Rzym starożytny; kryzys III wieku; cesarz rzymski; polityka sukcesyjna; ideologia dynastyczna
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach;1899
The book presents actions undertaken in the period 235-284 aiming at introducing the hereditary succession of imperial power and creating a dynasty, methods employed and their
effects. It consists of three chapters. Chapter one discusses the practices of naming successors
of imperial power. Chapter two explores the role of women in the dynastic policy of the period of crisis in the 3rd century. Finally Chapter three provides an analysis of various aspects of policy and propaganda of the Empire. In particułar it deals with the attitude of emperors to the Senate and the army, the choice of names of great predecessors and making use of religion and the myth of a good ruler. Often these practices themselves were a part of dynastic aspirations; equally often they were an essential condition of development and effectiveness of dynastic policy. The notion of dynastic policy as it was eonducted in the Roman Empire of the 235-284 period has to be extended beyond its traditional sense of activities undertaken in order to introduce and strengthen power based on the system of hereditary succession. In the period under discussion this policy had to include all initiatives leading to the building up of the prestige of emperorship.
In spite of destabilization of the central power, the dec1ine of emperor’s authority, usurpations and the necessity of pursuing wars against aggressive neighbours of the Empire,
creating dynasties and strengthening of the emperor’s position was a priority of numerous rulers of that time. There should be also noted certain successes in the dynastic policy, modest as they were. In three cases the power remained with a representative of the emperor’s family. The longest was the reign of the dynasty of Licinii. The reigns of others were ephemeral.
The dynastic policy of the 3rd century manifested itself mainly in granting emperors’ sons the
title of Caesar-successor or Augustus-co-emperor, which marked the beginning of imperial power. Sometimes it also meant the participation of the so named successors in the process of ruling during the lifetime of their fathers. It constituted an attempt to solve the problem of succession unregulated from the very beginning of the principate. The authority followed from the republican traditions, which excluded the possibility of inheritance of functions.
The dynastic policy eoncemed the whole famiły of an emperor. Those members who were active in public life and held state oftices were promoted. Attempts were made to increase their splendour by showing their rełationship with respected families, assuming impressive names and consecration of emperors’ family members. The propagated image was of a victorious emperor whose reign as well as the reign of his dynasty heralded the era of peace and of prosperity.
The dynastic policy of 235-284 followed earlier modes, especially the one developed by Severi. At the same time it tried to adapt its form to the critical situation of the 3rd century and to propose new solutions. The first of them was the territorial division of power among the members of the family, especially in the times of Valerian and his son Gallienus. The other
innovation in the dynastic policy consisted in an attempt to formulate an ideological justification of the absolutist trends by means of the concept of charismatic divinity of the emperor and its rule. In the 270s the idea was developed by AureIian and continued by Probus and Carus. These aspects of the dynastic policy suggest that it should be regarded as an example of reforms to strengthen the Roman state.