YOUR favourite Roman emperor... vote here!

History, archaeology, historiography, peoples, and personalities of ancient Rome and the Mediterranean.

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Which emperor, from this selection, was, according to you, the most capable ruler?

Augustus
9
30%
Claudius
2
6%
Vespasianus
5
16%
Titus
1
3%
Traianus
2
6%
Hadrianus
3
10%
Antoninus Pius
0
No votes
Marcus Aurelius
5
16%
Septimius Severus
0
No votes
Diocletianus
1
3%
Constantinus ("the Great")
0
No votes
The most capable emperor's not on this list
2
6%
All of them were equally (in)competent
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 30

YOUR favourite Roman emperor... vote here!

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Mar 29, 2003 11:24 pm

Well once in a while the same old lists circulate with the same old questions. So I created this poll to keep this topic from hell alive forever, wahahah. Just kidding.

No really, I want you to select the emperor from the following list who you thought was the most capable ruler, in terms of policies, not in terms of personality. We all know some popular emperors had their downsides (eg Claudius), but the impopular emperors were also often victims of their environment or of malicious writers who defamed them (eg Domitianus). As such, choose wisely! ;)

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Julian

Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Sun Mar 30, 2003 2:19 am

How about Julian "the Apostate"? He should appeal to some of the followers of the Religio....
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sun Mar 30, 2003 10:46 pm

Salvete,

I am, as usual, about to be nice and controversial. So, my vote for emperor goes too.... Tiberius. Yeah, the same monstrous tales circulate about him as do most emperors that didn't gain the popularity of the populace. (Hah, Draco, I can alliterate too! ;-) )

Tiberius was something of a loner, and not particularly optimistic or happy bunny in general. (Those who know me may understand where I identify with him. :-D ) Such people do not endear themselves to the majority of the population. However, I still maintain that he was a talented, able administrator. His trust in Sejanus was a mistake, but was understandable given how few people he had to rely on who he had close relationships with.

*Curio sprints away, certain that the rotten vegetables are even now sailing his way.*

Bene valete,
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Mar 31, 2003 6:08 pm

Salve Curio
Are we talking of the same Tiberius who is also called Augustus or i'm mixing two different emperors up with eachother?
vale
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Postby Publius Dionysius Mus on Wed Apr 02, 2003 12:03 am

Salve Sokare...

Just a quick note: every emperor was called Augustus... this was an honorary title awarded by the senate.

Emperor Tiberius' full name is:
TIBERIUS CÆSAR DIVI AVGVSTI f. DIVI IVLII n. AVGVSTVS

He was born as Tiberius Claudius Nero (three emperors in one name...), and his father had exactly the same name. From the DIR-site:

"Tiberius Claudius Nero was born on 16 November 42 B.C. to Ti. Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. Both parents were scions of the gens Claudia which had supplied leaders to the Roman Republic for many generations. Through his mother Tiberius also enjoyed genealogical connections to prominent Republican houses such as the Servilii Caepiones, the Aemilii Lepidi, and the Livii Drusi. From his birth, then, Tiberius was destined for public life. But during his boyhood the old Republican system of rule by Senate and magistrates, which had been tottering for decades, was finally toppled and replaced by an autocracy under the able and ambitious Octavian (later named Augustus). It proved fateful for Tiberius when, in 39 B.C., his mother Livia divorced Ti. Claudius Nero and married Octavian, thereby making the infant Tiberius the stepson of the future ruler of the Roman world. Forever afterward, Tiberius was to have his name coupled with this man, and always to his detriment."

The names of the emperors, especially in numismatics or epigraphy, can sometimes be very confusing...

Vale bene
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Fri Apr 04, 2003 5:56 pm

Salve Tergeste,

Yes perhaps Iulianus Apostata should have been on the list, but I believe when you read about his life and behaviour he becomes as controversial as Constantinus. Although Iulianus has been villified by christian writers and emperors he of course was far from evil, but there are also multiple reasons why his pagan revival was unsuccesful, his personality possibly one of them...

Vale bene!
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Fri Apr 04, 2003 6:12 pm

Salve Drace,

Maybe I need to read more about him. I have read some of his philosophical works and letters. DIR paints a picture of an able and active ruler. But you are saying he was no Marcus Aurelius. What were his flaws in your view?
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Apr 05, 2003 10:17 pm

Salve Tergeste,

Just a small note, the vocative case of 'Draco' is simply 'Draco' as it belongs to the third declension (only male nouns of the second declension take a vocative on -E or -I).

Well, I have to say that my main source was an abridged version of the infamous 'Decline and Fall...' which is at some points quite biased. Even though Gibbons traces the fall of the Empire back to christianity as being one of the causes, he clearly depicts the traditionally more christian emperors as more positive.

I took Gibbons' comment that Iulianus was an active christian-hater with a big grain of salt. On the other hand, I think there's some truth in the fact that he was overambitious (his campaigns in the east, for example, during which he died). Additionally I think that he was simply trying to break the power the Church was beginning to have. Part of it may have been a genuine interest in reviving the pagan heritage. I'm writing this from the top of my head so shoot me if I'm incorrect, but I'm also under the impression that he actually tried to create a 'Religio Romana church' or something along those lines, and that his interest in philosophy was actually very shallow.

