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Roman Emperors Tiberius Gaius (Caligula) Claudius Nero.

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Presentation on theme: "Roman Emperors Tiberius Gaius (Caligula) Claudius Nero."— Presentation transcript:

1 Roman Emperors Tiberius Gaius (Caligula) Claudius Nero

2 SUCCESSION In theory, the position of emperor was not hereditary –It was not passed down automatically from father to son –According to law, when an emperor dies, his power reverted back to the people of Rome and they could then give this power to whomever they liked –Most Romans accepted this principle without serious opposition Saw it as the only alternative to the bloody civil wars of the Late Republic

3 THREE THINGS NECESSARY TO BECOME AN EMPEROR Some sort of relationship with the previous ruler –Either through blood or adoption Formal recognition by the Senate and its granting the new emperor full legal powers –Could be obtained by force or intimidation if the senators were hesitant to do so voluntarily An expression of loyalty by the armies and especially by the Praetorian Guard –Often obtained through bribes

4 SUPPORT To remain in power, emperors needed to retain the support of three powerful factions: His staff –Including the Praetorian Guard The army Wealthy aristocrats who made up the Senate

5 PRAETORIAN GUARD 5000 stationed in camp outside of Rome –Only several hundred used in the palace at any one time Rotated on a routine basis –Guarded the emperor and his family To retain their support, emperors gave them monetary gifts and bonuses –Failure to do so was often fatal

6 THE ARMY Had to have loyalty of troops on the frontier –Emperors exerted great effort to accomplish this Made sure they were always present at major campaigns Gave generous veteran benefits and periodic bonuses Continually transferred commanders

7 SENATE ARISTOCRACY Senate no longer had any real power –But it did include the wealthiest and most powerful men in Rome. No emperor could afford to ignore them as a result Senate was not powerful enough to overthrow an emperor by itself –But when its opposition was added to that of the Praetorian Guard or army, that was usually it for an emperor

8 THE PEOPLE They did still occasionally riot But they never overthrew or even seriously threatened the power of an emperor –Not a serious factor as long as they received free food and entertainment

9 HARDWORKING GUYS A few emperors did goof off but most were busy men who took their jobs seriously –Administered justice, directed war, supervised imperial administration, maintained unity of empire

10 IN THE SPOTLIGHT Emperor and his family in the spotlight –Subject to both vicious gossip and graffiti as well as unbelievable public worship What is remarkable is not that some emperors became mad with power and acted like irresponsible tyrants but that most of them resisted this temptation and ruled well and fairly

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