What ruler in history had the greatest responsibility upon his ascension?

Feb 2019
448
Thrace
#1
In the sense of filling his predecessor's shoes. Let's take Commodus for example. He was the first emperor "born in the purple", and his father is up to this day an example of one of the most outstanding human beings who ever lived. I can only imagine the pressure he felt to not be a major disappointment with most people inevitably drawing parallels between his reign and Marcus'. It somewhat explains the propaganda he initiated, since by sheer character and competence, it was nigh impossible to match his father's legacy. What other even more more burden crushing examples do we have in history?
 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,852
Blachernai
#3
If we're talking about the burden of recent history and contemporary circumstances on a new ruler, any late third-century Roman emperor qualifies, since these men came to power during a time of troubles in the knowledge that they would probably be killed in on average a year's time.
Somewhat also in response to the OP, but at what point in time do you think that emperors had big shoes to fill? By the fourth century a competent and professional bureaucracy meant that the character of the emperor mattered less, and I certainly agree on the role of personal leadership in the third century, but how about before that?
 
#4
Somewhat also in response to the OP, but at what point in time do you think that emperors had big shoes to fill? By the fourth century a competent and professional bureaucracy meant that the character of the emperor mattered less, and I certainly agree on the role of personal leadership in the third century, but how about before that?
On some level I think they were always a symbolic figurehead, and it was only certain emperors who went above and beyond and ruled with thought and proactivity. That helps explain why emperors like Caligula, Nero and Commodus could rule as long as they did. Even in the third century, the empire kept on chugging regardless of how many emperors were killed. The empire was bigger than the lives of individual emperors. But the army attributed perhaps undue important to the position of emperor, thus their trigger-happy behaviour during that period.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,428
Las Vegas, NV USA
#10
And Stalin in 1924, no?
I think Stalin was gaining power before Lenin's death. Stalin understood that the Party was the source of power, not one's position in government. When Lenin died Stalin did not assume Lenin's position as PM. Other rivals were placed in those positions that lacked de facto power. His last and most dangerous rival was Trotsky who fled the country and eventually was murdered in Mexico City. Stalin was deliberately seeking one man rule. There were enormous problems but Stalin was quite willing to see millions of Soviet citizens die as he aimed to create "socialism in one country" . We have to admit the Moscow subway stations were nicer than New York's.
 

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