Julio-Clauidian Notes

Tiberius

Changing role of the Princeps
 Tried to preserve Augustuan principate:
 Cooperation between Princeps and senate
 Careful oversight of admin of empire
 Firm control of army
 Restraint in exercise of power
 Different from Augustus:
 Dour personality
 Blunt manner
 Dislike of games and reluctance to provide them
 Concentration of PG on outskirts of Rome = suspicion
 Withdrawal to Capri = physical presence not required to operate Rome
efficiently.

The senate: Changing roles and responsibilities
 Contributions allowed for efficiency and stability
 Maintained good relationship with senate (following Augustus model –
diarchiacal balance)
 Expected senate to carry out his duties
 Impacted = maintained loyalty to the senate and this became
crucial in maintaining power.
 Respected traditional rights of the senate
 Participated in debate
 “Respected traditional rights of senate, he treated them with
dignity and partner in running empire” (Tacitus)
 Returned election of magistrates to the control of the senate
 Put them on commission boards
 Flooding of Tiber
 Maintenance of public roads
 Care of public buildings
 Investigation of catastrophes
 Expanded judicial functions
 State trials
 Maiestas trials
 Undermined by cryptic and dour personality.
 Tiberius had “Rubber stamp authority” (approach with care writing in
Domitian)
 Retirement to Capri = rise of Sejanus
 Sejanus = installed fear in the senate and contributed to their
“sycophantic nature”
 Tacitus: “the emperor himself became tyrannical – or gave tyrannical men
power”
 PG of equestrian class damaged relationship
 Personality “aloof” and “distant” = alienating senate
He was a Clauidian
Augustus last choice as Heir
55 years old when he became
Princeps
Reserved in nature -> didn’t care
about popularity
Reign AD14-AD37
Reforms and policies: political, social, legal, religious and administrative
 Very effective in strengthening empire, although loosing public support.
 Social
 Restricted entertainment
 Unpopular with the public
 Increased the economy
 Although Suetonius: “setting a campaign against waste”
 Ultimately strengthen financial position
 Political
 Made him more popular with the senate as he gave them more
power
 Economic
 Great economic strengthening
 Made him unpopular in Rome
 Reduced sales tax to .5%
 Left large surplus in treasury
 Garzetti: “shrewd administrator, generous but also economical”
 Building program = increased civic pride and provided employment
 Suetonius states he “constructed no significant works”
 Religious = encouraged imperial cult expelled non roman worshipers
 Perpetuated legacy and memory and only had minor popularity
impacts


Changing image of the princeps
 Tacitus = most lasting image
 Depicts him as cruel and sinister tyrant
 Later writers Suetonius and Cassius Dio = same depiction (adding
salacious details)
 Velleius Paterculus = positive image
 Writing during Tiberius
 Owes his position to his patronage
 Coinage
 Propaganda = used to convey ideas
 Images of Tiberius on coins stressed his loyalty to Augustus,
legitimacy of his succession and honor = basis of his power
 Statues and Busts
 Propaganda
 Show particular features in line with Augustus
 Temples
 A number of provinces set up Temples in his honor
 Surviving inscriptions from various parts of the empire suggest
Tiberius took his duties seriously and was greatly appreciated in
the provinces




Political roles of the Praetorian Guard and Army
ARMY
 Very important
 Stabilized empire through good relationship
 Role was to safeguard frontiers and to not expand
 Was an important general himself
 Loyalty to Tiberius
 Provided reliable military leadership
 Loyalty
 Preferred to win my diplomacy not force
 After AD14 mutinies there were no differences.
SOURCE
 Tacitus: “He was popular with the army, the first and indispensable need
for any successor”
PRAETORIAN GUARD
 Very significant
 Role was to protect princeps
 They enjoyed certain privileges
 Dissatisfaction with princeps by other members of society
 Ensured PG loyalty
 Sejanus = very important
 When Tiberius moved to Capri, Sejanus carefully funneled
information between the Rome and princeps in order to increase
his position
 Very loyal to Tiberius
 HOWEVER: Sejanus power caused problems/dissatisfaction in the
senate on the issue of how an equestrian gained so much power
which ultimately made him very unpopular.
SOURCE
 Tacitus: “Emperor himself became tyrannical or gave tyrannical men
power”

