The Republic in Danger: Drusus Libo and the Succession of Tiberius

Oxford University Press

This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. The Republic in Danger offers a new interpretation of Roman political history for the years 6 BC to AD 16, focusing especially on the rise of Tiberius Caesar and his succession to Augustus, the founder of the Principate. The volume proposes a new and compelling model for understanding the end of Augustus' reign and the succession of Tiberius. While Tiberius' rise to supreme power was at the expense of Augustus' grandsons, who were all dead by the time Augustus was laid to rest, their supporters remained unconvinced that life was possible under the rule of Tiberius. The result was an alliance between the enemies of Tiberius and M. Scribonius Drusus Libo. Drusus Libo, an aristocrat connected to the house of the Caesar, committed suicide in AD 16 while on trial for treason. Pettinger argues that Drusus Libo's prosecution was due to his alliance with Tiberius' enemies who were planning to destroy his government and replace tyranny with republican democracy. Pettinger offers a comprehensive analysis of the struggle between Tiberius and the supporters of Augustus' grandsons, which has repercussions for our understanding of the creation of the Principate at Rome.
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About the author

Andrew Pettinger is currently an Associate of the Classics and Ancient History Department at the University of Sydney and works as a federal public servant.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
May 24, 2012
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780191626395
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
History / Ancient / Rome
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Marcus Porcius Cato ("the Younger") is most famous for being Julius Caesar's nemesis. His sustained antagonism was in large part responsible for pushing the Romans towards civil war. Yet Cato never wanted war even though he used the threat of violence against Caesar. This strategic gamble misfired as Caesar, instead of yielding, marched on Rome, hurling the Republic into a bloody civil war. Refusing to inhabit a world ruled by Caesar, Cato took his own life. Although the Roman historian Sallust identified Cato and Caesar as the two most outstanding men of their age, modern scholars have tended to dismiss Cato as a cantankerous conservative who, while colorful, was not a critical player in the events that overtook the Republic. This book, in providing a much-needed reliable biography of Cato, contradicts that assessment. In addition to being Caesar's adversary, Cato is an important and fascinating historical figure in his own right, and his career-in particular, his idiosyncrasies-shed light on the changing political culture of the late Republic. Cato famously reached into Rome's hallowed past and found mannerisms and habits to adopt that transformed him into the foremost champion of ancestral custom. Thus Cato did things that seemed strange and even bizarre such as wearing an old-fashioned tint of purple on his senatorial toga, refusing to ride a horse when on public business, and going about barefoot and without the usual tunic as an undergarment. His extreme conservatism-which became celebrated in later ages, especially in Enlightenment Europe and revolutionary America--was actually designed to give him a unique advantage in Roman politics. This is not to claim that he was insincere in his combative promotion of the mos maiorum (the way of the ancestors), but his political manipulation of the Romans' reverence for their traditions was masterful. By providing a new, detailed portrait of Cato, the book also presents a unique narrative of the age he helped shape and inadvertently destroy.
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