University of Michigan
Stephens, Jessica J.
Aristocratic Identities in the Roman Senate from the Social War to the Flavian Dynasty.
Degree: PhD, Greek and Roman History, 2016, University of Michigan
The period between the end of the Social War and the Flavian dynasty saw a remarkable change in the composition of the senatorial class at Rome. Waves of new men entered the Roman Senate alongside members of the traditional aristocracy and sought to fundamentally change what it meant to be Roman in order to gain acceptance. A representative of the first wave as an Italian municipal senator, Cicero sought to redefine aristocratic values in order to create a more inclusive senatorial class. Augustus advanced these new values and actively appropriated a variety of institutions of memory that were at the heart of Roman aristocratic identity. These institutions, including the gens, public processions, and inherited social and political values, defined senatorial actions in the competitive and traditional environment of the Roman Senate and drew distinctions between senators who had claim to these institutions (the traditional Roman aristocracy) and those who did not (newly incorporated Italian, and later provincial, elites). Augustus advanced new men and old aristocrats alike, delicately balancing the interests of both.
The varied reactions of members of one aristocratic gens, the Calpurnii Pisones, to imperial appropriation of these institutions demonstrates the longevity of identity and memory among the traditional aristocracy well into the Principate. Indeed, much political turmoil during the reigns of the Julio-Claudians resulted from aristocratic rejection or misunderstanding of new expectations for senatorial conduct. Simultaneously, senators from the periphery of Italy and the province of Spain, including Thrasea Paetus, Seneca, and Lucan, responded to the old aristocracy’s continued attempts to assert traditional values and the new political reality where personal success was linked directly to imperial favor. They sought out historical examples, most importantly that of Cato Uticensis, with whom to relate in order to connect with the Roman past, legitimize their standing with the old aristocrats, and link themselves to their emperor, Nero. However, it was not until the accession of Vespasian, himself an Italian elite without recourse to many of the institutions of memory that had defined the Julio-Claudian emperors, that the aristocracy’s influence waned and new Roman identities could flourish.
Advisors/Committee Members: Potter, David S (committee member), Terrenato, Nicola (committee member), Frier, Bruce W (committee member), Janko, Richard (committee member).
Subjects/Keywords: Rome; Memory; Social War to the Flavian Period; Aristocratic Identities; Classical Studies; History (General); Humanities (General); Humanities
to Zotero / EndNote / Reference
APA (6th Edition):
Stephens, J. J. (2016). Aristocratic Identities in the Roman Senate from the Social War to the Flavian Dynasty. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Michigan. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/133497
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
Stephens, Jessica J. “Aristocratic Identities in the Roman Senate from the Social War to the Flavian Dynasty.” 2016. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan. Accessed April 19, 2019.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
Stephens, Jessica J. “Aristocratic Identities in the Roman Senate from the Social War to the Flavian Dynasty.” 2016. Web. 19 Apr 2019.
Stephens JJ. Aristocratic Identities in the Roman Senate from the Social War to the Flavian Dynasty. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2016. [cited 2019 Apr 19].
Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/133497.
Council of Science Editors:
Stephens JJ. Aristocratic Identities in the Roman Senate from the Social War to the Flavian Dynasty. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2016. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/133497