[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home
previous:

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Book II
Chapter III

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Augustus
by
John Buchan

published by
Hodder and Stoughton
London 1937

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

next:

[image ALT: link to next section]
Book III
Chapter II

Book III: First Citizen

 p125  Chapter I

Foundations
(B.C. 30‑27)

His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;

For he himself is subject to his birth:

He may not, as unvalued persons do,

Carve for himself; for on his choice depends

The safety and the health of this whole state.

Hamlet.

I

To the historian, looking back from the vantage-ground of two thousand years, Actium seems like the undrawing of a curtain and the letting in of daylight on the world. He knows that it meant two centuries of peace, and many more of ordered government and established law. But, to contemporaries, it seemed as if things were still on a razor edge; one great fear had been laid, but others remained. The phrase of the elder Pliny, "the unthinkable majesty of the Roman peace,"1 would have sounded to them baseless rhetoric. The world could draw breath for a moment, but its nerves were still quivering. It had lived so long among catastrophes that it scarcely dared to hope. Rome longed dumbly for one thing above all others — not liberty, but law, and that the old law and the familiar grooves. The poets might make high festival:

Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero

pulsanda tellus —

but little gaiety mingled with the relief of the ordinary Roman, who was satiated alike with the fervours of the democrats and the rigidity of the conservatives. He accepted the need for a new scheme of things, but it must be as like as possible to the former things. His hopes  p126 were centred on the young man, not yet thirty-four, now moving homeward from the East. On one thing only all were agreed. This man must take the ordering of the world into his hands, and, whatever the future might hold, he must be for the present the repository of power.2

Reaction after Effort Augustus — to anticipate by two years the name by which Octavian is best known in history3 — spent the closing months of 30 B.C. in settling the affairs of the Near and Middle East. The Donations of Alexandria were annulled, Egypt was annexed, and its wealth passed to Rome. He adjusted some of the relations of the client-kingdoms, but for the most part he allowed Antony's arrangements to stand. Parthia and Armenia he left for the moment alone. He was at Samos when, on the first day on next year, he entered upon his fifth consulship. Travelling slowly, he reached Brundisium in the early summer, and was compelled to rest for a few days near Naples, where Virgil met him and read to him the completed Georgics.4 That meeting between the conqueror and the poet may have had momentous consequences, if, as we may well believe, the golden lines of the one revived in the other his old Italian enthusiasm. For Augustus during these months was suffering from the relaxed and surfeited mood which always attends success, the listlessness which follows supreme effort. For fifteen years there had been no remission of the strain on body and spirit.

The remainder of this book must be a study of his mind, the way in which he faced and solved an infinity of problems. His moral and material predominance was now assured, but there still remained for him a test of character, the severest of all. He was called by universal consent to a new and immense burden, nothing less than the rebuilding of the world, and he was very weary. He differed from Alexander in thinking the consolidation of an empire a harder task than the winning of it.5 His health, too, had worsened in these last months, and he was a sick man when he arrived in Italy. All his life  p127 he struggled against bodily frailty. He had a weak throat and apparently a poor circulation, for he could not face either extreme heat or cold; much exertion fevered him; his digestion was bad, and he had to live on a strict diet; he was constantly threatened by kidney trouble. He may well have thought that his days would be few on earth, and that it would be foolish to put his hand to a task which he could not complete; he did not guess that, while Alexander had only been given ten years for his work, he would be granted forty-four.6 For glory in the common sense he cared not at all, and he looked forward with distaste to the honours which Rome had prepared for him. He had little vanity; unlike Julius he did not want a laurel wreath for every‑day wear or the red buskins of the Alban kings, though he liked high boots to increase his stature. Moreover, youth and all the dreams and caprices of youth had long ago passed from him; he had none of the engaging boyishness which Julius retained till the last day of his life. The thought of the trumpeting and ceremonial and grandiloquence which awaited him was repellent to his tired spirit; he desired not to be pinnacled and pedestalled, but to sink into the crowd and rest.

More important, he seems for a little to have shirked the task before him. This was not from any distrust of his own abilities, for of these he was always confident. He knew himself "par negotiis," and believed himself "capax imperii." But the edge had gone from his spirit, and he shrank from the long, toilsome road in front of him. Would it not be better that, having given the world a formal peace, he should retire, like Sulla, into a private life of ease, and let a restored republic jog along in the old rut? Dio, in his fifty-second book, has set down a lengthy discussion in which Agrippa advised a republican restoration and Maecenas argued for a principate. It is unlikely that these homilies were ever delivered; they were probably academic prelections, echoes of debates in the schools in which the opposing  p128 rôles were naturally allotted to the two chief counsellors;7 but the fact that Dio incorporates them in his history points to a persistent Roman tradition that Augustus did pass through some such period of doubt.8 We have also the explicit statement of Suetonius,9 and there is some reason to think that the fourteenth ode of Horace's first book is a plea that the peacemaker should not leave his task half done.10

The mood passed, whether owing to the fresh inspiration given by Virgil, or to the arguments of his friends, or to a soldierly unwillingness to leave his post, and Augustus submitted to the inevitable; inevitable, because without his guiding hand the Roman polity would soon slip back into chaos. Long before he arrived in the capital he had cast up his accounts with himself and made his decision. Soberly he assessed the elements of his power. . . . He had the army — twenty-seven legions after his disbandment was complete — that High Command which had been the basis of the power of Sulla and Pompey and Julius; almost the only army in the world, and one wholly under his orders. He held this command not in virtue of the dubious triumvirate, but by universal consent embodied formally in the oath sworn by the western world.11 It was a command, superior and unlimited and specially devised for an emergency.12 He had the consulship, the chief magistracy, and most of the powers of a tribune. Between them these three offices gave him a title to remodel the state. But behind them, more important than any legal sanction, was his  p129 "auctoritas," the personal pre‑eminence he had won over the Roman mind.

