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Open Access Changing Emperorship: Setting The Scene

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Changing Emperorship: Setting The Scene

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the history and problems of the period AD 193 to 284. It will also contain a summary of recent theories on transformation of emperorship. It also indicates the development of emperorship in the third century is a complicated process in which it is problematic to distinguish causality from correlation. Clearly, the events and developments of the third century served to undermine the stability of the emperor's position. In the third century, emperors surrounded themselves ever more with troops from the periphery, and eventually, from the 260s onward, high ranking military officers were continually proclaimed emperors. This development minimized the distinction between emperors and generals, which further complicated emperors' capacity to legitimate power - at least in senatorial eyes. The considerable and growing number of usurpers and the secession of certain areas in the second half of the third century showed clearly that imperial authority was ever more challenged.

Keywords: emperorship; military officers; third century



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