Augustus also reformed the Roman tax
system. Previously, individual tax collectors
paid the government for the right to do the
job. To make their investment worthwhile,
tax collectors were allowed to keep some of
the money they gathered. Many of them,
however, were dishonest and took too much.
Augustus solved this problem by making
tax collectors permanent government work-
ers. This change made the tax system fairer.
Augustus also reformed the legal
system. He created a set of laws for
people in the provinces who were
not citizens. As time passed, how-
ever, most of these people gained cit-
izenship. The laws of Rome then
applied to everyone, although the
legal system generally stressed the
authority of the government over
the rights of the individual.
Who Came After Augustus?
After ruling for almost 40 years,
Augustus died in A.D. 14. No law
stated how the next emperor was
to be chosen. Augustus, however,
had trained a relative, Tiberius,
to follow him. The next three
luh), Claudius, and Nero (NEE •
roh)—also came from Augustus’s
family. They are called the Julio-
Claudian emperors. Unfortunately,
they were not all fit to lead.
Tiberius and Claudius ruled capa-
bly. Caligula and Nero, however,
proved to be cruel leaders.
Mental illness caused Caligula
to act strangely and to treat people
cruelly. He had many people mur-
dered, wasted a lot of money, and
even gave his favorite horse the
position of consul. Eventually, the
Praetorian Guard killed him and
put Claudius on the throne.
Nero was also a vicious man. Among
those he had killed were his mother and two
wives. He is best remembered for having
“fiddled while Rome burned.” According to
legend, he was playing music miles from
Rome when a fire destroyed much of the city
in A.D. 64. Eventually, he committed suicide.
What did Augustus
do to make the empire safer and stronger?
288 CHAPTER 8 The Rise of Rome
Great military leader; regulated business
to prevent fraud; kept Rome’s economy
Caligula 37–41 A.D.
Abolished sales tax; allowed people in
exile to return; increased court system’s
Claudius 41–54 A.D.
Built new harbor at Ostia and new
aqueduct for Rome; conquered most
Nero 54–68 A.D.
Constructed many new buildings; gave
slaves the right to file complaints;
assisted cities suffering from disasters
The Julio-Claudian Emperors
The Julio-Claudian Emperors
The four emperors who followed Augustus
were all relatives of Augustus.
1. Under which emperor was Britain
2. Conclude Why do you think the Roman
Empire remained at peace even with weak
emperors such as Caligula and Nero?
(t)C. Hellier/Ancient Art & Architecture Collection, (tc)Ronald Sheridan/Ancient Art & Architecture Collection, (bc)The Art Archive/Museo Capitolino Rome/Dagli Orti, (b)The Art Archive/Staatliche Glypothek Munich/Dagli Orti
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