1 Th e Death of th e Republic Marshall High School Mr. Cline Western Civi lization I: Anci ent Foundations Unit FOUR CA
2 Meet Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus, Pater Patriae. You can call him Augustus. Without question, Augustus is one of the most important people in history. So, who is this Roman fellow with the unwieldy name? Well, we can learn a lot about him and about the history of Rome just by looking at that name. Augustus' name tells the story of his rise to power, the collapse of the Roman Republic, and the birth of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar Augustus did not always have such a fancy name. When he was born in 63 BCE, his name was Gaius Octavius. Octavius was just another young man of one of the many noble families in Rome, and an impoverished one at that. Then, Gaius Octavius' grand-uncle, Gaius Julius Caesar, who we know as Caesar, began his meteoric rise to power. Caesar took over the Roman Republic and set himself up at its head, making himself incredibly wealthy and powerful.
3 Caesar adopted his grand-nephew, Gaius Octavius, as his sole heir, then got assassinated. Hoping to inherit the fame, property and popularity of Caesar, Gaius Octavius took his uncle's name and became Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Since that is a mouthful, let us refer to him as Octavian for the time being. Mark Antony Octavian was not the only fellow hoping to succeed Caesar. When Octavian arrived in Rome after his uncle's assassination, he found Caesar's right hand man, Mark Antony, making his own bid for power. Mark Antony held the city in tyranny and had incited the masses against Caesar's assassins in the Senate, driving them from Rome. Much of Mark Antony's power and authority derived from his association with Caesar. Yet with Caesar's heir Octavian at hand, the public favor began to slip from Antony.
4 Mark Antony The common people saw the son of Caesar; the Senate saw a young man they could manipulate to get rid of Mark Antony. Realizing his dire situation, Antony fled to Gaul. Yet the Senate had gotten more than they had bargained for in Octavian. Using the menace of Mark Antony as a goad, Octavian bullied the frightened Senate into granting him extraordinary powers for a man of his age. He was made a senator and granted the same powers as the consuls. More importantly, he was given legal control over the armies of Rome. This was a wise choice by the Senate, since much of the Roman army revered Caesar and might have defected to Antony without Caesar's heir there, Octavian, to hold them to the Senate. With the full backing of the Roman Senate, Octavian and the two consuls set out for Gaul.
5 Mark Antony The Second Triumvirate They beat the heck out of Antony at Mutina, forcing the bedraggled general to retreat. In the fighting, both consuls died, leaving all the glory and military command to Octavian. If Octavian had hoped for a hero's welcome upon returning to Rome, he was sorely disappointed. The Senate had grown wary of the young Octavian and were reluctant to grant him any more glory or power than they could avoid. The Senate had never been a fan of Caesar in the first place, nor of his heir. They had used Octavian to keep Antony occupied while they waited for Caesar's assassins, the fugitive senators, to return to Rome with an army. Realizing the situation, Octavian allied himself with Antony and another of Caesar's supporters named Lepidus. The three formed the Second Triumvirate.
6 The Second Triumvirate Working together, these three men killed off their political rivals and seized their property in a series of political murders, known as proscriptions. This removed the last obstacles to absolute power and made the three very wealthy. In 42 BC, the Triumvirate strong armed the Senate into naming Julius Caesar a god, Divus Julius, after which point, Octavian was able to add the title Divi Filius, the son of a god, to his already long name. While Octavian and Antony had been fighting among themselves in the West, Caesar's assassins had been amassing power in the East. A conflict was inevitable, and in 42 BC, the two sides clashed at the Battle of Phillipi. Caesar's assassins, the last champions of the Republic, were completely defeated, and Brutus, who had betrayed Caesar, took his own life.
7 The Second Triumvirate Imperator A few years later in 36 BC, the Triumvirate destroyed the fleet of Pompey Magnus' son, Sextus Pompeius, wiping out the last of those who had opposed Caesar. With their common enemy destroyed, the members of the Triumvirate turned against one another. Lepidus attempted to claim Sicily, but his troops abandoned him, and he was exiled. But the biggest rivals in this conflict were Octavian and Antony, who soon turned against one another. Antony was far more ambitious than Lepidus; he wanted the entire eastern Empire.
