The statue of Augustus and Republican Busts of the Previous Generation Report
A Roman portraiture and sculpture are characterized by specific stylistics. Each stage of sculpture and, especially, portraiture, is marked with certain elements that were a characteristic of each dynasty.
One of the brightest representatives of such portraiture is a statue of Augustus of Prima Porta. It is not only a statue of a man, it is a symbol of new époque of Rome, new tendencies in sculpture and portrait. Thus, the sculpture of Augustus is symbol of a rupture with “the worst of times” and its traditions, and it is an important mean of propaganda.
As it has already been mentioned, the statue of Augustus marked a new period when Roman Republic became Roman Empire. Everything had changed. An old Iron Age passed and new Golden Age became the riches and the most glorious time in the history of the Roman Empire. The city was restored after the last political conflict (Civil War) in the Republic that exhausted the country.
Augustus called this time “the worst of time”. Constant wars did not let the country to develop its sciences and art. The brightest characteristic of the Roman Republic is the portraiture. A realistic “face” with all its lacks and imperfections is associated with “the worst of times”.
The old “face” of the Republic was very detailed and realistic. That is why it disclosed every wrinkle and every skin imperfection to show the wisdom and courage of the person. A military prowess and blind devotion to public service were the most important traits of every politician.
The sculptors tried to reflect these traits in busts and statues. According to the rules of Republican traditions, the form of the sculpture should preset the idea that the artistic model wanted to express (concern about the nation, wisdom that he acquired during his “cursus honorum”, etc).
The traditions of the Golden Age of the Rome Empire ruined old traditions and reconsidered the meaning of the sculpture and portraits. The image of the sculpture was completely different: not “wrinkles”, but “youth” of a face and the whole pose of a statue expressed the power and greatness of a person. Now, the sculpture was a means of ideology and propaganda.
A completely different scheme for portrait was adopted. New techniques were based on a traditional Roman art, however, it was original and innovative at the same time. These new statues emphasized the greatness of emperors, their divinity and heroism. The youth, beauty and majestic pose were the major treats of signs of power and braveness. And these are the traits that every portrait possessed.
“Augustus was portrayed in numerous statues and portraits” (Cunningham and Reich 111). The Augustus in Prima Porta was created during the emperor’s reign. It is the manifestation of his talents, authority and connection to Olympic gods.
Indeed, the statue is the best example of propaganda, as every detail, from head to toes on his barefoot legs, symbolizes his leadership abilities. The artist put into the sculpture the orator’s gesture and body proportions of a Greek Doryphoros. The impression as if Augustus speaks to his people and shows them his justice and wisdom.
He looks younger than he really was because youth and brave look of his eyes symbolize his greatness. These features make the statue completely different from the republic statues. In Republic architects considered that and faded and calm look symbolized the wisdom of a king. “New” statue used the pose and “activeness” to express this feature, moreover, it showed that the emperor was ready for radical actions for the sake of his people.
Another feature that distinguishes the statue of Augustus from works of the Republic period is the presence of additional attributes of power and “divinity” of the emperor. The first one is the statue of Cupid, which rides a dolphin. It shows the emperor’s consanguinity with the goddess Venus. It indicated that Augustus, as well as Aeneas, who was the founder of Rome, and Cupid himself, was the son of Aphrodite. Consequently, he was the only and competent ruler of the Empire.
The breastplate is the most significant detail of the statue. The reliefs show his great achievements, victories and people conquered. There, we can see the reliefs of the goddess Diana, Augustus’ patron, Apollo, two sphinx that signified the victory over Cleopatra and many other significant figures from life of Roman Empire. The breastplate is the most significant propagandistic detail of the sculpture.
The Augustus of Prima Porta is one of the brightest examples of early propaganda. In addition, it is not only a symbol of power and divinity of the emperor, it is a symbol of new era without old traditions of life, art and politics.