Imperial family and problems of the succession
 Tiberius had son Drusus but Augustus made him adopt nephew
Germanicus and give him precedence over Drusus
 AD19 Germanicus dies in Syria = Rome mourning
 Ancient sources blame Tiberius or Livia for death
 AD23 Drusus dies
 Arranged by Sejanus
 Tiberius adopted Germanicus sons Nero and Drusus = Killed by Sejanus
 Sejanus encouraged Tiberius suspicions of Agrippina and Nero and had
them banished in AD29
 Sejanus planned to be Tib successor but his interreges were discovered
and he was executed
 Tiberius named Gaius (youngest son of Germanicus and Agrippina) as
successor jointly with Gemellus
 Tib kept Gaius with him at Capri = depriving him of political education
 Tiberius died and Gaius became emperor
 He left the decision to fate, it was beyond him – Tacitus

Expansion and consolidation of the empire
 Followed Augustus model to secure frontiers but not expand. Aim was to
maintain status quo and consolidation.
 This was done on Augustus advice: “the empire should not be
extended beyond its present frontiers. Either he feared dangers
ahead or he was jealous”.
 His military experience allowed him to know:
 The realities of war
 The cost of military expansion
 The dangers associated with expansionist policies.
 His son Drusus quelled mutinies in Pannonia and Germany. He knew this
would weaken boarders.
SOURCES:
 Tacitus: “sound administrator”

The relationship of the Princeps and the Army
 Played a role in the army and Rome itself
 After mutinies of AD14 there were only minor differences
 Long career as commanding general provided him with loyalty within the
army
 Sought to reduce the robbery by decreasing the distance between military
posts
 Tacitus says that Tiberius had 8 Roman Legions
 Preferred to win by diplomacy rather than force
 Provided reliable military leadership and cultivated ties with the legions
 Recruited soldiers from the Romanized people in the provinces.
 “He was popular with the army, the first and indispensable need for any
successor”- Scullard

Administration of the empire
 Positive impact
 Followed Aug. model to consolidate and not expand the empire
 Tacitus “sound administrator”
 Alleviates tax to 0.5% & Gives relief to natural disasters = settled province
uprising to improve stability
 Centralized rule (could rule province from Rome) = positive
 Reformed political administration so they could rule longer.
 Prevented misgovernment and extortion
 Grew accustomed to rule and strengthen each year
 Worked well
 Pontius pilot = bad example
 Quelling of mutinies Pannonia and Lower Germany
 Paterculus: “particularly severe”
 Sent son Drusus and nephew Germanicus to quell
 Strengthen those areas and secured troops loyalty and disciplined
 Building of roads, bridges and canals = troops moving more efficiently
 Garzetti “inspired by an acute sense of reality and comprehensive vision
of what the empire needs”

Development of the imperial cult throughout the empire
 Provided funds for a temple and a priesthood for the deified Augustus.
 Did not encourage imperial cult for himself
 Rejected request to build temple in his honor
 Reluctantly allowed a temple to be built to ‘Tiberius, Livia and the Senate’
– Tacitus
 Included in the imperial cult center at Aphrodisias and cult statue found
at Bilbilis in Spain
 Livia not goddess after death, or himself.





































Gaius (Caligula)

Changing role of the Princeps
 Granted all of Tiberius titles at once (gave
him inflated sense of entitlement)
 More of an autocratic rule
 Eliminated those he saw as threats (co-heir
Gemellus, PG prefect Macro), like those that
came before him.
 Despite negative portrayal he governed provinces well, frontiers were
secure and the senate carries out its duties.
SOURCES
 Sejanus: “megalomaniac and tyrant”

