History Notes! The Principate (31BC-AD235)

(These are short and sweet collections of notes I’ve taken. TL;DR version of history!)


It's easy to call "Time Out!" when you already have everything.

It’s easy to call “Time Out!” when you already have everything.

1. (Octavian) Augustus Caesar (31BC-AD14): FIRST!

2. Princeps (Speaker of the House; “First Among Equal’s”), Imperator (Commander of an Army), and Senate


  • i. -Civic vs. Military Authority. (The entire army backed them= Authority. Unless under control, it was a very unstable system.)
  • ii. Pax Romana

1. “Roman Peace” (Elimination of most war)

2. Army needed to know someone in authority; serves their best interests.

*Constitutio Antoniniana* (AD 212)
-Piece of legislature passed by Caracalla.

  • a) Every ‘Free Born Male’ is now a Roman Citizen.
  • b) Represents incorporation of Pax Romana. You are one of us. In demonstration of.
  • c) Caracalla was motivated to pass this because as the Roman Empire got bigger, you must defend more borders which means you need more men to serve in the Legion…who must be Roman in order to serve, you get me?

3. Crisis of the Third Century (AD 235-285)

  •  Began with the assassination of Emperor Alexander Severus by his own troops.

i. Increased pressure from barbarians. Needs STRONG leader.
ii. Plague passed through. Like it do.
iii. Natural disasters.

  • -Soldiers on fixed incomes, asked for raise. Empire would start minting more coins. Too small, devalue!!! MORE PLZ! F this, let’s declare our general Emperor, yeah? He’ll give us the moneys.

a) Senate vs. Emperor

  • i. Eventually, Senate does what the Emperor says.
  • ii. Army starts to take steps to ensure who they wanted becomes new Emperor.

b) Succession vs. Acclimation (People have a say)

  • i. After death of Nero (An embarrassing show of attempted suicide), Vespasian rules and then his sons follow.
  • ii. When an Emperor is acclaimed by the army, he gives Donative to army.

-Sooooo corruption?

  • iii. Impose high degree of authority over Empire.

-Same language, currency, cultural moral. Cultural uniformity (Especially at elite level)


One thought on “History Notes! The Principate (31BC-AD235)

  1. Pingback: History Notes! Society and Culture During the Principate | Histastrophe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s