How was the reign of Caesar Augustus
Augustus was born as Gaius Octavius on September 23, 63 BC. Born in Rome. His family belonged to the Roman knighthood and had sufficient financial means. After his birth father died at an early age, his mother married Lucius Marcius Philippus, who served as consul for a year. At that time, the grandmother Julia, who was herself a sister of Julius Caesar, was responsible for bringing up Octavian. After their death in 51 BC Octavian moved into his stepfather's house.
Octavian benefited from Caesar's intercession at an early age. The main reason for this is likely to be the fact that Caesar himself had no legitimate son and therefore took care of his great-nephew. 45 BC BC Augustus was even allowed to accompany his great-uncle on the campaign against the sons of Pompey before he learned of Julius Caesar's death while preparing for another war (against the Parthians) and made his way back to Rome.
On his return trip, Octavian learned that Julius Caesar had adopted him by will and made him the main heir. The entire private fortune of Caesar fell into his hands. When the civil war flared up again between the Caesar supporters around Marcus Antonius and the murderers around Brutus and Longinus, it played no role at this point in time.
Octavian was soon able to increase his popularity by paying off the intended inheritance to Caesar's veterans and the population, although Marcus Antonius initially refused to hand over the property to him. He also built on an extensive staff that included two close advisers to Caesar: Gaius Oppius and Lucius Cornelius.
After Octavian had built his own army from Caesar's veterans, he entered into a deal with the republic, which initially brought him to the side of the republicans. Octavian was given the legitimate command of his army, was allowed to accompany all offices ten years before the actual minimum age and was given the rank of consular. In return, he had to pull against Mark Antony, who was on the side of the Caesars. Octavian was actually fighting on the wrong side, a tactic that should soon pay off for him.
During the upcoming fighting between the Caesars and the Republicans, both consuls were killed, whereupon Octavian claimed the office for himself. Since the Senate refused to do so, he took his troops, marched against Rome and forced on August 19, 43 BC. His election as consul. Shortly afterwards he switched sides, outlawed the murderers of his adoptive father and entered into an alliance with the Caesars.
In October 43 BC The so-called second triumvirate came about. Octavian entered into a three-way alliance with Marcus Antonius and the equestrian leader Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and even married Antonius' stepdaughter Clodia as a sign of fraternization. Under the official name "Three-man rule for order of the state", the allies carried out a purge, for the purpose of which numerous people were declared free of birds. The famous Roman orator, writer and politician Cicero fell victim to this barbarism.
42 BC The Caesar killers Brutus and Longinus were defeated at Philippi and the republic was provided with another coffin nail. Subsequently, the spheres of influence of the three allies were redistributed, after which Octavian was in charge of Spain, Gaul and northern Italy. A short time later, Octavian separated from Clodia and first married Scribonia, with whom he had a daughter, and then Livia Drusilla, with whom he stayed together until the end of his days. Drusilla brought two sons into the marriage, the first of whom (Tiberius) would later become Octavian's heir to the throne.
Octavian did everything to expand his power. On September 3, 36 BC He was able to defeat the Roman general Sextus Pompeius, who controlled several Mediterranean islands (including Sicily), in the naval battle of Naulochoi. Shortly afterwards he disempowered Lepidus, who was already the weakest link in the triumvirate, and was able to persuade his troops to overflow. The whole west of the Roman Empire was now under the power of Octavian.
In the eastern part, however, Antony, who meanwhile waged an unsuccessful war against the Parthians, still had the say. However, when Antony got together with the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, who already had a love affair with Caesar, and rejected his wife, which was extremely popular in Rome, he lost popularity. In addition, he gave away parts of the Roman East to the Egyptian woman and thereby made himself vulnerable.
Octavian used Antony's behavior to make another move towards power. He obtained the will of Antony from the Vestal Virgins (priestesses of the goddess Vesta) and had it read out before the assembled Senate and the People's Assembly. Since Cleopatra's children were appointed as heirs of Roman territories and the Senate saw them as the originator of this anti-Rome policy, war was declared on Egypt. Octavian had actually managed to turn his domestic power struggle with Antonius into a foreign policy matter.
31 BC The so-called Ptolemaic War began, which was at least officially directed against Cleopatra. Octavian moved his troops to Greece that was still held by Antonius and was soon able to encircle the land and sea forces of Antonius and thus cut off supplies.