Cunningham, Lawrence S. and John J. Reich. Culture and Values: A Survey of the Humanities. vol. 1. 7th ed. Boston: Cengage Learning. 2009.
Camillus and Augustus Essay
In 406, Rome started military attacks against Veii, a remarkable Etruscan city. During these times, the Roman Senate appointed Marcus Furius Camillus as a military commander to control the Roman Army. Due to his talent as a warrior, Camillus managed to defeat Falerii and Capena, two allies of the Etruscan city.
In the book, Livy notes, “…Marcus Camillus …found an increase of glory in the country of Faliscians… he compelled them to come forth from the city” (Livy pg 487). As a result, Camillus was a fearless warrior whose courage and furious temper imposed fear on rivals, which left the Roman Senate nothing, but proposing him the title of the Roman founder. Being a talented strategic leader, the defeat of Gauls was among his utmost achievements.
In Res Gestae Divi Augusti, (The Achievement of the Divine Augustus), the Roman Emperor Augustus talks about his remarkable achievements and journeys contributing to the welfare of the Romans. In particular, the book reveals stories about his donations of money and land to the Roman plebs during his consulship: “I paid out 400 sesterces as largesse to each man from my own patrimony…I bought grain with own money and distributed twelve rations apiece” (Augustus pg 25).
The emperor also remembers his multiple donations to his soldiers, including lands and monetary rewards. Apart from his patronage, the Emperor depicts himself as a wise ruler. His wisdom and great experience in military field are revealed through exceptional talent in establishing multiple alliances with other states during the period of his reign.
In particular, Augustus writes, “The Gallic and Spanish provinces, Africa, Sicily and Sardinia swore the same oath of allegiance” (Augustus pg 31). Over seven hundred senators promised to serve under the Emperor’s law. Further, the Roman Emperor describes his expansion policy and peaceful co-existence of the conquered provinces. Further, Augustus claims about his success in expanding the territories without waging military actions on the peaceful population.
Camillus’s achievements are mostly confined to his military attacks and conquering of numerous lands. He is known as a cruel and fearless soldier who misused his power and deterred the civil population of Rome. Unlike Marcus, Augustus’s deeds and achievements were less connected with his military policy, but with his social and economic reforms. This is of particular concern to his donations to the Roman plebs and soldiers.
Marcus Camillus, an acknowledged military leader and Roman soldier, is also known as the second founder of Rome. He is also known as the most powerful and cruel dictator, although his military tactics helped Rome to stand the attack of the Guals. When the Roman army was defeated, the Rome was immediately seized by the rivals, although the Capital Hill remained under the control of the Roman garrison (Livy pg 520).
The Roman Senators were aware of Camillus’s exceptional gift as a military leader and, therefore, they had to recall him from exile to win the battle: “Camillus should…instantly nominated dictator by order of the people that the soldiers should have the general whom they wished” (Livy pg 520).
The Roman government, therefore, acknowledged that they would not be able to conquer the rival without his assistance (Livy pg 521). Despite the fact that the Roman Senate awarded the warrior an honorable title, Marcus did not agree to take the position until he was officially recognized as a Roman dictator.
In contrast to Camillus’s aggressive policy, Augustus’s tactics was less invasive. In particular, the emperor sought to extinguish civil wars and establish peace on the conquered territories. As a proof, Augustus recalls the story of his appointment as the Roman Emperor.
Augustus writes, “…and a civic crown was fixed over my door and a golden shield was set in the Curia Julie…which was given me by the senate and people of Rom” (pg 35). Once he was appointed as the governor of Rome, Augustus proved to be an influential figure possessing stronger power than other members of the Senate. In the book, the Emperor emphasizes that the Roman people entitled him as Father of their Country (Augustus 37).
More importantly, the Roman people decided that this title “…should be inscribed in the porch of my house and in the Curia Julia and in the Forum Augustum below the chariot” (Augustus pg 37). Therefore, the Emperor’s reign was not marked by negative critics on the part of the Senate and the Roman population.
