TitleThe process of imperial decision-making from Augustus to Trajan
NameHicks, Benjamin Wesley (author), Brennan, T. Corey (chair), Connolly, Serena (internal member), Farney, Gary (internal member), Farney, Gary D. (internal member), Peachin, Michael (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Public administration--Decision making,
Rome--Politics and government--30 B.C.-284 A.D.
DescriptionPrevious studies of Roman imperial decision-making have largely viewed the structure of imperial government either through the lens of the later Principate or of the consilium principis. This dissertation instead focuses on the early Principate, the era when the first emperors established patterns that shaped the growing imperial governmental and bureaucratic apparatus. It examines decision-making as a process, tracing the handling of problems of state and law from the provincial governor to the implementation of the emperor’s decisions. The evidence of Pliny the Younger’s letters from Bithynia-Pontus make him the subject of the first component of this study, which uses social network theory to examine the flow of information both within an imperial province and between emperor and governor, wherein the governor acted as a filter through which information flowed to the emperor. Turning to the actual deliberation on decisions, this same consideration of social networks reveals that the consilium principis, whose position between court and petitioner allowed it to function as the node between two “cliques,” played a central role in mediating the tensions between ruler and subject while fulfilling a particularly Roman need to legitimate the acta of magistrates through consultative decision-making. The final major portion of the decision-making process involves the implementation of those self-same decisions. Precedent and informational insecurity proved a significant challenge to Roman imperial governance. The relatively broad swath of imperial power, which combined legislative, judicial, and executive authority, resulted in a system where both decisions and their implementation in any instant case could produce a precedent. As becomes evident in the examination of legal and epigraphic sources, the bureaucratic means to cope with the potential snares of this system developed slowly with the growth of imperial record-keeping mechanisms stemming from the precedent of a magistrate’s semi-private collection of his commentarii rather than the public records of the aerarium and tabularium. This study concludes that the imperial decision-making apparatus as a whole grew out of Roman, distinctly republican precedents adapted to fit the reality of empire and supports its findings with an appendix of representative imperial decisions.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Benjamin Wesley Hicks
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.