Role and responsibility of the senate
 First 6 months = good relationship
 Recalled the exiled
 Stopped treason trials and ended activities of delatores (informants for
treason)
 Limiting the Senatorial involvement in princeps
 Relationship changed after he became ill
 Ignored and humiliated senators
 Reinstalled maiestas trails. This caused senators to become suspicious of
each other and also Gaius.
 Abandoned concept that princeps and senate were a partnership
 Right to conduct elections was removed from the senate
 Assassinated by Praetorian Guard in AD41.
SOURCES
 Gazetti: “He declared it was his aim to make close collaboration with the
government”
 “He called himself the son of the pupil of the senate”
 Barret: “must bear responsibility for the massive grants of power they
made to the young, inexperienced and almost totally unknown Caligula

Reforms and policies: political, social, legal, religious and administrative
 Introduced no significant reforms
 However: early popular policies were very different to Tiberius
 Reduced tax and started major building program
 Spent readily on public buildings
 Finished the building of the temple of Augustus and Pompeii
theatre
 Started construction of aquaduct in the Tiber region, to provide
water for the people
 Temple restoration
 Improvements to the Rhenium provided better facilities for ships
bringing grain from Egypt, this increasing his support and showing his
loyalty to Rome.
 Building program was designed to increase popularity
Parents = Germanicus and
Agrippina the elder
Reign: AD37-AD41
Inexperienced in the role of
Princeps
A sign of strength of the
administrative system of
Augustus and Tiberius that it
survived Gaius reign
 HOWEVER he built a bridge of boats in bay of Naples which Barret argues
as “extravagant spending”
 Provided lavish entertainment
 Extravagant spending dramatically damaged the economy.
 ALL ABOVE MADE HIM POPULAR WITH PUBLIC
 After his illness he became autocratic
 Introduced new taxes and did anything to extract fines to improve
economic state
SOURCE
 Most historians agree “his lack of training in practical administration
betrayed itself in a reckless profusion of money” (Cary M)
 Barret: “For all his supposed extravagances, Claudius must have found the
treasury in a fairly healthy state.”

Changing image of the princeps
 Dio Cassius and Suetonius = vivid images of Gaius as a crazed and cruel
despot
 Claim he associated himself with gods, especially Jupiter
 Tacitus = not survived
 Coins and statues = political propaganda
 Coins
 Legends stress his family line (Great grandson of Augustus and son
of Germanicus
 Show his mother and dead brothers
 Three sisters are shown on one coin
 Ordered a statue of himself to be placed in temple in Jerusalem
 Most statues were destroyed or remodeled after assassination

Political roles of Praetorian Guard and Army
ARMY
 Very significant because they stabilized empire
 Main role was to maintain the boarders consolidated by Tiberius.
HOWEVER: tried to expand/planned to and celebrated ovation, even
though there had been no victory.
 Significant because they determine the stability of the empire.
PRAETORIAN GUARD
 Macro (head of PG) played a major role in Gaius receiving power
 Granted significant payments to guards once in power
 Increased loyalty
 Gaius appointed 2 PG prefects and measured its size to 12 not 9 cohorts
 PERSONALITY: arrogance and lack of sensitivity lost his support with PG
and therefore lead to his assassination by member of PG with help from
the senate.

Imperial families and problems with succession
 Gaius had no offspring
 Nearest male relatives = Uncle Claudius or Infant nephew Nero
 In confusion following Gaius murder they hailed Claudius emperor.
Expansion and consolidation of the empire
 Unsuccessful
 Reversed non-expansionist policy
 Damaged frontier provinces (Armenia)
 Allowed the buffer state to be vulnerable to the control of Parthia
 Destabilized eastern situation
 Attempted conquest of Britain
 Marched them to the English channel but they refused to cross
 Issues political manifesto to follow Ceasers model

SOURCES
 Suetonius: “He told them to collect shells” to portray him as a madman.
HOWEVER shells is similar to tent in Latin.