With regard to the above-presented achievements and deeds, both Roman leaders have demonstrated wisdom and courage, but in a different way. In particular, Marcus is presented as an ambitious warrior possessing conspicuous features of talented military strategist. In numerous combats he headed, Marcus revealed himself as a strong personality whose power and control was gained through deterrence and violence (Livy pg 443).
Despite this, the Roman citizens agreed to accept this necessary evil because his reign protected them from foreign invasions. Unlike Marcus, Augustus’s achievements were more tolerant and managed to sustain peaceful reign of the Roman Empire despite his constant engagement with territorial expansion of the Empire. Therefore, Augustus is also considered as an excellent negotiator who managed to establish peaceful unions with adjacent states.
With regard to the achievements in conducting wars, both Roman leaders can be regarded as experienced combatants. However, Marcus is more known as a warrior and soldier who gave tribute to military expansion whereas Augustus is more known as a talented politician and negotiator whose territorial expansion was successful through establishing unions with other powerful economies.
While considering the historical accounts on Marcus military tactics, it should be stressed that his commitment to war and expansion was much stronger than that to peaceful and prosperous existence of the Roman Empire. The legends also runs that, although his was among the most outstanding personalities known in the Roman history, his dictatorial power did not please the population that refused to meet his triumphal return with all glories.
In the book, Livy states, “Camillus returning home, crowned with honors of far greater value…the Senate did conceal their sense of the respectful attention” (pg 490). Hence, Marcus Camillus managed to conquer the attention and receive the triumphal ceremony on his arrival. The leader, therefore, attained much importance to glory and recognition of the Roman population.
Unlike Marcus Camillus, Augustus was less concerned with glory, although he mentions that the Roman people were ready to serve his people with honors and awards in return. In his autobiographic narration, the Emperor confesses that his did not accept some of the award and titles because he was more committed to the welfare of his people. Therefore, all contributions he made to the Roman Empire were aimed at improving economic, social, and political situation in the state.
Therefore, although he managed to restore the strength of the Empire, he considered himself to be equal in front of other people. The narrations also points to emperor’s absolute inclination to divine right and monarchy. In addition, Augustus’ political career can also serve an example of his brave experiment whose successful propaganda allowed him to gain power and respect of the Roman population and the Senate.
One the one hand, the strategic policy of the Roman leaders differed much because of their attitude to the reign and power. On the other hand, the origin of narrations allows to judge the historical figures from various angles of objectivity. In particular, the account about Marcu’s life and achievement is presented in the third person, which imposes objectivity on the military hero.
In contrast, the book by Augustus is a bibliographical representation of his achievement and, therefore, it can be considered as a more subjective evaluation of his political career and accomplishments. Nevertheless, the book is more concerned with Augustus’s achievements apart from his military expansion. Specifically, the story accounts on the Emperor’s donations and his active participation in constructing and renovation of various buildings in Rome.
As per Camillus, the history presents an ambivalent attitude to his personality. On the one hand, Camillus was known as a remarkable dictator with aggressive military tactics and, therefore, the Roman population was reluctant to accept him as the head of the state. On the other hand, the Roman Senate acknowledged his strong influence on his rival and, therefore, it had to give Camillus a title of the Roman founder.
August , “Res Gestae Divi Augusti: The Achievements of the Divine Augustus”. n. d. Web.
Livy. The History of Rome. US: T. Cadell and W. Davies. 1797. Print.
Characteristics of Marcus Camillus and Augustus Octavian Compare and Contrast Essay
Marcus Furius Camillus is the Roman leader and military hero who managed to triumph for times. The Roman statesman is also considered the second founder of Rome. Augustus is the first founder of the Roman Empire. Therefore, leaders could be regarded as the founders of the Roman Empire.
Hence, during the reign of Augustus, the Romans experienced the peaceful existence for over two centuries despite the continuous expansion of the emperor. The wisdom of the Roman Emperor consisted in his ability to favor expansion policy with no harm to the Roman population.
