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E&D 1: From Octavian to Augustus

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James Corke-Webster

on 14 January 2015

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Transcript of E&D 1: From Octavian to Augustus

31-28BC - consul every year
28BC - censor (w/out title): make up of Senate

28-27BC - First Settlement
job of triumvirs complete [over 3x original length of time]
resigns all offices
voted 10 year command Spain, Gaul, Syria, Egypt [practically, means most legions under arms]
becomes "Augustus" [carefully chosen]
[plebs try to force it on him in 22BC; declines]

23BC - Second Settlement
imperium proconsulare maius
[legal right to intervene on behalf state even where not in control]
command in war
capital and other jurisdictions
> greater than anyone else’s proconsular imperium
granted to Augustus for either 10- or 5-year periods
NB voted by the Senate to succeeding emperors at their accession; then ratified by a lex
tribunicia potestas
for life [tribune's vote over all legislation; shift towards
couldn't hold the tribunate itself - patrician
various rights
to exercise powers within precincts of Rome
to summon the People to assembly
capital and other jurisdiction
veto right against other magistrates’ acts, laws and Senatorial Decrees
numbers his years by it
is it motivated by the succession problem [Augustus' illness, death of Marcellus]?

19BC - election of further powers
13BC - Ara Pacis built after Gallic & German campaigns
12BC - Augustus elected
Pontifex Maximus
[death of Lepidus]
2BC -
pater patriae
AD14 - death of Augustus
completely changes sides
w/ Mark Antony & Lepidus vs. Caesar's murders
27th Nov 43BC -
Lex Titia
: 5 years extraordinary powers to fix state
Dec 38BC comes and goes; spring 37BC retrospectively reconfirmed
Jan 42BC - divinity of Julius Caesar affirmed by senate & people
Oct 42BC - Battle of Philippi, Macedonia

stability? or disintegration of the triumvirate
40BC - Calenus (Antony's legate) dies in post in Gaul; Octavian takes province & troops
38BC - attacks Sextus Pompeianus in Sicily... victory in 36BC
Lepidus helps, claims Sicily, Octavian wins his troops
36BC - Antony loses in Parthia and settles in Alexandria
32BC - a media war
2nd Sept 31BC - Battle of Actium
From Octavian to Augustus
“Octavian and Antony composed their differences on a small, depressed islet in the river Lavinius, near the city of Mutina. Each had five legions of soldiers whom they stationed opposite each other, after which each proceeded with 300 men to the bridges over the river. Lepidus by himself went before them, searched the island, and waved his military cloak as a signal to them to come.
Then each left his three hundred in charge of friends on the bridges and advanced to the middle of the island in plain sight, and there the three sat together in council,
Octavian in the centre because he was consul.
They were in conference from morning till night for two days, and came to these decisions
: that Octavian should resign the consulship and that Ventidius should take it for the remainder of the year; that
a new magistracy for quieting the civil dissensions should be created by law, which Lepidus, Antony, and Octavian should hold for five years with consular power
(for this name seemed
preferable to that of dictator, perhaps because of Antony's decree abolishing the dictatorship
); that these three should at once designate the yearly magistrates of the city for the five years; that
a distribution of the provinces should be made, giving to Antony the whole of Gaul except the part bordering the Pyrenees Mountains, which was called Old Gaul; this, together with Spain, was assigned to Lepidus; while Octavian was to have Africa, Sardinia, and Sicily, and the other islands in the vicinity thereof

Civil Wars
"As Hirtius lost his life in battle during this war, and Pansa shortly afterwards from a wound,
the rumour spread that he had caused the death of both, in order that after Antony had been put to flight and the state bereft of its consuls, he might gain sole control of the victorious armies
. The circumstances of Pansa's death in particular were so mysterious, that the physician Glyco was imprisoned on the charge of having applied poison to his wound. Aquilius Niger adds to this that Augustus himself slew the other consul Hirtius amid the confusion of the battle."

Life of Augustus
the rise of the "first" "emperor"
emperor & empire?
the Republic romanticised / flexible?
Augustus "restoring" or "innovating"?
who was the first? how new?

SO - when does the Republic fall...?
the greatest politician?
creates role of the "emperor"
gradual accumulation
inherent conservatism

SO - which is more important -
what happens or how portrayed?
where to start a survey of imperial history?
Augustus? Caesar? Sulla? Caligula?
Julius Caesar - arbitrary?

