Julio-Claudian dynasty: the first dynasty to reign the Roman Empire (31 BCE - 68 CE).


The dynasty was founded by Octavian, who put an end to the Roman civil wars (in the naval battle of Actium) and founded the monarchy, adopting for himself the honorific title Augustus. Although he pretended to have restored the republic, Augustus combined many offices, which essentially made him king. It is no coincidence that his honorific title became synonym for sole ruler.

Because he had no son who could succeed him, he adopted his stepson Tiberius, a son of his wife Livia from an earlier marriage. Because Tiberius was from the Claudian family and Augustus from the Julian family, their dynasty is called Julio-Claudian.

The emperors of Rome's first dynasty were:

Augustus 31 BCE - 14 CE
Tiberius 14 - 37
Caligula 37 - 41
Claudius 41- 54
Nero 54 -68
Dynastic art: Nero and Agrippina Minor (Aphrodisias, Sebasteion)
Dynastic art: Nero and Agrippina Minor (Aphrodisias, Sebasteion)

During the century of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, the Roman Empire prospered. The provinces became increasingly Romanized.

Conflicts in the east and north were usuably containable. The Rhine, Danube, and Euphrates became the frontier zone (the limes).

The popular assemblies, which had once handed out commands, offices, and armies, became powerless. If there was opposition, it was in the Senate, which indeed played a role to terminate the reign of Nero.

This page was created in 2014; last modified on 10 August 2020.