In his book, Augustus mentioned, “I made the sea peaceful and freed it of pirates” (section 25 n. p.). Hence, the Roman ruler managed to establish allegiance with Spanish, Gallic, and African governments.
Unlike Augustus, Camillus was known as a tyrant who captured the Rome through violence and war. Acknowledged as a military leader, the Roman Senators appointed Marcus as the dictator to confront the Gauls. Despite his image of a violent and aggressive leader, Camillus managed to negotiate with Brennus, the Gallic leader, and made him leave Rome.
The day after, the Gauls returned with refreshed army, but were defeated by Camillus. As a result, the Roman soldier was later appointed as Roman Emperor and was known as the dictator who reigned for the longest period.
In the book, Livy refers to these events to emphasize the courage of the Roman leader: “…a general, selected by the fates, both for destruction of that city, and the preservation of his native country, Marcus Furius Camillus, was nominated dictator” (pg 475). The Roman Senate recognized the powerful tactics of fearless soldier although his violent attitude to the people was not welcomed.
Both leaders brightly expressed their commitment to the welfare of Roman people and Italy. In this respect, Augustus is also known as the one who donated land, grain, and money to the Romans to improve their welfare.
While enumerating his achievements, Augustus specifically refers to success in war and foreign policies and states, “the whole of Italy of its own free will swore allegiance to me and demanded me as the leader in the war” (sec. 25 n. p.).
The first Roman Emperor reconciled conflicts on his territory and restored the stability in the country. He also received various awards and honors, which were represented in historic documents. The official title was among the highest honors assigned to a Roman.
Unlike Augustus, Camillus’s achievements were less recognized among the Roman people. This is of particular concern to his return to the Capitolium. The Romans were not entirely satisfied with the policy and heroism of the dictator and, therefore, he was regarded as a nothing but an evil tyrant whose authority should be respected to avoid conflicts.
However, his talent in military strategy forced the Roman Senators to accept his power and appoint him the governmental leader.
In order to emphasize Camillus’s gift in conducting war, Livy notes, “they had used the most effectual means which human wisdom could suggest, for insuring success in giving the command to Marcus Furius, the greatest general of the age” (pg 482). Therefore, Camillus is considered a more aggressive leader who methods of gaining power and control were confined to war and violence.
Both Roman founders were recognized as outstanding military leaders, but their military tactics differed significantly from each other. In particular, Augustus managed to strike the balance between constant war expansion and peaceful existence in the Empire. Although the Emperor was constantly involved into war actions, the civil population did not experience any military intrusion in their daily lives.
Therefore, he could be considered as a wise and experienced ruler. What is more important is that the Roman Emperor managed to restore the state from war actions by constantly constructing temples, churches, and buildings. His donations of lands and money are also highlighted in the reading:
“Four times I assisted the treasury with my own money, so that I transferred to the administrators of the treasury 150.000.000 sesterces” (sec. 17, n. p.). In this respect he could be considered not only a wise and experienced ruler, but also a generous mentor.
In contrast to Augustus, Marcus Camillus was less concerned with the peaceful welfare of the Roman population. His main purpose lied in expanding the territories and conquering new lands. Livy underlines Marcus’s ambitions and focuses on his struggles against the rivals: “he had reduced the spoils of Veii to nothing; daringly abusing the nobles, in their absence” (pg 486).
Therefore, the general made everything possible to take control of other territories and prove his superiority. With regard to the above-presented debates, it should be stated that both military leaders made significant contribution to the economic and political development of the Roman Empire.
Their methods and military tactics were extremely different. Nevertheless, both historic figures remained in the Roman history as outstanding dictators and talented rulers that managed to empower the Roman people and provide new ways for the prosperity.
Augustus. Res Gestae Divi Augusti. Trans. Peter Brunt, and James Moore UK: Oxford University Press. 1969. Web.