The relationship of the Princeps and the army
 Army remained loyal except for conspiracy of Gaetulius.
 He was eager to destroy this plot which shows his intelligence and
knew army support was vital
 Evident: Stone records offering made by priestly group called the
Arval Brethen “In thanksgiving for the conspiracy that was
defeated”.
 Knew army support was crucial
 Growing up with army and father being key figure allowed for this good
relationship to flourish.
 When Gaius dies empire was still in good shape with no outside threats to
Rome
SOURCE
 Suetonius: “Gaius dismissed generals who were late in bringing their
auxiliary troops”
 Shows his need for the army to be perfect.
 Understands you have to have strict army control in order to have
success
 HOWEVER, can be argued that strict control resembled madness

Administration of the empire
HELP

Development of the Imperial cult throughout the empire
 In eastern Provinces he was seen as a god = cult centers established
 Suetonius and Dio Cassius = Gaius saw himself as a God and encouraged
others to do the same
 Claim he encouraged cult for himself in Rome
 When sister (Drusilla) died = deification
 Established shrine and priesthood for her in Rome and ordered
she be given divine honors
 No achievements but being the Princeps sister


Claudius

Changing role of the Princeps
 Able administrator who took interest in all areas
of government
 Oversaw an expanding empire
 Centralized rule
 Imperial bureaucracy
 Freedmen acted as heads of departments
 Ancient sources condemned and said they had control over
Claudius but modern = Claudius had firm control
 Did not have trust with senate but did with freedmen
 Freedmen loyal to Claudius
 Senators resented their power
 Went against convention when Agrippina = partner in rule.

The senate: changing role and responsibilities
 Manner of accession = hostile senate
 Restored poor relationship created by Gaius by treating them with great
respect.
 “To win over the nobility he displayed an exaggerated respect
towards the senate” - Salmon
 Encouraged debates
 Extended senatorial privileges to Gauls and strengthened by getting
prominent men from provinces to join
 Expelling bad senators = senate full of right people and more efficient
 Returned election of magistrates and gave them right to mint coins
 HOWEVER still not a major role
 Still knew loyalty of Army and PG more important
 Role decreased when established centralized bureaucracy
 “Obtain administrative efficiency, not to humble the senate” –
Salmon
 Senate though freedmen encroaching on rights
 Although passed a decree awarding Pallas for diligence

Reforms and policies: Political, social, legal, religious and administrative
 Public works = Public utilities and great engineering feats = Increased
civic pride and employment opportunities
 Extensive road building
 2 new aqueducts
 New harbor and lighthouse at Ostia
 Excavation of a lake to rain flooding and reclaim agricultural land
(unsuccessful)
 Securing food supply by encouraging non-romans to build ships
and insuring ships and cargoes against storm damage
 Religion = Attempt to follow Augustus model to restore old religions
 Celebration of secular games (47 years after Augustus)
 Expulsion of Astrologers from Rome
Tiberius brother
Scholar
51 years old when he became
princeps
Claudius reign AD 41 – AD54.
 Attempt to curb practice of some foreign cults (Jews) although
tolerant of many
 Extension of sacred boundary of Rome
 Prohibition of worship of himself in temples
 Finance = Greater concentration of finance in hands of princeps
 Closer supervision of imperial treasury
 Procurators created to look after the emperors personal estates
and revenue but also to supervise the inheritance tax
 Greater control of state treasury by appointment of quaestors to
administer it.
 Justice = great interest in judicial matters
 Many legal abuses removed and legal business speeded up
 Intro of many minor laws:
 Unruly behavior in theatre
 Harsh treatment of debtors
 Purchase and demolition of buildings for profit
 Declaiming of sick slaves by masters (if recovered were
given freedom)
SOURCES
 “Proud of his country’s past, Claudius wanted to rule well, and in many
respects he achieved his desire” - Scullard
 “Attitudes towards money were remarkable. For he forbade anyone to
bring him contributions, as had been the practice under Augustus” –
Cassius Dio

Changing image of the princeps
 Cassius Dio and Suetonius = crazed and cruel despot (Tacitus has not
survived)
 Modern = intelligent and able administrator with a concern for justice
 Coins and statues = convey political message (propaganda)
 Stress family connection and military victories
 Claudius with PG = they brought him to power not the senate
 Liberty = restoration of freedom
 Statue from Lanuvium in Italy shows Claudius as god of Jupiter, a
realistic head with body of young man with eagle (symbol of the
gods) looking up at him.

