Julio-Claudian Dynasty

Julio-Claudian Dynasty

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The Julio-Claudian dynasty normally refers to the first five Roman Emperors: Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

, Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

 (also known as Gaius), Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

, and Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

, or the family to which they belonged; they ruled the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 from its formation, in the second half of the 1st century (44/31/27) BC, until AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

, committed suicide.

None of the Julio-Claudians were succeeded by their sons; only one of them had a legitimate son survive him. The ancient historical writers, chiefly Suetonius
Suetonius
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

 and Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

, write from the point of view of the Roman senatorial aristocracy, and portray the Emperors in generally negative terms, whether from preference for the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 or love of a good scandalous story.


Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 wrote this of the Julio-Claudian Emperors and history:
But the successes and reverses of the old Roman people have been recorded by famous historians; and fine intellects were not wanting to describe the times of Augustus, till growing sycophancy scared them away. The histories of Tiberius, Caius, Claudius, and Nero, while they were in power, were falsified through terror, and after their death were written under the irritation of a recent hatred.

Nomenclature


Julius and Claudius were two Roman family names
Roman naming conventions
By the Republican era and throughout the Imperial era, a name in ancient Rome for a male citizen consisted of three parts : praenomen , nomen and cognomen...

; in classical Latin, they came second. Such names are inherited from father to son; but a sonless Roman aristocrat would quite commonly adopt an heir, who would also take the family name - this could be done in his will. Thus (Gaius) Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 adopted his sister's grandson, Gaius Octavius, who became a Julius, eventually named Imperator Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, normally called in English Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, the founder of the Empire. The next four emperors were closely related, and all were named either Julius or Claudius by birth or adoption.

Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

, the son of Augustus' wife Livia
Livia
Livia Drusilla, , after her formal adoption into the Julian family in AD 14 also known as Julia Augusta, was a Roman empress as the third wife of the Emperor Augustus and his adviser...

 by her first husband (thus Augustus' step-son), was born a Claudian but, like Augustus before him, became a Julian upon his adoption.

Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

, however, had both Julian and Claudian ancestry, thus making him the first actual "Julio-Claudian" emperor. He was also a direct descendant (a great grandson) of Augustus.

Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

was a Claudian, though like his great-uncle Augustus Caesar, he was also descended from the Julian family through his maternal grandmother Octavia Minor
Octavia Minor
Octavia the Younger , also known as Octavia Minor or simply Octavia, was the sister of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus , half-sister of Octavia the Elder, and fourth wife of Mark Antony...

—sister of Augustus—whose own maternal grandmother was Julia, Caesar's sister.

Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

, like Caligula before him, also bore Julian and Claudian ancestry. Again like Caligula, Nero was a direct descendant of Augustus. Augustus was his great-great grandfather through his mother Agrippina the Younger
Agrippina the Younger
Julia Agrippina, most commonly referred to as Agrippina Minor or Agrippina the Younger, and after 50 known as Julia Augusta Agrippina was a Roman Empress and one of the more prominent women in the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, and Augustus was also Nero's great-granduncle through his father Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus.

Rise and fall of the Julio-Claudians



Augustus


Lacking any male child and heir Augustus married his only daughter Julia
Julia the Elder
Julia the Elder , known to her contemporaries as Julia Caesaris filia or Julia Augusti filia was the daughter and only biological child of Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire. Augustus subsequently adopted several male members of his close family as sons...

 to his nephew Marcus Claudius Marcellus
Marcus Claudius Marcellus (Julio-Claudian dynasty)
Marcus Claudius Marcellus was the eldest son of Octavia Minor, sister of Augustus, and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor, a former consul...

. However, Marcellus died of food poisoning in 23 BC. Augustus then married his widowed daughter to his loyal friend, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was a Roman statesman and general. He was a close friend, son-in-law, lieutenant and defense minister to Octavian, the future Emperor Caesar Augustus...

. This marriage produced five children, three sons and two daughters: Gaius Caesar
Gaius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar , most commonly known as Gaius Caesar or Caius Caesar, was the oldest son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder...

, Lucius Caesar
Lucius Caesar
Lucius Julius Caesar , most commonly known as Lucius Caesar, was the second son of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder. He was born between 14 of June and 15 July 17 BC with the name Lucius Vipsanius Agrippa, but when he was adopted by his maternal grandfather Roman Emperor Caesar...

