Julio-Claudian Dynasty


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Julio-Claudian Dynasty

 

a series of Roman emperors from AD. 14 to AD. 68; descendants of the emperor Augustus by blood or adoption.

The members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty came from the aristocratic Julian and Claudian houses and were related. The dynasty included Tiberius, who ruled from 14 to 37; Caligula, who ruled from 37 to 41; Claudius, who ruled from 41 to 54; and Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68.

The Julio-Claudian reign saw the flourishing of slaveholding relations and, in the area of domestic policy, the strengthening of the principate system. The principal groups supporting the dynasty were the army and the bureaucracy, whose members were drawn from various strata of the Italian and provincial population. The foreign policy of the Julio-Claudians was directed toward expanding the borders of the empire. Newly conquered territories were made Roman provinces; these included Upper and Lower Germany, Cappadocia, Commagene, Mauretania, Britain, Thracia, and Lycia.

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Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas' wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or national epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, explained the Punic wars, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome and Troy.
Heroism had been the very quintessence of the epic universe, but in De bello civili there is no true hero, except for Cato Uticensis, a reluctant warrior, whose apatheia was admired and emulated by many members of the elite during the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
It would be no easy task to supersede the Julio-Claudian dynasty, and certainly Vespasian could not rely on armed might alone.
One may be the head of an Amazon warrior from the 2nd century AD, while the second is believed to be a Roman empress from the late Julio-Claudian dynasty.
This period brought disorder and violence to the heart and the periphery of the Roman Empire, in sharp contrast with the relatively quiet times of the years of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
When Cornelius Tacitus, the great Roman historian, sat down in the early years of the second century to write about the bygone era of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he had few kind words to say about those engaged in business.
43) From this connection he inherited a tenuous link with the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
The Annals (ab excessu divi Augusti), following the form of a yearly narrative with literary elaborations, covered the period of the Julio-Claudian dynasty from the death of Augustus and the accession of Tiberius, in 14, to the end of Nero's reign, in 68.
Likewise, the invocation and dedication marks the beginning of a new era: the Julio-Claudian dynasty had now given way to the Flavian dynasty.