Political role of the Praetorian Guard and Army
PRAETORIAN GUARD
 Grateful to PG as they had chosen him as ruler
 Maintained support through $$ and showed importance on coinage
 HOWEVER executed PG who were involved in Gaius assignation and
Agrippina replaced those loyal to Messalina after her fall.
ARMY
 Had to foster allegiance of the army due to a lack of military Gloria (Grant)
 His lack of army experience was “A shortcoming that might
otherwise ultimately diminish his popularity within the army” –
Momigliano
 Needed to gain military prestige and makeup for Gaius mistakes were
soldiers pride had been compromised
 Cultivated the soldiers and his military image through: coinage, statues
and buildings
 Army = well disciplined and content throughout reign
 Choose capable generals = Galba, Corbulo, Vespasian
 Used brother Germanicus to gain personal relationship
 “He proposed was a major military aggression in the spirit of his
brother Germanicus” – Grant
 Personally lead his troops to subdue Britain in AD43
 “Impression left by the conquest and triumph is widely reflected in
literature, inscriptions and coins” – Garzetti

Imperial family and problems with succession
 Had son Britannicus by disgraced third wife Messalina.
 After Messalina’s execution he married his niece Agrippina the younger
and adopted her son Nero
 Nero and Britannicus were both named heirs but Nero = precedence
 Ancient sources = Agrippinas ambition was why Nero had precedence,
but other:
 Nero was older than Britannicus who was only 9, and thought that
in his old age he is a more fitted choice
 Britannicus = tarnished by mothers reputation, where Nero =
direct descendent of Augustus and grandson of Germanicus (public
liked him)
 Few would challenge direct descendent of Augustus
 Ancient sources = Agrippina eliminated possible rivals to Nero
 Tacitus and Cassius Dio = Agrippina murdered Claudius after securing
Nero’s position
 HOWEVER Suetonius = Not sure “Most people think Claudius was
poisoned, but when, and by whom is disputed”
 Nero became princeps
 Claudius = deified but annulled by Nero and re-instated by Vespasian.

Expansion and consolidation of the empire
 Followed Ceasers model (Expansion) in a more effective fashion than
Gaius
 Looking for military ‘gloria’
 Conquest in Britain = important move in consolidation (allowed for
strengthening of Gaul)
 Salmon: Gaul could not be Romanized until Britain was independent
 HOWEVER given burden of Gaius bad choices
 Turmoil in Mauretania, Britain, Jews in Egypt and the east
 Centralized bureaucracy = good consolidation
 Acts of consolidation
 Creation of the road Via Claudia Augusta (Stretching 252 km at
port Ostia)
 Dio: alleviated famine present at time
 Subsided ship owners = sufficient corn could be brought to the
people
 Continued construction of aquaduct to ensure water supply in
Rome

The relationship of princeps and the army
 Had to foster allegiance of the army unlike Tiberius and Gaius
 Claudius was not a birth member of the Augustian house, but a
Claudian and unlike Tiberius he had not been adopted into the
Julian house (Grant)
 Came from a family of military hero’s (Drusus, Tiberius, Germnaicus) =
emulating their deeds
 Remained loyal
 Rewarded his troops and commanders victories with triumphs and titles
 Carefully cultivated his troops… various honors were showered
upon them (Salmon)
 No personal relationship = major military aggression in the spirit of his
brother Germanicus (Grant)
 Personally led troops to Brittan
 Hailed imperator 27 times
 Established veterans colony throughout empire = centers of loyalty to
Rome
 Paid attention to morale of legions stationed at the frontiers and moved
them every so often.