Livy. The History of Rome. US: T. Cadell and W. Davies. 1797. Print.
Roman History: Caesar Augustus Essay
Caesar Augustus (Octavius) was a Roman emperor who had been in power since 27 BC. He was a grandnephew of Gaius Julius Caesar, and the board regime, which was established during his reign was called Principate (Woolf, 2012). This emperor had an out standing personality, and he was known for his strength of mind and character that enabled him to become one of the most powerful emperors of the Roman Empire.
Biography Details and Notable Actions
The future ruler of the empire was born on August 23, 63 BC. He was brought up in a family of the senator Gaius Octavius and Julius Caesar’s niece, Atia. He had health problems, which did not allow him to take military service; thus, he engaged in education actively. When Julius Caesar, the uncle of Augustus, came to power in Rome, Octavius became indeed close to him. After his uncle had been killed, Augustus decided to fight for the power. In 31 BC, Octavius won the victory in the civil war (Woolf, 2012). In addition, he and his army won the war with Mark Antony and Cleopatra. This victory allowed him to concentrate all the power in his hands on January 13, 27 BC (Woolf, 2012). Thus, he became one of the first who was able to concentrate military, civil, and priestly authority.
The Roman emperor was firm in his views and always adhered to them both in politics and military affairs. The main principle in military science was the conquest of the territories, whereas in domestic politics he held the strategy of preserving the lasting peace. During Augustus’s reign, the Roman Empire conquered Egypt, the land along the southern bank of the Danube, the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as the territory between the Rhine and the Elbe. Moreover, under his powerful leadership, trips to areas such as the Dacia, Ethiopia, and South Arabia were made for the first time (Goldsworthy, 2014). However, the last years of the reign were unstable due to Pannonia, Dalmatia, and the Germans tribes’ uprisings. On August 19, 14 BC, the great emperor died. His body was cremated and placed in a mausoleum.
It is crucial to emphasize that for the first time in the history of Rome propaganda became an important tool for political action. However, the key aspects of Augustus’s action to strengthen the state apparatus was the creation of a stable army, police force, and bureaucracy. Interestingly, many researchers have named this time the golden age of Roman poetry due to the fact that many poets were inspired by the ruler’s personality (Goldsworthy, 2014). Regarding the family life of Augustus, it should be noted that it was rich as well. The Emperor was married three times. His first wife was eleven-year-old Clodia, the stepdaughter of Mark Antony. The second wife was Scribonia with whom they gave birth to their daughter Julia. The third wife of the emperor was Livia. Apart from the natural born daughter, the emperor adopted two children – Drusus and Tiberius.
Contradictions and Interesting Occurrences
Importantly, many scientists argued that Augustus was never the emperor but the princeps of Senate solely. The princeps had no power, but he had unsurpassed authority among the senators. However, the princeps was always the first to hold the speech in the Senate, and the rest of the senators agreed with his opinion (Goldsworthy, 2014). In particular, it was the way Augustus ruled the country according to some researchers. In addition, many scientists emphasized that Jesus was born during the reign of Octavius Augustus. It happened when the emperor started the census.
Caesar Augustus was able to establish the mighty and powerful Roman Empire and ruled it for almost 40 years. In addition to active political position, he had an interesting personal life. Many scholars rightly consider him one of the most significant historical figures as well as a skillful political and military leader.
Goldsworthy, A. (2014). Augustus: First emperor of Rome. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Woolf, G. (2012). Rome: An empire’s story. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Marriage and Adultery Laws of Emperor Augustus Essay
Gaius Octavius, popularly known as Emperor Augustus, is considered one of the most important rulers of Rome. He is the individual credited with founding the Roman Empire in 27BC after the collapse of the Roman Republic. Augustus was able to overcome the social and political upheaval prevalent in Rome after the ruin of the republic and his reign is considered to be a pivotal moment in western history. Furthermore, he embarked on a mission to restore the glory of the Roman state and achieved some considerable success.
