Before going into much more detail about Augustus, the first Roman Emperor (following Julius Caesar, who was the last dictator of the Roman Republic) and those that followed him in the Glory Years of the Roman Empire, please indulge me for a few moments. Let me explain. I was recently introduced to a website (https://chat.openai.com/chat and https://openai.com/api/) which is all about something called AI, which stands for artificial intelligence. Although I have been aware of AI for some time, I was unaware of the remarkable strides the technology has made.
To see how it works, I asked several questions online (by typing in what I wanted to know) about the Roman Empire, the first Emperors – how they became so powerful and how they died – and how Rome was governed before they burst on the scene. The result was remarkable. AI (a machine) provided the information given below, but first, I asked the ‘machine’ to explain what artificial intelligence was. It explained:
‘AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the ability of a computer or machine to mimic the cognitive abilities of the human mind, such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. AI systems are able to analyse large amounts of data, recognize patterns, and make decisions based on that data. AI technology is used in a variety of fields, including healthcare, finance, and transportation, to improve efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Some examples of AI include virtual assistants, such as Siri or Alexa, self-driving cars, and medical diagnosis systems.’
Image Credit: The Death of Caesar by Vincenzo Camuccini. On 15 March 44 BC, Octavius’s adoptive father, Julius Caesar, was assassinated by a conspiracy led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome
Attribution: Vincenzo Camuccini, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vincenzo_Camuccini_-_La_morte_di_Cesare.jpg
The First Ten Roman Emperors
The Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires in world history. It was founded in 27 BC when Augustus became the first Roman Emperor. The first ten Emperors of Rome are known as the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and were, in order, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, and Titus:
- Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) is considered the first true Roman Emperor. After tumultuous years of civil war, Augustus successfully stabilised the Roman Republic and established the Roman Empire, which he ruled for over 40 years. He is considered one of the greatest rulers in history. He was the grandnephew and adoptive son of Julius Caesar and rose to power after Caesar’s assassination.
- Tiberius (14-37 AD), the second Roman Emperor, was Augustus’ successor and is known for his military conquests and for his reputation as a recluse and eccentric ruler. He was the adopted son of Augustus and succeeded Augustus as emperor after his death. Tiberius began his reign by consolidating the gains of Augustus’ rule and expanding the territories of the Roman Empire. He campaigned successfully against the Germanic tribes in the north and the Pannonian tribes in the east and extended Roman control over Egypt and the Eastern provinces. During his reign, Tiberius was known for his strict and efficient administration of the empire and worked to maintain the Pax Romana, the period of relative peace and stability established by Augustus. He also implemented several social and economic reforms to alleviate poverty and improve public welfare. As he grew older, he became increasingly paranoid and suspicious of those around him and launched several persecution campaigns against perceived enemies and political rivals. He was also known for his cruelty and willingness to use execution as a tool of political control. Tiberius faced several revolts and uprisings during his reign, which were put down by his armies. At the end of his reign, Tiberius retired to the island of Capri, where he died in 37 AD.
- Caligula (37-41 AD) was the third Roman Emperor and was known for his extravagance and madness. He killed anyone when it pleased him, spent exorbitantly, was obsessed with perverse sex, and proclaimed himself a living god. After only four years in power, he was assassinated by a conspiracy of Praetorian Guard officers, senators, and other members of the court. Caligula, also known as Gaius Caesar, was the grandson of Augustus, and he succeeded Tiberius as emperor after his death. Caligula is known for his eccentric and cruel behaviour during his reign. He was known for his extravagance, his eccentricity, and his cruelty. He was also known for his erratic behaviour and was rumoured to have been insane. Caligula was unable to maintain the stability of the empire and faced several revolts and uprisings. He also spent a large amount of the empire’s resources on his personal excesses and building projects, such as the construction of a bridge of boats across the Bay of Naples. Despite Caligula’s failures and atrocities, he is reported to have been a capable military commander and led successful campaigns in Germania and Britannia. He also made some administrative and economic reforms, such as reducing taxes on the poor and increasing the pay of the military. After he was assassinated, he was succeeded by his uncle, Claudius.