Administration of the empire
 Sound administrator
 Stressed the military role of the princeps
 Primary concern = responsible for efficient government
 Romanization: Claudius improved the infrastructure of the empire
 Via Claudia Augusta built (Road)
 Numerous towns and colonies built throughout the empire
 Mauretania
 Inherited unfinished business from Gaius
 Ordered generals to crush rebellion = Maurentania was split in two
imperial provinces
 Britain
 Believed successful coquets would strengthen his regime and
increase his popularity
 After military ‘gloria’
 Economic motives
 Reminiscent of Julius Ceasers = expansion
 AD43: four legions (50 000) men crossed the channel with
Claudius
 AD54: Most of Britain was under British control
 Made into a province under Aulus Plautius
 “He himself shrewdly gave publicity to Britain rather than to his
territorially bigger conquest of Mauretania” – Salmon
 Conquest shows he was shrewd but not stupid
 His presence boosted army morale and shows he was anxious to
win the loyalty and affection of his soldiers
 East
 Many problems caused by Gaius
 Increased number of client states by Gaius = reversed by Claudius
“preferred security of direct rule”
 Spread Roman influence around black sea and to Palmyra
 Parthia and Armenia
 Strengthen Armenia after AD49 when a Roman nominee was
placed at the throne
 Promoted internal strife in Parthia in order to keep the Parthians
occupied
 “Towards Parthia Claudius showed a firmer hand than Gaius had
done and managed to gain some control over Armenia owing to
the dynastic dimensions” (Scullard)
 Rhine/ Danube
 Strengthen Frontier by extending Rome’s control to the northern
mouth of the Rhine
 Reinforced the region by improving road and having fleets patrol
the Danube
 Tacitus: Claudius prevented Corbulo from conduction any further
aggressive and expansionary campaigns in Germany
 Gave citizenship to many Gallic tribes

Development of the imperial cult throughout the empire
 Attitude = restraint
 Rejected divine honors
 Allowed senate to deify Livia (grandmother)
 Refused request to built temple to him as god
 “Only gods can pick new gods”
 Regarded as god in eastern provinces and some western
 Temple to imperial cult was found at Camolodunum = Head of Claudius
statue found
 Upon death he was declared a God but the cult did not last
 Imperial statue from Lanvuvium in Italy shows Claudius as the god
Jupiter.











Nero

Changing role of the Princeps
 Difficult to define his personal involvement in
government
 Sources credit Agrippina, Burrus and Seneca with influence in his efficient
functioning of the Empire
 Weakness of the principate = dependent on character and behavior of
Princeps
 Once he got rid of his mother he persuaded arts = inappropriate for
Princeps
 Garzetti = Nero tried to reach the people through his performance
– He looked to popular acclaim rather than traditional sources of
power
 Senate = powerless to restrain Nero
 Devoted less time to government and more time to his court =
surrounded by disreputable people
 Killed those he saw as threats
 Lost support on which principate rested through political and personal
conduct

The senate: Changing roles and responsibilities
 At first influenced by Seneca and Burrus = good relationship with senate
 Promised to reverse unpopular measures introduced by Claudius
 In his first speech to the senate (Seneca composed) Nero promised that:
 Senate would exercise traditional functions
 No treason trials
 Freedmen would be controlled
 Would not conduct all the judicial business as Claudius had done
(more freedom been given to the senate)
 Model his leadership on Augustus
 Criminal cases were tried in the senatorial court
 Nero rejected offers of statues and titles
 Tacitus: “Senate able to debate freely”
 Wanted to abolish custom tax’s and create free trade (Senate rejected this
thought it was impractical)
 HOWEVER after murder of Agrippina, Burrus and Seneca’s retirement,
Nero’s relationship with senate diminished
 Suetonius: Nero made Senators and knights do battle in the public arena
 Neglected imperial duties to pursue performance and became
disinterested in discussing matters of state = demonstrates his disregard
for government and the importance of the senate
 Treason trials = revived. (Reign of terror in Rome)
 Senators became sycophantic = Octavia murder by Poppaea bringing false
accusation against her the senate responded in thanksgiving
 Some senators (Thrasea Paetus) tried to resist Nero
 As Nero drained treasury he deprived senate the responsibility of minting
copper coins and started to confiscate their property
Reign = AD54-AD68
Adopted son of Claudius
Meant to be joint heir with
Britannicus
Came to power at 16-17
Direct descendent of
Augustus

 AD65: Pisonian conspiracy uncovered. 41 senators conspired to assonate
Nero. Treason trials conducted and innocent and guilty were murdered.
Tigellinus purged the Senate
 Demonstrates the lack of regard Nero had for ruling the principate,
let alone in conjunction with the senate as well as power that the
PP had come to wield
 Remaining years = Nero’s informers were everywhere
 Nero hinted broadly that it was not his intention to spare the remaining
senators, but would one day wiped out the entire senatorial order
(Suetonius)
 AD68: Senate declared Nero a public enemy

