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Compare and contrast the ways in which later Roman Emperors sought to define their own role and image

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  1. The religious realm
  2. The military power
  3. The political ceremonial
  4. The relationship to the people

The Roman Empire can be considered to have begun with the end of the Severan dynasty in 235 AD and following the third century crisis. This period produced great strains and stresses on the imperial position. Indeed, with the exception of Macrinus, Roman Emperors up to Severus Alexander (AD 222-35) were all senatorial aristocrats, from high-ranking families with recognized administrative and military careers. The fact that Maximinus Thrax (AD 235-38) was made Emperor by his troops marked a turning point in Roman history (Southern 2001: 246-7). Imperial instability and permanent warfare climate entailed some substantial modifications of the role exerted by the Emperor on the Roman world. The creation of the Tetrarchy by Diocletian in AD 293 provides the brightest example of the kind of changes that occurred. In that context, it is worth comparing and contrasting the ways in which later Roman Emperors sought to adapt these challenges and therefore define their roles and images better.

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