· The Julio-Claudian Dynasty ·
Much already exists, in print and on the Internet, about ancient Rome ; most of it deals with the conflicts fought and lands conquered by her leaders. A rehearsal of that material here is unnecessary ; a summary of the family tree of the dynasty founded by Augustus might, however, interest the reader and add to the colour of to-day’s* broadcast in the entertaining series A History of the World in 100 Objects on B.B.C. Radio-4, presented by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum.
* Friday, 21st. May
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The lines of descent themselves within this family tree are reasonably simple, despite quite a lot of marriage amongst cousins ; what complicates it are the manifold adoptions, as one emperor after another attempts to secure his succession — either by a blood relative or by a perhaps unrelated individual considered suitable.
The dynasty — known as the Julio-Claudian — really begins in the time of C. Julius Caesar. The ‘C.’ stands for his praenomen (plural praenomina) or forename, Gaius ; for a detailed description of Roman naming conventions see this excellent Wikipedia article ; and a list of the most common praenomina and their conventional abbreviations. (Links to Wikipedia articles have been given throughout : not only are they often well presented ; they themselves give extensive references for those wanting to pursue the subject.)
Follow the story through the links on our simplified form of the Julio-Claudian family tree.