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Ct had resulted; at the next failure in AD 192 another war broke out; by the third century civil war was institutionalized and was one of the main reasons for the eventual downfall of the entire imperial structure Grainger argues that though AD 96 98 stands out as the civil war that did not happen it was a perilously close run thin I was surprised how good this book was I was not expecting much considering this emperor only ruled for a short time Granted I read this when my knowledge of Roman history wasn't great it still is shaky I really liked Grainger's take on why Nerva is considered a good emperor He basically says not only is Nerva a really cool guy but he's the father of arguably the most loved Roman Emperor of all time Trajan Nerva brought a calm and cool attitude at a time when people were panicking about a time that could end like 69 AD did Nerva brought not only peace but a defined and solidified line of Roman Emperors that lasted from 96 192 AD Would highly recommend this short and easy read to anyone who is a student teacher or just someone interested You will not be disappointed

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Nerva and the Roman Succession Crisis of Ad 96 99 Roman Imperial Biographies

The imperial succession at Rome was notoriously uncertain and where possible hereditary succession was preferredJohn Grainger's detailed study looks at aperiod of intrigue and conspiracy He explores how why and by whom Domitian was killed the rule of Nerva chosen to succeed him and finally Nerva's own choice of successor Trajan who Was debating on just giving it 3 stars but it was no fault of the author as Grainger's writing was as clear and easy to follow as it gets it was just the scarce amount of information on the topic and my own expectations which left me with a lukewarm satisfaction The book begins with Domitian's assassination by the slave Stephanus who failed to successfully kill Domitian as the two found themselves wrestling for the knife on the floor and only succeeded when Stephanus called on his co conspirators who stood in a nearby room to finish him off Grainger discusses who was likely among the conspirators and uestions whether it is true if our Nerva was involved but largely believes it was unlikely He also discusses how the armies abroad felt about Domitians death and while many were largely upset they did not wish to have a repeat of the year 69 which saw Nero killed and the eruption of civil war which provided many of the tribes of Germania and Thrace and further East with the opportunity to challenge the Roman borders With this in mind many of the roman commanders chose to try and keep those unhappy with Domitians death calm rather then destabilize the situationFor many Nerva was a very odd choice as he was in his 60's and he was not a military man or an overly decisive man but he was a political survivor having managed to survive politically through the reign of Nero Galba Otho Vitellius and Vespasian What did give him credibility was his noble lineage and that his family could trace its roots politically back to the reign of Tiberius The only other thing that managed to keep Nerva on the throne was that many including the Roman commanders abroad knew perfectly well that Nerva was just going to be a temporary emperor as he was not likely to live much longer so people decided to wait it out and looked to the issue of his successor which ultimately would be the famous Ullpius Trajianus who was the governor of Germania What struck me as rather interesting and brought up something I had never really considered was the circumstances which brought Trajan to the throne I had always been under the impression that Nerva had chosen Trajan thinking him to be a suitable successor but in reality it was really of a coup d'etat This was rather interesting and a perspectiveexplanation I had never really entertained before Nerva in general never had any say in the matter Since the army had largely become the power broker of Rome and largely the will of the army guaranteed piece and stability for all concerned Naturally therefore the army had to be kept relatively happy and it was the army who ultimately chose Trajan because of his family connections and not at the time because of his abilities as a commander which he was arguably very capable but he had yet to undergo any spectacular feat like he would during his reign When Nerva did eventually announce that he had chosen to adopt Trajan it was largely a staged performance and one that had been planned and prepared with the senate for some time It was uite rare that sentimentality was brought in as a due consideration when it came to the successor of the empire something I perhaps had not considered The book does discuss at some lengths some of the reforms that Nerva did manage to put through which were not many as he had only about 1 year and a half to reign but he did manage to reform some of the marriage laws where a man was no