Vale bene,
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sun Apr 06, 2003 3:30 pm

Salvete

Gnæus Dionysius Draco wrote:I took Gibbons' comment that Iulianus was an active christian-hater with a big grain of salt. On the other hand, I think there's some truth in the fact that he was overambitious (his campaigns in the east, for example, during which he died). Additionally I think that he was simply trying to break the power the Church was beginning to have. Part of it may have been a genuine interest in reviving the pagan heritage. I'm writing this from the top of my head so shoot me if I'm incorrect, but I'm also under the impression that he actually tried to create a 'Religio Romana church' or something along those lines, and that his interest in philosophy was actually very shallow.


Being an abridged edition means it incorporates the views of the editors and translators more than Gibbons.
From what I have read of Julians' words I find his approach to religion to have been more philosophical than due to religious conviction. I recall him trying to restore temples and support the ex patria culti deorum in a kind of haphazard way, not that he was trying to set up a pagan church. He may have because of the way he had been taught, or it might have been some christian propaganda against him, but I have not heard that before.

I would agree that part of his efforts was aimed to break the influence of the christian church over the imperial administration. What angered the bishops was that Julian ordered a religious tolerance. That did not really entail the establishment or restoration of the pagan religions. It meant only that pagans could once again serve in the army and administration. The restoration of the temples and cultideorum came as a means to support his effort at tolerance. That may be why, also, that he appears to some to have been less than sincere in his pagan convictions.

As for his military expectations, his campaign was flawed in several respects, but I do not think any Roman commander would really have done it so differently considering the organization of the Roman army of the time, its dependence on the rivers for its supply lines, and thus its vunerability in any campaign that sought to penetrate the region.

Was Julian competant to be emperor? Apparently he was, more than many others who held the office, but not successful. His real failure was to establish firm control over the administration of his empire.

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Julian

Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Tue Apr 08, 2003 11:42 pm

Draco, draconis

Of course. Stupid of me.

Anyway, about Julian, it seems to me that his actions show that he wanted to go beyond tolerance and really denigrate the Christian church. I am thinking of his attempt to rebuild the Jewish temple at Jerusalem. The destruction of the temple as foretold by Jesus was an important proof for his followers. Rebuilding the temple would have invalidated the New Testament and so was a direct attach on Christianity.

I don't have more details available now because I am traveling in Italy, but I'll check my books when I get back.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Apr 12, 2003 11:50 am

Salve Tergeste,

To Italia! Have fun ;).

Vale bene,
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Who was your favourite emperor?

Postby Anonymous on Thu Sep 25, 2003 10:45 pm

Saluto,
The question of ‘favourite’ can give birth to many a Socratic dialogue about the nature of 'favourite'. In my Socratic prose, I would have to say, in a most epicurean way, ‘that which gave me the most pleasure.’ Having read the likes of Suetonius, Josephus and his antiquities, Robert Graves’ (dramatised) account in I, Claudius, and countless other contemporary studies; if a question was asked ‘reading about who gave you most pleasure?’ I would have to answer Caligula! He may have been a monster, He may have believed he was Zeus and he may have even tried to eat his own child from his pregnant sister's stomach! But I would definitely say ‘This, now this was my favourite emperor!’

Vale,
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Postby Anonymous on Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:19 am

I chose Augustus. Smart politician, capable administrator.
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Postby Anonymous on Mon Aug 30, 2004 3:28 pm

Salve,

My favorite emperor is Nerva, your wisdom it makes possible the beginning the dynasty of The 'Five Good Emperors' (the high point of empire), choosen by your merits, and erase the ghost of the Domitian


PAX ET SALUT
A.CLAVDIVS INVICTVS
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Aug 30, 2004 7:52 pm

Salve!

Welcome to SVR, Aeneas! I hope you will like it here.

One question though, shouldn't your name be Aeneas Claudius Superbus, rather than Claudus?

AENEAS CLAVDVS SVPERBVS wrote:My favorite emperor is Nerva, your wisdom it makes possible the beginning the dynasty of The 'Five Good Emperors' (the high point of empire), choosen by your merits, and erase the ghost of the Domitian


In a sense you are right that Nerva was the turning point in a positive direction, but I would also like to add that Domitianus was villified by the Flavians to legitimise their own rule. For example, Domitianus put less senators to death than Claudius. It was all about relationship with the Senate, and Domitianus hated the Senate (and vice versa).

Optime vale!
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Mon Aug 30, 2004 7:59 pm

Salve Draco,

In a sense you are right that Nerva was the turning point in a positive direction, but I would also like to add that Domitianus was villified by the Flavians to legitimise their own rule


Uhm, mi Draco, Domitianus, as you know, was a Flavian :wink: You must've meant 'the Antonines' (although that 'generic term', launched by Gibbon, is very disputable).

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Aug 30, 2004 10:31 pm

Oh shit.

You're right. :oops:

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Saw ya do it too!

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Aug 31, 2004 2:48 am

Wow... 'Tis the week for name goofs, nonne?

I feel much better. >({|:-)

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Tue Aug 31, 2004 8:33 am

Well, as the Greek proverb goes : "errare humanum est", nonne ? :lol:

Valete,

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Aug 31, 2004 12:23 pm

You said it Lupe! 8)

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