History of Greece and Rome-Mar.22 "Princeps"

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27 Mar 2012

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March 22
o Princeps: a difficult part to play
Filling the shoes of Augustus and performing the part he created;
theatrical metaphor intentional it is a part to be played.
Tensions: governing through the senate and government,
allowing their freedom, ones power must promote their
power rather than turn them into subordinates, a patron of
the people and commander of the army, without seeming to
be a military or popular dictator, not too showy, be modest
or civil but also fulfill the Roman population’s want for
show and entertainment.
o The failure of Tiberius’ attempt at civil government and of Gaius’
charismatic monarchy
Gaius: went for charisma, at the expense of the military and senate
Tiberius: reserved with the support of the senate, but forfeited the
popularity of the people.
- After the assassination of Gaius;
o The problem of succession of the principate:
People deeply attached to the Judo-Claudian family
Senate wished to find a princeps like Augustus to restore the
balance of the rule of Repulican and princeps government.
In principal, the princeps was civil office, to which one was
appointed, not a possession. But in practice, the position was
indeed associated with the personal and familial notions of the
o Three constituencies of power: senate, people and the army
Ideally, the princeps would base his power on the acceptance of all
Claudius’ coming to the position undermined the senate, by
the claim of the troops.
o Suffered grave illnesses in his youth; deaf in one ear
and lame; treated as an embarrassment and hidden
away in the imperial family.
He proved himself to be an able princeps with the conquest
of Britain in 43CE. (son Brittanicus born)
Never overcame the hostility of the senate, because of the
way he came to office.
o Structural tension of the principate: because of the blurring of the office
of the princeps and the persons duties, responsibility and affairs, the staff
of the princeps gained increasingly public roles and government duties.
Procurators under Augustus.. gained public positions.
Claudius employed men that he trusted, his own household men:
imperial freedmen appointed to aid him,
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