Success not Victory As he marshalled his thoughts one principle stood out before all others. He desired success, not victory. The sole triumph he had sought was over Cleopatra and the menacing East. He must labour to avoid humiliating any Roman, or any class, interest, or loyalty in Rome or Italy. He had a far‑sighted ambition and an iron will with which to achieve it. Suetonius had recorded his confession of faith: "May it be my privilege to establish the state firm and secure and to reap the fruit of my toil, so that I may be called the author of the best possible government, and bear with me the hope when I die that the foundations which I have laid will remain unshaken."13 But, joined to this purpose, was a fastidious judgment about ways and means. He must divine what men would welcome and shun what men might resent. He must delicately mould and adjust the popular will to his own. The very defect which made him a poor soldier — his disinclination to hazard everything for the immediate need — was a virtue in the statesman. He would take no risks with a thing so brittle as the Roman polity, on which depended the fate of forty-four millions of men. His reforms must proceed organically, like a process of nature. There must be no melodramatic short-cuts, no grandiose coups. He did not believe — so runs one of the sayings ascribed to him — in fishing with a gold hook, the loss of which would outweigh the value of any catch. There was another reason for caution. Julius, his model, had had a long apprenticeship in Roman public life and provincial government; he himself was still a novice, for the triumvirate had not been an education for the normal statesman.

His first task must be to amend the political machine. His views had now clarified themselves on this matter. Monarchy, as Julius conceived it, he wholly rejected. Julius, again, had been a radical reformer, but a conservative reaction had set in and his own inclinations were in that direction. But on the necessity of a single  p130 personal authority he agreed with Julius; only he must give it a legal base and a civilian façade.14 The question of how, and by what form of succession, it should be continued, he left over for the moment as too difficult. He must content himself with the actual machine. Rome desired not self-government, but good government, and that meant an ultimate autocracy; but Rome also wanted continuity with her past, and that meant the preservation of the old republican forms. How were conservatism and efficiency to be harmonized? Moreover, in working so complex a mechanism as the government of the empire he must have willing coadjutors.

After much thought he found the solution. He would formally preserve the ancient magistracies, but he would acquire for himself the powers without the offices.

That is the key to Augustus's reconstruction. To get rid of the appearance of absolutism he must induce the grandees, who understood the technique of affairs, to lend a hand and sulk no longer in their tents.15 In this task Livia, with her noble birth, her tact and her supreme good sense, was invaluable. There was in all classes in Rome a deep reverence for the old aristocracy, even among its most envenomed critics. This aristocracy must be enlarged and enriched by new men, as Julius had always designed, but its long-descended core must never be forgotten.16 That core was now in a humble mood, and he did not despair of winning it to his side. The history of the principate reveals his success. Among his helpers he was to have members of the proudest of Roman houses, the Calpurnian, Cornelian, Valerian, Aemilian and Fabian.

Italy and the Empire He was convinced that the centre of gravity must be Italy. He was Italian by birth and training and his view was no doubt coloured by sentiment; but it was also a reasoned policy. Italy had only been incorporated in Rome for a few decades, and Italian patriotism was still  p131 in the making. He must foster it by reviving old traditions, by encouraging the idiom of local life, and by maintaining the purity of the Latin stock. He was definitely of the western world, and not a Weltkind like Julius. Rome must be the Eternal City; the preponderating element in any culture must be Latin. There must be a new Populus Romanus, co‑extensive with the Italian race, strong enough to keep its character in a cosmopolitan empire, for only thus could any government have an enduring foundation. Both from sentiment and policy he chose to be on the grand scale parochial.

Of the empire, stretching to the four corners of the globe, his conception was of a gigantic client-state, an asset and also a responsibility. He would give it peace, security, law, self-respect and a decent freedom, but always it must take second place to Rome. There was no nationalism in those huge impersonal states to set itself up against the Latin pride. To them Rome was a plain benefactor, while economically and, to a lesser degree, politically, they could do Rome service. His view may be put in some words of Lord Acton: "The combination of different nations in one State is as necessary a condition of civilized life as a combination of men in society. The inferior races are raised by living in political union with races intellectually superior. Exhausted and decaying nations are revived by contact with a younger vitality. Nations in which the elements of organization and the capacity for government have been lost, either through the demoralizing influence of despotism or the disintegrating action of democracy, are restored and educated anew under the discipline of a stronger and less corrupted race. This fertilizing and regenerating process can only be obtained by living under one government. It is in the cauldron of the State that the fusion takes place by which the vigour, the knowledge and the capacity of one portion of mankind will be communicated to another."17 Of Italy he thought more nobly, of other lands less hopefully, than Julius; so far as Rome was concerned, the empire would be principally the beneficiary, not the benefactor.

