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Emperor Goblinus

Could The Empire Have Collapsed In 69 A.d.?

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In my opinion - no. It wasn't an option that any of the four would have taken. The importance of being seen to be legal still figured in their mindsets. This meant that once acclaimed Emperor, a march on Rome was required, and a ratification by the cowered senate. None would have been content to establish some province as their capital, Galba could have tried in Spain, Vespasian could have done it in Judea, but no, the fight was for Empire, not part of it.

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In the infamous "Year of the Four Emperors," the empire was torn asunder with usurpers and Gallic attempts at seccession. Could the empire have indeed been split apart due to the fighting?

 

It's possible I suppose. It's only about a century since the fall of the Republic and I'd say that an overwhelming majority of the military and political elites were still of Roman and Italian stock at that point. I think the drive to unite and legitimize oneself by controlling the Roman heartland and the feeling that it was all a part of Rome's rightful place in the world, for lack of a better way of putting it, was still very strong.

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I think it's possible. At the very least, there is no reason why they wouldn't have settled on a partitioning of the empire to avoid bloodshed.

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I think it's possible. At the very least, there is no reason why they wouldn't have settled on a partitioning of the empire to avoid bloodshed.

 

And how long would that then have lasted until thier mouthes watered thinking of having the whole pie compared a piece of it...

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i think they would avoid another civil war as had been created by sulla and spilled over later into the pompey crasus caesar era. Rome wanted peace thats why Augustus got the as the first emperor.

 

just my small opinion anyway.

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I'm not so sure they would have accepted differing spheres of power. At that point, it wasn't so much territorial control than the notion of being primus inter pares. Being the Emperor wasn't an end itself, but a means to an end. If you're the Emperor, then you're unquestionably better than the rest of your peers.

 

Accepting some provincial backwater would give someone a great deal of power and wealth, but it would mean nothing if there was nothing to compare it to. Why settle for being a petty potentate when one could lord it over actual Romans?

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First: I think: NO

Roman empire in 69AD was powerful empire without real strong enemies (maybe Parthian empire on the East, but Parthians were dangerous only for some eastern borders). Germans were still poor in that time.

Second: Galba maybe would be good emperor, we don't know very well about Otho nor Vitellius, their reign was very short (Otho especially). Vespasianus was good and able emperor. I think he could be marked as "little" father of empire (like  Augustus), because he brought stability for empire. He finished civil war and brought peace for empire. Only Domitianus was not good emperor but thanks to his cruel reign could Nerva catch throne and establish glory nervan-antonine dynasty.

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The issue is not easily resolved. Nero had become deeply unpopular with the upper classes for his blatant un-roman behiour, outrageous money making schemes, and grandiose self absorption. As at any time in the latter half of Roman history, any perceived weakness or lack of opularity invites ambitious men to conspire or mount coups, especially since the communication disctances to provincial areas and the availability of standing armies loyal to personality and paypacket rather than patriotism, was all the more dangerous.

 

Nero had been for a long time trying to push the Senate down. It's believed by some that whilst the Great Fire of Rome in 64 was an accident, it was further enflamed by conspiracy in order to destroy the homes of the landed wealthy in Rome, where all the political dealing was done behind closed doors. Very much "An act of God" then :D.

 

For these reasons it's not beyond speculation that a great many senators were already conspiring to get rid of the Caesars and restore full republican rule - they had almost done so earler after the death of Caligula, but the Praetorians intervened and installed Claudius to safeguard their jobs. People routinely assume that the Republic had finished and Empire begun with Augustus - that's merely a historical convenience and not a condition of political reality. There was a Roman empire during the late Republic, and the Empire still called itself a Republic with most of the institutions still intact to some degree. Caesars were not absolute rulers either - their powers were granted by the Senate, though obviously in some cases the reasons a particular man came to power meant that giving them the power they wanted was a better bet, and then again, in the case of rulers like Nero, some simply ruled as if they were absolutely in charge regardless of the actual situation.

 

So could the Empiure have split in 69? yes, it could have, but note that none of the usurpers stayed in the provinces and set up a breakaway state. They all headed for Rome and fought it out, or perhaps took advantage of a situation. So in reality, sooner or later, someone was going to take control of Rome and its provinces. It really was a case of winner takes all.

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Interesting the comment that Galba might have been a good emperor. Would he? He arrived in Rome in October 68ad. He was dead by January 69 ad. He did something to offend clearly.

Otho showed some promise and an eye beyond how we all judge emperors, by the known aristocratic opinion, by trying to emulate Nero and court the peoples favour..

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galba became unpopular for various reasons. The public didn't like his economic austerity measures, his execution of troops he distrusted, his careless reward otwards parts of the Empire and not others, plus his inability to honour the pleadge of a donative to the troops. His allies were killed first. Otho, whio promiosed the Praetorians a donative and was miffed at being passed over for a nomination as heir, organised the dowbnnfall of Galba. Tacitus does infer that Galba was not a particularly bold ruler, nor acted when he really ought to have.

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I think Galba looked the part, older, experienced, statesman like but underneath it....

There is that great Tacitus line on him that goes something like 'he had all the qualities to be a great ruler, had he never ruled'

Classic T!

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