Augustus "Rise to Power" Essay (Tacitus and Augustus)

Topics: Augustus, Roman Empire, Res Gestae Divi Augusti Pages: 4 (1499 words) Published: March 9, 2013
Compare the following descriptions of Augustus’ rise to power, one by Augustus himself and one by Tacitus (the second-century historian), and discuss their historical validity. 1)“At the age of nineteen on my own responsibiliy and at my own expense I raised an army,...I transferred the republic from my power to the dominion of the senate and people of Rome.” -Augustus,Res Gestae Divi Augusti 2)”One view of Augustus went like this: filial duty and national crisis had been merely pretexts...After that, there had certainly been peace, but it was a bloodstained peace”-Tacitus, Annals

Of Augustus’ rise to power and the means by which he achieved his ends of Empirical glory, different views have been taken. While some argue that Augustus’ cause was a noble one and was achieved in just and “pius” ways, others argue the peace he achieved was an uneasy one, tainted by his dishonourable methods. Both of these views are represented in these passages – one by Augustus himself, written in his Res Gestae and the other by the second-century historian, Tacitus. However, with each of these, their historical validity must be evaluated and this can be done by taking a detailed look at the context in which Augustus rose to power.

In Augustus’ Res Gestae, he clearly sets himself as the model of effective, true leadership and in just the first sentence justifies his actions. He says “At the age of nineteen on my own responsibility and at my own expense I raised an army, with which I successfully championed the liberty of the republic, when it was oppressed by the tyranny of a faction”. From the start of this paragraph, Augustus quickly paints himself as a champion of the “liberty of the republic” and therefore in a rightful position to do whatever it takes to relieve the masses of the “oppression” they suffer. However, the dignity of the first sentence stands under scrutiny when compared with what Tacitus says in his Annals, “While he was only a half-grown...
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