Roman emperor (A.D. 96–A.D. 98). He had an honorable career as a statesman at Rome, and his reputation was blameless. At the death of Domitian he was chosen emperor by the senate in a strong movement toward constitutionalism and senatorial influence and away from hereditary succession. Nerva, a kind, paternal figure, reformed the land laws in favor of the poor, revised taxation, and tolerated the Christians. His greatest achievement was to adopt Trajan and name him as successor. This assured an orderly transfer of power when Nerva died after fifteen months in office.

See B. W. Henderson, Five Roman Emperors (1927).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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