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Augustus' Role In The Consolidation Of The Roman Rmpire And The Ending Of The Republic

2579 words - 11 pages

Augustus, originally known as Octavian, came to power in 44 BCE, during a time of great political, social and economic instability. Augustus' political, military, monetary, religious and social reforms and decrees, in conjunction with the honours bestowed on him and his manipulation of the Senate, helped consolidate the Roman Empire and end the Republic. In order to combat the myriad of problems plaguing Rome and gain the power necessary to consolidate the empire and end the Republic, Augustus employed many tactics, both underhanded and in plain sight.One of Augustus's most successful public policies occurred at the beginning of his political career. "Two of the most destructive problems ...view middle of the document...

This new sense of unity also promoted his ideas of consolidation and coupled with Augustus new reforms allowed the citizens of Rome new freedoms and greater prosperity.Using the senates' power as well as his own political power and social influence, Augustus' instigated a great number of Public reforms that changed the existing political, military, monetary, religious and social laws and practices. His most important and very publicly made Social reforms pertained to marriage, divorce and freedmen status. These reforms included: 'The Julian Laws', which encouraged more people to marry, the 'Lex Iulia de adulteries', which made adultery an offence and finally 'Lex Iulia de Maritandis Ordinibus' and 'Lex Papia Poppaea' which eliminated class barriers to marriage(accept for senators) and gave rewards to people in marriages where children had been produced, while giving penalties to childless marriages. (Williams: 217) These break downs of class barriers for marriages saw that more people than ever were given equal rights and it gained Augustus the support of the plebeian classes who had previously been discriminated against. With the support of the plebeians who made up the majority of the population he was able to build up a strong backing for his new regime and gain control over the other institutions in Rome including the priesthoods, military and the senate through political reforms.The support of the priesthood by Augustus saw the introduction of many new reforms including a decree by the senate that allowed Augustus himself being worshiped as a god and the restoration of 82 temples. (Unknown: 2) This figure is quotes by Augustus himself in the Res Gestae, "I repaired eighty two temples of the gods in the city, in accordance with a resolution of the senate..."(Sevidy2: 3) An inscription on a monument in a City called Narbonne dating back to AD 11 gives a good example of the extent of the new worship laws: "The populace of Narbonne takes the following vow to the divine spirit of Augustus forever: May it be good, favorable, and timely for the Emperor Caesar Augustus, son of a god, father of his country, pontifex maximus, who holds the power of tribune for a thirty-fourth year. May it be the same for his wife, children, and his house; for the Roman senate and people; and for the retired soldiers and residents of the colony of Narbonne, who have bound themselves to worship his spirit continually and forever." (Sedivy: 2)There was also the revival of many cults and festivals and the introduction of a stipend to fill vacant priesthoods. (Unknown: 2) Augustus strongly supported worship of Roman gods, especially Apollo and Mars the avenger, and depicted Roman defeat of Egypt as Roman gods defeating Egypt's Gods. These religious reforms ensured him influential but loyal supporters for when he overthrew the republic system and became dictator. It also gained his the favour of the plebeian class as he many times held festivals for the people. (Sedivy 2:...

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