49BC - marches on Rome [cf. Sulla in 82BC
Pompey & Crassus threaten in 70BC]
48BC -
44BC -
dictator perpetuo
assassinated 15th March
after his assassination, who are the key players?

Marcus Octavius (63BC-14 AD)
great nephew of Julius Caesar
44BC - named heir
18 years old, training as junior officer on eastern Adriatic
busy year...
races back to Rome
raises 2 legions w/ experienced retired generals
2 consuls for 43BC = Aulus Hirtius & Gaius Pansa
Mark Antony went to Mutina (N. Italy) to confront Brutus
senate asked him to withdraw; he didn't
Feb/Mar = crisis: consuls marched and Octavian's 2 legions go too
to legally command troops, Octavian needed praetorian status
the 2 consuls die - Octavian takes the credit
marches to Rome and becomes consul
law makes his name Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus
not new... but accelerated [took Pompey the Great 13 years]
Concluding thoughts:

1. Augustus builds role and image of emperor - a long shadow...
role never loses that point of reference
2. His construction of "emperor" was a gradual process of figuring out the role
that had already been happening... and it continues for a long time
in particular, the problem of succession
“Our tyrant deserved his death for having made an exception of the one thing that was the blackest crime of all. Why do we gather instances of petty crime — legacies criminally obtained and fraudulent buying and selling? Behold, here you have
a man who was ambitious to be king of the Roman People and master of the whole world; and he achieved it
! The man who maintains that such an ambition is morally right is a madman; for he justifies the destruction of law and liberty and thinks their hideous and detestable suppression glorious.”

On Duties
Great Cameo of France
Marcus Antonius
Caesar's general
loyalty of legions
in Rome

Marcus Junius Brutus
famous name
in Crete
c.17 legions

Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
Caesar's lieutenant
magister equitum
in Rome
troops (Campus Martius)
Pontifex Maximus
Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius
youngest son Pompey the Great
kept 6 of father's legions
on Sicily
“As Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, pontiff and propraetor, has
at a most critical period of the republic exhorted the veteran soldiers to defend the liberty of the Roman people
, and has enlisted them in his army; and as the Martial legion and the fourth legion, with great zeal for the republic, and with admirable unanimity, under the guidance and authority of Caius Caesar,
have defended and are defending the republic and the liberty of the Roman people...
on these accounts, it seems good to the senate that Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, pontiff and propraetor,
shall be a senator, and shall deliver his opinions from the bench occupied by men of praetorian rank
; and that,
on occasion of his offering himself for any magistracy, he shall be considered of the same legal standing and qualification as if he had been quaestor the preceding year
Fifth Philippic
"As soon as the triumvirs were by themselves they joined in making
a list of those who were to be put to death
. They put on the list
those whom they suspected because of their power, and also their personal enemies, and they exchanged their own relatives and friends with each other for death
, both then and later. For they made additions to the catalogue from time to time, in some cases on the ground of enmity, in others for a grudge merely, or because their victims were friends of their enemies or enemies of their friends, or on account of their wealth, for
the triumvirs needed a great deal of money to carry on the war, since the revenue from Asia had been paid to Brutus and Cassius, who were still collecting it, and the kings and satraps were contributing
. So the triumvirs were short of money because Europe, and especially Italy, was exhausted by wars and exactions; for which reason they levied very heavy contributions from the plebeians and finally even from women, and contemplated taxes on sales and rents. By now, too, some were proscribed because they had handsome villas or city residences.
The number of senators who were sentenced to death and confiscation was about 300, and of the knights about 2000.
There were brothers and uncles of the triumvirs in the list of the proscribed, and also some of the officers serving under them who had had some difficulty with the leaders, or with their fellow-officers."
Civil Wars
Gold aureus coin of Octavian Roman, 28 BC
Probably minted in Asia Minor (modern Turkey)
"He restored their laws and rights to the Roman people"
AR Denarius (18mm, 3.48 gm). Ephesus mint. 33-32BC
"[coin] of Antony, with Armenia being Conquered, for Cleopatra, Queen of Kings and of her Sons, being Kings"
“The light is dawning. Scales falling. Across the country the chattering classes are waking up to the reality that victory is within our grasp in the next eight months. And last week in Manchester you saw why. You saw the final explosion of the myth that Labour is doomed to succeed...
The Labour leader gave a surreal speech in which he described how he had tried to find material by randomly accosting young people in London parks, desperately hoping for inspiration – and yet he failed to mention the economy
My friends, it can only be called a Freudian slip. His subconscious rebelled.
The baggage handlers in his memory went on strike – as they would under a Labour government – and refused to load the word deficit on to the conveyor belt of his tongue
Boris Johnson, Speech at Party Conference 2014
Golden Aureus , 7.73g (3h). Northern Italy, 43 BC.
Obv: C CAESAR COS PONT AVG (NT and AV ligate)
"On the next day, the fourteenth, mariner, head for the harbour
And safety. Storms from the west are coming, mixed with hail.
Yet come what may,
this is the self-same day that Caesar struck
The armies of Mutina with a hail-storm of his own - his soldiery.

