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CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Imperium, Gaius Maecenas, Pontifex Maximus

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Adriana Brook

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Augusts’ Official Powers:
-Consul annually from 31 BCE onwards
-Comes to power in 31 BCE. Also in 31 BCE is battle of Actium
-27 BCE renounces all official powers to the senate
-23 BCE renounces official powers again, the senate grants “maius imperium”,
consular and tribuncian powers
-12 BCE Pontifex Maximus
-Decides to market himself as “restoring the Republic”
-First thing he does is get elected as consul. Holds consulship every year for several
years. At the same time he’s building up his reputation with the people and the
-In 27 BCE he renounces all powers to the Senate. They go “oh no no, please
continue” and they give him consulship again, and legions to go deal with regions
threatening civil war.
-In 23 BCE does the same thing, and this time the people are opposed to this, so he
no longer takes one of the consul positions, but is given all the powers of a tribune of
the plebs, complete military power, and he eventually has more power than even
the consuls. Since the Senate appears to have done this willingly, it doesn’t look bad
for Augustus.
-In 12 PCE he is granted the priesthood the Pontifex Maximus, which is a lifelong
position. But that is the ONLY lifetime position he claims, so he avoids the whole
“dictator for life” thing that Caeser did.
The Reign of Augustus: In Rome
-Disbanded the legions and settled veterans
-Provincial tax reform
-Urban administration and policing (Praetorian Guard)
-Introduces a fire brigade
-Sewer system
-Reorganizes the grain system, fixing prices, making sure its distributed fairly
-naumachia, spectacles, games
-Marriage and child legislation
-Sumptuary laws
-Religious revival
-Maintaining and expanding Imperial borders
-Was involved in “prescriptions”, meaning he would single out people he didn’t like,
kill them, and then seize their land
Literature in the Age of Augustus:
-Four “buzzwords”: evolution, complexity, experimentation, and transcendence
initially fought against Octavian, but won back favor
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