Gaius

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Analyse/evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the reign of Gaius After the death of Tiberius in AD 37, the Praetorian Prefect Macro commended the 25 year old Gaius to the Senate as the new Princeps. He was welcomed by the Senate as they saw in him a welcome relief from the elderly and pessimistic Tiberius. As the son of Germanicus, Gaius was enthusiastically welcomed by the soldiers and civilians as they took oaths of allegiance to him, giving him much prestige. Suetonius states that to the people ‘Gaius’ accession seemed like a dream come true’. Gaius did not administer the empire in the same way, of which his great uncle’s Tiberius and Augustus did. Instead Gaius’ lack of experience led to his excessive use of power which eventually led to his rule becoming tyrannical. Although Gaius had his unique way of leading the empire he followed some of the actions of Augustus and Tiberius, this is shown through the way of which he eliminated those he saw as potential rivals or threats. During the first six months of his reign Gaius was able to uphold a successful relationship with the Senate, promising to work in partnership with it. He became particularly popular with the senate when he abolished the law of maiestas, and recalled many of the senators who were exiled during Tiberius’ reign. Unfortunately six months into his reign, Gaius became ill and although he recovered his personality had faced a complete change. This impacted Gaius’ relationship with the Senate as Suetonius states that Gaius made some of the highest officials run for miles beside his chariot, dressed in their gowns. Gaius also began to isolate the senate and according to Alston he eventually completely abandoned Augustus’ concept of the Princeps and the Senate being a partnership, by considering the abolishment of the senate. Gaius removed many roles and privileges from the senate; this was shown in the way of which he returned to the Assemblies the right to conduct elections. Gaius’ change...
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