Administration of emperors

  • Created by: megw2604
  • Created on: 28-05-17 12:30

Vespasian Administration

Vespasian had an ambitious building program in place after the civil war to provide more amenities and public buildings for the people.

Suetonius Vespasian:

  • Rebuilt the temple of Jupiter on Capitoline Hill and took part in clearing the site himself (Suetonius 8.5)

  • Used the area of the Domus Aurea for public buildings instead of ones for personal gains. These included buildings such as the Colosseum and the theater of Marcellus. (Suetonius 19)

Archeological - Built the Arch of Titus (a monument to mark the Flavians great military achievements)

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Augustus Administration

Res Gestae: 

- Worked on an ambitious building program including temples, baths, libraries, aqueducts etc. in order to make the city worthy of its imperial position. This also helped to create jobs for the unemployed in the city.


- He appointed Agrippa's old slaves to the state and established a permanent water board to ensure there was always an adequate water supply.

Cassius Dio:

- Established 3 urban cohorts, each under the control of a consular prefect. He also divided Rome into 265 wards each with 4 magistrates in order to provide a better policing system in Rome.

- He organised a fire brigade of 600 slaves to help prevent the danger of frequent fires but this was ineffective so in AD6 he formed 7 cohorts and split Rome into 4 districts, each cohort looking after 2 districts to help prevent major fires.

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Augustus Administration continued.


- After 22BC he took control of the grain supply and later created an equestrian office of Curator of the Grain Supply to make sure there was a regular supply of cheap grain in the city.

- He cleared the Tiber channel to help prevent it from flooding and in AD15 he set up a permanent board run by a consul to make sure floods would be prevented in the city.

- Suetonius also comments on the organisation of the fire brigade and its ineffectiveness, and the establishment of military cohorts to help provide a better policing system for Rome. (more about this can be found under Cassius Dio)

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Tiberius Administration


- He spared no money or labour in combating bad harvests in order to alleviate food shortages.


- He rebuilt houses with his own money after a fire on Capitoline Hill to help victims of the fire.

- Didn't entertain the people with multiple public spectacles in order to cut down on public expenses. 

- Gave the Trebions leave to divert some of their money from building another theatre to building public roads instead.

- Advised by governors to raise taxes but denied them, therefore reducing sales tax in the city.

- He kept his officials in line and chose them carefully, he reprimanded consuls for not writing about their proceedings and specifically chose good members in the Senate so he could consult them on many city affairs. 

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Claudius Administration.


- Completion of two more aqueducts to carry water to all of Rome. (Pliny also comments on this in his Letters)

- Construction of a new harbour and lighthouse and the creation of a 3 mile tunnel to drain flood waters from the Fucine Lake. This opened up more agricultural jobs but was not completley successful.

- Securing food supply by encouraging no Romans to build more ships and insuring them and their cargo against storm damage.

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Claudius Administration continued

Non sourced info:

- Attempted to follow Augustus' policies to restore old religions such as suppressing Druidism, reorganising a college of 60 haruspices for Ancient Etruscan auguries and the expulsion of astrologers from Rome.

- Closer supervision of imperial treasury and he created procurators to look after the emperor's personal estates and revenue. This was to allow a great concentration of finances in the hands of the emperor. 

- Many legal abuses were removed and there was an introduction of many minor laws, such as:

Unruly behaviour in the theatre, Harsh treatment of debtors and disclaiming of sick slaves by masters.

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Nero Administration

Nero's reign was marked by two different periods, the first period 'Quinquennium Neronis' marks the first 5 years of his reign where he would have been considered a 'good emperor'.


- Claudius' aqueduct system was extended and his harbour developments at Ostia were completed.

- Justice was carefully supervised and a law was passed allowing slaves to bring any complaints they had against their masters to the city prefect.

- He constructed new buildings with a more fire safety element to them in order to prevent future fires spreading.

- Distributed money to the people or to replenish the bankrupt treasury (40 000 000 sesterces) 

- Colonies were established at Capua, Nuceria, Puteoli and various other sites to combat the serious depopulation of Italy and to provide for the army.

- Sufficient grain was assured by appointing the prefect Faenius Rufus to look after it.

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Titus Administration

Titus intended to keep up with his fathers building program so that not all the credit for construction to improve the city was given to his father.


- The Colosseum (also archeological as it still stands today) was completed and opened with lavish shows to demonstrate Titus' own generosity and care for the plebs.

- In AD80 a fire swept through Rome and Titus became committed to helping the homeless and repairing/ rebuilding monuments.

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Domitian Administration


- He distributed money to the Roman plebs

- He built many arches to commemorate military success (such as the Arch of Titus) 

- He constructed a new stadium and odiem for the people

- He held lavish games for the people and a new major festival was created. 

Archeological evidence:

- Constructed multiple temples such as the Temple of Jupiter

- He completed the temple to his father and consecrated it to both Vespasian and Titus and he started the Forum Transitorium (completed by Nerva.)

It is difficult to know the full extent of Domitian's building program because once he died the Senate tore down all remembrance of him, also known as a damnatio memoriae.

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