- Claudius (41-54 AD) was the fourth Roman Emperor and is known for his intelligence (he was well-educated in literature, history and law) and administrative abilities, as well as his military and administrative successes. He is also remembered for his physical disabilities – a result of a childhood illness – not expected to rule, but he proved to be a capable emperor. He is perhaps best known for his betrayal by his wife, Agrippina the Younger, who is said to have poisoned him. During his reign, Claudius expanded the empire by conquering Britain and also expanded the empire’s territory by adding Thrace, Lycia, and parts of Mauretania. He also reformed the legal system and improved the administration of the empire. He also made sure to have the support of the military by increasing their pay and benefits. Claudius also had some failures during his reign. He faced several revolts and uprisings, such as the rebellion of the Roman governor of Egypt, Aulus Vitellius and the rebellion of Julius Asiniculus in Mauretania. He also had a difficult relationship with the Roman Senate and the Roman elite, who were resentful of his rise to power and his attempts to expand the power of the emperor at the expense of the Senate. Claudius was also known for his tumultuous personal life, including his marriages, his mistresses and his family scandals. He died in 54 AD, possibly of poisoning. He was succeeded by his stepson Nero.
- Nero (54-68 AD) was the adopted son of Claudius and succeeded him as emperor after his death. He was the fifth Roman Emperor and is known for his extravagance, excesses, and cruelty. He was also known for his artistic talents, such as singing, acting and poetry. However, he used execution as a tool of political control and was also known for his persecution of Christians and alleged involvement in the burning of Rome in 64 AD. During his reign, Nero faced several challenges and failures. He faced several revolts and uprisings, including the Pisonian conspiracy, in which several members of the Roman elite plotted to overthrow him. He also faced many economic and financial difficulties due to his extravagance and attempts to fund his artistic and building projects. He also met political challenges as a result of his unpopularity and his poor relationship with the Roman Senate and the Roman elite. Despite these failures, Nero also had some successes during his reign. He made some administrative and legal reforms, and he also made some territorial expansions, such as the conquest of the kingdom of Armenia. He also made some cultural and artistic achievements, such as constructing the Domus Aurea, a grand palace in Rome, and promoting Greek culture and the arts. Nero’s turbulent rule ended in 68 AD when the Roman Senate and the Roman army deposed him. He fled Rome, and soon after, facing pressure from the senators and the military, he committed suicide.
The British Museum says this of Nero:
“Most of what we know about Nero comes from the surviving works of three historians – Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio. All written decades after Nero’s death, their accounts have long shaped our understanding of this Emperor’s rule. However, far from being impartial narrators presenting objective accounts of past events, these authors and their sources wrote with a very clear agenda in mind. Nero’s demise brought forward a period of chaos and civil war – one that ended only when a new dynasty seized power, the Flavians. Authors writing under the Flavians all had an interest in legitimising the new ruling family by portraying the last of the Julio-Claudians in the worst possible light, turning history into propaganda. These accounts became the ‘historical’ sources used by later historians, therefore perpetuating a fabricated image of Nero, which has survived all the way to the present.” 
- The remaining Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty were all involved in the Year of the Four Emperors, a period of civil war and instability following Nero’s death:
- Galba (68-69 AD) was the sixth Roman Emperor and ruled for seven months before being assassinated.
- Otho (69 AD) was the seventh Roman Emperor and ruled for three months before committing suicide.
- Vitellius (69 AD) was the eighth Roman Emperor and ruled for eight months before being assassinated.
- Vespasian (69-79 AD) was the ninth Roman Emperor and is known for his military campaigns and successful efforts to restore stability to the Roman Empire after the tumultuous reigns of his predecessors.
