The city of Rome had functioned as a republic for centuries, being ruled by a Senate. The reign of Julius Caesar throughout the first century was filled with rioting, conquests, and instability. In 44 BCE, he was named dictator of Rome, a title that made others jealous, fear that Caesar was becoming too powerful, and think that the rights of the Senate would soon diminish. It was because of this, that a group of Roman senators led by Brutus and Cassius assassinated Caesar by stabbing him. However, all was not restored as they had hoped and a rival between Julius Caesar’s nephew Octavian (who was his heir) and his trusted friend Marc Antony broke out as they engaged in a power struggle. Their conflict would last for years until Octavian finally declared war on Antony and defeated him. With his uncle assassinated and Antony defeated, Octavian, who would later be known to the Roman people as Augustus, found himself in a position of power within the Roman civilization. Throughout his reign, Augustus would become one of the most successful leaders in history and transform Rome from a republic to a thriving empire. By examining various historical documents, we are able to gain a well-rounded understanding of how the reign of Augustus was received by the Roman people and even Augustus himself.
Augustus’ transfer into an ultimate position of power was slow and strategic on his part. He saw his uncle Julius Caesar’s republic fail due to instability and conflict. Augustus chose to take a much more discreet approach to power, by gradually achieving acceptance and praise among his peers. One example of this can be seen through a Decree issued by Augustus in 4 BCE. The decree speaks of establishing a “ legal process for extortion so that the allies might more easily be able to take action for any wrongs done them and recover moneys extorted from them.” It goes on to say the process of justice and recovery of extorted money can be difficult for those who are ill or poor...
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