, Julia the Younger
Julia the Younger
Julia the Younger or Julilla , Vipsania Julia Agrippina, Iulilla, Julia, Augustus' granddaughter, or Julia Caesaris Minor, was a Roman noblewoman of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She was the first daughter and second child of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder...

, Agrippina the Elder
Agrippina the elder
Vipsania Agrippina or most commonly known as Agrippina Major or Agrippina the Elder was a distinguished and prominent granddaughter of the Emperor Augustus. Agrippina was the wife of the general, statesman Germanicus and a relative to the first Roman Emperors...

, and Postumus Agrippa.

Gaius and Lucius, the first two children of Julia and Agrippa, were adopted by Augustus and became heirs to the throne; however, Augustus also showed great favor toward his wife Livia's two children from her first marriage: Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus , born Decimus Claudius Drusus also called Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a fully patrician Claudian on his father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family...

 and Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

. They were successful military leaders who had fought against the barbarian Germanic tribes.

Agrippa died in 12 BC, and Tiberius was ordered by Augustus to divorce his wife Vipsania Agrippina
Vipsania Agrippina
Not to be confused with Agrippina the Elder, Agrippa's daughter by Julia the Elder.Vipsania Agrippina was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa from his first wife Pomponia Caecilia Attica, granddaughter of Cicero's friend and knight Titus Pomponius Atticus. Her maternal grandmother was a...

 and marry his stepsister, the twice-widowed Julia. Drusus, the brother of Tiberius, died in 9 BC after falling from a horse. Tiberius shared in Augustus' tribune powers, but shortly thereafter, in 6 BC, he went into voluntary exile in Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

. After the early deaths of both Lucius (2 AD) and Gaius (4 AD), Augustus was forced to recognize Tiberius as the next Roman emperor. Augustus banished his grandson Postumus Agrippa to the small island of Planasia
Pianosa
The small island of Pianosa , about in area, forms part of Italy's Tuscan Archipelago. Its name comes from the Italian pianura . Its highest point stands above sea level. Pianosa is part of the Elba island municipality. On clear days, Elbans see Pianosa as a dark blue line over the lighter blue sea...

 (around 6 or 7 AD), and Tiberius was recalled to Rome and officially adopted by Augustus.

Tiberius


On 19 August 14 AD, Augustus died. Tiberius had already been established as Princeps in all but name, and his position as heir was confirmed in Augustus' will.

Despite his difficult relationship with the Senate, Tiberius's first years were generally good. He stayed true to Augustus’s plans for the succession and favored his adopted son Germanicus
Germanicus
Germanicus Julius Caesar , commonly known as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. He was born in Rome, Italia, and was named either Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero after his uncle...

 over his natural son, Drusus
Julius Caesar Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus, later Drusus Julius Caesar was the only child of Roman Emperor Tiberius and his first wife, Vipsania Agrippina...

, as did the Roman populace. On Tiberius' request, Germanicus was granted proconsular power and assumed command in the prime military zone of Germania, where he suppressed the mutiny there and led the formerly restless legions on campaigns against Germanic tribes from 14 to 16 AD. Germanicus died at Syria in 19 AD and, on his deathbed, accused the governor of Syria, Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso
Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso
Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso , Roman statesman, was consul in 7 BC; subsequently, he was governor of Hispania and proconsul of Africa.In AD 17 Tiberius appointed him governor of Syria...

, of murdering him at Tiberius’s orders. With Germanicus dead, Tiberius began elevating his own son Drusus to replace him as the Imperial successor. By this time Tiberius had left more of the day-to-day running of the Empire to Lucius Aelius Sejanus
Sejanus
Lucius Aelius Seianus , commonly known as Sejanus, was an ambitious soldier, friend and confidant of the Roman Emperor Tiberius...

.

Sejanus created an atmosphere of fear in Rome, controlling a network of informers and spies whose incentive to accuse others of treason was a share in the accused's property after their conviction and death. Treason trials became commonplace; few members of the Roman aristocracy were safe. The trials played up to Tiberius' growing paronoia, which made him more reliant on Sejanus, as well as allowing Sejanus to eliminate potential rivals.

