Nero gets Married
Contributed by David Verne
Nero turns 16 this year, the age where Roman boys became adults. He marries Claudius' daughter, 14 year old Claudia Octavia, in a marriage arranged by his mother, Agrippina. Nero gains a reputation as a great orator when he succeeds in getting tax exemptions for one town, and disaster relief funds for another. Narcissus isn't fooled by Nero's outward appearance and sees him for what he is, a second coming of Caligula, and advocates for Brittanicus, Claudius' natural son, to be named heir instead of Nero. Claudius begins to regret neglecting Brittanicus over Nero, and Aggripina begins to grow concerned for Nero's position since Brittanicus will come of age next year.
My Take by David Verne
The Roman system of succession was very legalistic at the time. The power that the emperor wielded was power given to the office during the Constitutional settlements negotiated between Augustus and the Senate. Augustus' powers transferred to his heir upon death and so on. The key to becoming Emperor during this period was strengthening one's ties to Augustus and trying to prove that they were his true heir. The best way to do this was to be named as the heir of the current emperor, but marrying into the Imperial family was good as well. The emperors of this era had an automatic legitimacy as members of Augustus' bloodline. The advantage of this system was that power struggles were limited to feuding within the Julio-Claudian family, with no claimants other than other family members.
Claudius further weakens the Senate
Contributed by Southpaw Ben
This year Claudius gets the Senate to pass a decree that gives imperial procurators jurisdiction over financial cases. This power had been a major part of what the Senate still had power to control, and makes a big step towards even further tyranny, as it further consolidated power into the emperor's subordinates, and thus the emperor's hands.
My Take by Southpaw Ben
While the Senate has been a shadow of it's previous self for years, this was a further step towards having the Senators play their own petty power games for control in the Senate and keeping the focus of their ambitions towards these games and away from actual power, either through attempting to become emperor themselves, or by taking back the power of the Senate from the Emperor. During the Roman times, family honor and legacy was seen as the most important thing for most of these powerful families, and since the overthrow of the last king at the start of the Roman Republic being powerful in the Senate was seen as more honorable than being dictator for life, as they generally had a poor view of those trying to become kings, but would concede dictatorial power in cases of emergency.
- Trajan: Will become the first emperor not from Italy and will rule Rome at the height of the Empire's power.
Tacitus, Cornelius. The Annals.
Duncan, Mike (July 26, 2009). A Farewell to Claudius.