- Titus (79-81 AD) was the tenth Roman Emperor and is known for his military campaigns and for completing the construction of the Colosseum. He is also remembered for his generosity and his tragic death from a fever at the age of 41.
Image Credit: Family tree of Julio-Claudian Dynasty producing 5 emperors at the start of the Roman Empire (27 BCE – 68 CE).
Remade from start using Image: JulioClaudian.png as a template.
Attribution: User: Rursus, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JulioClaudian.svg
How did the First Emperors become so powerful?
The first ten Roman Emperors became powerful through a combination of factors. Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, who was one of the most powerful men in Rome at the time. Augustus was also a skilled politician and military strategist and, after the assassination of Julius Caesar, was able to secure his position as the first Emperor of Rome through a combination of alliances and military force.
The Emperors who came after Augustus were able to maintain their power through a combination of their own abilities, the support of the military, and their control of the Roman bureaucracy. Some of the Emperors, such as Claudius and Vespasian, were able administrators who were able to strengthen the Roman Empire and improve its infrastructure.
Others, such as Caligula and Nero, were known for their extravagance and excess, which helped to reinforce their power and maintain their hold over the Roman people.
Augustus – the First Roman Emperor
Augustus, also known as Octavian, became the first Roman Emperor after the end of the Roman Republic. He was the grandnephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar, who had been assassinated in 44 BC. After Caesar’s death, a power struggle ensued between his supporters and his political rivals. Augustus emerged as the leader of Caesar’s supporters and defeated his rivals in a series of civil wars. He then took control of the Roman state and declared himself dictator for life.
Augustus brought about a period of stability and prosperity in the Roman Empire, known as the Pax Romana, and his rule is considered to mark the beginning of the Roman Empire. He implemented a series of reforms that strengthened the central government and established a more efficient system of administration. He also expanded the empire through military conquests, annexing new territories and establishing Roman rule over much of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa.
Augustus was a skilled politician and military leader, and he maintained his position as the dominant figure in the Roman world for over 40 years. He was officially declared the first Roman Emperor in 27 BC, and his reign marked the beginning of the Roman Empire’s long period of stability and prosperity.
Several of the first ten Roman Emperors suffered violent deaths:
- Augustus, the first Emperor, died in AD 14 at the age of 75. The cause of his death is not certain, but it is believed that he may have died of natural causes.
- Tiberius, the second Emperor, died in AD 37 at the age of 77. His death is also believed to have been natural, although there are some accounts that suggest he was suffocated on the orders of his successor, Caligula.
- Caligula was assassinated in AD 41 at the age of 28 by members of the Praetorian Guard.
- Claudius was believed to have been poisoned by his wife Agrippina the Younger in 54 AD.
- Nero committed suicide in AD 68 at the age of 30 after being declared a public enemy by the Senate.
- Galba, Otho, and Vitellius were all killed during the Year of the Four Emperors, a period of civil war following Nero’s death.
Both Vespasian and his son Titus died of natural causes.
A variety of different peoples, including the Etruscans, the Greeks, and the Celts, settled in Italy:
- The Etruscans, who lived in central and northern Italy, were a highly advanced civilisation that developed a sophisticated system of government, art, and architecture.
- The Greeks, who founded colonies in southern Italy, known as Magna Graecia, also had a significant influence on the region’s culture and history.
- The Celts, who lived in northern Italy, were a group of tribes that migrated from central Europe and established their own communities in the region.
- Italy was not only home to the Etruscans, Greeks, and Celts but also to other peoples who had a significant impact on the region’s history and culture. For example, the Italic peoples, who lived in central and southern Italy, were a group of tribes that spoke Indo-European languages and had their own systems of government and culture. The Samnites, who lived in the central Apennine Mountains, were another important group that played a role in the region’s history.
- Italy was also home to several important trade routes that connected it to other parts of the Mediterranean world. These trade routes facilitated the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultural influences between different peoples and civilisations.
