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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent did Augustus restore the Republic? In Res Gestae, Augustus alludes several times to his objectives which reflect his republican ideals, claiming that he fought Mark Anthony at Mutina solely "in defence of the Republic. Augustus also confesses his primary objective which is "namely to be called the author of the best form of constitution." In reality however, these claims are likely to be propaganda and simply a means of maintaining the illusion that he wished to restore the Republic, when he was arguably dismantling it. Augustus claims that he did "not accept any office inconsistent with the customs of our ancestors" which would suggest that maintaining the Republic was what he desired. (Res Gestae) This claim is highly debatable however as in many cases Augustus receives powers which have a questionable legality to them. For instance in 43BC during the battle of Mutina, Augustus is given the powers of propraetor and thus given imperium which is controversial as it essential breaks the cursus honorum as Augustus was too young to be able to hold any office at the time. Augustus' statement that he refused to hold any office inconsistent with Republican traditions can be argued to be true to an extent as he seems to get around this fact by holding powers of certain offices without holding the position itself. For instance, Augustus held the powers of Maius Imperium which gave him control over all other proconsuls which he fails to mention in Res Gestae and had no real precedent; he also held consular powers for life without accepting the title itself. ...read more.

Middle

As a result of this, according to Suetonius, he who spoke after Augustus would simply state "I agree with the previous speaker." This was due to Augustus' auctoritas which acted as a catalyst in the deconstruction, in Res Gestae Augustus claims that he possessed seven hundred Senators and eighty three consuls serving under his standards which reflect his supreme influence over the state. Augustus stresses his influence in Res Gestae when he says that he "excelled all others in his auctoritas." Therefore, whilst the position of princeps senatus had a legal precedent behind it, it effectively killed the Republic to an extent and turned the Senate into a body of sycophants, acting in the interests of themselves rather than those of the Republic by chasing wealth and position that only Augustus could provide. However, according to Suetonius Augustus sometimes refused to speak first in order to determine the true thoughts and opinions of the Senate which would imply that Augustus was in fact concerned with their opinions and verdicts which would absolve him to an extent of being an absolutist like emperor. Augustus also altered as to how the position of Praetor Urbanus was achieved, under the Republic this position was chosen by vote but under Augustus it was he who would select the praetor urbanus and the assemblies became much less important. The incident in Rome with Messalla in 26BC where he refused to hold the position of city prefect claiming that it went against the ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I therefore believe that Augustus did not restore the political powers of respublica as despite his political charades involving the rejection of certain titles such as Dictator for life there were still too many cases which overshadow this in which the powers that Augustus held were not in keeping with the traditions with the Republic, most notably consular powers for life and the controversial Maius Imperium which gave him absolute proconsular powers. Augustus' auctoritas and influence in the Senate house too granted him unconditional powers and mutated the institution into a body of sycophants which can also be seen as detrimental to the Republic. The changes and alterations Augustus made to the Senate also make evident the extent to which Augustus failed to restore the republic, notably the destruction of the positions of Censor and the weakening of the position of Aedile which were threats to Augustus and his principate. The creation of a hereditary Senate can be argued to be the most important argument in suggesting that Augustus had no intention of restoring the Republic as it greatly opposed traditional republican customs in the ancient world. It allowed Augustus to choose his successor Tiberius and thus reflects his monarchical ambitions and lack of concern for the Republic. I therefore conclude that Augustus did not in fact restore the political powers of the republic. "Do you see that?" uttered Jack in a tone comparoble ?? ?? ?? ?? Andrew Wright ...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. According to the Res Gestae and Suetonius' Life of Augustus, how effective were Augustus' ...

    These two sources indicate that Augustus' reforms to both the senate and army were effective and strengthened his rule as emperor. Not many reforms were more important, yet basic, than that of the reintroduction of discipline to the Roman army.

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

    these ties are cemented by the dolphin that Cupid rides upon which was Venus' patron animal. Augustus' bare feet also allude to this semi-divinity. The breastplate that Augustus wears on the Prima Porta is significant in reflecting Augustus piety and desires to project such a public image.

  1. Were coins used in the Roman Empire more for propaganda purposes or as a ...

    This is why this has been used on coins, to show people and other rulers, how well off he is. Also, his face and neck seem much stockier than on the coin from his earlier period. Perhaps this shows his love of luxurious living and the banquets for which he was famous.

  2. To what extent do the sources suggest that Rome had become ungovernable by the ...

    Though this offers no real facts (one side of a court case) - the influence of the law courts could perhaps be seen here, with the importance of rhetoric, and how easily people can be swayed. Key historians at this time, namely Sallust, writes at the beginning of his Catiline

  1. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    He had established himself as a 'virtual king' in Gaul.5 He was an exceptional general, in that all historians' agree. There is no debate that doubts his qualities as a military man. But Caesar did not experience an easy campaign during his time in Gaul.

  2. To determine the indicator range of some acid-base indicators

    With comparison to beaker 1, the pH of the mixture was measured with a pH meter at the first sign of color change. This would be the lower point of the range. Then, 1cm3 of 0.1 M sodium hydroxide solution was continuously added each at a time to beaker 3.

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

    role in the administration of the corn supply in Rome; Turranius was the first praefectus annonae (prefect of the corn supply) and held the position for over forty years. The praefectus annonae bore greater power in Rome than the Senate as he could directly change the way the Emperor was

  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