Perhaps one of the most glaring failures during his rule was that Augustus’ inability to secure the process of succession. While he made numerous attempts to produce a heir, such as with the choices of Agrippa and Marcellus, he managed to outlive them all. Although, it would be unreasonable to blame Augustus for failure of almost all of his heirs to live longer than himself, it reflects issue with the way he attempted to create a line of succession. Instead of naming individual heirs, Augustus might have created a policy for further succession. This lack of concrete rules for the transfer of power would be an issue for centuries to come within the Empire.
When consolidating his reign, Augustus set a precedent of mistrust to those who might possibly become later rulers. This is seen in the beginning of Augustus 's reign, both with the betrayal of Marcus Antonius and the murder of the illegitimate son of Julius Caesar, Caesarion. Both, reflected the fear of coup and seizures of power that would come to dominate the lives...
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...s no wonder that the line of succession would be constantly put into question.
Augustus tends to look like an exceptional ruler when compared to many of his successors, like that of Caligula and Nero. Unfortunately many of the changes done during his time as Emperor set up the downward spiral of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His failure to create a system of succession led to the backstabbing, both literally and figuratively, within his own lineage. The moral reforms during his reign took power from the Roman Paterfamilias and began to put it under the rule of the state. In addition, his geographical expansion and the expansion of imperial authority would lead to an overextended empire run by one man alone. While Augustus cannot be blamed for all the failures of the following rulers, he laid the foundation for unchecked Emperors to do whatever they pleased with Rome.
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