longer permitted to marry his niece and he took steps to finish much of the building projects that Domitian had set out All in all Nerva was a very unexciting but arguably important stop gap to settle Roman politics and to calm the city down after the death of the largely hated Domitian and prevent civil war from breaking out but instead try and set the stage for his successor It could certainly be argued that had Nerva mistepped or did not fully understand his position and purpose for being on the throne Rome could have exploded into yet another civil war But one thing that Grainger did give Nerva credit for was that his ability to survive the reigns of the previous emperors and the tumultuous year 69 was that he was able to understand which way the political wind was blowing and was able to respond accordingly and accurately I did come out of the book appreciating the fact that this book did try and examine the any redeeming ualities that Domitian did possess and Grainger did not chalk up his memory to the fact that his legacy was wiped out by the Roman political sphere He did take steps to examine Domitian's impact on the different provinces of the Roman empire My Coyote Ugly Life (My Life, year 69 which saw Nero killed and the eruption of civil war which provided many of the tribes of Germania and Thrace and further East with the opportunity to challenge the Roman borders With this in mind many of the roman commanders chose to try and keep those unhappy with Domitians death calm rather then destabilize the situationFor many Nerva was a very odd choice as he was in his 60's and he was not a military man or an overly decisive man but he was a political survivor having managed to survive politically through the reign of Nero Galba Otho Vitellius and Vespasian What did give him credibility was his noble lineage and that his family could trace its roots politically back to the reign of Tiberius The only other thing that managed to keep Nerva on the throne was that many including the Roman commanders abroad knew perfectly well that Nerva was just going to be a temporary emperor as he was not likely to live much longer so people decided to wait it out and looked to the issue of his successor which ultimately would be the famous Ullpius Trajianus who was the governor of Germania What struck me as rather interesting and brought up something I had never really considered was the circumstances which brought Trajan to the throne I had always been under the impression that Nerva had chosen Trajan thinking him to be a suitable successor but in reality it was really of a coup d'etat This was rather interesting and a perspectiveexplanation I had never really entertained before Nerva in general never had any say in the matter Since the army had largely become the power broker of Rome and largely the will of the army guaranteed piece and stability for all concerned Naturally therefore the army had to be kept relatively happy and it was the army who ultimately chose Trajan because of his family connections and not at the time because of his abilities as a commander which he was arguably very capable but he had Mayday (Lovestruck Librarians, yet to undergo any spectacular feat like he would during his reign When Nerva did eventually announce that he had chosen to adopt Trajan it was largely a staged performance and one that had been planned and prepared with the senate for some time It was uite rare that sentimentality was brought in as a due consideration when it came to the successor of the empire something I perhaps had not considered The book does discuss at some lengths some of the reforms that Nerva did manage to put through which were not many as he had only about 1 Panic year and a half to reign but he did manage to reform some of the marriage laws where a man was no longer permitted to marry his niece and he took steps to finish much of the building projects that Domitian had set out All in all Nerva was a very unexciting but arguably important stop gap to settle Roman politics and to calm the city down after the death of the largely hated Domitian and prevent civil war from breaking out but instead try and set the stage for his successor It could certainly be argued that had Nerva mistepped or did not fully understand his position and purpose for being on the throne Rome could have exploded into Faction Man (Quarterly Essay yet another civil war But one thing that Grainger did give Nerva credit for was that his ability to survive the reigns of the previous emperors and the tumultuous Walking Free year 69 was that he was able to understand which way the political wind was blowing and was able to respond accordingly and accurately I did come out of the book appreciating the fact that this book did try and examine the any redeeming ualities that Domitian did possess and Grainger did not chalk up his memory to the fact that his legacy was wiped out by the Roman political sphere He did take steps to examine Domitian's impact on the different provinces of the Roman empire

