Benotzernumm oder E-Mail Passwuert -Passwuert vergiess?Umellen
ageloggt bleiwen

Central government

The dominance of the emperor was based on the consolidation of certain powers from several republican offices, including the inviolability of the tribunes of the people and the authority of the censors to manipulate the hierarchy of Roman society. The emperor also made himself the central religious authority as Pontifex Maximus, and centralized the right to declare war, ratify treaties, and negotiate with foreign leaders. While these functions were clearly defined during the Principate, the emperor's powers over time became less constitutional and more monarchical, culminating in the Dominate.
 
The emperor was the ultimate authority in policy- and decision-making, but in the early Principate he was expected to be accessible to individuals from all walks of life, and to deal personally with official business and petitions. A bureaucracy formed around him only gradually. The Julio-Claudian emperors relied on an informal body of advisors that included not only senators and equestrians, but trusted slaves and freedmen. After Nero, the unofficial influence of the latter was regarded with suspicion, and the emperor's council (consilium) became subject to official appointment for the sake of greater transparency. Though the senate took a lead in policy discussions until the end of the Antonine dynasty, equestrians played an increasingly important role in the consilium. The women of the emperor's family often intervened directly in his decisions. Plotina exercised influence on both her husband Trajan and his successor Hadrian. Her influence was advertised by having her letters on official matters published, as a sign that the emperor was reasonable in his exercise of authority and listened to his people.
 
Access to the emperor by others might be gained at the daily reception (salutatio), a development of the traditional homage a client paid to his patron; public banquets hosted at the palace; and religious ceremonies. The common people who lacked this access could manifest their general approval or displeasure as a group at the games held in large venues. By the 4th century, as urban centres decayed, the Christian emperors became remote figureheads who issued general rulings, no longer responding to individual petitions.
 
Although the senate could do little short of assassination and open rebellion to contravene the will of the emperor, it survived the Augustan restoration and the turbulent Year of Four Emperors to retain its symbolic political centrality during the Principate. The senate legitimated the emperor's rule, and the emperor needed the experience of senators as legates (legati) to serve as generals, diplomats, and administrators. A successful career required competence as an administrator and remaining in favour with the emperor, or over time perhaps multiple emperors.
 
The practical source of an emperor's power and authority was the military. The legionaries were paid by the Imperial treasury, and swore an annual military oath of loyalty to the emperor (sacramentum). The death of an emperor led to a crucial period of uncertainty and crisis. Most emperors indicated their choice of successor, usually a close family member or adopted heir. The new emperor had to seek a swift acknowledgement of his status and authority to stabilize the political landscape. No emperor could hope to survive, much less to reign, without the allegiance and loyalty of the Praetorian Guard and of the legions. To secure their loyalty, several emperors paid the donativum, a monetary reward. In theory, the Senate was entitled to choose the new emperor, but did so mindful of acclamation by the army or Praetorians.
©2008-2019 Joopita Research a.s.b.l | About | Donations | Sponsoring | Advertising | Support | Press
Copyright | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact Us