In 509 BC, the Roman Republic was founded in the city of Rome, and it gradually expanded its territory to include much of Italy and beyond. The Roman Republic was a federalist system of government in which power was divided between the Roman Senate and the Roman Assembly. However, the Roman Republic was not the only political system that existed in Italy before the Roman Empire, nor was it the only empire to rule over Italy. Before the Roman Republic, Italy had no single political entity but a collection of small city-states and territories, often at war with each other or controlled by foreign powers. The most powerful of these states were Rome, Athens, Corinth, and Carthage. In particular, Rome was a powerful and influential city that eventually dominated much of Italy and the Mediterranean world.
During the time of the Roman Republic, Rome expanded its territory through military conquest and colonisation, eventually becoming a major world power. The Roman Empire eventually replaced the Roman Republic in 27 BC, when the Roman Emperor Augustus assumed control of the government. The Roman Empire would go on to rule much of Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa for hundreds of years. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, Italy was ruled by a series of different powers, including the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and various feudal states. Overall, it was a diverse and complex region with a long and varied history of political and cultural development. It was not until the 19th century that Italy was united as a single state under the Kingdom of Italy.
The Etruscans were an ancient civilisation that lived in central and northern Italy from the 8th to the 3rd century BC. It is believed that the Etruscans migrated to Italy from the eastern Mediterranean or Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) around the 9th or 8th century BC. They were a highly advanced civilisation that developed a sophisticated system of government, art, and architecture. They also made significant contributions to the development of the Roman Republic and were known for their military prowess, and they often came into conflict with other powers in the region.
The Etruscan civilisation declined in the 3rd century BC and was eventually absorbed by the Roman Republic, but not before leaving a lasting legacy on Italian culture and history.
The Greeks and Magna Graecia
The Greeks founded several colonies in southern Italy, beginning in the 8th century BC. These colonies were established by Greek city-states, such as Corinth, Athens, and Sybaris, as part of a process of colonisation and expansion that took place throughout the Mediterranean world. The colonies in southern Italy were known for their wealth and prosperity, and they became major centres of trade, culture, and learning. The Greeks who lived in these colonies, known as the Italiotes, developed their own distinct culture that blended Greek and local elements. The territories of Magna Graecia played a significant role in the development of the Roman Republic. The Greeks of Magna Graecia were influential in the region and often came into conflict with the Roman Republic and other powers in the region. Magna Graecia declined in the 3rd century BC, and the Roman Republic eventually absorbed the territories.
The Celts were a group of tribes that lived in central and northern Europe and migrated to other parts of Europe and beyond. It is believed that the Celts arrived in Italy around the 4th century BC, although there is evidence of earlier Celtic settlements in the region.
The Celts established communities in northern Italy, where they lived alongside other peoples, such as the Etruscans and the Italic tribes. Like the Etruscans, the Celts in Italy were known for their military prowess. The Celtic presence in Italy declined in the 3rd century BC, and the Celts were eventually absorbed into the Roman Republic. However, the Celts left a lasting legacy on Italian culture and history, and many aspects of Celtic culture, including language, art, and religion, were absorbed into Roman culture. It is important to note that the Celts did not found colonies in the same way as the Greeks. They migrated to Italy and established their own communities within the region’s existing political and cultural landscape.
Roman Emperors used republican titles such as Princeps Senatus, Consul, and Pontifex Maximus. These titles were held by Roman officials during the Roman Republic, before the Roman Empire was established, and were later adopted and used by the Roman Emperors:
- The title Princeps Senatus (Latin for “first man of the senate”) was a prestigious honour given to the most senior member of the Roman Senate. The Roman Emperors often held this title, which was considered a sign of their authority and respect within the Senate.
- The title Consul (Latin for “counsellor”) was originally held by two officials who were elected annually to serve as the chief magistrates of the Roman Republic. Sometimes, Roman Emperors also held the title of consul, which became an important part of their official titles.
- The title Pontifex Maximus (Latin for “greatest pontiff”) was originally held by the chief priest of the Roman state religion. The Roman Emperors also sometimes had this title.
