Monday, April 02, 2012

Roman Empire -- The Golden Age

Before doing that we need to review some statistics which will give you a sense of the tenuous nature of the Emperor's position. There were 58 of them from Augustus to the year 363 A.D, when Jovian died and the empire was split into east and west. Of the 58, 30 were murdered by the army, 4 died of the plague, 2 died in battle, 2 committed suicide, 1 was struck by lightning, and 1 drowned. Great men were rare and weaklings ubiquitous. The army liked real men – leaders made of the same stuff as them — so weaklings had to pay them to stay alive. But the army was fickle and might give an emperor the sword because it decided it liked someone else better. My use of the term, army, includes the Praetorian Guard who by their position of honor and proximity to the emperor, played a special role in king making.