After a long blockade, Antony's fleet ventured on September 2, 31 BC. An attempt to break out which ended in the sea battle at Actium. Although Antonius managed to get himself, the war chest and Cleopatra to safety, the battle ended in disaster for him. Overall, he lost about three quarters of his ships that day. After the land troops surrendered and his client rulers switched to Octavian's side, the war was practically decided.
In the following year Octavian, coming from the Sinai Peninsula, moved into Egypt. The Egyptian fleet and cavalry ran over to him and Octavian was able to penetrate into Alexandria without any problems. Antony now saw no way out and committed suicide that same day. Cleopatra, on the other hand, was initially captured by Octavian and was actually supposed to be shown on the triumphal procession through Rome. However, she was able to avoid this disgrace by also choosing suicide.
29 BC Octavian entered Rome as a great victor. The civil war had ended once and for all and Egypt had become another Roman province. Now he was only faced with the problem of bringing his unlawfully acquired position of power into a legal form. To this end, he gradually rebuilt the state in the following years. The order of the old republic was established, at least formally, with a state act in 27 BC. Restored, but in truth the Roman Empire was henceforth an empire with only a republican touch.
Octavian, henceforth referred to as Augustus by the Senate resolution, achieved this by not completely excluding the Senate from the government. Unlike the failed dictators Sulla and Caesar, he preserved their dignity. He himself formally renounced the office of consul, but retained practically all powers. His new title "Princeps senatus" meant something like first of the Senate. The Roman imperial era is therefore also referred to in modern research as a principle.
Although the new system of rule was not undisputed (Augustus initially only dared to enter the Senate with a breastplate), it finally prevailed and was to last for a long time. The main reasons for this are the long desire for peace and the lack of alternatives. In addition, Augustus finally ruled for over 40 years, a period of time in which the Romans had got used to the new structure, after all there were hardly any people alive who could remember the old times. Henceforth the emperor was the first man in the Roman Empire.
During the reign of Augustus there was a great stabilization of the economic and living conditions. The economic upswing can be attributed, among other things, to the fact that Augustus was able to dismiss numerous legions (approx. 80,000 men) and thus spare the treasury. The severance payment for the veterans was easy to cope with due to the Egyptian state treasury. Above all, however, it was also the return of legal certainty and peace that brought prosperity back to numerous provinces. The American political scientist Michael W. Doyle developed the term "Augustan threshold" for the transition from an unstable to a stable empire.
In terms of foreign policy, the policy of Emperor Augustus was rather divided. On the one hand, he was concerned with securing the imperial borders, which contributed to the fact that he did not resume plans for a campaign against the Parthian Empire. On the other hand, he incorporated numerous territories into the Roman Empire. Until 19 BC During the Cantabrian War, the rest of the Iberian Peninsula fell into Roman hands, while in the northern part the imperial border was pushed forward to the Danube.
The plan to conquer areas on the right bank of the Rhine (Germania magna) ended in disaster in 9 AD. In the so-called Varus Battle (also Hermannsschlacht or Battle in the Teutoburg Forest) three Roman legions including auxiliary troops were destroyed. The troops under the command of the Roman general Publius Quinctilius Varus were ambushed by the Cheruscan prince Arminius (later also known as Hermann) as a result of which they were practically completely wiped out.
For the Roman Empire, this defeat, in which one eighth of the entire army was destroyed, led in the medium term to the withdrawal from Germania magna and later to the construction of the Limes as a protective wall against the Teutons.
Augustus, who became seriously ill several times in the course of his life and was rather weak in stature, dealt with his successor at an early age. In addition, it was a very important matter for him to maintain the system of rule of the principate that he had created. Since he had no biological son himself, he pursued the plan to marry off his daughter Julia to a possible candidate. After the first two electors Marcellus and Agrippa passed away, his stepson Tiberius had to take over the role. Unhappy about this forced marriage it happened 5 BC. BC for the time being to the rift between him and Augustus. Only years later, when several other successor candidates had died, there was reconciliation and Tiberius was declared the official successor.
During a summer trip in AD 14, Augustus, who was now almost 77 years old, fell ill with severe diarrhea. In Nola, 35 km northeast of Naples, he finally died in the presence of several dignitaries and his wife Livia on August 19th. The last words that he is said to have spoken were: "If you have enjoyed the whole thing, applaud and let us all go home with thanks".
After his corpse was brought to Rome and cremated there, his ashes were placed in the Augustus mausoleum, which is still in existence today and which Augustus already had in 29 BC. Had built for himself and his family.
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