Augustus Caesar (Lancaster Pamphlets) by David Shotter

By David Shotter

Background sees Augustus Caesar because the first emperor of Rome, whose method of ordered govt supplied an organization and reliable foundation for the successive growth and prosperity of the Roman Empire over the following centuries. Hailed as restorer of the Republic' and thought of by way of a few as a deity in his personal lifetime, Augustus turned an item of emulation for lots of of his successors. This pamphlet stories the facts for you to position Augustus firmly within the context of his personal instances. It explores the history to his superb upward push to strength, his political and imperial reforms, and the production of the Respublica of Augustus and the legacy left to his successors. via interpreting the hopes and expectancies of his contemporaries and his personal own features of statesmanship and unscrupulous ambition, Shotter finds that the explanations for Augustus' luck lie partially within the complexity of the fellow himself, and partially within the specific nature of the days within which he lived.

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In the early and middle years of the Republic— until, that is, the end of the third century BC—auctoritas had been associated principally with the senate, the ‘collective’ aristocracy. It was this that had enabled that body effectively to govern the state, despite the facts that sovereignty rested with the populus and plebs and that the senior magistrates provided the executive branch. Apt comments on the senate’s position were made in the third century BC, when King Pyrrhus of Epirus called the body ‘an assembly of kings’, and later in the first century BC, when Cicero clearly regarded the magistrates as the servants of the senate.

These powers gave Octavian most of the control that he needed, since Rome could be governed through his consulships, whilst the empire would be protected by the armed forces which were stationed in his ‘extended province’. Indeed these forces represented the bulk of the Roman army, and, although the army was the state’s, the soldiers, in accordance with tradition, swore their oath of allegiance through and to the holder of the state’s imperium, who was their commander (imperator). Like Pompey in a similar situation before him, Octavian elected to run his provinces through ‘deputies’ (legati), who were themselves ex-consuls and who were chosen by Octavian for their efficiency and reliability.

Gradually, the more direct areas of patronage—‘bread and circuses’—which had helped to create such a bond between Caesar and the Roman people became the central feature of the relationship between plebs and princeps. Both building work (which put money into workers’ pockets) and entertainment were areas of substantial imperial patronage in Augustus’ time and under most of his successors. By securing of the wealth of Egypt, Augustus ensured the long-term viability of this arrangement. Other areas of imperial patronage (for example, the army and religion) will be dealt with in later chapters, but it would be appropriate to conclude the present chapter with another very traditional and, for Augustus, very effective area of patronage literature.

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