In addition to these titles, Roman Emperors were also recognised by the Roman Senate and had control over the Roman army. They were often proclaimed by their troops or invested with imperial titles by the Senate, or sometimes both. The process of becoming a Roman Emperor varied throughout Roman history and could involve a combination of military victory, popular support, and recognition by the Roman Senate. The legitimacy of a Roman Emperor’s rule depended on his control of the army and recognition by the Roman Senate. In general, Roman Emperors were proclaimed by their troops, invested with imperial titles by the Senate, or both, as a way of recognising and legitimising their rule. However, the specific process of becoming a Roman Emperor varied throughout Roman history, and could involve a combination of military victory, popular support, and recognition by the Roman Senate.
Image Credit: Charlton Heston, from the trailer to the film Ben-Hur (1959)
Attribution: Trailer screenshot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Roman people generally regarded their emperors as the equivalent of kings, even though the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, resolutely refused to be seen as a monarch. Augustus was the first Roman ruler to be formally granted the title Emperor (Latin: “Imperator”) by the Roman Senate, and his rule marked the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
How was Rome governed before the Emperors came along?
Before the Roman Empire, Rome was a Republic, which means that it was governed by elected officials who represented the people. The Roman Republic was founded in 509 BC and lasted for over four centuries. In the Roman Republic, the people elected representatives to serve in the Roman Senate, which was the main governing body. The Senate was made up of wealthy, powerful patricians who passed laws and made decisions on behalf of the people.
The predecessor state of the Roman Empire, the Roman Republic, had become severely destabilised in civil wars and political conflicts. In the middle of the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator but was assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, eventually culminating in the victory of Octavian over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The following year, Octavian conquered the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the 4th century BC conquests of Alexander the Great. Octavian’s power became unassailable, and the Roman Senate granted him overarching power and the new title of Augustus, making him the first Roman Emperor. The vast Roman territories were organised in senatorial and imperial provinces – except for Italy, which continued to serve as a metropole.
The Late Roman Republic
The Roman Republic, which preceded the Roman Empire, was founded in 509 BC. During the next several centuries, the Roman Republic expanded its territory through a series of successful military campaigns, which brought it into conflict with several other powers in the Mediterranean region.
In the late Roman Republic, two influential politicians, Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (known as Pompey the Great), emerged as leaders. After a series of civil wars, Caesar emerged as the sole ruler of Rome and declared himself dictator for life, but he was assassinated in 44 BC, and his death marked the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
The Roman Republic was a successful form of government, but it was eventually weakened by political corruption and military strife. In the end, the Roman Republic gave way to the Roman Empire, which was ruled by Emperors who had absolute power.
Gaius Octavius Thurinus (also known as Octavian or Augustus) served as the first official Emperor of the Roman Empire and is often seen by historians as the greatest. The Emperor, from whom the month of “August” is named, introduced the period of peace known as the Pax Romana, which saw the Roman economy, agriculture, and arts flourish.
The Roman Empire
The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanum) was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. The Empire, ruled by Emperors, became one of the most powerful empires in the world through a combination of military strength, political skill, and cultural unity.
From the accession of Caesar Augustus as the first Roman Emperor to the military anarchy of the 3rd century, it was a principate with Italia as the metropole of its provinces and the city of Rome as its only capital city:
- The Empire was later ruled by multiple Emperors who shared control over the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until AD 476, when the imperial insignia were sent to Constantinople following the capture of the Western capital of Ravenna by the Germanic barbarians.
- The adoption of Christianity as the state church of the Roman Empire in AD 380 and the fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings conventionally marks the end of classical antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
- Because of the events described above, along with the gradual Hellenisation of the Eastern Roman Empire, historians distinguish the medieval Roman Empire that remained in the Eastern provinces as the Byzantine Empire.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, Italy was ruled by a series of different powers, including the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and various feudal states.
