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

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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. The Res Gestae does, however, provide and insight into how Augustus himself saw life and times in the Roman empire. The second main source is Suetonius' Life of Augustus which is an account by a historian and biographer who lived and wrote about 100 years after the death of Augustus. He had access to the imperial archives so his accounts can be seen as mostly accurate. Nonetheless, the book is filled with gossip and rumours which cannot be taken entirely seriously. 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. Augustus was a prestigious leader and he brought back the severity that the Roman army once had, not only making them fear punishment but the troops were also made to feel proud of their regiment, as Suetonius describes how “Augustus [...] exacted the strictest discipline.” (Suet. Life of Augustus, 24, p57)  This reform was brought in to make the army more efficient in several ways and just as much on the battlefield as when training. Augustus also, “gave the entire tenth legion an ignominious discharge because of their insolent behaviour” (Suet. Life of Augustus, 24, p57). Augustus was visibly a strict leader who did not tolerate unsatisfactory service in the army. This meant that having a lower number of troops did not necessarily mean that the army was any weaker. This particular reform was quite clearly very effective as now the troops were more prepared for war and to keep peace in the provinces. As can be seen by the fact that the gates of the Temple of Janus were closed three times during Augustus' tenure, “The Temple of Janus Quirinus which had been closed no more than twice since the foundation of Rome, he closed three times during a far shorter period, as a sign that the empire was at peace on land and at sea.” (Suet. Life of Augustus, 22, p56) and in the Res Gestae as told by Augustus himself, “from the foundation of the city down to my birth, tradition records it that it was shut only twice, but while I was the leading citizen the senate resolved that it should be shut on three occasions.” (Res Gestae Divi Augusti, 13, p25) This shows that the empire was at peace, and the way to keep it at peace was through keeping the provinces under control, achieved through controlling the army which, due to the discipline reforms was easier and more efficient.

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An effective practice by Augustus was that of reserving the higher posts in the army to his own family members and men of at least consular or praetorian rank. This could be considered unfair because it would mean those not part of Augustus' family or close circle of friends would not be able to reach the higher posts due to the discrimination, but those deserving of the posts because of reaching high rank would be more than suitable to run the army. Suetonius states that Augustus “allowed any township to nominate men capable of taking up such senior army ...

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