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3 - Being around the Emperor

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 November 2022

Olivier Hekster
Affiliation:
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
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Summary

The Roman imperial entourage was central to Roman rule. It changed over time. Certain roles became more defined, and certain types of behaviour less contested. It is doubtful whether this was an ‘institutionalisation’ of the Roman court. The entourage of Roman emperors never quite grew into a stable structure. Even the composition of the supposedly formalised administration of the late-Roman eastern empire fluctuated from one reign to the next. Over time, a wider range of types of behaviour became acceptable. Changes in society altered the composition of the people who had the emperor’s ear. The increased militarisation of Roman society in the third century and the emperor’s absence from Rome, had an impact on the emperor’s entourage. Noticeable was the way imperial women wielded independent power in a Christianised empire. The move away from Rome as imperial capital changed the position of senators at court. When comparing the composition and behaviour of people who were regularly in the emperor’s proximity at the beginning of the principate and in the middle of the sixth century, there were substantial differences.

Type
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Caesar Rules
The Emperor in the Changing Roman World (c. 50 BC – AD 565)
, pp. 183 - 259
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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