Tiberius, perhaps sensitive to this ambition, rejected Sejanus's initial proposal to marry Livilla
Livilla
Livia Julia was the only daughter of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor and sister of the Roman Emperor Claudius and Germanicus...

 in 25 AD, but later had withdrawn his objections so that, in 30 AD, Sejanus was betrothed to Livilla's daughter, Tiberius' granddaughter. Sejanus’ family connection to the Imperial house was now imminent, and in 31 AD Sejanus held the Consulship with the emperor as his colleague, an honor Tiberius reserved only for heirs to the throne. When he was summoned to a meeting of the Senate on 18 October in that year he probably expected to receive a share of the tribunician power. Instead, however, Tiberius' letter to the Senate completely unexpectedly requested the destruction of Sejanus and his faction. A purge followed, in which Sejanus and his most prominent supporters were killed.

Rome’s second Emperor died at the port town of Misenum on 16 March 37 AD, at the age of seventy-eight in a reign of 23 years. Suetonius writes that the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard Naevius Sutorius Macro
Naevius Sutorius Macro
Quintus Naevius Cordus Sutorius Macro was a prefect of the Praetorian Guard, from 31 until 38, serving under the Roman Emperors Tiberius and Caligula...

 smothered Tiberius with a pillow to hasten Caligula's accession. According to Suetonius, he was known for his cruelty and debauchery through his perversion on the island of Capri where he forced young boys and girls into orgies. On one account when one of the boys complained, Tiberius had his legs broken. However Suetonius' claims have to be taken with a degree of scepticism.

Caligula


Although Augustus's succession plans were all but ruined due to the deaths of more than several family members, including many of his own descendants, in the end Tiberius remained faithful to his predecessor's wishes that the next emperor would hail from the Julian side of the Imperial Family. Thus, on the death of Tiberius, his adopted son, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, ascended to the throne. Not only did the new Caesar belong to both the Julii and the Claudii, but he was also a direct descendant of Augustus Caesar as well. More commonly remembered in history by his childhood nickname Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

, he was the third Roman Emperor ruling from 37 to 41 AD.

When Tiberius died on 16 March 37 AD, Caligula was well positioned to assume power, despite the obstacle of Tiberius’s will, which named him and his cousin Tiberius Gemellus
Tiberius Gemellus
Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus was the son of Drusus and Livilla, the grandson of the Emperor Tiberius, and the cousin of the Emperor Caligula. Gemellus is a nickname meaning "the twin"...

 as joint heirs. Caligula ordered Gemellus killed within his first year. Backed by Naevius Sutorius Macro, Caligula asserted himself as sole princeps.

There were several unsuccessful attempts made on Caligula's life. The successful conspiracy that ended Caligula's life was hatched by the disgruntled Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

 with backing by the Senate. The historian Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 claims that the conspirators wished to restore the Republic while the historian Suetonius
Suetonius
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

 claims their motivations were mostly personal. On 24 January 41, the praetorian tribune Cassius Chaerea
Cassius Chaerea
Cassius Chaerea was a centurion in the army of Germanicus and served in the Praetorian Guard under the emperor Caligula, whom he eventually assassinated....

 and his men stopped Caligula alone in an underground passage leading to a theater. They stabbed him to death. Together with another tribune, Cornelius Sabinus, he killed Caligula's wife Caesonia
Caesonia
Milonia Caesonia was the fourth and last wife of the Roman Emperor Caligula.-Life:Milonia Caesonia was born between 2 and 4 June in an unknown year....

 and their infant daughter Julia Drusilla
Julia Drusilla
Julia Drusilla was the only child and daughter of Roman Emperor Gaius and of his fourth and last wife Milonia Caesonia....

 on the same day.

Claudius


After Caligula’s death, the senate attempted and failed to restore the Republic. Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

, Caligula's uncle, became emperor by the instigation of the Praetorian Guards.

Despite his lack of political experience, Claudius proved to be an able administrator and a great builder of public works. His reign saw an expansion of the empire, including the invasion of Britain in 43 AD. He took a personal interest in the law, presided at public trials, and issued up to twenty edicts a day; however, he was seen as vulnerable throughout his rule, particularly by the nobility. Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position—resulting in the deaths of many senators. Claudius also suffered tragic setbacks in his personal life. He married 4 times (in order to Plautia Urgulanilla
Plautia Urgulanilla
Plautia Urgulanilla was the first wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius. They married sometime around the year 9 CE, when Claudius was 18 years old. According to Suetonius, Claudius divorced her in 24 on grounds of adultery by Plautia and his suspicions of her involvement in the murder of her...

