Roman Empire’s influence has deeply permeated manyaspects of Western civilization from politics to military organization andstrategy.
Among those Roman emperors, Augustus was one of the well-knowndictators in his power of ending the chaos of civil war and stabilizing societyafterwards. Augustus ushered in an unprecedented age of peace and prosperityknown as the Pax Romana or Roman Peace; this famous period in Roman history didnot occur naturally. The fact that Augustus was able to maintain control of notonly the common people but of the government is a testament to his power andexpertise to influence Roman’s minds, although he portrays himself as a benevolentand influential ruler in his inscription, Res Gestae Divi Augusti. In addition,Augustus’s popularity later transformed into extending legitimacy of his family.Thesis One of the purpose ofwriting Res Gestae was to document Augustus’ accomplishments in a way thatelevated him to the role of a great and benign leader. Augustus writes, “In mynineteenth year, on my own initiative and at my own expense, I raised an armywith which I set free the state, which was oppressed by the domination of afaction” (Augustus para.
1). The “set free the state” refers to his success inthe civil war that divided the Roman Republic by military dictators. He especiallyemphasize this achievement at the beginning of Res Gestae insinuating that hedeserved glory from terminating such cleavage and restoring peace in RomanEmpire. In addition, Augustus also emphasizes his restore of social stabilityfor commonwealth. He writes, “I rebuilt the Capitol and the theater ofPompey, each work at enormous cost, without any inscription of my name.
Irebuilt aqueducts in many places that had decayed with age, and I doubledthe capacity of the Marcian aqueduct by sending a new spring into itschannel.” (Para. 20) Augustus’s emphasize of “without any inscription of myname” since he wants to present an image that he is only thinking forcommonwealth, not for his fame.
Furthermore, the theater of Pompey was animportant architecture built by his ancestor, Augustus had a political monumentto communicate a message of continuity with the past, prosperity in the futureand stability in the present. In the midst of his achievements, Augustus alsomentions he has no intention to violate the Roman constitution even though hehas obtained such a great power, “When the dictatorship was offered to me, bothin my presence and my absence, by the people and senate, … I did not accept it…. When the annual and perpetual consulate was then again offered to me, I didnot accept it.
” Augustus denied the position as a dictator because suchposition violates the traditional Roman values and the constitution. AlthoughAugustus claims to restore the Roman Republic in the inscription, he in factarise as a sovereign leader with comprehensive control of the government. Thecontraction of his portrayal in Res Gestae and his actual ambition fortify thefact that this inscription is served as his propaganda to glorify his image andextend his influence in the empire. Augustus consolidated his powerthrough massive support as an anticipated sovereign leader in the republicconstitution. Augustus mentions that he was offered many different positions bythe Senate, even though he claims “I surpassed all others in influence, yet myofficial powers were no greater than those of my colleague in office.” SinceAugustus claims to “restore” the Roman Republic, Augustus harnessed his regimeby taking positions in extending areas, therefore, he was virtually an absolutemonarch. Despite of receiving a variety of positions, Augustus was also granteddifferent honorable titles. The most significant one among them is the”princeps”, which means the “first citizen of the state”.
More precisely, Augustuswas recognized as the first priority among the equal citizens. Therefore, suchtitle contracts with Augustus’ claim that “my official powers were no greaterthan those of my colleague in office”. In addition, Augustus reflects severaltimes that he paid to rebuild architectures and provide wealth fare to people;his wealth deeply influent the country’s infrastructures as well as people’sliving.
Augustus’s extending sovereignty alsopermeated to his family, enhancing the legitimacy and prestige of his family inthe Empire. Augustus mentions many times that he rebuild the infrastructures inthe name of his relatives. By undertaking these establishments in the honor ofhis relatives, Augustus heightened the esteem of his family while appearingbenevolent. Augustus utilized these structures to further promote his lineage infuture. Other than this, Augustus even send his two adopted sons to the Senateand to the military, quote. In addition to glorify his sons throughinfrastructures, Augustus further extend the influence and ability of his heirsthrough a variety of training in the government, such that his honor would beinherited in futureZK1 . Augustus was a political savant that utilized variousmanipulative tactics in order to lead the most powerful state in the knownworld. His accomplishments are widespread and well known amongst contemporaryRomans and historians alike.
While his deeds and character may be exaggerated,his propaganda, in fact, had a solid basis from his achievements. ZK1Needanother quote to show he wants his son to be the next ruler or emperor.