THE CHARISMATIC LEGITIMISATION OF RULERS' POWER UNDER THE ILLYRIAN EMPERORS
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After the assassination of Gallienus in 268 the power in the Roman Empire was seized by military emperors from Illyricum (Claudius II, Aurelian, Probus, Carus and his sons). Most of them came from lower social strata. Practically all of them were praised as army leaders and led successful campaigns against external enemies of the Roman Empire. Despite their military triumphs, their power was insecure, most probably due to their social background. I believe that according to Max Weber's terminology of legitimisation of power, Illyrian emperors made attempts to reinforce their position by promoting their own charisma. In their propaganda the emperors emphasised their extraordinary qualities and military successes. They were presented as individuals favoured by the gods (above all by Jupiter and Sol) and promoted themselves as restorers of the world (restitutor orbis). Contrary to the opinion of many 20th–century scholars, Aurelian and Probus did not attempt to establish a monotheist solar cult, although the Sun was indeed their divine protector. Aurelian, Probus and Carus most probably did not proclaim themselves living gods. The emperors who reigned in years 268-285 were not the first to draw attention to the charismatic legitimisation of their power, but it did play a significant role in their propaganda. Unfortunately, practically nothing can be said about the range of the latter.
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