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Lecture 19

Lecture 19: Augustus and the Birth of the Principate

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Glenn Wilkinson

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Augustus and the Birth of the Principate The First Settlement (27 BCE)  After Octavian returned from the East, he formally returned power to the senate but with some conditions  Octavian kept command of several provinces in the most dangerous areas, thus he controlled most of the legions  Other senators governed places where it was peaceful and had little troops so they could not march on Rome  Octavian did not command in the provinces but sent legates instead  Octavian mainly sent equites and junior senators  All of this was to prevent powerful senators from facing off against one another  Octavian was granted consulship every year and was given the titles Augustus and named the month August after him The Second Settlement (23 BCE)  Augustus relinquished his consulship because it was not important to his powers, this action made many senators happy because it allowed them to take the position instead  Increased Augustus’s imperium to absolute military authority  Augustus gained tribune powers  Augustus already had all of these powers but they were now formally in place Titles  Augustus – revered, venerable, authority  Princeps – the first/ leading man in the senate  Pater patriae – father of the fatherland, bestowed for vital service for the republic in 2 BCE  Imperator – emperor, general who won a major victory worth of a triumph  Divi filius – son of a god, after Caesar’s death Augustus declared Caesar a god  Pontifex maximus – taken from Lepidus after his death  Octavian did not create a new office and was not dictator, made the republic look as if it were still intact Reforms and Achievements  Senate and voting assemblies o Reduced senate size from 1000 to 600 o Reduced quaestorships and praetorships to half o Suffect consulship in 5 BCE, the two consuls for the year relinquished their position half- way through the year and two suffect consuls would take their place o Augustus ‘recommended offices’, whoever was recommended was elected o Voting assemblies w
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