Reign of Augustus Caesar
Historians describe Augustus Caesar as the most successful Roman emperor. Augustus lived between 63 B.C and A.D 14, in which he ruled the Roman Empire for 45 years. Augustus used the popularity of Julius Caesar, his famous uncle, to rally the army behind him. Augustus Caesar brought peace and prosperity enjoyed for generations in the Roman Empire. We depict Augustus as a tactful, innovative, ambitious, and chief administrator, who used his ambition to accomplish much. All these outstanding qualities helped Augustus terminate the controversies of the late republic and rebuilt the Roman state firmly. This paper looks at the various milestones accomplished by Augustus Caesar in his reign that reflect his exceptional leadership qualities.
Augustus carried out reformation of the Roman Empire’s administration with the goal of refining it. Domestically, the senate changed from the core state organ to a subordinate role. This assemblage of administrators was at Augustus’s disposal. This enabled him deal tactfully with a senator since his power was hidden from their face. Consuls held office annually. However, the need to pass honour around liberally required Augustus to form consulships that increased the number of office holding men annually. This illustration exposes an augmentation of tradition and innovation attributed to Augustus. Augustus also reinstated senators to fill newly created positions in public works. He respected the senate and consulted it frequently and fully. From the two presiding counsels, he came up with an inner cabinet (consilium), encompassing of magistrates and fifteen senators. With regularization of the administration, Augustus chose administrators from the non-senatorial section of the elites, also called the equites. New posts came up for equestrians, such as command of praetorian cohorts and the fire-fighters. As a consequence, the knights became beneficiaries of Augustus’s rule in addition to that of future emperors.
In external matters, Augustus formed several of the army’s conquests into new provinces. This followed the south shore of Danube and the Alps. He allowed client kingdoms and principalities to exist in the east and Mauritania, in intricate arrangements. He divided these provinces from 27 BC into those retained by senate and people and those of the vast province of Augustus. Examination of the provinces disposition reveals imperial territories doubling the public ones in number. Twenty four legions out of twenty five in operation fell under the oversight of the emperor. Ultimately, Augustus attended to all the provinces (Dio 125).
In overall, both imperial and public provinces immensely benefited from Augustus’s reign. He established peace and charitable governance. Depending on local conditions, Augustus appointed legates in imperial provinces for durations of not less than three years. On the other hand, proconsuls assigned to the public provinces rotated yearly. The rank of men varied from equities to senators depending on where one ruled. By so doing, Augustus filled the loophole that the Republican-era proconsuls and proprietors used to extort money from their provinces. Extortion was dangerous as it raised questions about one’s ambitions.
Presently, all governors reported to one source of authority and thus were monitored easily. There are no significant failings on record in the management of provinces during Augustus’s reign. Augustus frequently intervened himself in any provincial disagreement, like in Cyrenaica, courtesy of pro-consular power. Because of this, years after his death, Augustus’s image is all over the provinces. People termed the Peace established by Augustus as both Pax Romana and Pax Augusta. Augustus also used legislation at his disposal to restore, protect, and guard the Roman tradition. “By new laws passed at my instigation, I returned those practices of our ancestors that were passing away in our age” (R.G 8.5) (Zavada). He passed laws controlling public shows for extravagance as practiced in old Republican senate. Through marriage regulations, he stopped divorce, childlessness, and infidelity among the learned. Augustus Caesar reaffirmed the traditional social hierarchy, ensuring all knew their place in the social sphere.
He established status symbols for all the groups, notably among the amorphous equestrians and reinforced minimum material prerequisite for membership of the higher orders. The series of rules governing freed slaves, enacted around 17 BC and AD 4, illustrate this rule. This legislature restricted the number of slaves freed in wills proportionately to the number of slaves available. This sumptuary regulation limited exorbitant displays of affluence and hospitality publicly. Secondly, he placed the informally freed slaves into a class of quasi-citizenship called Junian Latinity (Southern 246). This class of people was promoted to full citizenship after proving themselves worthy, one way by having children. These rules promoted Augustan attitude towards maintenance of social hierarchy, public extravagance and marriage and reproduction. Augustus’s regulations helped to maintain decent outward appearance of dignity discarded during the Late Republic regime. The rules targeted more the governing classes of the empire than the common people on streets. Augustus quickly became the patron of the arts in the empire, being the Rome’s eminent citizen.
