Since the office of emperor was an amalgam of powers voted to an individual for life, it ceased to exist when that individual died. A prudent emperor therefore made provision for the succession by having the chief powers, the proconsular imperium and the tribunician potestas, voted to a junior colleague during his own lifetime. When Augustus died, Tiberius was already in possession of these powers and lacked only the name of Augustus, the office of pontifex maximus and some minor powers, e.g., that of summoning the senate. He was also the adoptive son and heir of Augustus, and as such received the oath of allegiance forthwith. The senate thus had no say in determining the succession, except that, as Tiberius suggested, it could have elected a colleague for him. Eventually it did give Tiberius a junior colleague at his own request, his nephew Germanicus. He was already in command of Gaul and its legions, and received only the proconsular imperium, not the tribunician power.


Municipal Council Junior Colleague Chief Officer Public Duty Supreme Power 
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© A. H. M. Jones 1970

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  • A. H. M. Jones

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