Dynastic marriages of client kings during the reign of Augustus

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The article examines the practice of entering into dynastic marriages as part of the policy that was held in relation to vassal kings during the reign of the emperor Augustus (30 BC - AD 14). The author introduces the term “Augustus’ project”, bearing in mind the package of measures, aimed at creating a system of vassal kingdoms on the outskirts of the Roman Empire. According to the author, dynastic marriages as an effective instrument of real policy should have cemented the building blocks of the system. In the main part of the article the author analyses ten well-known dynastic marriages, related to the reign of Augustus. As a result of the research undertaken, the author concludes that Augustus, of course, sought to control the behavior of the kings-collaborators. Sometimes things got out of hand, and then the emperor should have intervened to resolve the resulting “conflict of interests”. The author asks: what did Augustus demand of vassal rulers? The answer is: loyalty and efficiency in the administration of the territories entrusted to them, which meant not only the timely dispatch to Rome of established monetary sums (tributes, taxes and other payments), but also to protect the local population from external enemies, as well as political stability and the rule of law. If it was all there and there was no danger, real or potential, for the peace and stability of the empire, Augustus overlooked extravagant matrimonial combinations, polygamy, conflicts with children and other “excesses” in the family life of dependent kings. But when it came to questioning loyalty and efficiency, Augustus was unmerciful and merciless in punishing the guilty. Immediate successors to Augustus rejected the “Augustus’ project” and gradually eliminated most vassal kingdoms, turning them into provinces under the control of the governors.

About the authors

Vladimir Olegovich Nikishin

Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov

Author for correspondence.
Email: cicero74@mail.ru

candidate of sciences (history), senior lecturer, department of ancient history, faculty of history

27, b. 4, Lomonosovsky prospect, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119234


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Copyright (c) 2021 Nikishin V.O.

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