The Succession Issue

How different emperors dealt with succession (Sources)

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  • Created on: 31-05-15 09:32
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The Succession Issue
Sets up heir and the idea of inherited power (Livia makes it harder)
Initially sets up Gaius and Lucius
Suet ­
Copy his handwriting
Taught them to read and swim
Didn't go far without them with him
Rode in carriages alongside him
Gave Gaius consulship before normal age
Kept them in the public eye ­ making public appearances e.g. Public games
^ Propaganda
Tacitus ­ made Livia head of the Vestal virgins and Agrippa consulate
Adopted Germanicus ­ keep power in the family
(Julia is made to marry in the family)
Adopts Tiberius ­ Suet "most charming of men"
Vestal virgins brought his will before the senate
Tiberius wasn't first choice of heir ­ however still a member of Augustus' family
­so successful in that manner
Augustus is prepared and handles succession well ­ also dies naturally
Also tried to keep succession in the family
Took Gaius (Caligula) to Capri to train
"rearing a viper for Rome" Suet
He dealt with opposition ­ people wanting power who were not part of the
Julio-Claudian family e.g. Sejanus ~ had him and all supporters/family killed
Named two equal heirs- not a smooth succession like Augustus, he was an
unpopular and absent emperor and no one was sad by his death
Supposedly murdered by Caligula with help from Macro
Suet and Dio both say it was Caligula that killed him, but debate about how it was
Suet ­ Slow poison
Dio - smothered with a pillow
"He had made, about two years before, duplicates of his will, one written by his
own hand, and the other by that of one of his freedmen; and both were witnessed
by some persons of very mean rank." Suetonius
"attending him, in transports of joy" (at Tiberius's death) suet

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Incredibly short reign ­ no time to set up an heir
Was popular at the start of his reign which made him arrogant
"vows were made for his safe return; every person emulously testifying their
care and concern for his safety" Suet ­ Caligula was incredibly popular after
Tiberius' death which shows a good succession
Unlike Tiberius and Augustus Succession wasn't his main focus
HE IS MURDERED (unpopular)
Praetorian guard are the ones who choose the next heir
Senate start to talk about bringing…read more

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Set up a new dynasty ­ hereditary power
Sets up Flavian dynasty with son Titus as his heir
-Clever in getting other people including Titus to do his dirty work ­ preventing
opposition towards him
"dictated letters, wrote proclamations in his father's name, and pronounced his
speeches in the senate in place of the quaestor. He likewise assumed the
command of the praetorian guards, although no one but a Roman knight had
ever before been their prefect.…read more

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Paragraph 1:
Augustus (set up of hereditary power)
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Success of Claudius and Tiberius (maintaining family power)
Paragraph 3:
Failure of Caligula and Nero (link to personality of the emperor)
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Success of Vespasian (with links to change and continuity)…read more


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