From its inception to its collapse in 476 AD, ancient Rome had three distinct periods:
- The first period of Roman history (sometimes called “Regal Rome”) is the “Roman Kingdom”. This period lasted from the founding of Rome in 753 BC until the Roman Republic was established in 509 BCE. During this time, Rome was ruled by a series of kings.
- The Roman Republic, which lasted from 509 BC to 27 BC, was a period of Roman history during which Rome was governed by elected officials rather than by a single ruler. The Roman Republic was characterised by a complex system of checks and balances that sought to limit the power of any one individual or group.
- The third period of Roman history (sometimes called “Imperial Rome”) was known as the “Roman Empire.” This period began in 27 BC when the Roman Republic was reformed as the Roman Empire and lasted until 476 CE when the western Roman Empire collapsed. During this time, Rome was ruled by a series of Emperors who held absolute power over the empire. In the early years of the Roman Empire, the emperors often worked alongside the Roman Senate, but as the empire grew in size and complexity, the emperors became more powerful, and the Senate’s influence waned.
The Roman Empire had been established by Caesar’s grandnephew and adopted son, Augustus, who became the first Roman Emperor. Augustus was able to unify the Roman world under his rule and bring about a period of peace and prosperity known as the Pax Romana.
Throughout its history, the Roman Empire faced many challenges, including invasions by barbarian tribes, economic instability, and internal conflicts. Despite these challenges, the Roman Empire remained a powerful force for over five centuries, leaving a lasting impact on the world.
For more than 1200 years, Rome was ruled by scores of kings, dictators and emperors who expanded it from a small city to an empire covering nearly 2 million square miles and consisting of (according to the estimates of historians) anywhere from 50 to 90 million inhabitants.
The Roman Influence on Britain
The Roman Empire significantly influenced Britain, as it conquered and controlled much of the island for several centuries. The Roman conquest of Britain began in 43 AD when the Roman emperor Claudius ordered the invasion of the island. Roman forces quickly conquered much of southern and eastern Britain, establishing several cities and forts throughout the region. The Romans also built a network of roads and aqueducts and brought with them a range of Roman technologies, such as stone and concrete construction, plumbing, and central heating.
The Romans ruled Britain for almost 400 years, and during this time, they had a major impact on the social, cultural, and political development of the island. Roman culture, language, and laws all played a role in shaping the society of Britain, and many aspects of Roman life, such as the use of coinage and the construction of public buildings, became widespread throughout the island.
After the Romans withdrew from Britain in the 5th century AD, their influence persisted as the people of Britain continued to adopt many aspects of Roman culture and technology. In the centuries that followed, the legacy of Roman rule in Britain continued to shape the development of Britain and its people.
The Government Structure of the Roman Republic and Empire
The government structure of the Roman Republic was complex and evolved as time passed. At its height, the Roman state was a monarchy but also had elements of democracy, oligarchy, and dictatorship.
During the Roman Republic era (509 BCE – 27 BCE), the Roman state was ruled by two consuls elected annually by the citizens. The consuls held executive power and controlled the Roman army. The Roman Senate, comprised of wealthy and influential citizens, served as an advisory body and significantly influenced foreign policy and financial administration matters. The Roman Assembly, composed of all citizens, could elect magistrates and pass laws.
The government structure of the Roman Empire was complex and multifaceted, with a mix of monarchy, democracy, oligarchy, and dictatorship. It evolved over time, but the emperor held the ultimate power and authority. During the Roman Empire era (27 BCE – 476 CE), the Roman state transitioned from a republic to an empire with the rise of Augustus as the first emperor. Augustus established himself as the sole ruler and retained many of the titles and powers of the consuls. The Senate, however, retained its power and prestige, and its members were appointed by the emperor. The Roman Assembly lost much of its power, and the emperor could veto any legislation proposed by the Assembly.