, Aelia Paetina
Aelia Paetina
Aelia Paetina or Paetina was the second wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius. Her biological father was consul of 4, Sextus Aelius Catus while her mother is unknown. She was born into the family of the Aelii Tuberones, and thus apparently descended from the consul of 11 BC...

, Valeria Messalina and Agrippina the Younger
Agrippina the Younger
Julia Agrippina, most commonly referred to as Agrippina Minor or Agrippina the Younger, and after 50 known as Julia Augusta Agrippina was a Roman Empress and one of the more prominent women in the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

) and is referenced by Suetonius as being easily manipulated. This is particularly evident during his marriage to Agrippina the Younger, his niece.

Claudius' reign also included several attempts on his life. In order to gain political support, he married Agrippina and adopted his great-nephew Nero.

With his adoption on 25 February 50 Nero became heir to the throne. Claudius died on 13 October 54 and Nero became emperor. A number of ancient historians accuse Agrippina of poisoning Claudius, but details on these private events vary widely.

Nero


Nero became emperor in 54 at seventeen, the youngest Emperor yet. Like his uncle Caligula before him, Nero was also a direct descendant of Augustus Caesar, a fact which made his ascension to the throne much easier and smoother than it had been for Tiberius or Claudius. Ancient historians describe Nero's early reign as being strongly influenced by his mother Agrippina, his tutor Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

, and the Praetorian Prefect Burrus, especially in the first year. In 55, Nero began taking on a more active role as an administrator. He was consul four times between 55 and 60. Nero consolidated power over time through the execution and banishment of his rivals and slowly usurped authority from the Senate.

In 64 Rome burned. Nero enacted a public relief effort as well as large reconstruction projects. To fund this, the provinces were heavily taxed following the fire.

By 65, senators complained that they had no power left and this led to the Pisonian conspiracy. The conspiracy failed and its members were executed. Vacancies after the conspiracy allowed Nymphidius Sabinus
Nymphidius Sabinus
Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus, or Nymphidius Sabinus, was a prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, during the rule of Emperor Nero from 65 until his death in 68. He shared this office together with Gaius Ophonius Tigellinus, replacing his previous colleague Faenius Rufus...

 to rise in the praetorian guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

.

In late 67 or early 68, Vindex
Vindex
Gaius Iulius Vindex, of a noble Gaulish family of Aquitania given senatorial status under Claudius, was a Roman governor in the province of Gallia Lugdunensis. In either late 67 or early 68, he rebelled against the tax policy of the Emperor Nero...

, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis was a province of the Roman Empire in what is now the modern country of France, part of the Celtic territory of Gaul. It is named after its capital Lugdunum , possibly Roman Europe's major city west of Italy, and a major imperial mint...

 in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

, rebelled against the tax policies of Nero. Lucius Virginius Rufus, the governor of superior Germany was sent to put down the rebellion. To gain support, Vindex called on Galba
Galba
Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

, the governor of Hispania Citerior
Hispania Citerior
During the Roman Republic, Hispania Citerior was a region of Hispania roughly occupying the northeastern coast and the Ebro Valley of what is now Spain. Hispania Ulterior was located west of Hispania Citerior—that is, farther away from Rome.-External links:*...

 in Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 (the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, comprising modern Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

), to become emperor. Virginius Rufus defeated Vindex's forces and Vindex committed suicide. Galba was declared a public enemy and his legion was confined in the city of Clunia.

Nero had regained the control of the empire militarily, but this opportunity was used by his enemies in Rome. By June of 68 the senate voted Galba the emperor and declared Nero a public enemy. The praetorian guard was bribed to betray Nero by Nymphidius Sabinus, who desired to become emperor himself.

Nero reportedly committed suicide with the help of his scribe Epaphroditos
Epaphroditos
Epaphroditos or Epaphroditus was a freedman and secretary of the Roman Emperor Nero. He was later executed by Domitian for failing to prevent Nero's suicide.-Name:...

. With his death, the Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an end. Chaos ensued in the Year of the Four Emperors
Year of the Four Emperors
The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. These four emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian....

.

