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Octavian Augustus: The Roman Emperor "The illustrious one"

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The purpose of my collection is to show how “The powerful leaders of greatest civilization” changed the direction of existing Religion, culture, history, politics and art as per their beliefs.

  • Akhenaton: The Pharaoh, considered heretical, triggered a veritable cultural and religious revolution.
  • Alexander the Great: The Greek Conqueror and Cultural blender
  • Octavian Augustus: The Roman Emperor "The illustrious one".

The purpose of my collection is to show how “The powerful leaders of greatest civilization” who changed the direction of existing Religion, culture, history and art as per their beliefs. This collection is part one of that that I have organized, chronologically, on Akhenaton: The Pharaoh, considered heretical, triggered a veritable cultural and religious revolution. The other two collections are " Alexander the Great: The Greek Conqueror and Cultural blender" and Octavian Augustus: The Roman Emperor "The illustrious one". It is my hope that these collections will help viewers to understand influential power of world’s ancient leaders in the field of Art and Culture.

The Absolute Master of Romans

Octavian Augustus was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar who soon noticed his intelligence, watches over his intellectual and military education and adopts it (45 BC).

On November 13, 36 BC, Octavian made a triumphal entry into Rome. With excellent political skill, he then realizes the moral unity of this half of the Roman world around his person. He is already a mediator and a man respectful of tradition. He burned the acts of the civil war, abolished the tribute and suppressed banditry in Italy by rigorous measures, he distributed vacant land, resume major work in Rome. He finally undertook some expeditions destined to stabilize the situation in certain frontier provinces; the people's assemblies and the senate are under his control.

In 32 BC, he forced Antony's consuls and senators to flee. He ordered the Senate to summon Antony to return to Rome and to lay down his imperium. Octavian now appears as the guarantor of the traditions and virtues of the past against the wicked representative of the East. In the summer of 31 BC Octavian, thanks to Agrippa, won the naval battle of Actium, now the whole Roman world belongs to him, in the name of Rome, and Egypt becomes a Roman province. Back in Rome, in the summer of 29, Octavian can celebrate three dazzling triumphs.

A new regime is founded, which functions as a monarchy behind a republican facade. The power of Augustus is not an institutional entity, but the complex grouping of various rights, moral, legal, military, political, religious.

“Princeps” is not strictly speaking a title, but a qualifier for politically important characters; moreover, By the magic of this name, Octave is morally superior to the other Romans and is the guarantor of the respect of the rights of each of his fellow citizens; the originator can legally convene and preside over the senate and the assemblies of the people, and submit to them bills. Through this intermediary, Augustus can accomplish his legislative and reform work.

In 23 BC Augustus rendered his office of consul, but immediately the senate granted him “A Proconsular Imperium” superior to that of all the other magistrates, for life and outside any magistracy; he now has the right to raise troops and to intervene everywhere in the empire. And he is again attributed tribune power,

Augustus thus created a new regime, but a regime that did not immediately assert itself. The originator did not want to execute his reforms with brutality; he has used the oldest functions of the republic, by giving them a new, non-shocking aspect for his contemporaries.

The society is administered by a corps of civil servants recruited from the upper classes: senatorial order and equestrian order. This society is therefore hierarchical, but it is also very flexible, because any citizen can, if he has a certain personal fortune and the endorsement of the prince, enter the equestrian order, make a part of his career , then access the senatorial rank functions.

The post-mortem deification of his adoptive father by the popular impulse had made Octavian understand how religious sentiment could serve his policy. Moreover, his career is marked by his accession to the most important priests, until being elected grand pontiff at the death of Lepidus, in 12 BC. Augustus, guarantor of the ancient cults of the city, by the construction or restoration of religious buildings. Augustus boasted of having restored eighty temples in the city; it was, for him, the glaring material proof of the distinguished place he gave to the gods. This "traditionalist" side has its counterpart in a pronounced anti-oriental tendency, against the Greek and Egyptian divinities.