John D. Grainger ↠ 5 Read

Became a strong and respected emperor against the oddsPerhaps most significantly Grainger investigates the effects of this dynastic uncertainty both inside and outside the ruling group in Rome asking why civil war did not occur in this time of political upheavalThe last time a dynasty had failed in AD 68 a damaging military confli John Grainger presents an interesting readable and highly convincing study of the tense crisis that existed following the assassination of Domitian in September 96 AD to the arrival of Trajan in Rome in 99 The efficiency and prosperity of the Roman Empire established under Vespasian Titus and Domitian was endangered by the sudden unexpected murder of the autocratic increasingly suspicious Emperor Domitian With popularity among elements of the military and Praetorian Guards Domitian was nevertheless detested by the Senatorial oligarchy that was pleased at his death and wanted to ratify the coup without bloody civil wars such as those that followed the death of Nero in AD 68 69 The elderly mid 60s childless senator and jurist Nerva had been among the senators privy to the conspiracy and was uickly selected by the Senate to succeed Domitian Given his old age experience and childlessness it was hoped that he could calm the situation while facilitating the transition to a new era of constructive partnership between the Senatorial aristocracy and military establishmentNerva proved to be a wise choice An affable diplomatic veteran of court life who had secured high favor in the reigns of Nero Vespasian and Domitian three very different emperors Nerva was also experienced in the art of political timing and maneuver He also was wise enough to secure advice from Senatorial elite in making a choice of eventual successor to the imperial power In the face of assassination threats and uprisings among the Guards Nerva used the occasion of a Roman victory against the German tribes announced in October 97 to defuse the danger by naming as his successor Trajan the respected commander of the largest and closest body of legions frontier of Upper Germany Bereft of any military reputation himself Nerva now had the immense military prestige of Trajan at his back and was able to continue his reign peacefully until his death at the end of January 98Grainger uses sources from the time including coins inscriptions from monuments and public works to assess the particular contributions of Nerva to the events and critical decisions taking place Although only 16 months in length the reign of Nerva proved to be very active in terms of useful legislation and also the furtherance of the elements of good government begun by Domitian The avoidance of civil war was probably the single biggest advantage derived from Nerva’s reign Peace and prosperity continued under Trajan Hadrian Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius for than 80 years after Nerva’s death Since those alive at the time remembered the bloodshed and destruction of the civil wars of 68 69 it is obvious that this preservation of order was appreciated by the ruling elite Nerva was deified and honored after his death We ourselves can assess the tragedy of the civil wars of the 190s following the assassination of Commodus and throughout the 3rd Century that eventually led to the fall of the Roman EmpireUnlike many of the ancient historians Grainger gives due credit to Domitian for his military and administrative acumen Nerva despite his brief reign left behind a significant legacy of useful legislation and continuity of the best aspects of the Flavian era into the widely heralded golden age of Trajan The book is well written and interesting but a scholarly and challenging rather than suitable for casual reading Plague Harvest years after Nerva’s death Since those alive at the time remembered the bloodshed and destruction of the civil wars of 68 69 it is obvious that this preservation of order was appreciated by the ruling elite Nerva was deified and honored after his death We ourselves can assess the tragedy of the civil wars of the 190s following the assassination of Commodus and throughout the 3rd Century that eventually led to the fall of the Roman EmpireUnlike many of the ancient historians Grainger gives due credit to Domitian for his military and administrative acumen Nerva despite his brief reign left behind a significant legacy of useful legislation and continuity of the best aspects of the Flavian era into the widely heralded golden age of Trajan The book is well written and interesting but a scholarly and challenging rather than suitable for casual reading


4 thoughts on “Nerva and the Roman Succession Crisis of Ad 96 99 Roman Imperial Biographies

  1. says:

    Was debating on just giving it 3 stars but it was no fault of the author as Grainger's writing was as clear and easy to follow as it gets it was just the scarce amount of information on the topic and my own expectations which left me with a lukewarm satisfaction The book begins with Domitian's assassination by the slave Stephanus who failed to successfully kill Domitian as the two found themselves wrestling for the knife on the floor and only succeeded when Stephanus called on his co conspirators who stood in a nearby room to finish him off Grainger discusses who was likely among the conspirators and uestions whether it is true if our Nerva was involved but largely believes it was unlikely He also discusses how the armies abroad felt about Domitians death and while many were largely upset they did not wish to have a repeat of the year 69 which saw Nero killed and the eruption of civil war which provided many of the tribes of Germania and Thrace and further East with the opportunity to challenge the Roman borders With this in mind many of the roman commanders chose to try and keep those unhappy with Domitians death calm rather then destabilize the situationFor many Nerva was a very odd choice as he was in his 60's and he was not a military man or an overly decisive man but he was a political survivor having managed to survive politically through the reign of Nero Galba Otho Vitellius and Vespasian What did give him credibility was his noble lineage and that his family could trace its roots politically back to the reign of Tiberius The only other thing that managed to keep Nerva on the throne was that many including the Roman commanders abroad knew perfectly well that Nerva was just going to be a temporary emperor as he was not likely to live much longer so people decided to wait it out and looked to the issue of his successor which ultimately would be the famous Ullpius Trajianus who was the governor of Germania What struck me as rather interesting and brought up something I had never really considered was the circumstances which brought Trajan to the throne I had always been under the impression that Nerva had chosen Trajan thinking him to be a suitable successor but in reality it was really of a coup d'etat This was rather interesting and a perspectiveexplanation I had never really entertained before Nerva in general never had any say in the matter Since the army had largely become the power broker of Rome and largely the will of the army guaranteed piece and stability for all concerned Naturally therefore the army had to be kept relatively happy and it was the army who ultimately chose Trajan because of his family connections and not at the time because of his abilities as a commander which he was arguably very capable but he had yet to undergo any spectacular feat like he would during his reign When Nerva did eventually announce that he had chosen to adopt Trajan it was largely a staged performance and one that had been planned and prepared with the senate for some time It was uite rare that sentimentality was brought in as a due consideration when it came to the successor of the empire something I perhaps had not considered The book does discuss at some lengths some of the reforms that Nerva did manage to put through which were not many as he had only about 1 year and a half to reign but he did manage to reform some of the marriage laws where a man was no longer permitted to marry his niece and he took steps to finish much of the building projects that Domitian had set out All in all Nerva was a very unexciting but arguably important stop gap to settle Roman politics and to calm the city down after the death of the largely hated Domitian and prevent civil war from breaking out but instead try and set the stage for his successor It could certainly be argued that had Nerva mistepped or did not fully understand his position and purpose for being on the throne Rome could have exploded into yet another civil war But one thing that Grainger did give Nerva credit for was that his ability to survive the reigns of the previous emperors and the tumultuous year 69 was that he was able to understand which way the political wind was blowing and was able to respond accordingly and accurately I did come out of the book appreciating the fact that this book did try and examine the any redeeming ualities that Domitian did possess and Grainger did not chalk up his memory to the fact that his legacy was wiped out by the Roman political sphere He did take steps to examine Domitian's impact on the different provinces of the Roman empire