Relationships between the rulers


The great-uncle
/great-nephew blood relationship and/or adopted son relationship was commonly found between the rulers of Julio-Claudian dynasty.
  1. Augustus was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar and his posthumously adopted son.
  2. Caligula was the great-nephew of Tiberius and his adopted son.
  3. Claudius was the great-nephew of Augustus (Claudius was the only one of the five rulers to not be adopted).
  4. Nero was the great-nephew of Claudius and his adopted son.


The other recurring relationship between emperor and successor is that of stepfather/stepson, a relationship not by blood but by marriage:
  1. Tiberius was Augustus's stepson, because Tiberius's mother Livia Drusilla married Augustus as her third husband (Tiberius and Drusus
    Nero Claudius Drusus
    Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus , born Decimus Claudius Drusus also called Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a fully patrician Claudian on his father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family...

     were Livia's only natural children by her first marriage to Tiberius Claudius Nero (praetor 42 BC)).
  2. Nero, as well as being Claudius's great-nephew, was also his stepson, because Nero's mother Agrippina the Younger
    Agrippina the Younger
    Julia Agrippina, most commonly referred to as Agrippina Minor or Agrippina the Younger, and after 50 known as Julia Augusta Agrippina was a Roman Empress and one of the more prominent women in the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

     was Claudius's niece and fourth wife.


The uncle/nephew relationship also is prominent:
  1. Tiberius was Claudius's paternal uncle
  2. Claudius was Caligula's paternal uncle
  3. Caligula was Nero's maternal uncle


No Julio-Claudian emperor was a blood descendant of his immediate predecessor. Although Tiberius and Claudius had male direct descendants (Tiberius Gemellus
Tiberius Gemellus
Tiberius Julius Caesar Nero Gemellus, known as Tiberius Gemellus was the son of Drusus and Livilla, the grandson of the Emperor Tiberius, and the cousin of the Emperor Caligula. Gemellus is a nickname meaning "the twin"...

 and Britannicus
Britannicus
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus was the son of the Roman emperor Claudius and his third wife Valeria Messalina. He became the heir-designate of the empire at his birth, less than a month into his father's reign. He was still a young boy at the time of his mother's downfall and Claudius'...

, respectively) available for the succession, their great-nephews (Caligula and Nero, respectively) were preferred.

The fact that ordinary father-son (or grandfather-grandson) succession did not occur has contributed to the image of the Julio-Claudian court presented in Robert Graves's I, Claudius
I, Claudius
I, Claudius is a novel by English writer Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of the Roman Emperor Claudius. As such, it includes history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC to Caligula's assassination in AD 41...

,
a dangerous world where scheming family members were all too ready to murder the obvious, direct heirs so as to bring themselves, their own immediate families, or their lovers closer to the succession.

Dynastic Timeline

  1. Augustus
    Augustus
    Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

     (27 BC–AD 14
    14
    Year 14 was a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Pompeius and Appuleius...

    )
  2. Tiberius
    Tiberius
    Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

     (14
    14
    Year 14 was a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Pompeius and Appuleius...

    37
    37
    Year 37 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Proculus and Pontius...

    )
  3. Caligula
    Caligula
    Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

     (37
    37
    Year 37 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Proculus and Pontius...

    41
    41
    Year 41 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Saturninus...

    )
  4. Claudius
    Claudius
    Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

     (41
    41
    Year 41 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Saturninus...

    54
    54
    Year 54 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lentulus and Marcellus...

    )
  5. Nero
    Nero
    Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

     (54–68)

Further reading

  • Matyszak, Philip. The Sons of Caesar: Imperial Rome's First Dynasty. London: Thames & Hudson, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-500-25128-2).
  • Anthony Kamm, The Romans an Introduction
  • Suetonius, The Lives of the twelve Caesars: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/suetonius-index.html
  • Anthony A. Barrett, Agrippina : sex, power, and politics in the early Empire
  • Lecture and notes from CLCV 1003A (Classical Roman Civilization); Carleton University
  • Wood, Susan, "The Incredible, Vanishing Wives of Nero," http://www.portraitsofcaligula.com/3/miscellaneous1.htm
  • Holztrattner, Franz, Poppaea Neronis Potens: Studien zu Poppaea Sabina, Berger & Söhne: Graz-Horn, 1995
  • N.A. "Octavia," tragedy preserved with the writings of Seneca.
  • Tacitus, Annals.
  • Robert Graves, I, Claudius
  • Robert Graves, Claudius the god

External links