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CLAS100 Lecture Notes - Roman Senate, Octavians, Autocracy

Classical Studies
Course Code
Sheila Ager

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September 29th, 2010
Augustus and the Roman Empire
Julius Caesar: autocracy
By his time the Roman empire was an autocracy: state ruled by one man
His power base was an army that was loyal to him and not the state
After his assassination (44 BC) autocracy kind of became permanent
The empire is the 500 years after Caesar
Caesar spent a lot of time in front of the mirror on his appearance
Only 5’7”had a limp leg, bad teeth, pretty good looking, curly hair (kid of gold coloured), clear bright eyes, slightly
hooked nose, calm facial expression, but could lose temper
Was born Gaius Octavius in 63 BC in Rome, Sept 23rd, he came from a socially mobile family
His grandfather had been a rich banker in a small Italian townfather did betterwas elected in the Roman senate
in 73 BCmarried the niece of Julius Caesar
Related by marriage to CaesarOctavius was the great-nephew of Caesar
Some said that Octavius’s mother fell asleep in the palace of Apollo and woke up to find a snake in her lap, and nine
months later he was bornsaid Apollo was his father
His father died when he was 5mother married another manconsole in the senatelearned a lot about politics
Then a civil war btw Caesar and Pompey broke out
At age 15 Octavius became a priesmore of a political office back then, held for life
At 17 he sailed to Spain to serve under Caesarthis was when Caesar noticed Ocatvius’s potential
Caesar had no heirs, so Octavius left a will where he adopted Octavius inherited a fortune
Now his new name was Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian)some thought that after Caesar died, he became
a god
Now Octavius started calling himself the son of god
Back in Rome the political situation was a disarray
The ppl who killed Caesar (Brutus and Cassius) had to leave
War broke out btw conspirators and Caesar`s friends
19--. Octavian raised his own army--. Called on Caesar`s veteran office--. Wanted to be console--.refused--.marched
into Rome and was granted what he wanted
Allied w Mark Antony and Aemilius Lepidus --. Second Triumvirate (43 BC)
Make war on Caesar’s assassinsdefeated in battle in Philippi (Battle of Philippi 42 BC)
Now political enemies were put to rest--. Cicero
Now the Roman world was also divided between the Triumvirs
Octavian got west, Antony got East, Lepidus got Africa and south (least powerful, became priest)
Antony, who was married to Octavian’s older sister, Octavia, had an affair w Cleopatra
Now Antony claimed that Caesar’s son w Cleopatra was the real son and heir
Ppl though Antony would marry Cleopatra and move Rome to Egypt
Now Octavian and Antony at civil war --. Antony lost --. Battle of Actium, 31 BC
Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt --. Cleopatra committed suicide and Egypt fell to Italy
Cleopatra`s son by Caesar was put to death
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