Saturday, February 01, 2020

Julio-Claudian Dynasty

Casual HKTV is back! Well, not exactly... I won't have anything to post about HKTV. But I will be posting random historical content from time to time, since I am too lazy to create a new blog, but people wanted me to separate this from Casual TVB. 

I have recently been listening to The History of Rome podcast, which tells the story of the Roman Empire from its founding to its collapse. I thought I would share some of the things that I've learned along the way! Let's start with this map of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, the first imperial dynasty of the Roman Empire. 

Julius Caesar had established himself as dictator of Rome after winning a civil war. He was famously assassinated on the Ides of March (March 15) at a Senate meeting.

Octavian (later known as Augustus) was the great-nephew of Caesar. After Caesar was assassinated, it was announced that he had posthumously adopted Octavian and appointed him as his successor. Octavian emerged as the sole ruler of Rome after defeating his rivals in the aftermath of Caesar's death. He is known as the first Roman Emperor, but officially, he took the title of princeps ("first citizen").

Augustus was married to Livia. Livia had two sons from a previous marriage – Tiberius and Drusus. Their biological father was a member of the Claudian family. Drusus would die from a horse accident, leaving behind three children – Germanicus, Livilla and Claudius.

Augustus had one daughter, Julia, whom he thrice married to his intended successor. Julia's first husband was Marcellus, the son of Octavius (sister of Augustus). After Marcellus died, Julia married Agrippa, who was Augustus' loyal second-in-command. They had five children – Gaius, Lucuis, Julia the Younger, Agrippina the Elder and Postumus Agrippa.

Augustus groomed his grandsons, Gaius and Lucuis, to be his successors, but both died young. With no surviving male descendants, Augustus had no choice but to choose his stepson Tiberius as his successor. Augustus formally adopted Tiberius, on the condition that Tiberius adopt Germanicus (son of his brother, Drusus) to be his heir.

Germanicus died while travelling in the eastern provinces. He had been married to Agrippina the Elder (daughter of Julia and Agrippa). Their children included Caligula and Agrippina the Younger. Caligula would eventually succeed Tiberius.

Caligula was a diabolic ruler and was assassinated by the members of the Praetorian Guard (the royal bodyguards). After the assassination, the guards elevated Caligula's uncle, Claudius (brother of Germanicus), to the purple.

Claudius married his niece, Agrippina the Younger (Caligula's sister). Agrippina had a son, Nero, from a previous marriage. Claudius adopted Nero and he became emperor after Claudius' death (likely due to poisoning by Agrippina).

Nero's oppressive policies spurred rebellions in the provinces and he committed suicide after his guards abandoned him. His death marked the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.