Emperors during the Roman Empire held absolute power and could make laws, govern the empire, command the army, and serve as chief priest. They also had the power to appoint governors, who were in charge of administering provinces, collecting taxes, and maintaining order. The emperor also had a group of advisors and a bureaucracy to help him govern the empire. Provinces were further divided into smaller administrative units called civitates, managed by local officials. The empire also had a legal system based on Roman law and enforced by officials appointed by the emperor.Image: Representation of a sitting of the Roman senate: Cicero attacks Catiline.
Attribution: Cesare Maccari, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cicer%C3%B3n_denuncia_a_Catilina,_por_Cesare_Maccari.jpg
Sources and Further Reading
- The Romans: A Captivating Guide to the People, Emperors, Soldiers and Gladiators of Ancient Rome, Starting from the Roman Republic through the Roman Empire… the Byzantine Empire (The Ancient Romans), by Captivating History (26 April 2021), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Romans-Captivating-Emperors-Gladiators-Byzantine/dp/163716307X/
- Augustus: A Captivating Guide to the First Emperor of Rome and How He Ruled the Roman Empire (Roman Emperors), by Captivating History, (9 December 2019), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Augustus-Captivating-Guide-Emperor-Empire/dp/1647481368/
- Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine, by Barry Strauss, published by Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (2 April 2020), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ten-Caesars-Emperors-Augustus-Constantine/dp/1451668848/
- Emperors of Rome, by David Potter (Author), published by Quercus (25 April 2013), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emperors-Rome-David-Potter/dp/1780877501/
- Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome (Chronicles), by Chris Scarre (Author), published by Thames & Hudson (27 February 2012), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chronicle-Roman-Emperors-Reign-Reign/dp/0500289891/
- SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Professor Mary Beard, published by Profile Books (1 April 2016), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SPQR-History-Professor-Mary-Beard/dp/1846683815/
- YouTube: Top 10 Infamous Roman Emperors and Empresses (Simon Whistler), at: https://youtu.be/5EmUKrzpK7s
- YouTube: Emperor Hadrian, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfIob0hAolE
- YouTube: 5 Things You Should Know About the Roman Emperors, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJftlNcee2Q
- YouTube: The Ten Greatest Roman Emperors, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iH0estNjJHs
- YouTube: Family Tree: Augustus Caesar to Justinian the Great, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hISOjByDmlo
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End Notes and Explanations
Explanation: The Julio-Claudian dynasty comprised the first five Roman emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero (Source: Brill’s New Pauly, “Julio-Claudian emperors”). This line of emperors ruled the Roman Empire, from its formation under Augustus in 27 BC) until the last of the line, emperor Nero, committed suicide (in 68 AD). Note: There is some variation in usage; in strictly chronological contexts, it can be useful to distinguish between the long reign of Augustus and his Julio-Claudian (or Claudian) successors, the four of whom together reigned about as long as Augustus himself.
