AD 96-- AD 98: Nerva Nerva was an elderly senator when he was appointed to be emperor. He gained popularity by adopting the well liked and able general Trajan.
AD 98 -- AD 117: Trajan Trajan was previously a governor of Spain. He was very popular and a good administrator and general. He extended the Roman empire to Dacia and parts of Asia.
AD 117 -- AD 138: Hadrian Hadrian was born in Spain and later adopted by Trajan. He was skilled in many areas, such as being a poet and scholar. He was a good administrator. He travelled frequently. He is famous today for being an excellent architect, designing the beautiful Hadrian's Villa. He also strove for peace, allowing Dacia to be freed.
AD 138 -- AD 161: Antonius Pius Antonius Pius was adopted by Hadrian. During his reign, Rome was fruitful and this period is often considered the happiest period in the history of not only Rome but of Europe.
AD 161 -- AD 180: Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius was previously adopted by Antonius Pius. He was a good and conscientious administrator. However, the happy times in Rome were beginning to end, as there was fighting in Balkans. This forced Aurelius to travel to the area, where he later died.