A major objective of Augustus’ reign was the restoration of traditional Roman values and morality in society. To achieve this goal, he introduced laws that were aimed at regulating marriage and sexual conduct among citizens. These laws were especially important since they were enacted at a time when Rome was experiencing moral decay. The legislations have set Augustus apart as the emperor who undertook the most dramatic steps to reform morality within Rome.
Before these laws were passed, individuals were at liberty to monitor and regulate their moral conduct. However, the marriage and adultery legislation introduced by Augustus had an important impact on the social order in Roman society, which was at that time rife with moral corruption. The laws were enacted to deal with marriage avoidance, the preference for childless unions, marriage of lower class women by the Roman elite, and adultery, all of which threatened the continuity of the Roman aristocracy.
Reasons for the Laws
At the time Emperor Augustus established the Roman Empire, the state was in disarray due to political upheaval and decades of civil war. Rome had experience a political crisis that had led to wars between different groups. However, Augustus had managed to emerge victoriously and establish an empire in place of the late republic.
In spite of this, the new government was in danger of falling since it faced some of the problems that had led to the collapse of the republic. Augustus was eager to restore the state and establish a powerful empire. The decline in moral conduct by Romans was seen as one of the main explanations for the political crisis that led to the demise of the Roman Republic. Therefore, dealing with the morality crisis that his empire faced was a cornerstone of Augustus’ plan for state restoration.
Another reason for the implementation of the marriage legislation was the need to rehabilitate the marriage institute. When Augustus became Rome’s ruler, the marriage institute was experiencing a profound breakdown.
This was especially evident among the elite who engaged in numerous extramarital affairs and divorced each other regularly. As a result of this, Augustus felt compelled to take action that would restore the integrity of the marriage institute within his empire. He was convinced that restoring the value of marriage would assist in the efforts to restore Rome’s glory.
Equally important, the legislation was passed to promote marriages among Roman citizens. During Augustus’ reign, there was a preference for leading an unmarried life. Noblemen were choosing not to marry to enjoy the freedom that bachelorhood offered. Without the responsibility of a wife or children, this group could spend their time and resources engaging in luxuries. Consequently, this contributed to the moral decay in the empire as these unmarried elites engaged in immoral conduct.
Finally, Augustus was greatly troubled by the demographic patterns evident in his empire. At the time of the formation of the Roman Empire, the population of the upper-class members of the society was considerably low. This was an issue of great significance since the elite played a key role in preserving and running the Roman Empire.
The aristocratic held administrative positions and dominated the economic and political sphere of Roman society. The prosperity of Rome, therefore, depended on the existence of this class. That is why Augustus was concerned about the declining number of nobles within the State. The marriage and adultery laws were part of the social engineering program aimed at replenishing the dwindling number of the upper class.
Implementation of the Legislations
Augustus’ laws used several strategies to promote marriage in the Empire. To begin with, various rewards, punishments, and incentives were used to encourage people to marry and produce children within the marital context. To promote marriage, the laws imposed high taxes to unmarried people while low taxes were issued to married couples. In addition to this, the Augustan laws made marriage compulsory for men from the ages of 25 to 60 and women from 25 to fifty.
Most of the elite had chosen to remain unmarried to enjoy their wealth and freedom. The heavy taxation introduced as a result of Augustus’ laws removed this incentive since the unmarried lost significant wealth to the government through tax.
Due to the financial pressure caused by the marriage laws, many elite bachelors chose not only to marry, but also to do so at a younger age than they would have done without the tax burden imposed on them. Once in marriage, the laws tackled the problem of high divorce rates by imposing a minimum period that couples had to stay in the union before they could seek divorce.
In addition to this, the marriage laws addressed the problem of low population among the elite by encouraging child bearing. The laws stipulated that for a person to be eligible for appointment in certain senior public officer, he had to be a father. The number of children an aristocrat had affected his chances of being appointed to prestigious positions. Men with three or more children gained priority in the competition for public office.
