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Ancient History Research Task – Augustan Reforms

1233 words - 5 pages

Ancient History Research Task – Augustan Reforms

From ages past, the actions of conquerors, kings and tyrants had brought the Roman Republic to a stance that opposed any idea of a singular leader, of a single man that held total power over the entirety of the state. Their rejection of the various ruthless Etruscan rulers that had previously dictated them brought the Republic to existence in 509 BC , and as a republic their prominence throughout the provinces of the world exponentially expanded. Throughout these years, the traditions of the Romans changed to varying degrees, most noticeably as a result of the cultural influence that its subject nations had upon the republic, as well as the ever-changing nature of Roman society in relation to then-current events. However, it was not until the rise of Augustus, the first of a long line of succeeding emperors, that many core aspects of the Republic were greatly changed. These were collectively known as the “Augustan Reforms”, and consisted of largely a variety of revisions to the social, religious, political, legal and administrative aspects of the republic’s infrastructure. Through Augustus, who revelled in the old traditional ways of the past, the immoral, unrestraint society that Rome was gradually falling to being was converted to a society where infidelities and corruption was harshly looked upon and judged. The Roman historian Suetonius states, “He corrected many ill practices, which, to the detriment of the public, had either survived the licentious habits of the late civil wars, or else originated in the long peace” . Through Augustus and his reforms, the Republic was transformed into an Empire, and through this transformation, Rome experienced one of its greatest and stable eras in history.

In 44 BC, 17 years before Augustus assumed reign, a band of senators, in a plot to restore Rome to its natural order, assassinated Julius Caesar who by then had attained the title of Dictator perpetuo; literally meaning “dictator in perpetuity” . They feared that Caesar was amassing far too much authority over the actions of the Republic, and in apprehension, sought to eliminate him in order to prevent the Roman people from being once again ruled by a tyrant. Ironically, the aftermath of Julius Caesar’s death led to a series of events which would subsequently bring the change which resulted in Rome’s conversion to an Empire. Amongst the following chaos and an assortment of treaties, rivalries and civil wars, Augustus, then known as Gaius Octavian and adopted son of Julius Caesar rose as the victor. His triumph over Antony and Cleopatra allowed him to claim Egypt as another province to add to the expanse of Rome, and in addition, Cleopatra’s personal wealth was conferred to Octavian as a result of his success . Using this obtained increase in riches, Octavian augmented the connection with his supporters, building upon a foundation to which he in the future would stand upon without any resistance...

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