Augusts’ Principate: “Res Publica Restituta” (Restoration of the Republic).
Dyarchy Princeps + Senate
27 – Inauguration of Principate. Octavian becomes Augustus.
23 – Augustus relinquished his monopolistic hold on the consulship; he received full tribunician
power in return. The scope of his pro-consular power was extended to be valid in Rome, MAIUS
15: Only Princeps can mint gold and silver coinage.
13: Down to 600 Senators.
12 - Lepidus died – Augustus became Pontifex Maximus.
2 – Became Curator Anonae, curator of the grain supply, due to a famine.
Became “Pater Patriae”
Had broader scope and longer length of office made him even more powerful. Each power was
bestowed upon him individually. His authority was absolute only because he held allllll the
Nominally, “primas Interpares,” First among equals. Really, “Formost above all others.”
Supreme control of armed forces, support and respect of government, reverence of the people: all
came from his Autoritas (his influence, his prestige).
August held no official title after 23, just had tons of broad powers. He hid his veiled monarchy
within the framework of the “restored Republic” – RES PUBLICA RESTITUTA. Avoided shitty
title of King, but created a legitimate title for himself and his successors. The Senate was still
prestigious, but lacked real power.
Augustus knew he had to appear to work with the Senate. Rome always had to look like a
diarchy: princeps + senate; not a monarchy.
Pax Augusta – The peace of Rome after decades of civil war. To commemorate this gift of
peace, and his victories campaigning in Gaul and Spain, Augustus erected the Ara Pacis
Augustae in Campus Martius, 13-9.
Augustus made many political reforms aimed at streamlining the beaurocracy.
28: Augustus and Agrippa both consuls. Revised role of Senate, reduced membership from 1000
to 800. He also reduced the number of quaestors to 20, lowered min age to 25. Restricted role to men of Senatorial order, men who had completed a term of military service, had property of at
least *800,0000? Sesterces.
Also lowered min ages for praetors (39 – 32) and consul (42 – 35). Increased # of praetors, 10 –
12, putting the two new ones in charge of the treasury, the arari? Had the right to mint gold and
27? Senate becomes court of justice for serious political or criminal charges against senators, and
a court for ______.
Senate can pass decrees without the people’s approval.
Augustus established a centralizes system of administration for the huge empire, which had an
estimated population of 50-70 million people. He created a civil service – CONCILIUM
PRINCIPIS (Council of the Princeps). Had two consuls, one rep from each of the other
magistracies, and 15 senators chosen by lot. Served for a period of 6 months to advise Princeps,
and help him prepare agenda for meetings of the Senate.
13: Concilium Principis was revised to include members of the Imperial family. To administer
the imperial provinces, Augustus chose legati Augusti pro praetors. To Egypt, Praefecti. Both got
procuratores, who served as financial agents, looking after the Empire’s private affairs.
Procuratores also worked in senatorial provinces.
In Rome, Curatores or Praefecti ran the civil service. Senators or Equestrians were the only ones
who could get these roles.
These individuals administred to the grain supply (CURA ANNONAE), the grain dole
(frumentatio), the water supply (cura aquae), flood control (cura riparum et alvei tiberis), moneta
(mint), military treasury (aerarium militare).
Civil Service one of the most enduring changes by Augustus – still going today, sort of.
Those who got these positions, held them under the patronage of the Empire. All political,
military, and civil positions approved by the Emperor.
Members of the Senatorial order got control of senatorial provinces. Augustus kept Asia and
Africa for senatorial governors of consular rank. When Augustus was absent from Rome, 27-24,
he was directing military operations in Gaul and Spain. While there, hre revived the old office,
PRAEFECTUS URBI, prefect of the city of Rome. This prefect was in charge of the city police
force, so was always a man of consular rank.
Augustus made permament police force. Elite core of 4500 made up 3 cohorts (COHORTES
URBANAE), ranging from 1000-1500. Curator Annonae, Curator Aquae, and Curator Riparum et Alvei Tiberis were all positions for
men of consular rank.
Members of the Equestrian order could hold other posts: besides imperial proctoratores, could
hold prefecture of Egypt (most prestigious post for an equestrian), or could be 1 of 2
PRAEFECTI PRAETORIO (Praetorian prefects) in charge of the praetorian guard. This imperial
force attended Augustus in his capacity as cheif of army. Members had served for a period of
sixteen years in the city. Only troops stationed in Italy, acted as personal bodyguard to Augustus.
Praetorians stationed in barracks outside Rome, the “Castra Praetoria.” The 2 praefecti praetorio
had HUGE power, had to be trusted like mad. Some, later on, virtually ruled the empire.
Praefectus annonae – prefect of grain at ... somewhere
Praefect of the royal flee at
Praefectus viarum – prefect of the roads?
Romes police force
3 cohortes urbanae: 1000 – 1500 men each = 4500 total
commanded by Praefectus URBI (senator of CONSULAR rank, the prefect of Rome, in control
when Augustus was out of Rome)
By 2bc Praetorian Guard: 9 cohortes praetoriae. 3 stationed in Praetorian Camp (CASTRA
PRAETORIA), 6 in Italian towns.|
They were the personal imperial bodyguard to protect the emperor. Commanded by 2
PRAEFECTI PRAETORIO (Praetorian prefects – men of EQUESTRIAN rank).
Romes 1rst fire brigade (+ Night police)
ad 6: VIGILES = Night Watchmen. Divided Rome into 14 regions. 7 cohorts of 1000 men (7000
total) watched for fires, crime, riots, etc. Each cohort got 2 regions. Commanded by
PRAEFECTUS VIGILUM. (man of Equestrian rank).
Next most powerful role in Rome after praetorian prefects.
Rome’s imperial navy
Commanded by admiral, PRAEFECTUS CLASSIS, prefect of the fleet. (man of EQUESTRIAN
rank). Stationed at Misenum and Rayenna. Augustus was first to establish permanent Roman fleet. Sextus Pompey had demonstrated need for navy to protect against piracy, naval attacks,
and to ensure protection of grain shipments.