In contract to this, childless married couples were barred from certain appointments. This situation pressured many ambitious administrators to have many children to increase their chances of acquiring senior appointments. In addition to these government rewards for children, Augustus’ laws included some financial incentives. The financial incentives were in the form of policies that influenced inheritance.
Specifically, the legislation denied childless couples the right to receive an inheritance. This was significant since most of the elites with modest finances relied on the generous inheritances from their rich relatives to maintain their lavish lifestyles and position in society. Without children, such elites would be denied their inheritance, and this would hurt their social status.
The laws led to the preservation of the integrity of the aristocracy by dictating who could join this group. While Emperor Augustus wanted to increase the number of the Roman elites, he also wanted to preserve the purity of the ruling class. This could only be achieved by encouraging the elite to marry within their class.
There is consensus that the Augustan marriage laws were meant to create legal barriers to marriage. These barriers were based on social prejudice, and they were meant to ensure the integrity of the ruling class by preventing certain people from joining this class through marriage. For example, the laws discouraged senatorial men from marrying women outside their political order.
Finally, the adultery laws sought to stabilize marriage by encouraging fidelity. Stiff penalties were imposed on anyone found to have engaged in marital infidelities. The penalties for adulterous wives were divorce and a loss of dowry. In addition to this, the women were ostracized and not allowed to remarry. Husbands could not ignore adultery on the part of their wives and they were legally obligated to report the matter to the authorities.
The penalties for violating the marriage and adultery laws were strict and often imposed on members of the society in spite of their sociopolitical status. Historians report that Augustus banished his own daughter, Julia, and later his granddaughter for alleged violation of the adultery law. While men were allowed to engage in affairs with unmarried women and slaves, any sexual relationship with a married woman led to stiff penalties. The penalties included a loss of property, imprisonment and even banishment to an island.
Outcomes of Augustus’ Legislations
Augustus’ policies had a significant impact on the social life of the Romans. The marriage laws were not simply enacted to enhance the welfare of individual Romans, but to ensure the strength and continuity of the empire’s sociopolitical organization. Marriage laws increased state interference in matters of private conduct by society. As a result, the laws were a “profound attack on personal freedom, and it brought the private life of all Romans under the heel of state oversight and regulation.”
By doing this, the Augustus administration was able to improve the morality levels in the empire and therefore hasten the restoration of Roman prestige. This prestige had been damaged by the significant immorality of Romans in the decades leading to the collapse of the Republic. By having the legislation on morals and marriage central to his reign, Augustus was able to restore the traditional prestige that Rome had enjoyed in the glory days of the republic.
Moreover, Augustus was able to increase his popularity and the level of support among his subjects through his legislations. The emperor promoted the laws as a way for the Romans to regain their prestige by reverting to their traditional values. As a result, the citizens were attracted to this leader who stood for the traditional values that the Romans cherished. Some historians argue that the laws were aimed at reinforcing the political power of the emperor by increasing his popular support base.
Besides that, the population of the Roman elite increased as a direct result of the laws. As noted, the dwindling population of the aristocracy was one of the main motivations for implementing the marriage and adultery laws.
Once the laws were in place, the upper-class members of the society were encouraged, through the government-sanctioned incentives and penalties, to enter into marriage unions and bear children. Therefore, Augustus’ policies achieved their demographic goals by promoting the increase in several Roman elites. Consequently, the success of the Empire was assured during Augustus’ reign since his laws led to the increase in a number of the ruling class.
To sum up, this paper set out to discuss Emperor Augustus’ marriage and adultery legislation, which were a series of laws aimed at regulating social behavior among the Romans. It began by acknowledging the significance of Augustus’ reign in Roman History. After that the paper expounded on the marriage laws and showed how they were meant to penalize sexual indulgence and promote childbearing, especially among the elite.
