William Penn


Augustus Caesar
In ancient history there have been many great leaders who have come to the forefront to save the Roman Empire from destruction and demise. The leaders and heroes of the Roman Empire are countless, but one leader stands out from all the rest. Augustus Caesar’s contributions to Roman history helped make Rome the dominant empire we study and remember today. (Octavian) Augustus Caesar is without a doubt the greatest political leader in the history of the Roman Empire.
As a young adolescent, Octavian demonstrated his leadership ability long before having thoughts of becoming the first emperor of Rome. Octavian’s strengths, feats, and accomplishments as a military leader show just a portion of his great political skills he pocessed. After the murder of Octavian’s great uncle, Julius Caesar, in 44 BC; Octavian along with Mark Antony, and Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate. The three men lead their armies into Rome. The Roman Assembly granted the Second Triumvirate full power for five years. With full backing of the Roman Assembly, Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus raged a bloody campaign against all those who opposed them. As a reward for outstanding service to the Second Triumvirate, the land won from conquered victims was distributed amongst deserving soldiers.
Octavian and his two companions put a temporary end to the civil war of the Roman Empire in 42 BC. The Triumvirs, at Philippi in Macedonia, defeated the republicans led by Brutus and Cassius. They divided the empire between themselves. Antony remained in the wealthy East, Lepidus got control of Gaul and Spain, and Octavian received Italy. This was not the most generous of gift for young Octavian. He had the difficult task of settling the veterans of Italy. This involved redistributing land and forcibly expelling any of the previous landowners. “In time, Octavian forced Lepidus into retirement and won control of all western provinces.”(Chodorow 90)
By 32 BC, Italy and the western provinces swore an oath of allegiance to Octavian. Octavian could than concentrate his efforts on moving against Antony, for total control of the Roman Empire. The Battle of Actium in 31 BC was arguably one of the most important naval battles in the history of the Roman Empire. Upon defeat by Octavian at this furiuos naval battle, Antony flees to Egypt with his lover Cleopatra. The following year in Egypt, Octavian and his army again defeat Antony. Conesquently, Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide. With the victory at the Battle of Actium, Octavian was now sole ruler of Rome and all its provinces.
Upon the defeat and death of Antony, Octavian proclaimed the restoration of the Republic of Rome. However, he had no intention of stepping down as ruler. In 27 BC, with more of theatrical gesture than sincerity, Octavian placed the republic at the disposal of the Senate and the Roman people. “The Senate thereupon, realizing by past experience its own helplessness and knowing that it did not possess the organization for ruling the great Roman world successfully, gave him [Octavian] officially the command of the army and the control of the most important frontier provinces. Besides these vast powers he held also the important rights of a tribune...”.(Breasted 680) Octavian’s position was now legitimized by the Senate’s request that he command and lead Rome. He was given the military command, known as Imperium for ten years. This office included the administration of Roman provinces that required the presence of the army. The official name of Octavian became Imperator Caesar Augustus From that time would be known as Augustus, which means “the Exalted”.
Augustus received the tribuncian power for life and assumed the role of protector of the Roman people. He also received the right to intervene in those provinces administered by the Senate. The backbone of Augustus’ power came from being Imperium of the military. “The major portion of the army was not, however, kept in Italy, where rebellious generals might intrigue with the Senate and rise in sudden revolt. Instead, the Roman legions (twenty-eight of them, of six thousand men each, plus enough auxiliary forces to bring the total to about four hundred thousand men) were stationed at the other boundaries of the realm in just those places where there might be trouble with the barbaric tribes beyond the border.”(Asinov 5) It was of great