Augustus’ full name was Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius), also known as Octavian. ↑
Tiberius’ full name was Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus ↑
Caligula’s full name was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (better known simply as Caligula) ↑
Claudius’ full name was Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. ↑
Nero’s full name was Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus) ↑
Galba was the sixth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 68 to 69. After his adoption by his stepmother, and before becoming emperor, he was known as Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba. ↑
Marcus Otho was the seventh Roman emperor (born Marcus Salvius Otho) ↑
Aulus Vitellius (known as Vitellius)) was the eighth Roman emperor and reigned for eight months, from 19 April to 20 December AD 69. ↑
Explanation (machine-generated by artificial intelligence at: https://chat.openai.com/chat). Pax Romana, or Roman Peace, was a period of relative peace and stability in the Roman Empire that lasted from 27 BCE to 180 CE. During this time, the Roman Empire experienced unprecedented prosperity and cultural achievements, as well as significant expansion through military conquests. The Pax Romana also facilitated cultural exchange and economic growth, as the Roman Empire was home to a diverse population and had a thriving trade network that connected people and cultures from around the world. ↑
Explanation: The Year of the Four Emperors, AD 69, was the first civil war of the Roman Empire, during which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. It is considered an important interval, marking the transition from the Julio-Claudians, the first imperial dynasty, to the Flavian dynasty. Source: Martin, Ronald H. (1981). Tacitus and the Writing of History. University of California Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 0520044274. ↑
Based on information at: https://rome.us/roman-emperors/, https://www.ancienthistorylists.com/rome-history/top-10-greatest-emperors-ancient-rome/ and machine-generated by artificial intelligence at: https://chat.openai.com/chat ↑
Explanation (machine-generated by artificial intelligence at: https://chat.openai.com/chat). In the context of ancient Rome, proscriptions were a form of punishment in which an individual was declared an enemy of the state and had their property seized. Proscriptions were often used as a means of political repression, typically carried out by the ruling authorities in order to eliminate political rivals or opponents. During the Roman Republic, proscriptions were used as a means of eliminating political rivals and consolidating power. They were carried out by the ruling triumvirs (three-man ruling council), who would publish lists of individuals who were to be declared outlaws and have their property seized. The victims of proscriptions were often stripped of their citizenship and rights and often were killed or exiled. Proscriptions continued to be used as a means of political repression during the Roman Empire and were often used to eliminate rivals or political opponents of the ruling authorities. The use of proscriptions declined over time, but the practice was not completely abolished until the end of the Roman Empire. ↑
Explanation (machine-generated by artificial intelligence at: https://chat.openai.com/chat). In the context of the Roman Empire, the term “polity” refers to the political system or form of government that was in place. The Roman Empire was a complex and highly centralised polity, with a clear hierarchy of power and a strong central government that exercised control over a large territory and a diverse population. The Roman Empire was characterised by a strong and centralized system of rule (an autocracy), with the Emperor holding ultimate authority and the Roman Senate serving as a legislative and advisory body. The Roman polity also included a system of local governments and a complex system of laws and legal procedures that governed the affairs of the empire. The Roman Empire was also a military superpower, with a large standing army and a system of roads and fortifications that helped to maintain control over its vast territory. Overall, the Roman polity was an important factor in the stability and prosperity of the Roman Empire, and it played a central role in shaping the political and social landscape of the ancient world. ↑
Explanation: Principate is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire from the beginning of the reign of Augustus in 27 BC to the end of the Crisis of the Third Century in AD 284, after which it evolved into the so-called Dominate (Source: K Lowenstein, The Governance of Rome (1973) p. 370). The Principate is characterised by the reign of a single emperor (princeps) and an effort on the part of the early emperors, at least, to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance, in some aspects, of the Roman Republic (see citations 2, 3 and 4 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principate). ↑
Explanation (machine-generated by artificial intelligence at: https://chat.openai.com/chat). The “Hellenisation” of the Eastern Roman Empire refers to the process of spreading Greek culture, language, and influences throughout the eastern part of the Roman Empire. This process took place over a long period of time and was driven by a variety of factors, including trade, military conquest, and cultural exchange. The Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, was centred in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey) and included parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Byzantines were heavily influenced by Greek culture, and Greek was the language of the empire’s administration, literature, and education. As the empire expanded and came into contact with other cultures, it absorbed many elements of Greek culture, including language, art, architecture, and philosophy. This process of cultural exchange and assimilation is known as Hellenisation. The Hellenisation of the Eastern Roman Empire had a profound impact on the development of Eastern Christianity, and many of the churches and monasteries in the Byzantine Empire were built in the Greek style and decorated with Greek motifs. The spread of Greek culture also contributed to the development of a distinct Byzantine identity, and the empire became known as a centre of learning and culture in the medieval world. ↑
HistoryHit, at https://www.historyhit.com/facts-about-the-glory-of-rome/, says In the 2nd century AD, the Roman Empire had an estimated population of around 65 million people. That source also puts the size of the Roman empire into perspective, saying It was possible to travel from Britain to the Persian Gulf without leaving Roman territory.↑