How did Augustus lead to Rome's decline?
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Augustus and his successors could rule because the military forces were devoted to them. That devotion was wearing thin with Claudius, who was not a military man, and it finally broke with Nero, who did not care a whit for the army. Because of Augustus's vision that the army should be devoted to the emperor and not the republic was crucial in the downfall of the Republic. Without the talisman of the Julio-Claudians, therefore, it was difficult to know just who should rule.And this uncertainty led to rampant disorder.In 68, the empire was in crisis. Not only had Nero been removed, but a massive revolt was underway in Judea aimed at removing the Romans completely from the region. One affected the other, for the Jews were only able to sustain their rebellion because the legions were preoccupied with their own struggles to choose a new emperor. Nero’s fall was precipitated by the revolt of Vindex, the commander of Roman forces in Spain who championed the governor, Galba, as the new emperor.This was something new, for it suggested that the emperor could be made elsewhere than Rome. Although Vindex was eventually defeated, the Senate agreed to accept Galba and promised to pay the praetorian guard to do the same. But Galba rejected the promise and the Praetorians lynched him. After a brief struggle between two other claimants, Vespasian in the East was hailed as emperor in 69.
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