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Philosophy and Power in the Graeco-Roman WorldEssays in Honour of Miriam Griffin$
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Gillian Clark and Tessa Rajak

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299905

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299905.001.0001

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An Emperor is Made: Senatorial Politics and Trajan’s Adoption by Nerva in 97

An Emperor is Made: Senatorial Politics and Trajan’s Adoption by Nerva in 97

(p.211) An Emperor is Made: Senatorial Politics and Trajan’s Adoption by Nerva in 97
Philosophy and Power in the Graeco-Roman World

Werner Eck

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Trajan's accession in terms of political deals and putting the chosen candidate in charge of the nearest army. On the evidence of prosopography, Trajan's military and political career was much less distinguished than the official story suggests. He was not the obvious best man for the job. Pliny, in the Panegyricus, does what he can, and affirms that Trajan was persuaded to take supreme power only because his country so urgently needed him. If anyone was engaged in discussing government by ‘adoptive’ monarchy, as a way of combining dynastic stability with the choice of the most appropriate successor, such discussions had no effect on the accession of Trajan. Even his formal adoption by Nerva was minimized, for he kept his biological father's name.

Keywords:   Trajan, accession, prosopography, Nerva, monarchy

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