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The Roman Imperial Succession (Hardback)

Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces P&S History

By John D Grainger
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781526766045
Published: 29th May 2020

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John D Grainger analyses the Roman imperial succession, demonstrating that the empire organized by Augustus was fundamentally flawed in the method it used to find emperors. Augustus’ system was a mixture of heredity, senatorial and military influences, and these were generally antagonistic. Consequently the Empire went through a series of crises, in which the succession to a previous, usually dead, emperor was the main issue. The infamous ‘Year of the Four Emperors’, AD 69, is only the most famous of these crises, which often involved bouts of bloody and destructive civil war, assassinations and purges. These were followed by a period, usually relatively short, in which the victor in the ‘crisis’ established a new system, juggling the three basic elements identified by Augustus, but which was as fragile and short lived as its predecessor; these ‘consequences’ of each crisis are discussed. The lucid and erudite text is supported by numerous genealogical tables and dozens of depictions of emperors.

As featured in

Plekos

'For a general introduction to the question of how one becomes a Roman emperor, Grainger has provided a sound guide.'

Classical Review

A curious and interesting book about the history of pure and hard Rome.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

I enjoyed reading this book and generalists interested in the mechanisms of Imperial power transfers will too.

Beating Tsundoku

Definitely an excellent book that takes a huge topic and breaks it into manageable and understandable parts.

NetGalley, Caidyn Young

About John D Grainger

JOHN D GRAINGER is a former teacher and historian of great experience with a particular interest in Classical and Hellenistic Greek history. His many previous works include the following for Pen & Sword: Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars (2011); The Wars of the Maccabees (2012); Roman Conquests: Egypt and Judaea (2013); a three-part history of the Seleukid Empire (2014-16), King’s and Kingship in the Hellenistic World 350-30 BC (2017), Antipater’s Dynasty (2018), Ancient Dynasties (2019, The Roman Imperial Succession (March 2020), The Straits from Troy to Constantinople (2021) and The Forty Sieges of Constantinople (2022). He lives in Evesham, Worcestershire.

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Roman Emperors is a concise chronological guide to the emperors who ruled the Roman Empire. It covers the period from the establishment of the Empire by Augustus in 27 BCE to the abdication of Romulus Augustus in 476 CE, an event that marks the official end of the existence of the Roman Empire as a political entity in Western Europe. After a useful introduction to the late Republic and its transformation into the Empire, each of the eighty-five emperors customarily recognized as legitimate are presented in the order in which they reigned. This includes both Eastern and Western emperors for those…

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