Caesar Augustus Essay Research Paper Augustus was

Caesar Augustus Essay, Research Paper

Augustus was the first emporer of Rome, and was perhaps the greatest ruler in

Rome s history. Under his rule came prosperity and greatness for the Roman

empire. Augustus was born on September 23, 63 BCE, with the given name

Gaius Octavius. His father died while Octavion was just a child, so he was

raised by his mother his entire life. Octavion led the life of a normal, extremely

wealthy, child of his times. In the morning, to prepare for a job in government,

he studied Greek, literature, philosophy, and public speaking. He also attended

law courts. In the afternoon, he played ball, lifted weights, and wrestled. In the

evening he attended dinner parties with his friends. In his teens, he caught the

attention of his granduncle Julius Caesar. Caesar, the dictator of Rome at the

time, was very fond of Octavian. In March, 44 BCE, Caesar was murdered, and

Octavian s life was changed forever. A few days after his death, Caesar s will

was read. In it, he adopted Octavian as his son, and gave him three fourths of

his fortune, with the other quarter going to the people of Rome. Once the news

of the will had reached Octavian, he went straight to Rome. Though dissuaded,

Octavian was determined to avenge Caesar s murder, and gain complete control

of Rome. Octavian then took the name, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, in

honor of his granduncle.

Octavian had been in competition with Mark Antony for quite some time.

After years of rivalry and disagreement, Octavian joined a political force which

consisted of himself, Antony, and one of Caesar s generals, Lepidus. Together

they formed the Second Triumvirate, or group of three rulers. They planned to

gain complete control of the Roman empire. Their first order of business was to

defeat the armies of Caesar s assassins. In order to obtain money to pay for

their own army, the Second Triumvirate accused over 2300 people as being part

of Caesar s death, and ordered them to be killed. Citizens not accused were

given rewards for every head of those on the list. A free man received $500,

and a slave was give $200 and freedom. This was one of the darkest times in

Roman history, and most of all during Octavian s reign.

The Second Triumvirate finally gained enough money from the

executions, and defeated the opposing armies. They were now in complete

control of Rome. After their defeats, they divided the Roman empire amongst

themselves. Antony was ruler of Gaul (now present day France) and all the land

east of Italy. Octavian was ruler of north Africa, Sicily, and Spain. All three

ruled the Italian peninsula together. For several years, all went well, until

Lepidus was forced to retire. The rivalry between Octavian and Antony began

again. The feud was not only political, but personal also. Fierce hatred for one

another began when Antony fell in love with Caesar s former lover, Cleopatra.

Antony was already married to Octavian s sister, Octavia. Antony divorced

Octavia, and planned to wed Cleopatra. Cleopatra had a child, and claimed it to

be the son of Caesar. She named him Caesarion. Octavion completely

disputed the child to be that of Caesars. After much tension, came the Battle of

Actium. Octavian s and Antony s fleets met near Actium, Greece on September

3, 31 BCE Though Antony s ships were more armed, Octavian s fleet won. The

following summer, Octavian s army invaded Egypt and captured Alexandria.

Caesarion was killed, and Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide within a

year. Octavian was now the undisputed ruler of the Roman Empire.

Octavian was a great politician. He realized that the Roman people would

oppose his individual rule if it did not appear as if the Republic still existed.

Octavian had to make it seem as if the Senate still had power. In order to keep

the people s support, he did not take any names such as emperor or king.

Instead, he took the name Augustus, meaning honored, or revered one.

Augustus eventually had complete control of everything from the army to the

government. He required every soldier to take an oath of loyalty not to Rome,

but to Augustus, himself. But, Augustus was an excellent ruler. He reformed

Rome, and made improvements to the empire in many ways. He established a

public police department, and a fire brigade to make Rome safer. He repaired

Roman aqueducts, and distributed free grain wherever there was a famine. He

also built new roads, theaters, courts of law, and monuments. To expand the

empire, Augustus conquered Spain. The empire was also extended to the north

and east. Soldiers were stationed on the frontier to keep invaders out, and the

empire intact. He encouraged the importance of Roman religion, and

established a religious cult, Roma et Augustus. The Roman people adored

Augustus, and worshipped him as a living God. Other improvements, were a

public postal system, census taking, and the resettling of thousands of

unemployed army veterans. Augustus encouraged his people to be proud of

their ancestry and history. He repaired over eighty temples, and built many new

ones. Augustus tried to set an example of plain, normal living. He wore simple

clothes woven by his wife or daughter. He ate ordinary food: coarse bread,

cheese, and green figs. In order to keep the empire thriving, and the population

high, Augustus encouraged marriage, and giving birth. He offered money

bonuses to large families, and made laws which made it extremely difficult to get

a divorce. Augustus himself was married three times. His third wife, Livia

Drusilla, was his true love. They were married for fifty years, yet had no child,

and no heir to Augustus s throne. He adopted Marcellus, his sister s son, but he

died in 23 BCE He then adopted his two grandsons, Gauis and Lucius, both

died before Augustus. With no male blood relatives remaining, Augustus

adopted his step nephew, Tiberius, his sister s son from her first marriage.

Tiberius went on to be the second emperor of Rome.

Augustus was extremely successful. He ended civil unrest, and

developed a firm stable government. He established a Roman currency system,

and engaged in successful trade with foreign countries. Augustus brought

peace and prosperity to the Roman empire. His rule was known as the Golden

Age. It was in the month of August, the month named after him, when the great

Augustus s life would end. It was a hot summer day in 14 CE Augustus woke up

feeling extremely weak. He died peacefully and quietly with his wife in his small

home near Naples. His body was carried to Rome, where thousands of

mourners awaited. His coffin was set ablaze, and through smoke, an eagle was

said to rise up through the smoke, and fly to the heavens. The eagle was the

great Augustus, going to his place of final


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