He spearheaded the establishment of an extensive building program in the art and architecture fields. This provoked his well-known saying: “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble” (Augustus Caesar) (Zavada). He proudly talked of the multiple building projects accomplished under his own expense. The projects do not include the many acts of munificence that his family members did the elite or his inner circle. It is clear throughout that Augustus practiced a mixture of innovation and conservatism. This made his style obtain the deblockedion of classicizing from the Greek. Augustus’s ageless portraits contrast sharply with the brutally frank “eristic” representations of the Late Republican scholars.
Augustus was exceptional literary. His reign attributed with Rome’s most influential and famous writers. They include: Propertius, Vergil, Ovid, Horace, poetic Tibullus and Livy in prose. Vergil sculptured a new national epic in the Aeneid for the Romans, which quickly replaced Ennius’ Annales as the popular poem that every pupil happily learned (Southern 67). Augustus developed the literary circles of patronage that promoted these literary activities that were in abeyance from the second century BC. C. Maecenas, a close ally of Augustus was the patron of these artistic activities. These literary circles expressed political and cultural issues officially and in so doing spread half-truths for the Augustan authority. Weighing the evidence reveals an aspect of the state-controlled literature, but there existed motivation from above to depict the right view merged with relief and genuine gratitude from the patrons and authors alike. This argued that Augustus restored stability to public affairs and peace. Augustus brought hope for reclamation of peace to the countryside of Italy as reflected on by Georgics and Vergil’s Eclogues.
Concerning the worship of Augustus, the ruler’s worship extended in the Eastern Mediterranean well before the Roman times. Over the many years, the Imperial cult had gradually evolved. The adornment of Augustus as a god began briefly after Actium Augustus Caesar, however, emphasized that his worship be merged with that of Rome and rejected divine respects out rightly. In Rome, Augustus received worship as a god since they considered him the son of a god and the loved one. People established cult centres, temples, and altars for the purpose of worship. Such cult centres promoted unity and peace in the formerly barbarous western provinces and direct loyalties accordingly. They also facilitated assimilation of the locals into Roman way of life (Zavada).
Ironically, Augustus established peace and order that helped in spreading Christianity.
His successors also did the same. Augustus Caesar pioneered construction of better roads in the Roman Empire to facilitate easy movement of his subjects and transport in general. The apostle Paul conducted his missionary work over these roads to the west. Both Paul and Peter were executed in Rome, having already spread the gospel there (Zavada).
As Augustus grew older, he withdrew from the public arena but continued transacting public business. Tiberius succeeded him and was made emperor by AD 13. Augustus passed on peacefully at Nola, while touring Campania, on the 19th day of August, AD 14 (Dio 308).
The man, who magnificently reigned over the Roman world on his own for over 45 years, was dead. The people accorded him a magnificent send off and eternally rested in the mausoleum he built in Rome. He joined the Roman Pantheon named as Divus Augustus.
Considering the regime of Augustus as well as its bequest to the Roman world, its prolonged existence is a vital role in its success. The subjects grew and reached middle age knowing the Principate form of government only. Assuming Augustus died earlier, matters might have rolled out majorly differently. The wearing away of the civil conflicts on the old Republican nobility and the prolonged existence of Augustus, therefore, contributed immensely in the revolution of the Roman state into present day monarch. Augustus's personal understanding, his tact, his patience, and influential political potential also played their part. These factors allowed Augustus end the misunderstandings of the Late Republic and restore the Roman state strongly. Augustus's crucial bequest, however, was the peace and affluence observed for two more centuries based the scheme he started. His reminiscence remained in the political philosophy of the Imperial era as a paradigm of the good emperor. Emperors adopted his name but none of them could match him.
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