"At long last, in his sixth consulship,
Caesar Augustus felt his position to be sufficiently secure to revoke the laws he had introduced as Triumvir
and to introduce the new constitution which we now enjoy in peace under the principate. But
the result was that our slavery intensified.

"Who would not weep when he hears and sees Antony himself, the man twice consul, often imperator...
has now abandoned all his ancestors' habits of life, has emulated all alien and barbaric customs, that he pays no honour to us or to the laws or to his fathers' gods, but pays homage to that wench
as if she were some Isis or Selene, calling her children Helios and Selene, and finally taking for himself the title of Osiris or Dionysus, and, after all this,
making presents of whole islands and parts of the continents, as though he were master of the whole earth and the whole sea?
Cassius Dio 1.25-2-4
"[Imperator] Caesar, son of the deified [Julius, having won]
a naval victory in the war which he waged on behalf of the state in this region
, [dedicated] to Neptune [and] Mars the camp, decorated with spoils, [from] which he set out to pursue [the enemy], as consul for the fifth time and hailed imperator seven times, once peace had been achieved by land [and sea]."
Victory monument, 29BC Nikopolis in Epirus, NW Greece
“He returned to Rome and
celebrated three triumphs - the first for his campaign in Illyricum, the second for his victory at Actium, and the third for his defeat of Cleopatra
, Thus after twenty years he brought the civil wars to an end.”
A History of Rome
, Book 133, summary
"In my sixth and seventh consulships, when I had extinguished the flames of civil war,
after receiving by universal consent the absolute control of affairs, I transferred the republic from my own control to the will of the senate and the Roman people
. For this service on my part I was given the title of Augustus by decree of the senate, and the doorposts of my house were covered with laurels by public act, and a civic crown was fixed above my door, and a golden shield was placed in the Curia Julia whose inscription testified that the senate and the Roman people gave me this in recognition of my valour, my clemency, my justice, and my piety.
After that time I took precedence of all in rank, but of power I possessed no more than those who were my colleagues in any magistracy.

Res Gestae

"...when they were afraid,
he accepted an election, on their invitation, to the position of supervisor of morals for five years, and took the authority of censor for the same period and that of consul for life,
and in consequence had the right to use the twelve rods always and everywhere and to sit in the curule chair between the two men who were at the time consuls.
After voting these measures they begged him to set everything to rights and to enact whatever laws he liked
; and the laws which should be proposed by him they called "leges Augustae" from that very moment..."
Cassius Dio 54.10.5-6
The tribunician power was a term formulated by Augustus to express the supremacy of his own position
. It allowed him to avoid the title of king or dictator, while giving a title to his predominant position in all the highest offices of state. He then selected Marcus Agrippa to share his title with him as colleague and, after his death, Tiberius Nero, thus ensuring that there could be no doubt about his intended successor. Since
he had complete confidence in Tiberius' lack of ambition as well as his own preeminence, he hoped that this would prevent others from developing unhealthy ambitions for the throne

AR Denarius (3.67 gm). Rome mint. Struck 13 BC.
"At the age of nineteen, on my own initiative and at my own expense,
I raised an army by means of which I restored liberty to the republic
, which had been oppressed by the tyranny of a faction. For which service the senate, with complimentary resolutions, enrolled me in its order, in the consulship of Gaius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, giving me at the same time consular precedence in voting; it also gave me the imperium.
As propraetor it ordered me, along with the consuls, "to see that the republic suffered no harm."
In the same year, moreover, as both consuls had fallen in war, the people elected me consul and a triumvir for settling the constitution."

Res Gestae
OBV:BRVT·IMP; around, L·PLAET·CEST. Border of dots.
RV: EID·MAR. Border of dots.
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