Roman Empire’sinfluence has deeply permeated many aspects of Western civilization frompolitics to military organization and strategy. Augustus was one of thewell-known emperors in his power of ending the chaos of civil war andstabilizing society afterwards. Augustus ushered in an unprecedented age ofpeace and prosperity; this famous period did not occur naturally. The fact thatAugustus was able to maintain control of both the common people and thegovernment is a testament to his sovereignty and expertise.
His authority alsobenefitted his family’s status. Both of them are revealed in Augustus’sinscription, Res Gestae Divi Augusti, in which he portrayed himself in adifferent image. By portraying himself as a benevolent leader under therepublic constitution, Augustus utilized his appearance to consolidate andextend his sovereignty, influence which he transferred to his family. Augustus enumerated his accomplishments in purpose to elevatehim to a selfless and benign leader in the Res Gestate. Augustus writes, “Iraised an army with which I set free the state, which was oppressed by thedomination of a faction” (Augustus para. 1). The “set free the state” refers tohis success in the civil war that military dictators divided the RomanRepublic.
He especially emphasizes this achievement at the beginning of ResGestae; this insinuates that his most significant achievement were terminatingthe political cleavage and restoring freedom and peace for the people. Augustusparticularly emphasized the latter one; he writes, “I rebuilt theCapitol and the theater of Pompey, each work at enormous cost, without anyinscription of my name” (Para. 20). Augustus underlines the “without anyinscription of my name” since he intends to present an image that he concerns aboutsocial infrastructures, not for his fame. Furthermore, the theater of Pompeywas an important architecture built by former ruler of Roman Republic. Augustusportrayed an appearance of retrieving prosperity and traditional values in thepast, which h conformed to his claim that he would restore the Republic.
Thus,Augustus retained the republic constitution for his portrayal, even though he hadalready obtained a great power. He further fortified such image by rejectingthe dictatorship and position as perpetual consulate (Para. 5).
Augustus rejectedthe offers because they violate the traditional Roman values and theconstitution, even though he arose as a sovereign leader with comprehensivecontrol of the government. The contraction between his portrayal in Res Gestaeand his actual ambition demonstrated that the inscription was served as hispropaganda to glorify his image and extend his influence over the empire. Augustus consolidated his positionas a sovereign leader through massive support. Augustus mentions he was offeredmany different positions by the Senate and people throughout the Res Gestae(Augustus para.
1, 5, 7, 8). Under the republicconstitution, he harnessed the regime by taking positions in extending areas;he was virtually an absolute monarch, despite an absent title of “dictator.”Augustus was also granted different honorable titles by the Senate. The mostsignificant one among them is the “princeps”, which means the “first citizen ofthe state.” More precisely, Augustus was recognized as the first priority overthe equal citizens. The title has no official power, but it representedAugustus’s ultimate status over the empire. The honor titles and variouspositions to Augustus proved that he maintained the highest power in the empire,and his regimes arose from support of the Senate and the people. Despite hispolitical control over the government, Augustus’s wealth already impacted thecommonwealth.
Augustus reflects several times that he used his patrimony torebuild architectures and provide public gifts and grains to people (para. 15).By doing so, Augustus further consolidated his popularity among citizens whenhe restored social stability. Therefore,he extent his influence through wielding numerous governmental positions as wellas enhancing prominence among citizens. His tremendous influence would alsotransfer to his family, which sustained their regime in future. Augustus’sextending sovereignty also permeated through his family, enhancing thelegitimacy and prestige of his family in the Empire.
Augustus mentions manytimes that he hold events under his relatives’ names (para. 22). By undertakingthese games in honor of his relatives, Augustus heightened his family’s esteemwhile appearing benevolent. Thus, the prestige of his lineages would also beelevated under Augustus’s tactics. Furthermore, Augustus also sent his two sonsto the Senate and the military (para.
14, 27). His heirs could heighten theiresteem through various triumphs in wars and government. Meanwhile, Augustus intendedto prepare his heirs as future governors of the emperor; his honor would beinherited in future. Augustus was apolitical expert that harnessed various tactics in purpose to fortify hisregime and glory in this mighty empire.
His deeds permeated and deeply impactthe Roman Empire and the future. Such influence even transferred to his familyto preserve their power and honor. Augustus disguised his deeds and charactersto portray an ideal image, but his Res Gestae, a propaganda, provided a solidbasis from his accomplishments.