The originator made him build the largest temple in Rome, on the Palatine Hill, near his home. In addition, he made public part of his home and built an altar of Vesta. It is now in its domain that was the center of the official Roman religion.

The financial administration makes even more evident the absolute character of the power of Augustus. He has redesign taxes; the control carried out by the imperial officials is becoming stricter. Moreover, in all senatorial provinces, the emperor is present in the financial field through a procurator.

In foreign policy, Augustus prefers conquests to border security, resorting as much to diplomacy as to military action. But the Empire is far from being completed when he becomes the only master after his victory over Antony.

The economic policy of the Empire was above all to make the life of the people of Rome easier and more pleasant. From one province to another, trade was quite rare, it was Augustus who organized the Spanish network, creating the great southern artery of this country and the roads of the north-west region, conquered by him. Augustus also improved communications in Egypt and Asia Minor. It was through these routes that food was brought to Rome, as well as building materials or manufactured products.

From an architectural point of view, the city of Rome embellished as the years passed. It had become customary to appeal to Hellenistic architects, for whom, moreover, the Italian artists were trained. Roman architects were even beginning to master techniques that the Hellenistic world had hardly known.

Beautiful stones were brought from far away to build buildings and monuments. The wealth imported from the countries around the Mediterranean increased the beauty and luxury of Roman monuments. Augustus even went so far as to bring Egyptian obelisks, he wanted a tomb in the shape of a pyramid.

Roman classicism was found almost exactly as it was in the provinces. From the time of Augustus, the art of building was codified. This is how Italian art was known throughout the Empire (even in Germany!) And the buildings, although sometimes very far apart, were very similar to those in Rome.

In Rome, the Great Circus was completely restored by Augustus. The government carefully regulated all these games by multiplying their opportunities and oversaw the distribution of the expenses they entailed. It was known that, satisfied by these distractions, the people would have no other more troublesome requirements. The fierce controversies with which the circus and amphitheater games gave rise, constituted a good derivative for the emotions and a convenient substitute for the rulers.

Augustus understood that an empire as powerful as his own had to have a capital which was the most beautiful city in the world. Rome did not resemble those ordered cities which the East offered to the dazzled looks of the Romans, More efficient management Augustus divides Rome into 14 regions to facilitate administration and police. Constructions and monuments Augustus also undertakes to reshape Rome. In this task, his son-in-law Agrippa plays a fundamental role. The construction of two new aqueducts, cisterns and fountains allows a better water supply. The monumental transformation of the city is important, including the forum and the mausoleum of Augustus, the theater of Marcellus and the first public baths (baths of Agrippa).

The reign of Augustus is a decisive step in the history of Rome. Decisive because the emperor was able to establish peace within: imperceptibly, but without turning back, imperceptibly influence the old institutions of the republic; to restore their stability to society and religion after the abuses of previous decades - he was able to create without abolishing: a people whose respect for the past had never failed could only appreciate. Decisive because the city has transformed and the momentum has been given for new developments. Decisive finally because the Empire has found its natural limits. Peace, trade and Romanization.

The policy of diplomacy and prudence, which gives the Empire solid frontiers, establishes peace both in the West and in the East, where war has been raging for decades. This peace allows trade flows to recover, especially to Rome, the main customer. From now on, the unity of the Roman world is deeply felt by all the inhabitants of the Empire; it ensures the development of a common civilization that imposes itself on everyone; Romanization is fast. It's the beginning of a new age.

He died on August 19th, aged 77. His mortal remains are brought back to Rome, Tiberius and his son Drusus pronounce the funeral eulogy of the emperor, whose body is then consumed on a bonfire. His ashes will be deposited in the mausoleum that Augustus had built on the field of Mars. The Senate then meets to hear his will, which designates Tiberius as his successor. Augustus can therefore be honored as a god.

I have a positive opinion of Augustus I believe that he was a great man who made a tremendous impact on the world history, culture and politics. His last words in private were: “Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit.” His final public utterance, “Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble,” was just as true.


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