Augustus Caesar Essay, Research Paper
Augustus Caesar, the Rome’s first true Emperor was the historical figure who had the greatest impact upon the western world between the dawn of civilization and the end of the middle ages. Augustus Caesar (31B.C. – 14 A.D.) was originally named Gaius Octivian, the name Augustus was granted by the Roman Senate, which means magnificent. The success of Augustus was he developed an honest government, and during his reign, he rebuilt many structures to improve the Roman Empire, which included temples and roads with classical style. He created an efficient postal service that encouraged free trade among the region. The soul power of Augustus had established him to distribute the long standing of Rome.
Augustus Caesar did not gain his position easily. He was the adopted heir of Julius Caesar, and he attained his position and held it without meeting with the same fate as his Uncle Julius Caesar. Augustus had to bring the people to his side and win the support of the military in order to gain his trust from the senate. He had raised his own military. Meanwhile, many of the senate was against Mark Antony, who was the right hand man of Julius Caesar and also wanted to become the heir. The leader of the senate, Cicero, realized Augustus was a useful alley, ordered Angustus to make war on Antony and forced him to retreated to Gaul, but Cicero failed to do so (Scarre, 17). Because during 43B.C. “Augustus marched on Rome with his army, and compelled the senate to to accept him as a consul” (Scarre, 17). Later on, Augustus met Antony and Lepidus and the three of them started to form a triumvirate, which excluded the senate power. They divided three parts of the Roman Empire. Antony took the east, Augustus took the west, and Lepidus away to Africa, since he was no long an equal partner (Scarre, 17). Augustus started to gain some reputation in the west; meanwhile Antony had left and conquered Egypt in order to gain his popularity. Unfortunately he married the queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, which was a disgraceful to Rome. Augustus raised an army of his own to fight Antony. The battle took place in Actium, and Augustus won the battle. In addition, Egypt was also conquered by Augustus and it became a new territory of Rome. “Augustus’s overall policy was to keep the military establishment at the minimum necessary to ensure peace within the empire and guard the frontiers” (Scarre, 24). The senate realized Augustus’ power and invited him to become the Empire of Rome and the senate did whatever he told them to do. Meanwhile, Augustus’ role of emperor was to never call himself emperor. He referred to himself as “the first citizen”. In this way Augustus presented himself as an ordinary Roman citizen doing his duty to the state. During his reign, he developed a fiscal policy, which made the economy stronger by collecting taxes. He believed that people’s fortunes were going down the drain “thus private individuals were able to save nothing or almost nothing because, in addition to the other exactions, they were obliged to find slaves for the navy, buying them if they had none, and senators had to mend the roads at their own expenses. Only those who bore arms got rich” (Millar and Sega, 109). At first, the tax system was only approved by the senate. The tax which was collected would flow directly into private and public landed property, rebuild structures, census and contribute five percent tax to manumission of slaves (Millar and Sega, 110). These tax are only applied to citizens which the fiscal system had benefits for them, by the guarantee of the security of property.
The tax that was collected was also contributed to rebuild the Roman Empire. Augustus claimed he had rebuilt eighty-two different structures, including roads, aqueducts, temples and buildings with remarkable work of art created a classical style. Most of them were constructed of hard stones and bricks. There was also grandiose new buildings: “the Theatre of Marcellus, the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine, the Horologium or sun-dial, the great circular Mausoleum, and the massive Forum of Augustus with its Temple of Mars Ultor ‘the Avenger’”(Scarre, 20). Augustus had sheltered about one million people to construct about seven hundreds hectares. The most significant construction Augustus had built was the expansion of aqueducts; it was built to supply water to every single household, which were sort of social foundations. But yet, citizens had to pay a water tax for what they consumed, and all citizens who tapped the main tanks paid for their license to do so. “Fountains were built in the plazas and at the intersections of roads and were used in the daily lives of the citizens”(www.taisei.co.jp/cg_e/ancient_world/rome/rome_01.html). Besides this, Augustus had also constructed many religious temples and forums, which provided citizens with a place to worship gods. Augustus encouraged people to go to the religious festivals and ceremonies that he held. Forums that he dedicated was to provide better facilities for those who were new for the administration of the provinces (Scarre, 22). The most famous Forum that he dedicated was call “the wealth of statuary”. There stood all the family members of Augustus, and other great men of Rome. Nonetheless, Augustus was a very intelligent and elitist emperor for the Roman Empire. The reconstruction of Rome had brought people a better living.
Augustus developed a very efficient postal service before the end of his reign, which gave the Romans the advantage to trade freely with other provinces. But the postal system was only used for imperial use and not for public use. He create the postal services by choosing a “Commissioner of the Roads near Rome”, and their duty was to discharge to the assigned leader for each trunk road, and “carried out by couriers stationed along the main roads, which the couriers would answer questions relating to the dispatches that he carried, performed the whole journey, with changes of horses, in the same carriage” (Homles, 35). Even though, the postal systems were only for imperial use, the letters that they wrote were indebted.
Augustus Caesar was a sole ruler during his reign; he stayed in power for almost half a century. He worked for the past and the future consciously, brought peace and prosperity to the people in the past and also in the future. Augustus succession was to control Rome in a wise way, without affecting the senate. After he died at the age of seventy-five, the people of the Roman Empire worshipped him as a god.
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