8 * The Beginnings of an Empire Octavian had fabulous wealth behind him, while Antony had the leadership and devotion of Caesar s legions. Lepidus was never an equal of these two powerhouses, and though nominally allied with Antony, attempted to stay out of their way. It was Antony who commanded the forces that fought Brutus and Cassius, while Octavian stayed in Rome and swayed the Senate, and bought the love of the people. He also bought many troops who had returned home disillusioned by Brutus and Cassius, and looking for payment which Octavian offered. Once Brutus and his allies were defeated, Antony took refuge in Egypt so as to control the grain supply to Rome, and force Octavian Caesar to come to terms with him on his rule of the, at best, nominally, Republic. There he fell in love with Cleopatra. As tensions mounted between the two men, Antony made the grave move of threatening Octavian s legitimacy by declaring Caesarion the legitimate heir of Julius Caesar, and saying that Octavian had forged Caesar s will, naming him as his adopted son and sole heir. Octavian publicized that Antony had left his wife and two small children (his wife happened to be Octavia, Octavian s sister) to go native with an Egyptian queen. Soon, Rome was embroiled in another civil war.
9 * The Beginnings of an Empire Caesar defeated Antony at the naval Battle of Actium. Most of his legionaries and half of his ministers had defected to Caesar as he could pay them, and they would be under Roman control, not Egyptian. Knowing that his defeat was imminent, and receiving promises from his lover that she would do the same, they decided to commit suicide rather than be captured by Caesar and paraded through Rome in his triumph. Marcus Antoninus took his life with his own sword, believing Cleopatra had already done the same. When he found out that she had not, but was in hiding, he had himself taken to her, and died in her arms. It was at this time that Caesar captured her. He allowed her to perform Antony s funeral rites, and then had her kept under guard so as to prevent her suicide, and thus preserve her for his triumph. However, an asp (Egyptian Cobra) was snuck into her in a basket of figs, and she allowed the snake to bite her on the arm, and thus took her own life. Gaius Julius Divi Filius (Son of a God, as Julius Caesar had been deified by the Roman Senate) Octavianus Caesar was now the sole financial and military power in Rome, and with most of his enemies in the Senate dead, he began to assume sole control of Rome, and thus ended the Republic.
10 Imperator Octavian had now defeated all his enemies. The Romans had a name for a victorious general: Imperator. Octavian took this title and made it something more. He made it his name, and by doing so, he changed its meaning. Though imperator continued to hold implications of military victory, by the time Octavian was finished, all military victories belonged to him.
11 Imperator Augustus Imperator became the title of the loftiest position that man has ever achieved: the absolute ruler, the king of kings, the emperor. Though Octavian held the Empire in his hand, he knew that an iron fist could not hold him in power forever. Rather than seizing authority and becoming a dictator, he allowed many of the offices of the Republic to remain. Octavian refused to be named dictator or even consul for life. Instead, he just made sure he held enough important positions to get him what he wanted. By maintaining the illusion of the Republic, Octavian gave his reign legitimacy.
12 Augustus That being said, the Senate still laid on the titles. They named Octavian proconsul: the governor of a province; they called him tribune: by which they meant he was a defender of the people; they hailed him as princeps: the first among equals; and finally, they gave him the title by which we know him today, Augustus: which, in Latin, means dignified, majestic, sacred, venerable, and worthy of honor. Pater Patriae: Father of the Nation Yet even this was not enough. Augustus knew that all of the titles in the world could not protect him if the people turned against him. And so he attempted to shore up his legitimacy in a number of other routes. He enacted laws to restore the ancient morality and customs of Rome, despite the fact that his very authority defied those laws and customs.
13 Pater Patriae: Father of the Nation To hide this hypocrisy, Augustus started an aggressive propaganda campaign, headed by his friend and adviser Maecenas. Maecenas brought several poets to the Emperor's cause, including the famous Virgil, who wrote the Aeneid, an epic poem for the Roman people. Augustus used Virgil's Aeneid to weave himself and his agenda into the pages of Roman history. Augustus also built a vast number of public works and monuments, transforming the city of Rome to such an extent that upon his death he could say, 'I found Rome a city of brick and left it clothed in marble.' These accomplishments so endeared Augustus to the Roman people that in 2 BCE, they named Augustus Pater Patriae, Father of the Nation.
14 * The Beginnings of an Empire The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace). Despite continuous wars or imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and one year-long civil war over the imperial succession, the Mediterranean world remained at peace for more than two centuries. Augustus dramatically enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, expanded possessions in Africa, expanded into Germania, and completed the conquest of Hispania. Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states, and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, and rebuilt much of the City during his reign.
15 * The Beginnings of an Empire Augustus died in 14 AD at the age of 75. He may have died from natural causes, though there were unconfirmed rumors that his wife Livia poisoned him. He was succeeded as Emperor by his adopted son (also stepson and former sonin-law) Tiberius, thus beginning the Julio Claudian Dynasty, and the continuation of a true Roman Empire.
16 Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus Gaius Octavius, Pater Patriae
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