Augustus 'Rise to Power' Essay (Tacitus and Augustus)

1513 Words Mar 24th, 2013 7 Pages
Question:
Compare the following descriptions of Augustus’ rise to power, one by Augustus himself and one by Tacitus (the second-century historian), and discuss their historical validity.
1)“At the age of nineteen on my own responsibiliy and at my own expense I raised an army,...I transferred the republic from my power to the dominion of the senate and people of Rome.” -Augustus,Res Gestae Divi Augusti
2)”One view of Augustus went like this: filial duty and national crisis had been merely pretexts...After that, there had certainly been peace, but it was a bloodstained peace”-Tacitus, Annals

Answer:
Of Augustus’ rise to power and the means by which he achieved his ends of Empirical glory, different views have been taken. While some
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These two sentences relate directly to Augustus’ use of the forces he’d both raised and had been granted, to go against the “state” and force them to elect him as consul (as dramatically shown by Suetonius).

Another clear point of difference between the two passages is their treatment of the deaths of Gaius Vibius Panse and Aulus Hirtius, the two consuls who Octavian was sent to fight with in Mutina. While Augustus relates that “both consuls had fallen in battle”, Tacitus plants a seed of doubt by saying “Soon both consuls had met their death by enemy action or perhaps in one case by deliberate poisoning of a wound and in the other at the hand of his own troops, instigated by Octavian”. The advantages (as well as te convenient coincidental nature) of the deaths of both of the consuls for Augustus are clear and while Augustus (obviously) stands by the belief that they died in battle – as historians have also come to believe due to the lack of evidence of any foul play – Tacitus voices the fears of many Roman citizens. However, in this case, it is Augustus’ claim which received more historical vailiduty, as lack of evidence can be evidence in itself; while Tacitus’ ideas towards the deaths of Pansa and Hirtius were mere speculation.

Tacitus also shows distrust towards Augustus in his exiling and killing of anyone deemed to be a political enemy – a taste which her masterfully called the proscriptions, and advertised to the public as a

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