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How much do you think Octavian's rise, up to the siege of Persia, is owing to his own merits, and how much to the merits of others?

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Introduction

Danielle de Bruin 12RS Date: 21.10.03 Classical Civilization How much do you think Octavian's rise, up to the siege of Persia, is owing to his own merits, and how much to the merits of others? Octavian's rise to the powerful position he held at the time of the siege of Persia, was considerably rapid, especially at such a young age. It is impossible to name one element as the root of his success, since there are many different factors that contributed to this swift ascension to power. Julius Caesar played an important part in introducing Octavian to the Political scene, and for giving him a head start in his career. Caesar had him elected to the college of pontiffs, and at the age of sixteen, he was allowed to join Caesar in his African triumphs. Caesar obviously held Octavian in the highest esteem, and in Suetonius, Augustus Ch. ...read more.

Middle

in the force against the Republicans, and Antony and his legions proved to be a great help in defeating them. Octavian can however accredit some of his overall success to his military achievements. On his own enterprise and expense he raised an army from veterans of Caesar's army. Although there are some arguments in opposition, it is generally believed that he was a good military leader- Suetonius, Augustus Ch. 10, "he showed not only skill as a commander but courage as a soldier". He seems to have been quite good at preparing troops for battle, "he exercised his crews all one winter" (Suetonius, Augustus, Ch. 16) Also, he obviously understood the tactics of the military engagements he was involved with, since when he realized that defeating Antony would leave his fathers assassins in control of the state, he swiftly switched sides. Octavian switched sides many times; sometimes fighting for the Republicans and sometimes for the Caesarians. ...read more.

Conclusion

What they were doing was using him to get rid of Antony, planning to dispose of him when convenient. However, Octavian turned against them and used the authority they had given him to his advantage, and it really was an advantage, because ordinarily he would have had to wait 20 years to be eligible for that position of power which the senate gave him. There are many instances like the above, where malicious acts of others turn around to Octavian's advantage. Also on several occasions coincidences, example- The comet of Caesar's soul appearing during the games, help him gain popularity. Octavian appears to have a great deal of luck- often narrowly escaping death. This brings the question of fate into the equation. Perhaps Octavian was destined to rise to power... It is quite clear that Octavian was a unique young man with initiative, boldness and skill which assisted him in his rise to power. However he could not have done it alone. The merits and miscalculations of others were equally important in his conquest. Word count- 768 ...read more.

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