  2. says:

    John Grainger presents an interesting readable and highly convincing study of the tense crisis that existed following the assassination of Domitian in September 96 AD to the arrival of Trajan in Rome in 99 The efficiency and prosperity of the Roman Empire established under Vespasian Titus and Domitian was endangered by the sudden unexpected murder of the autocratic increasingly suspicious Emperor Domitian With popularity among elements of the military and Praetorian Guards Domitian was nevertheless detested by the Senatorial oligarchy that was pleased at his death and wanted to ratify the coup without bloody civil wars such as those that followed the death of Nero in AD 68 69 The elderly mid 60s childless senator and jurist Nerva had been among the senators privy to the conspiracy and was uickly selected by the Senate to succeed Domitian Given his old age experience and childlessness it was hoped that he could calm the situation while facilitating the transition to a new era of constructive partnership between the Senatorial aristocracy and military establishmentNerva proved to be a wise choice An affable diplomatic veteran of court life who had secured high favor in the reigns of Nero Vespasian and Domitian three very different emperors Nerva was also experienced in the art of political timing and maneuver He also was wise enough to secure advice from Senatorial elite in making a choice of eventual successor to the imperial power In the face of assassination threats and uprisings among the Guards Nerva used the occasion of a Roman victory against the German tribes announced in October 97 to defuse the danger by naming as his successor Trajan the respected commander of the largest and closest body of legions frontier of Upper Germany Bereft of any military reputation himself Nerva now had the immense military prestige of Trajan at his back and was able to continue his reign peacefully until his death at the end of January 98Grainger uses sources from the time including coins inscriptions from monuments and public works to assess the particular contributions of Nerva to the events and critical decisions taking place Although only 16 months in length the reign of Nerva proved to be very active in terms of useful legislation and also the furtherance of the elements of good government begun by Domitian The avoidance of civil war was probably the single biggest advantage derived from Nerva’s reign Peace and prosperity continued under Trajan Hadrian Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius for than 80 years after Nerva’s death Since those alive at the time remembered the bloodshed and destruction of the civil wars of 68 69 it is obvious that this preservation of order was appreciated by the ruling elite Nerva was deified and honored after his death We ourselves can assess the tragedy of the civil wars of the 190s following the assassination of Commodus and throughout the 3rd Century that eventually led to the fall of the Roman EmpireUnlike many of the ancient historians Grainger gives due credit to Domitian for his military and administrative acumen Nerva despite his brief reign left behind a significant legacy of useful legislation and continuity of the best aspects of the Flavian era into the widely heralded golden age of Trajan The book is well written and interesting but a scholarly and challenging rather than suitable for casual reading


  3. says:

    I was surprised how good this book was I was not expecting much considering this emperor only ruled for a short time Granted I read this when my knowledge of Roman history wasn't great it still is shaky I really liked Grainger's take on why Nerva is considered a good emperor He basically says not only is Nerva a really cool guy but he's the father of arguably the most loved Roman Emperor of all time Trajan Nerva brought a calm and cool attitude at a time when people were panicking about a time that could end like 69 AD did Nerva brought not only peace but a defined and solidified line of Roman Emperors that lasted from 96 192 AD Would highly recommend this short and easy read to anyone who is a student teacher or just someone interested You will not be disappointed


  4. says:

    Great resourceDetailed and informative this is exactly what I hoped it would be and thank the members at Roman Army Talk for the recommendation