The Politics of Caesar Augustus Essays

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The Politics of Caesar Augustus

In 31BC Augustus won the battle of Actium against his former colleague in the triumvirate, but now bitter rival, Antony and the queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, after having been in the triumvirate since 43BC.

This immediately faced him with a grating predicament; he now sought to fit his own position, as sole remaining member of the triumvirate, with the old republican system. He had several problems, one of which was that all through the civil war with Antony he had portrayed Antony to be a tyrant and a ruthless man who wanted to rule Rome for himself, as a dictator. This was potentially what he had now become, and so he had several possibilities; to retire, which could lead to another civil war, and he
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On the other hand he didn't want to look like he had a military dictatorship because this would have angered traditional republicans. He solves this problem by placing friends of his in command of forces and limited their tenure to two years, so restrictions the threats that these frontier garrisons pose to Rome.

We can see here that he is charming the hearts of the people by buying, out of his own pocket and from the spoils of war, land for the soldiers that have fought for him in the civil war, also representing the lack of requiring of an army, and so marketing the peace, and also isolating himself from the way in which Julius Caesar gained his power (marching an army upon Rome). This is cutting down of legions from 60 to 28 is also an obvious sign of peace for Rome.

We can learn a lot about the first emperor of Rome from Suetonius' "The Twelve Caesars." In book 18 we can learn that Augustus wanted to convey the right impression when he started, so had to be seen doing the right thing directly after the battle of Actium. It says "He reduced Egypt into the form of a province; and to render it more fertile, and more capable of supplying Rome with grain, he employed his army to scour the canals." The Roman attitude towards Egypt at this time would be fairly hostile having just fought a war with them, and so Augustus made the right decision to create a Roman province that
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