Family In The Livian Dynasty

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In this essay I will argue that the members of an emperor's family were very important to the image and governance of the Principate as they dictated the right of succession, the Augustan image of morality, the stability of an emperor's reign and the legitimacy of a certain emperor's right to rule. The intention of this essay is not to focus solely on succession as a dynastic aspect within the Julio-Claudian period, but to give an in-depth analysis of the power that certain imperial family members held. In this way, the Julio-Claudian dynasty shall be covered exclusively, although I still recognise the importance of family within the Flavian period, so that I can focus more on imperial family members/ characters that appear in the ancient sources. I shall refer mainly to the works of Tacitus and Suetonius, whilst also referring to modern scholarship where it is applicable. Rutland refers to the idea that the history of the Principate is concerned with the succession of its members and that this power, which lay with the princeps, was being usurped via the…show more content…
Hence, Livia’s alleged power-play was mirrored by that of Agrippina the Younger in her zeal to have Nero as successor to the deceased Claudius. Suetonius provides yet more evidence of the way in which imperial women (as mothers or empresses?) jostled for power in the form of Messalina sending assassins to kill Nero so that Britannicus would inherit the Principate from his father, Claudius. Even if Suetonius’ account is fictitious, it was still considered plausible enough to be spread around as gossip as this may have reflected a very real fear that members of the imperial family were using their authority and esteem to secure positions of power for

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