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Ancient History Quote of the Day: "He said that he would leave to the Romans as his imperial successor a man who had never had second thoughts on any single matter. By this he meant Tiberius" (Plutarch, Moralia 207.11). #AHQOTD #Augustus

Image: RIC Augustus 225
On this day - 26 June - in AD 4 (the 755th year since Rome's foundation), Augustus - the first emperor - formally adopted his stepson, Tiberius, marking him out as the successor to his power.

Image: Bust of Tiberius (British Museum 1812,0615.2)
This had been prefigured by grants of the key imperial power, 'tribunicia potestas', a power which Tacitus describes as "that designation for the highest exaltedness devised by Augustus so that he need not take on the name of king or dictator" (Annals, 3.56.2).
But Augustus went beyond this, attempting to secure the succession for the next generation as well. In a bold move he made the event into a double adoption, making Tiberius himself adopt his nephew, Germanicus.

Image: Bust of Germanicus (British Museum 1872,0605.1).
Ovid makes mention of this adoption in his dedication of the Fasti to Germanicus: "Here too you will find your family's own domestic festivals; Oft of your father you will read, oft of your grandsire too." (Fasti 1.9-10).
However, Tacitus (Annals 1.10.7) tells us that some popular conjecture at the time was that Tiberius had not been adopted through affection or concern for the state, but because of Augustus' desire to look better by comparison!
While this is hyperbole and gossip, Tiberius was by no means the first choice for a successor, but the deaths of Marcellus, Agrippa, and Augustus' grandsons - Gaius and Lucius - shown on this coin as 'principes iuventutis', left no other viable candidate.

Image: BMC Augustus 513
However, in his attempts to secure his Principate Augustus had not accounted for the characters of these men. The ramifications of this double adoption would not be felt until well into Tiberius’s reign. #AHQOTD #Augustus
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