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Unformatted text preview: Beyond Commodius' illustration that second-century emperors could be just as venal and ill- equipped as had been Caligula (r. 37-41) and Nero (r. 54-68), the period commencing with the Severan dynasty (193 CE) and ending with Constantine's death (337 CE) exhibits basic changes in the form of Roman state and society. These changes are essential to an understanding of the last decades of the Roman state in the West, the roots of Byzantium, and the first era of post- Roman Europe. In political terms, the changes can be best summed up as culminating a process of change from Republic to Principate to Dominate. The ideal of Roman society had always been a republic ruled by a senate that expressed the will of citizens by electing consuls whose tenures were limited. This was an ideal, in that only residents of Italy were counted as citizens, and equality was more...
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- Fall '08