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Octavian’s Role In The Second Triumvirate In The Perception Of Suetonius

892 words - 4 pages

Augustus becomes the main figure in Roman Repulic by forming the golden age of Rome. The Second Triumvirate between Mark Antony, Lepidus and Octavian, becomes the turning point of Augustus’s rule in 43-33 BC. The most reliable source on Augustus is ‘De Vita Ceasarium’(‘The Lives of Caesars’), by Suetonious, as it was written by someone who was close enough to politics of Rome and was able to show us the true image of Roman emperor, as he was not under the influence of Augustus’s propaganda and rule. In this essay its going to be discussed Octavian’s role in the Second Triumvirate in the perception of Suetonius. It will also compare the difference between information from different sources and develop the idea of the portrayal of image of the emperor.

Despite some criticisms, Suetonius as no one better presents the character and role of Octavian at that time. Suetonius becomes one of the main ancient primary sources to look at. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus was writing after the reign of Augustus in 121 AD. He was the biographer, and wrote about Roman rulers. The most popular and well know of his works at that time was ‘Lives of Twelve Caesars’, where the main focus was on the Julian Claudian Dynasty. `In the first 6 lives he describes the lives of Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero and other emperors from Flavian Dynasty of later Republic. (Suetonius)This source becomes reliable as he had the access to different documents and personal letters, as in his time he was Hadrian’s personal secretary. The main purpose of these biographies is to cover the political and personal aspects of emperors in great detail as well as to give the idea of end of the Republic.

Suetonius gives a very different image of Octavian, as Agustus does himself in Res Gestae. (In the same year,moreover,)’As both consuls had fallen in war, the people elected me consul and a triumvir for settling the constitution’(RG 1), where as in Suetonius the same image is drawn completely different - ‘Because Hirtius fell in battle, and Pansa later succumbed to wound, a rumor went about that Augustus had engineered both deaths with the objet of gaining sole control over their victories armies after Antony was defeated and the state bereaved of its consuls.’(Suetonius 11), he gives us a full image if its even containing gossips and unreliable information it still becomes more truthful then Res Gestae. In his ‘Lives of Caesars’ he does not show any particular hatred or love, he stays at neutrality and display Augustus as a common person not a god.
Triumvirate consisted of three people that...

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