Princes and Political Cultures

The New Tiberian Senatorial Decrees
Greg Rowe
An investigation of the transformation of the Roman state from Republic to dynastic monarchy


In 29 B.C., Augustus celebrated a triple triumph flanked by his nephew Marcellus and his stepson Tiberius. This event is the first attested example of the systematic promotion of young men as potential imperial successors. This practice enabled Augustus to establish the rule not of one man but of a dynastic house with a collective identity. This study, built around the senate's funeral honors for Germanicus (the Tabula Siarensis) and its proceedings against his alleged murderer (the senatus consultum de Cn. Pisone patre), examines Augustus's transformation of the Roman state to a dynastic monarchy.

Covering the period from the reign of Augustus to Claudius's installation, Rowe demonstrates how dynastic monarchy turned citizens into subjects. Stepping back from personalities and politics to consider institutions and the values underpinning them, Rowe examines six key constituencies of the new order: the Roman senate, the equestrian order, the urban plebs, colonies, Greek cities, and the legions. Focusing on each group's deliberative and expressive institutions, he paints a coherent picture of early imperial culture, revealing the transition from formal to informal decision making and individual ascendancy over collective institutions. Rowe uses these findings to explain ostensible loyalism and the uniformity of imperial ideology. Texts, translations, and discussions of the major inscriptions of the period—both Greek and Latin—are provided.

Princes and Political Cultures: The New Tiberian Senatorial Decrees provides incisive discussion of the Tabula Siarensis and the senatus consultum de Cn. Pisone patre. It will be of value to students of the history of the early empire, its ideology, and its changing political institutions. Those interested in Tacitus, Ovid, and Velleius Paterculus will also find this book useful.

Greg Rowe is Researcher at the Swiss National Science Foundation, Neuchâtel.

Praise / Awards

  • "Greg Rowe's study of early imperial politics will be eagerly received by all historians and classicists whose interests have been aroused by the monumental inscriptions relating to the honoring of Germanicus and the trial of Cn. Piso, unearthed in southern Spain during the last twenty years. . . . . Rowe is a stimulating guide and all interested in the early empire will want to engage with his constantly fresh ideas. . . . [T]his is a book which everyone who works on the history and literature of the period will want to consult. Rowe's book is full of interesting and original ideas. He thinks deeply about how the mechanisms of Roman politics operated. He has an eye for spotting historical problems and suggests constantly interesting solutions. Not all will be persuaded by the overall vision of imperial politics that emerges, but all will have their preconceptions challenged."
    —Peter O'Neill, American Academy in Rome/Iowa State University, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, March 10, 2003
  • ". . . this is an intriguing book with much to offer a careful reader. The publication of several key Tiberian inscriptions together is useful, and the array of questions raised makes it an engaging study of the development of the Roman empire."

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 208pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11230-2

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  • $79.95 U.S.