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Title: Hope, fear, and conceptions of the future in the early Principate
Author: Stiles, Andrew Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 0553
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines a selection of ways in which Roman political actors (be they senators, equites, troops, plebs or others) conceived of the political future of Rome, in a series of four crises from the Ides of March 44 BCE to the establishment of the Flavian dynasty in 69 CE, and the way in which contemporary and later authors represented the views of those figures in historical narratives. It demonstrates that there was a great deal of uniformity in the political language used in these crises, first, by those who sought to restore the consular government that had existed prior to the supremacy of Julius Caesar; secondly, by those who sought to promote and maintain the Julio-Claudian family's exceptional position attained after the civil wars; and thirdly, by those who sought some form of compromise, perhaps in the form of a more virtuous princeps, or the devolution of some authority to the senate, as 'the Principate' developed from an ad hoc bundle of powers into a 'system' of government. There was often a strong moralising element in this political discourse, and it centred on the virtues and vices of leaders involved in the crises. In many cases these individuals came to embody competing images of the future in their own right, as in the case of Antony and Octavian, the successors to Augustus, or the rival contenders in 68-9 CE. In other cases, slogans such as libertas could encapsulate idealised images of the future in a synecdochic manner, and acted as rallying points for political action. Hopes for a better future were often contrasted with fears of some other outcome, and the two were often presented as a dichotomy, to exhort audiences in a particular direction. Unrealised visions of the future and the failed plans that went along with them shaped the political landscape of Rome and its development in a range of important ways, and continued to be influential as a part of Roman cultural memory and historiography.
Supervisor: Clark, Anna ; Clarke, Katherine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available