When one considers the great civilizations that have existed and thrived on planet earth, the Roman Empire is one of the first civilizations that come to mind. The saying “All roads lead to Rome” didn’t appear out of thin air, rather the Roman Civilization earned the moniker that would forever characterize them as one of the greatest civilizations to ever exist. Indeed, two thousand years ago the world was ruled by Rome. During such times, many human beings lived and died under Roman Law. This Empire didn’t simply grow from the ground, indeed “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The Roman Empire grew from the ashes of the Republic that was crumbling after the deaths of Brutus and Cassius in 43 BC (Tacitus 1). The citizens of Rome were in need of a new leadership, and in need of a new government to live under. The people of Rome found their answer in the leadership of Augustus, and Augustus was pivotal in the creation of the Roman Empire.
The Roman Empire rose up through the ashes of a republic that had fallen at the deaths of Brutus and Cassius in 43 BC. Years later, in 31 BC, Anthony and Cleopatra were killed in the battle of Actium (Augustus 1). The 19 year old Augustus, at the approval of the Senate, moved to reorganize the republic (Augustus 1), and thus created the Roman Empire, which unbeknownst to him would become one of the most powerful and influential Empires that the world had ever seen. Augustus was an exceptionally effective leader, and without him Rome would have never had such an existence. Augustus served his people, while always enlarging his empire. Of his actions as a leader, Augustus writes, “In many areas I repaired water channels which had fallen into disrepair with age, and I doubled the output of the Marcian aqueduct by introducing a new water source to its channel”(Augustus 1). Augustus served his citizens by effectively supplying water to those who needed it. Not only this, but Augustus was also a merciful and kind leader. Augustus writes “When there was a great shortage of grain, from the management of its supply, which I so administered that within a few days from its immediate fear and danger I freed the entire state at my own expense and by my own care” (Augustus 1). Augustus supplied his own wealth to ensure that a state would not be without grain, and thus without food. It was acts such as this, kindly supplying grain and effectively using the aqueducts, which turned Rome into the great empire that it became. Augustus sought to earn the trust of his people, all while creating an environment in which his citizens could thrive. Augustus also expanded his empire when possible. Augustus wrote “Wars by land and by sea, civil and foreign, ended; and as victor I spared all who sought pardon as citizens” (Augustus 1). Augustus gave citizenship to enemies who sought to become citizens of Rome. When faced with death or imprisonment, many agreed to become Roman Citizens, which further helped the Empire to flourish.
Augustus was able to transition from Republic to Empire through warfare and by winning over the people. Rome needed a leader. There was no longer any Republic after the deaths of Brutus and Cassius (Tacitus 1). Augustus saw his chance to revolutionize the weakened Republic. Tacitus writes “Augustus won over the soldiers with gifts, the populace with cheap corn, and all men with the sweets of repose” (Tacitus 1). Augustus was able to win the favor of many of the citizens and soldiers of Rome. He was an effective, kind leader, and the soldiers and citizens found freedom and ease of living under him. Augustus further solidified his leadership through the government of Rome. “(Augustus)…so grew greater by degrees, while he concentrated in himself the functions of the Senate, the magistrates, and the laws” (Tacitus 1). Augustus sought higher positions in the Roman Government, as he gained the trust and loyalty of soldiers and citizens alike.
Augustus was absolutely pivotal in the creation of the Roman Empire. He found his chance to be a leader at the collapse of the Republic of Rome. He won over soldiers and men with grain and easy access to water, as well as a kindness to the people that inspired their loyalty. Augusts was then able to work his way into the government, and with the loyalty of citizens, soldiers, and officials alike, was able to lead Rome into one of the greatest empires to ever exist. He then sought to further expand his empire by granting enemies citizenship after sparing their lives. He effectively grew the Empire during his time as leader of Rome. Augustus was the reason that the Roman Empire began, and the reason it became so powerful and influential.