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Emperors Behaving Badly. The Julio-Claudians. Augustus unable to produce heir Died in 14 CE "Alas for the Roman people, to be ground by jaws that crunch so slowly!" . Where the Trouble Started…. Augustus’ adopted son Reigned from 14 to 37 CE Never wanted to be emperor

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where the trouble started
Augustus unable to produce heir

Died in 14 CE

"Alas for the Roman people, to be ground by jaws that crunch so slowly!"

Where the Trouble Started…
tiberius claudius nero
Augustus’ adopted son

Reigned from 14 to 37 CE

Never wanted to be emperor

Failed at “playing Augustus”

Tiberius Claudius Nero
bad behavior in public
Treason trials

Rarely left Rome

Poorly managed provinces, Spain in particular

Heavy Drinker- Biberius Caldius Mero


Neglected Public Works, Augustus’ Temple, Pompey’s Theatre

Theodorus- ‘mud, kneaded with blood’


Daily executions

Nearly every crime became punishable by death

Hated the games, cut back funding

Established Praetorian Guard, treated them better than border soldiers

Bad Behavior in Public
private problems
Private “playhouse”

Pans and nymphs

His ‘minnows’

Few immune from his desires

Had trouble trusting people, despised his mother

Afraid of thunder and fish

Private Problems
more succession problems
Tiberius withdrawn in later years


No heir named, immediate family dead

Two possible heirs, Gaius Caesar and Tiberius Gemellus

Died March 16, 37 CE

More Succession Problems
gaius julius caesar augustus germanicus caligula
Son of Germanicus, a great Roman general

Nickname stuck- “little soldiers’ boots”

Very popular with the masses and soldiers

Reigned from 37 to 41 CE

“I am nursing a viper in Rome’s bosom.”- Tiberius

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Caligula)
no problems at first
No Problems at First
  • Caligula appeals to Roman people
  • Recalled exiles
  • Held banquets and gave many gifts
  • Revived Public Works
  • However, later in the same year he was appointed, suffered a “brain fever”
possibly drove him insane
Ships at Baiae

Replaced heads of statues of gods with his own

Wore a wig and commoners’ clothes for ‘nightly activities’

Declared himself a living god

Cancelled some holidays honoring Augustus

Incest- Drusilla

Killed several relatives, painfully

…Possibly Drove Him Insane
more exploits
Hoped for natural disasters

Hated the handsome

Unfair taxes

‘Gather seashells!’

Stole from Alexander the Great’s tomb

Created poisons in spare time

Tried to make Incitatus a senator, leader of cult in his honor

Palace on the water

Emptied treasury

Altered the games unexpectedly

Secretly killed people for fun

Foul language

Had people tortured while he was eating



More Exploits
caligula assassinated
41 CE, Caligula violently stabbed to death

Issue of succession comes up again…

Augustus took special measures to ensure that Tiberius Claudius would not become emperor

Only one ‘capable’ left alive

Caligula Assassinated…
tiberius claudius
Reigned from 41 to 54 CE

Historians have differing opinions on his character

Generally agreed that he had some forms of physical disabilities

Tiberius Claudius
better than the last two
Erratic court behavior


Easily swayed by others

Killed thirty-five senators and 300 equites


Sex addict


Adopted Nero

Better than the Last Two..
succession once again disputed
Claudius died in 54 CE

Senate was naturally concerned with safety

Claudius named his adoptive son Nero as heir (Agrippina had a strong hand in this)

Not many options…

Succession Once Again Disputed
Became emperor at age sixteen

Influenced by Agrippina and Seneca early in reign.

Ruled from 54 to 68 CE

Promised to rule as Augustus had

Difficult to discern fact from fiction.

nero s offenses
Forced senators to do battle in the gladiatorial games

Shows he put on were dangerous at times

Would ignore pleas to return to Rome

Would don a disguise and attack men at night

Petty crimes

Forced his friends to throw him parties

Opened numerous temporary brothels

Raped numerous people, even a Vestal Virgin

Attacked private parts of men and women bound to stakes

Emptied treasury

Seized assets of those ‘disloyal’ to him



Gruesomely killed aunt

Killed nobility to save himself

Nero’s Offenses
great fire of rome
64 CE

Strongly suspected Nero caused fire

“fiddled while Rome burned”

Lasted six days, seven nights

Great Fire of Rome
persecution of christians
First emperor to do so

Would throw parties lit by Christians on burning crosses

Blamed fire on them

Suspicious due to their strange rituals and monotheism

Persecution of Christians
end of julio claudians
Nero committed suicide in 68 CE

No living male relatives

Start of Flavian dynasty soon to follow

Rome may never have truly recovered

Start of Flavian dynasty under Vespasian

End of Julio-Claudians
the end

The End

“Bear in mind that I can do anything I want to anyone I want!” - Caligula