• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

According to the Res Gestae and Suetonius' Life of Augustus, how effective were Augustus' reforms to the Roman army and senate?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

According to the Res Gestae and Suetonius' Life of Augustus, how effective were Augustus' reforms to the Roman army and senate? Augusts (born Gaius Octavius Thurinus), claimed by some to be the first Roman emperor, made many reforms to the Roman army and senate which strengthened his rule and increased the power, influence and control of the empire. Augustus' reforms redrew and secured the frontiers of the empire and made the army far more efficient and manageable. Other reforms restored the respect and credibility of the senate and made it more efficient at the same time, just as he did with the army. A lot of the information about these reforms comes from two major historical sources, the first being the Res Gestae Divi Augusti - written by Augustus himself. It is an account of his achievements, similar to an autobiography but more factual rather than opinionated in nature. As it was written by Augustus, it creates the problem of neutrality, bias and a vested interest to lie to improve the way that he is viewed by those reading it - much like a piece of propaganda. Undeniably, the Res Gestae provides many facts that are true and it is implausible that Augustus could've made up facts that were wholly untrue but many things such as assassinations and battles are glossed over and mention only in passing or indirectly. ...read more.

Middle

the embarrassing loss caused by the general Varus in which 3 troops were massacred when recklessly led into a forest leading to them being ambushed. Augustus' reforms to the senate were no less significant, and the reason and drive behind the reforms was to make the Senate more effective as a government, making them more respectable in his eyes and in the eyes of the Roman citizens. Suetonius described this situation by claiming that "The sight of this sad and ill-assorted rabble decided Augustus to restore the Order to its former size and repute by two new acts of enrolment." (Suetonius, Life of Augustus) Augustus was clearly not satisfied with the members of the senate and wanted to restore the Senate's former glory and reputation in the eyes of the Roman people as they had become "popularly known as the 'Orcus Men'". Orcus was God of the underworld, so it could be interpreted as men of the underworld or servants of the god of the underworld, which is a clear indicator that the senators weren't particularly highly regarded and were, to some extent, ridiculed by the people of Rome, which would no doubt motivate Augustus to restore the senate to its former glory. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, it can also be deduced that the senatorial reforms were definitely suited to strengthen the personal power desired by Augustus as he could now control the topics and speakers to suit his own preference. This meant that the reforms were effective in both ways - to strengthen his rule and to make the Empire more powerful and prosperous. His military reforms were intended to keep the Empire at peace, and expand to the critical amount, which were both done effectively, according to Suetonius. Allegedly, a testament of Augustus warned against expanding the empire which would imply that Augustus military reforms were not especially expansive as much as aimed at making the army more effective and well-led, as he did with the Senate. Suetonius documents the reforms introduced well but seems to focus more individual reforms to the senate and more general reforms to the army, which are also fewer in number. It is far less biased than the Res Gestae, which doesn't document very many reforms at all concentrating, understandably, on the personal achievements of Augustus as it was written by the man himself resulting in less emphasis on the specific changes made as much as their successes. The two sources document the reforms in detail, and according to them, they were effective and introduced with the best intentions. - 4 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. To what extent did the Roman emperor Augustus restore the republic?

    In 27BC Augustus also offers the Senate all of his powers would also suggest that Augustus was a true republican but like the powers he rejected can realistically be concluded to be a political charade and propaganda stunt. I therefore believe that whilst the powers that Augustus held acted within

  2. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    Does some of this interpretation by historians that he was a tyrant lead him to be viewed as an ineffective leader? There is a clear two-sided argument to this debate, and Caesar is noteworthy but not exceptional. Caesar's military service was exceptional and he had a great number of successes with minimal failures.

  1. To what extent did Augustus use the building programme to beautify Rome.

    On the breastplate many Gods are included such Sol who rules over the skies, establishing connotations with Rome as its protector. The god of war Mars is also featured, receiving the stolen standards after a shameful defeat in the past.

  2. In your opinion, where did the real power lie within the Spartan Constitution?

    In addition to this power to veto any proposal from the Gerousia, the Assembly had the Positional Power which enabled them to decide on whether or not Sparta would engage on a military campaign since, afterall, the members of the Assembly were actually soldiers who served in the army and thus would be the ones engaging in battle.

  1. To what extent does the evidence support the view that Roman emperors paid very ...

    For example, ?Tiberius showed large-scale generosity no more than twice?, using his own money to rebuild, (Suet.

  2. To what extent and for what reasons did Augustus resist the creation of an ...

    Clinging to his body is cupid riding a dolphin; as cupid is the sibling of Aenus who founded the Julian line, the direct message that he is involved with the Gods is already being propagated. Equally, the fact that Caesar had been made a deity, established the notion that he was a semi-deity in the minds of many Romans.

  1. Is Aeneas pious, and would the Romans of Augustan Rome have thought him to ...

    The ability to endure what fate throws at you is also an important stoic trait, and one that Aeneas demonstrates again and again. In book 1, Aeneas leads his men through the storm started by Aeolus and Juno, until they are rescued by Neptune.

  2. To what extent did the military reforms of Marius contribute to the collapse ...

    It was now the treasury?s responsibility to provide the soldiers with pay (wages) and weaponry. They were also responsible for providing the soldiers with retirement benefits such as land and pensions, if land was conquered on their behalf (Lott, 2005:np). These responsibilities placed a substantial burden on the Roman treasury.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work