Essay Differences Between Augustus And Caesar

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Augustus and Caesar: A Comparison

Julius Caesar remains one of history’s best generals and propagandists. However, Caesar’s reign came to a quick and brutal end with his assassination. In contrast, Caesar’s inexperienced nephew Augustus would go on to succeed where Caesar failed. Augustus’s rule was long, and inarguably successful. While Augustus’s comparative success might appear to result from historical contingencies, a closer examination reveals that was Augustus was a much shrewder politician than Caesar. Specifically, Augustus dealt more effectively with his ‘enemies’ and political rivals than Caesar, while at the same, he presented his assumption of absolute power as consistent with (rather than in opposition of) both the laws and values
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Practically, this meant that Augustus would deal with his enemies and political rivals efficiently, while maintaining good relations within the Senate. Although Caesar named Augustus as the heir to his throne, Augustus was denied Caesar’s money, his estates and his political position. Augustus was only allowed to take on Caesar’s name. Augustus accepted this, and formulated a plan to conquer the enemies of his adopted father. In order to achieve this goal, Augustus took out huge loans from the bank of Rome - he then dispensed this money to the citizens, which (naturally) made them favor him. (SOURCE) After gaining the approval of the common man, Augustus turned his attention to his father’s political rivals. Augustus skillfully attacked the Senate for murdering Caesar, and blamed Antony for failing to protect Caesar. (SOURCE) Augustus’s powerful rhetoric made the Senate fear an uprising. After this, Antony flees Rome, and August is elected consul by a terrified …show more content…
Augustus always made sure to refuse all power and authority that the Senate wish him to have, and would only accept such power reluctantly when necessary.
‘The dictatorship which was offered me by the People and by the Senate, both when I was present and when I was absent, I did not accept. The annual and perpetual consulship I did not accept.’ (Res Gestae Divi Augusti, 1996)
One of the greatest achievements of Augustus is that he made the Senate feel as though the republic was still functional. He was able to do this by restoring old traditions, such as mothers being rewarded for having children and putting an emphasis on religion. (Steven Fife, 2011) ‘He believed in ancestral values such as monogamy, chastity, and piety (virtue).’ (Steven Fife, 2011) Augustus also allowed members of the Senate to advance their political career under his protection, and also express their ideas as long as they were similar to Augustus’s own ideas. ‘In theory, the Senate was to assist the emperor in matters of legislation; but in fact it was simply able to approve the proposals which he submitted to it.’ (William C. Morey, 1906) It is clear that Augustus had learnt from the mistakes that Caesar made. He treated his enemies harshly, but he gave the Senate the appearance of power, which made all the difference to his

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