Augustan Settlement and Augustus’s Autobiography
This is an Essay for the Ron Paul Curriculum.
After the Battle of Actium 31 B.C. on the Ionian Sea, Augustus Ceaser returns to Rome. He knows that if makes a big show of being Emperor like Julius Ceaser, he is going to meet a grisly end. However, if he returns to private life, Rome will fall back into civil war. So, he makes a show of upholding the old Republic and its tradition. He goes to the Senate and makes a show of relinquishing his power in 27 B.C., but the Senate gives it back, gives him the title Augustus, a title that had never been given to a man before, made him Tribune for life, and put him in command of some of the largest provinces of the Republic. He is also given Imperium Maium, which gave him the power to override any provincial governor. Through all of this, he makes himself a sort of emperor by putting all these ancient offices in his hands, thus not declaring himself Emperor but having like power. During his life, he also attempted social reform among the higher classes, by punishing celibacy, encouraging marriage and childbirth, and punishing adultery severely. He ended banishing his own daughter, Julia, grandmother of Nero, for a scandal, as well as the poet Ovid, who was famous for his writings on love and seducing women, married or single, which obviously goes against the Augustan Settlements, as well as others, for their own scandals.
Augustus wrote his own biography, which is basically a big long list of his achievements. It has a list of how many temples and other monuments he constructed, the laws that he passed, the battles he won, etc; it is more like a propaganda line than an autobiography. Augustus was a rash, but powerful, politician that used everything he had, even his daughter, to advance his own political status. Julius Octavian Augustus Ceasar is a good example of a tyrant and a despot. He is a good warning of what is occurring today.