Reforms and policies: political, social, legal, religious and administrative
 Political
 Coronation of Tiriddates, both spectacle and political event,
acknowledging Rome’s authority
 As his reign progressed he spent more time with his court rather
than his Senate which functioned quite effectively without him
 Administrative
 In an effort to secure the grain supplt = exempted provincial grain
importers from harbor dues and ships from property tax
 Replaced quaestors with two officials chosen for a term of three
years from the ranks of older senators to administer the treasury
 Retained the structure of imperial bureaucracy
 Social
 Gave 400 sesterces per head to urban plebs
 Provided a range of theatrical, circus and gladiatorial games
 Introduced the Youth Games and Neronian Games
 Religious
 Reversed the policy of tolerance towards Christians and made
them scapegoats for the Great Fire, Persecuting them with cruel
punishments
 Building programs
 Finished Claudius harbor works at Ostia, extended Rome aquaduct
system, baths, market and gymnasiums = increased civic pride
 After fire devastated Rome he rebuilt parts of the city
 Extravagant building of his palace, Domus Aurea, stretching from
the Palatine to Esquiline hills.
 Grazetti: “Public expression of his power”

Changing image of the Princeps
 Lasting image from ancient sources = debauched despot with a taste for
the arts, and chariot racing who played the Lyre while Rome burned
 Emphasis on his: cruelty, sexual depravity, reckless extravagance, the
disreputable company he kept and his theatrical performances which
demeaned the dignity of the office of the princeps
 Persecution of Christians and treatment of Judea shaped the early writing
of Christians and Jewish
 Coins = reflect image he wanted to project
 Took interest in artistic quality and approved image and legends
used
 Portraits seem to be realistic (not idealized)
 Early = Piety towards father Claudius and honor to his mother
Agrippina, legend = imperator but no other powers (attempt to
show regard to senate)
 Later = highest point of artistic excellence, show his titles (pontifex
maximus), emphasize aspects of his reign (links with Augustus,
propaganda)
 Shows him as a performer, feature a lyre player on the reverse
 Few statues of Nero remain = destroyed after his death
 “Nero’s megalomania can be seen in the number of coins which identify
Nero as Helios, the sun-god and with Apollo Citharoedus. Other show him
wearing a crown of rays, often a symbol of deification.” (Shotter)

Political roles of the Praetorian Guard and the Army
ARMY
 Played a major political role in dealing with the troubles in the empire
 Corbulo arranged a settlement to put Tiridates on the throne,
pleasing Armenains and Parthians
 Paulinus lead the army which put down the revolt of Boudicca in
Brittan
 Prominent military commanders (Corbulo, Scribonius, Rufus and
Scribonius Proculus) of Upper and Lower Germany were forced to
commit suicide without trial. = Turning point in support for Nero
 Revolt against Nero came from the army
 Beginning with Vindex, governor of Gaul later joined by Galba, who
took control of the revolt, set a scene of Civil war.
 Vindex was defeated and suicide
 Galba declared himself ‘Legate of the senate and Roman people’.
Hailed as Imperator, gave PG 30 000 sesterces each, they deserted
Nero and the senate recognized Galba as emperor and Nero as a
public enemy
 “Nero was unable to shoulder the burden of expected military glory”
(Griffin)
PRAETORIAN GUARD
 Ancient sources say Agrippina positioned Burrus as Prefect of the Guard
to ensure Nero’s smooth accession as Princeps.
 Credited with being one of the two stabilizing moderating influences
in Nero’s ‘good years’
 PG did not participate in death of Agrippina however were rewarded for
not intervening
 Nero depicted the discovery of Piso’s conspiracy as military victory and
issued them with rewards.
 Pisonian conspiracy = PG and Rufus could not stand growing power of
Tigellinus
 Tacitus tells us Subrius Flavus, member of PG, who was questioned by
Nero about why he had forgotten his military oath he replied:
“because I hated you. I was as loyal as any of your soldiers as long as
deserved affection. I began hating you when you murdered your
mother and wife and became a charioteer, and actor and an
incendiary’.
 Suspicious Asper plotted to kill Nero because ‘It was the only way to
rescue Nero from his evil ways’
 Rufus was executed and honored the joint PP to Tigellinus and
Nymphidius
 Tigellinus = corrupting influence on Nero
 When the PG defected to Galba in the revolt against Nero, the senate
withdrew its support for Nero