While the laws were an attack on the personal freedoms of Roman citizens, they fulfilled an important role in society. The legislations were able to restore the prestige of the Roman Empire and promote the marriage institute in society. They also contributed to the increase in the population of the elite who were considered crucial to the continued success of the empire.
Cassius, Dio. The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus. Trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert. NY: Penguin Classics, 1987.
Edmondson, Jonathan. Augustus: His Contributions to the Development of the Roman State in the Early Imperial Period. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.
Frier, Bruce and Thomas McGinn. A Casebook on Roman Family Law. Oxford University Press, 2004.
McGinn, Thomas. “The Social Policy of Emperor Constantine in Codex Theodosianus 4,6,3.” Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis 67, no.1 (1999): 57-73.
Miles, Gary. Livy: Reconstructing Early Rome. Cornell: Cornell University Press, 1997.
Suetonius, Gaius. The Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Trans. John Rolfe. NY: Loeb Classical Library, 1914.
Augustus’s Individual Autocratic Government Report (Assessment)
The scope of the Empire and the incapability of the Senate to ensure efficient management of power and the increasing importance of the army’s role were the major factors that provoked the thoughts in various social strata regarding the need for sole reign (Western Civilization 101 Online). In this way, the establishment of the individual, autocratic form of Augustus’s rule was not unexpected and did not cause any serious resistance. In Res Gestae, he stated, “I handed over the state from my power to the dominion of the senate and Roman people” (para. 34).
He continually emphasized that he did not differ from all other magistrates in terms of decision making but merely had greater authority and took the leading position among them. However, despite his claims, he maintained the full autocratic power: had a lifelong title of an Emperor, was allocated with tribunician power every year, promoted candidates to the posts of magistrates, allocated financial resources, individually decided the war and peace issues, and conducted negotiations with the foreign states. As was mentioned by Polybius, “He concentrated in himself the functions of the Senate, the magistrates, and the laws” (10). According to Augustus, he paid respect to the Senate, submitted various problems for the discussion, and allowed the magistrates to share their opinions. However, he likely only pretended to respect the institution because most of the important issues were resolved during the consulate meetings participated in by Augustus’s approximates.
Augustus and his supporters believed that they had restored the Republic. It is possible to say that for Romans, the Republic, as a form of political organization, could be combined with any style of reign until it was legal and served the common good. As was mentioned above, Augustus’s actions and decisions had the purpose of abolishing triumvirs’ extraordinary powers and restoring freedom and the traditional system. However, in reality, the whole system of power was dramatically changed. Previously, there were clear distinctions between three major categories of power. The Senate was mainly concerned with “the management and disposal of the public treasure,” the consuls were “entrusted with the absolute direction of the preparations that are made for war,” and people were “the sole dispensers of rewards and punishments” (Polybius 3). The distinctions became somewhat vague under Augustus’s rule. Formally, the people remained sovereign, but everything they had once obtained through the civil community they now received using the princess’s authority.
The Senate became filled with Augustus’ approximates and obtained a subordinate role. It is possible to presume that he maintained the visibility of the Senate’s power and the privileges of the aristocracy to build up the elite. According to Crone, the transformation of diverse holders of political power into a nationwide elite helped rulers to unite privilege holders in their loyalty to the same polity (64). In this way, Augustus managed to strengthen his control over the situation in the country. The primary justification that Augustus had for his policies was the restoration of peace in the Empire. Like students A and B mentioned in their essays, this was the major distinction of Augustus’s Res Gestae from the general practices of the ruling. At the same time, the termination of terror became possible only when the previous militant actions achieved their goals: Augustus’s supporters were satisfied, the most irreconcilable opponents were destroyed, others switched to Augustus’s side, and those who could pose a real threat no longer existed. Despite this apparent controversy, the principles of peace restoration and clemency helped the governor to create a sense of confidence and belief in the arrival of peace in the public mind. This could be one of the reasons for the emperor’s political longevity.