Roman inscription of my name” (Para. 20). Augustus

Roman Empire’s
influence has deeply permeated many aspects of Western civilization from
politics to military organization and strategy. Augustus was one of the
well-known emperors in his power of ending the chaos of civil war and
stabilizing society afterwards. Augustus ushered in an unprecedented age of
peace and prosperity; this famous period did not occur naturally. The fact that
Augustus was able to maintain control of both the common people and the
government is a testament to his sovereignty and expertise. His authority also
benefitted his family’s status. Both of them are revealed in Augustus’s
inscription, Res Gestae Divi Augusti, in which he portrayed himself in a
different image. By portraying himself as a benevolent leader under the
republic constitution, Augustus utilized his appearance to consolidate and
extend his sovereignty, influence which he transferred to his family.  

Augustus enumerated his accomplishments in purpose to
elevate him to a selfless and benign leader in the Res Gestate. Augustus
writes, “I raised an army with which I set free the state, which was oppressed
by the domination of a faction” (Augustus para. 1). The “set free the state”
refers to his success in the civil war that military dictators divided the
Roman Republic (McKay et al p.153). He especially emphasizes this achievement
at the beginning of Res Gestae; this insinuates that his most significant
achievement were terminating the political cleavage and restoring freedom and peace
for the people. Augustus particularly emphasized the latter one; he writes, “I
rebuilt the Capitol and the theater of Pompey, each work at enormous cost,
without any inscription of my name” (Para. 20). Augustus underlines the
“without any inscription of my name” since he intends to present an image that
he concerns about social infrastructures, not for his fame. Furthermore, the
theater of Pompey was an important architecture built by former ruler of Roman
Republic. Augustus portrayed an appearance of retrieving prosperity and
traditional values in the past, which conformed to his claim that he would
restore the Republic. Thus, Augustus retained the republic constitution for his
portrayal, even though he had already obtained a great power. He further
fortified such image by rejecting the dictatorship and position as perpetual
consulate (Para. 5). Augustus rejected the offers because they violate the
traditional Roman values and the constitution, even though he arose as a
sovereign leader with comprehensive control of the government. The contraction between
his portrayal in Res Gestae and his actual ambition demonstrated the
inscription was served as his propaganda to glorify his image and extend his
influence over the empire.

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            Augustus consolidated his position
as a sovereign leader through massive support. Augustus mentions he was offered
many different positions by the Senate and people throughout the Res Gestae
(Augustus para. 1, 5, 7, 8). Under the republic
constitution, he harnessed the regime by taking positions in extending areas;
he was virtually an absolute monarch, despite an absent title of “dictator.”
Augustus was also granted different honorable titles by the Senate. The most
significant one among them is the “princeps”, which means the “first citizen of
the state” (McKay et al p.156). More precisely, Augustus was recognized as the
first priority over the equal citizens. The title has no official power, but it
represented Augustus’s ultimate status over the empire. The honor titles and
various positions to Augustus proved that he maintained the highest power in
the empire, and his regimes arose from support of the Senate and the people.
Despite his political control over the government, Augustus’s wealth already
impacted the commonwealth. Augustus reflects several times that he used his patrimony
to rebuild architectures and provide public gifts and grains to people (para.
15). By doing so, Augustus further consolidated his popularity among citizens when
he restored social stability. Therefore, he extent his influence through
wielding numerous governmental positions as well as enhancing prominence among
citizens. His tremendous influence would also transfer to his family, which sustained
their regime in future. 

            Augustus’s extending sovereignty
also permeated through his family, enhancing the legitimacy and prestige of his
family in the Empire. Augustus mentions many times that he hold events under
his relatives’ names (para. 22). By undertaking these games in honor of his
relatives, Augustus heightened his family’s esteem while appearing benevolent. Thus,
the prestige of his lineages would also be elevated under Augustus’s tactics.
Furthermore, Augustus also sent his two sons to the Senate and the military
(para. 14, 27). His heirs could heighten their esteem through various triumphs
in wars and government. Meanwhile, Augustus intended to prepare his heirs as
future governors of the emperor; his honor would be inherited in future.

Augustus was a political expert that harnessed various
tactics in purpose to fortify his regime and glory in this mighty empire. His deeds
permeated and deeply impact the Roman Empire and the future. Such influence
even transferred to his family to preserve their power and honor. Augustus
disguised his deeds and characters to portray an ideal image, but his Res Gestae,
a propaganda, provided a solid basis from his accomplishments. 

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