Imperial Family and problems of succession
 Eliminated most of his family when he died and had no heirs
 JC dynasty ended with the death of Nero in AD68
 Richard Alston suggests: Nero lasted as long as he did due to the fact
there as no imperial candidate to replace him and no group large enough
to topple him
 Remained popular with the crowd but not traditional sources of power in
Rome
 Succession became a contest among generals (Year of the four emperors)

Expansion and consolidation of the empire
 Did not extend the empire but faced rebellions
 Corbulo arranged a settlement in Armenia where Tiridates was made king
but had to go to Rome to receive his crown from Nero
 Boudicca’s revolt in Britain was put down by Paulinus
 Corruption and abuses of Roman officials resulted in war in Judea,
eventually put down by Vespasian
 Three provincial governors, Vindex, Galba and Otho rebelled against Nero.
Galba became new princeps

The relationship of Princeps and the Army
 Nero depended on his bloodline for support = did not foster relationship
 Never served personally with the Army
 Had little concern for soldiers, allowing pay and rewards to fall into
arrears
 Never visited the troops = did not cultivate military image -> army began
to hate him
 Only interested in Parades and spectacles
 Extravagant behavior and emphasis on artistic activates = alienated the
army
 Serious mistakes in choice of leaders
 Paetus was sent to the East to drive Tiridates out of Armenia,
suffered humiliating defeat at hands of Parthians
 Feared power and threat of military leaders = Corbulo, successful military
commander, commit suicide
 Army became disillusioned with Nero
 Soldiers upset with heavy tax’s Nero placed on province to fund
extravagances

Administration of the empire
 Little interest in the provinces apart from Greece
 Only involvement was to choose governors for the armed provinces
 Reversed Claudius policy on Client Kings = keep client kings
 Some prov. Suffered others experienced good government
 Disinterest = revolts in Britain, Armenia and Judea
 Little on Nero’s activities in the Provinces
 Rhine and the west
 Salmon “appears to have presented no serious problems”
 HOWEVER it was from this area the movement to eliminate Nero
came
 The East
 Great dangers
 Attempted to annex Armenia, ignoring Corbulos advice
 Lost Armenia to the Parthians (humiliating)
 COMPROMISE b/w Romans and Parthians: Tiridates was put on
throne
 Tiridates came to Rome to be crowned by Nero marking the
beginning of 50 years of peace between Parthia and Rome
 Garzetti “This whole affair was basically superficial”
 Judaea
 Under Nero it was a procuratorial province: Jews always hard to
govern
 Rebellion in AD66 caused by Roman misgovernment
 Rebellion crushed after Nero’s death
 During much of the Rebellion Nero was in Greece
 Scullard “ In a more profound sense than in the rumor of AD64
Nero was fiddling while Rome was burning”
 Britain
 Dangerous situation with the uprising of Boudicca of Iceni
 Gained support of tribes and revolt spread throughout southeast.
Roman governor could not control it, FINALLY reinforcement was
sent from Rome and the rebellion was crushed.
 Danube, Southeast Europe and North Africa
 Danube caused no trouble. Little evidence on North Africa

Development of the imperial cult throughout the empire
 Early principate = rejected gold and silver statues of himself and refused a
temple to him as a god in Rome
 In the East he was identified as various Gods = Helios, Zeus
 Added to the imperial family cult centers at Aphrodisias
 Enjoyed the adulation, however debate whether he encouraged worship
of himself at Rome
 Some sources suggest he projected himself as a God, referring the colossal
statue of him as sun god in his house
 Griffin challenges this interpretation, suggesting the giant statue
was the portrait statue of Nero not depicting him as a God and the
radiant crown on his head suggests a number of meaning not just
deification
 Following practice of Gaius and Claudius he allowed senate to deify
members of his family, his infant daughter and wife
 After death Nero’s memory was damned = much of his imperial cult
evidence destroyed.