Augustus Res Gestae Analysis

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In addition to justify his actions through public law as an arbiter and through fideicommisum, Augustus also incorporated private law in his justification of power. In the Res Gestae, Augustus refers to his power as mea potestate, and in Livy’s History of Rome, one question during surrender asks “estne populous Collatinus in sua potestate” (Livy 1.38). If one translated the question literally, it would as ‘And is the people of Collatia in their own power’, indicating that they have no ruler and privately govern themselves. If Augustus follows the formula for deditio, it seems that he is claiming that he exists as a private entity separate from the State. Therefore, Augustus could not hold the State as a public official of the State, but rather as a private citizen independent of any governmental involvement. …show more content…
According to the Historical Introduction to the Study of Roman Law, patria postestas resides in “the oldest male ancestor (paterfamilias) [who] has complete control over the persons of his descendants, even to the extent of inflicting the death penalty on them” (Jolowicz, 118). Such power closely resembles that of the office of princeps, except instead of power over only family members, the power of the princeps extends to all residents of Rome. In addition, in Chapter 35 of the Res Gestae, Augustus claims that “…the senate and equestrian order and people of Rome all together hailed me as father of the fatherland [patrem patriae] ….”, which seems an honorific title, but Augustus may have saw the title as concrete rather than figurative (Res Gestae 35.1). Thus, by positioning himself as the paternal figure of all residents of Rome, Augustus justifies the powers he holds as

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