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To What Extent Did Emperors Successfully Manage To Elect A Successor During The Period 31 Bc To Ad 96?

3355 words - 14 pages

To what extent did emperors successfully manage to elect a successor during the period 31 BC to AD 96?
Nominating a successor was definitely a focal problem with every emperor recorded in Roman history, and doing it successfully was undeniably a problem that needed a solution for the Roman Empire, as no one was ever happy about what had been decided. However, it was a much more complex issue for all the emperors of the period 31 BC to AD 96; nonetheless there was no single solution to this problem. However not every appropriate successor elected meant that they would be successful in becoming the next definite emperor, as many died even before the emperor of that time did, or they were ...view middle of the document...

It is debatable that the most successful emperors, who found a positive resolution to the issue of who would succeed them after their deaths, were by no doubt Augustus and Vespasian. However, Augustus also had difficulties electing a successor. Tacitus tells us in his Annals, that Augustus adopted both his grandchildren; Gaius and Lucius Caesar as he desired that either of them on becoming the next emperor of Rome. But this did not go to plan, as they both died before Augustus did and so he had no choice but to adopt Tiberius his stepson on their deaths, as there was no one of his interest left or as Tacitus also tells us that he had no other biological heir that could succeed him in the role as princeps, even though Tiberius was not even in Augustus’ best list. Nonetheless, Tacitus tells us that he predicted that Tiberius would succeed Augustus, as he represents Augustus attempts to join his family along with other very powerful families in Rome only as self-promotion, rather than actually wanting to do the best he can do for Rome. Likewise, Suetonius tells us in his Life of Augustus, that Augustus did not initially enter into the emperorship with the purpose of finding a successor, and that on particular occasions, he completely thought about giving the senate their full power back. But as predicted, Suetonius does not tell us the date of the occasion so we cannot be exact on when Augustus genially thought that the only option there was, was to find a successor to fill or take over his political and military powers. However on the other hand, it can’t be denied that Augustus promoted his own family to help him run the empire as it is highly doubtful he would eagerly appoint someone not part of the Julio-Claudian family. Tacitus again in his Annals, describes Augustus as ‘’shamelessly eager’’ to promote his grandsons, Lucius and Gaius Caesar, to become consul earlier than typically acknowledged. Again, Suetonius goes far, as he says that Augustus technically bought them from Agrippa wanting to make them his successors and urging the senate to believe that they are acceptable as they held political office. However, Augustus tells us himself in his Res Gestae that it was the senate that gave them both political power and credit in his admiration, which suggests that this had been great worth to himself.
Nevertheless, it could be debated that Augustus and Vespasian had attempted to choose a successor who showed the skills that were needed to run the empire, rather than actually being purely linked by blood. This could be possible, as Tacitus tells us, Augustus played with the idea of making Germanicus the ruler of the empire, however this could be Tacitus’ determination of the idea that Livia influenced Augustus, especially with the decision to adopt Tiberius. According to Suetonius, Vespasian dared to tell the senate that only Titus would succeed him and had very little opposition, apart from Domitian. Suetonius also tells us that Titus was an...

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