A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. Commodus' assassination in 192 triggered the Year of the Five Emperors. There was an ongoing quarrel between these emperors regarding who was greatest among them.

To prevent further quarrels, a pandit came up with an idea. These 5 emperors were given a chance to fight. A fight of words and not of swords. Each can express their worth through their final words. And based on that, the greatest would be chosen by Pandit and declared so in public. All felt this was a nice idea and agreed with the pandit's suggestion.

The final words were the following:

Emperor 1:

Hey pandit, I am not much spicy; also gentle in temper. You will for sure like me.

Emperor 2 :

Hey pandit, I am not very brilliant and look somewhat dark. Don't you like the the fact that I still made it till this point?

Emperor 3 :

Hey pandit, do you know that a guy with the same name as mine is famous for guarding a museum for about 20 years. I can guard this empire till my last breath without any problems.

Emperor 4 :

Hey pandit. I am the central component of pyrimidines. Does that sound nonsensical?

Emperor 5 :

Hey pandit. I can tell how old you are. I can even tell more about you. Should I reveal that?

Yes! That was it. And the pandit selected the most worthy emperor by evaluating these last words. How did he do that?

Can you unfold that mystery?!

After all, who was the greatest among them?


You may need to first solve for the 'I's that each emperor talks about.

  • $\begingroup$ This is the first time I am creating a story-puzzle. Let me know if you have any suggestions or ways of improving it. :) $\endgroup$
    – wanderer
    Oct 25, 2017 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ Emperor three is named for a famous British pensioner, yes? $\endgroup$
    – user41655
    Oct 25, 2017 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Are we to assume that the five emperors only have knowledge of what was around in 192 BC? Because I found a modern(ish) example for #3. $\endgroup$
    – APrough
    Oct 26, 2017 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ @APrough, you may be right.. Nice catch! $\endgroup$
    – wanderer
    Oct 27, 2017 at 13:26

3 Answers 3


The emperors are ...

... Roman numerals, or rather words made up of digits of Roman numerals. (They don't obey the rules of Roman numbers. Perhaps they are mo-Roman numbers.)

Emperor 1:

MILD — not spicy and even-tempered.

Emperor 2 :

DIM — dark, not brilliant.

Emperor 3 :

No idea. There's probably the statue of el Cid somewhere in front of some museum in Spain. Or does the name refer to a civic or civil guard?

Emperor 4 :

MID — the central component and literally the midle of pyrimidines.

Emperor 5 :

ID — An id card has a person's age and other data. (Or is this "civil id"?)

The greatest emperor ...

... is the one whose value is greatest. The emperor's names aren't all valid Roman numbers, so I evaluate them in two ways: As sum of the digit values and as mo-Roman numbers:

→ Roman sum: 1000 + 1 + 50 + 500 = 1551
→ mo-Roman: 1000 − 1 &minus 50 + 500 = 1449

→ Roman sum: 500 + 1 + 1000 = 1501
→ mo-Roman: −500 −1 + 1000 = 499

→ Roman sum: 1000 + 1 + 500 = 1501
→ mo-Roman: 1000 − 1 + 500 = 1499

→ Roman sum: 1 + 500 = 501
→ mo-Roman: −1 + 500 = 499

I haven't found the third emperor's name yet. So far, the mild Emperor 1 has the greatest worth.

  • $\begingroup$ Good job ! Just emperor 3 is a mystery. $\endgroup$
    – wanderer
    Oct 26, 2017 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ @M Oehm , do you need a hint. Rob's comments are useful. $\endgroup$
    – wanderer
    Oct 27, 2017 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ The one about the pensioner? Or the cat? I have no idea what could be the name of that emperor. There are too many museums and there isn't much to go on, even if the number of valid names is small. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 27, 2017 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this is it, but there is a Tolkien character named Mim, who was a dwarf who supposedly guarded a treasure hoard (museum?) for many years. The name would give a score of 1999, which would make him the winner! $\endgroup$
    – APrough
    Oct 27, 2017 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ The guard whom I had in mind while designing the clue is a cat $\endgroup$
    – wanderer
    Oct 27, 2017 at 13:58

Well, an answer:

These emperors are Chemical elements of periodic table. And here goes identification of them based on descriptions provided:

Emperor 1:

It could be either Sodium (Na) or Potassium(K) - kind of elements which are reactive and (spicy when tasted, perhaps) produce edible salts

Emperor 2:

It could be copper (Cu) which is having excellent conductive properties but holds a dark tinge.

Emperor 3:

Could be Calcium (Ca), which forms the major element in bones, with which one's skeleton (that protects inner vital organs of body) is made of (though 20 years / any other age is assumed to be that of the poser of this question). And one's body is considered as a museum (of precious parts!)

Emperor 4:

Hydrogen(H), as it is the central element in all such chemical compounds (hydrocarbons)

Emperor 5:

Carbon(C), as Carbon dating tells us how old an object is.

And the pandit might have selected

Emperor #3 [ Calcium(Ca) ] - as on it everything is depending upon, in this case.

  • $\begingroup$ +1. I'm sure that this isn't the answer, but it has given me an idea ... :) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 26, 2017 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ Good train of thoughts!. But I am afraid if this could help you in giving complete justification $\endgroup$
    – wanderer
    Oct 26, 2017 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ Emperor 3 may involve a famous cat. I'll leave it to you to figure out which one I mean. I'm not clear where you got "Calcium" from, but you are right that a skeleton could guard until its last breath with no problem, and the CA fits with the idea of a cat . . . $\endgroup$
    – user41655
    Oct 26, 2017 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Rob yes, you are right. $\endgroup$
    – wanderer
    Oct 26, 2017 at 15:30

Each emperor described themselves as roman letters
emperor1 :MILD
emperor2 :DILL
emperor3 :VIC (statue of Victoria in front of Heritage vaults museum in 1994?)
emperor4 :MID
emperor5 :CIVIL (may be relating to civil law?)
The greatest emperor is emperor 1 (MILD (1000+1+50+500))


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