chapter  1
14 Pages

Family, politics and early life

Family and politics The emperor, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, was the last ruler of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (31 BC-AD 68). His death, precipitated by military rebellion in the western half of the empire, was viewed with great relief by many members of the senatorial order; it demonstrated too that the ‘secret of empire was out, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than at Rome’ (Tacitus Histories I.4) and it prompted some at least to consider alternatives to the concept of dynastic succession (see Appendix 1); Nero, by his behaviour, was seen as hastening the end of the dynasty, but he was viewed more as a product than as the cause of a flawed system.