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Title: Dynasty and collegiality : representations of imperial legitimacy, AD 284-337
Author: FitzGerald, Taylor Grace
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 8923
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates representations of dynastic legitimacy and imperial power in the later Roman Empire (AD 284-337). It explores the continuity and change in expressions of dynastic legitimacy by, for and about the emperors of this period, which were presented in coinage, panegyrics, and other literary and material evidence. I argue that familial relationships were used throughout this period to make legitimation claims or to counter claims made by rivals, rejecting the notion of clear breaks between the third century, the Tetrarchy and the reign of Constantine. The Tetrarchy’s creation of familial links through adoption and marriage led to a web of inter-familial relationships that they and later emperors used in promoting their own claims to imperial legitimacy. At the same time, the presentation of these imperial colleges as harmonious co-rulership relied heavily on the adaptation of pre-existing strategies, which in turn would be adapted by the emperors of the early fourth century. This thesis proceeds roughly chronologically, focusing on the regimes of individual emperors and their collaborators when possible. Chapter 1 examines the creation of the Tetrarchy as an extended ‘family’ and the adaptation of ideologies of third-century co-rulership. Chapter 2 explores the changes in the Second Tetrarchy, with an especial focus on the ‘Iovian’ family of Galerius and Maximinus Daza. Chapter 3 looks at Maxentius’ claims to both ‘retrospective’ and ‘prospective’ dynastic legitimacy. Chapter 4 examines Licinius’ legitimacy both as a co-ruler and brother-in-law of Constantine, and as the beginning of a new ‘Iovian’ dynasty. Chapter 5 delves deeper into the different claims to dynastic legitimacy made by Constantine over the course of his thirty-year reign. Taken together, these chapters offer a new approach by arguing against the dichotomy between ‘dynasty’ and ‘collegiality’ that tends to dominate scholarship of this period. Instead they focus on the similarities and continuities between the representations of imperial families and imperial colleges in order to understand how perceptions of dynastic legitimacy evolved in the third and fourth centuries.
Supervisor: Flower, Richard Sponsor: A.G. Leventis Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: legitimacy ; imperial legitimacy ; late antiquity ; Roman Empire ; Constantine ; numismatics ; Diocletian ; Tetrarchy ; dynastic legitimacy ; dynasty ; panegyric ; Lactantius ; coins ; Maxentius ; Licinius ; collegiality ; imperial college ; co-rulership ; family ; usurpation ; late antique ; later Roman Empire ; Roman coinage ; Maximinus Daza ; Maximian ; Panegyrici Latini