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...these successive intruders could not fairly be called usurpers; for they were following in the footsteps of the original founders of the Roman Empire more closely than those Emperors who came to the throne on the strength of being their fathers' sons. Monarchical power in the Roman state had been seized, first by Julius Caesar and then by Augustus, in a struggle for existence between rival competitors in which the ablest won the prize... At any time during the fifteen centuries covered by the long series of Roman Emperors, the Imperial Crown could be seized legitimately by any aspirant who had the ambition to seize it, and who also had the ability to translate his ambition into accomplished fact...
This revolutionary tradition, which was inherent in the institution, was benficial to the Roman Empire in as much as it made it certain that ability should come into power from time to time. On the other hand, this tradition was detrimental in as much as the price of it was periodic civil war and chronic intrigue, assassination, and consequent political instability.
originally posted by: intrptr
Sic semper tyrannis is a Latin phrase meaning "thus always to tyrants".