 p132  On the details of frontier policy he had not made up his mind, but on the main principle he was clear. Rome wanted no more conquests. The army which he contemplated was not a field force but a permanent garrison to keep order in the different provinces and to be the warden of the marches. When he cast his eyes abroad he saw the African frontier from Egypt to the Atlantic more or less secure. He had no fear for Gaul and Spain, for they were merely a matter of internal police. For the rest, the empire's natural boundaries were those of the Mediterranean watershed, but past history had compelled it to press beyond them northward and eastward. This fact must be faced. What was necessary was to trim the frontiers so that they might be most easily defensible, and above all to perfect the frontier communications. It might be wise to let Armenia drop out of the Roman orbit, where it did not properly belong, but so bold a policy had been made difficult by recent events. On one point he was resolved; the Danube must be the north-eastern frontier, for only thus would it be possible to secure that overland route to the Bosporus which was the strategical key to imperial defence. As to the Rhine he was undecided. It might be necessary, as a purposely defensive measure, to push eastward into Germany and link up with the Danube by a shorter route.

II

The Triple Triumph The formal entry into Rome took place on the 13th of August. The Senate had already expanded in a deluge of honours to the conqueror. On the first day of the year all his acta had been ratified; triumphal arches were erected in Brundisium and Rome bearing the words "republica conservata";18 his birthday and the day of Actium and of his entry into Alexandria were made sacred days for ever;19 three triumphs were to be celebrated — for Dalmatia, for Actium and for Egypt; the  p133 Vestal Virgins, the Senate and the citizens were to welcome him at the gates; his name was joined with the gods in ceremonial hymns; the temple of Janus was closed for the third time in Rome's history.

Augustus accepted only those honours which he could not avoid, for he lacked the Roman appetite for pageant; notably he refused the civic procession. But the triumphs were obligatory, and they reached a magnificence far beyond that of the triumph of Julius seventeen years before.20 The tribes of the city offered him a subvention of one thousand pounds weight of gold; this he declined, and instead made a handsome donation to the people out of the Egyptian treasure, besides cancelling all arrears of taxation and paying all his debts. The first day was assigned to the Dalmatian and Pannonian victories; on the second came the Actium celebration and a parade of the beaks of Antony's ships; the third was the day of Egypt, when the children of Antony and Cleopatra walked in the procession, while the image of the dead queen was borne in a litter. After that came games and exhibitions of wild beasts on an unprecedented scale, the dedication of the temple of the deified Julius, and the opening of the new Julian Senate-house. Two points in those splendid ceremonies struck the thoughtful spectator. The image of Cleopatra was carried in the conqueror's triumph, but her statue was allowed to remain where Julius had placed it in the temple of Venus Genetrix. Augustus had no quarrel with the dead.21 There was a change, too, in the ordering of the procession. The republican custom by which the great officers of state preceded the triumphing general was dropped, and they paraded behind. It was a gentle reminder to Rome of the true position of this modest, constitutionally minded citizen — the master of Egypt and its wealth, a god incarnate to three-fourths of mankind, the commander of 300,000 veterans, the undisputed ruler of the world.

The ceremonies were a strain on Augustus's precarious health, and he was a sick man during the autumn and most of the winter. This compulsory leisure was fortunate,  p134 for it enabled him to plan in detail the next stages. In his own house on the Palatine, which had once been the home of Hortensius, and in Maecenas's mansion on the Esquiline, there were many long hours of talk. Agrippa was now his neighbour on the Palatine, honours had been showered on him which made him the second man in the state, and by his marriage to Marcella, Octavia's daughter, he had entered the dominant family. He was more soldier than constitution-maker, better perhaps at action than at thought,22 but he had a deep central sagacity which made him useful ballast to the quick-witted and imaginative Maecenas. These three men in the winter nights sketched out the first plan of the empire.

The twin principles of the new system were, first, that the reality of power should remain in the hands of Augustus, and, second, that such a central control should be given a constitutional façade. This meant that any scheme must be accepted and ratified by what remained of the mechanism of the Republic. He had been living on real, but for the most part irregular, grants of authority; these must be relinquished and a new dispensation established on a basis of strict legality. His former powers had enabled him to clear the ground, but something different was needed before he could build. The new authority might be extra-ordinary and beyond precedent, but it must spring from the traditional sources, the Senate and the People. He was beginning to see what the ultimate form of the Roman polity must be, but he had no intention of presenting it as a clean‑cut and fully articulated scheme. He would start with the rudiments, and guide the evolution on the lines he desired. He was a statesman, not a political theorist.

The Name "Princeps" First for his name, since the head of the state must have a title. "Imperator," to which Julius had inclined, he unhesitatingly rejected. He used it now as a praenomen, like his great-uncle, and he added it to his name as other generals did who had been saluted on the field of battle. But as a term of daily use it smacked too much of dictatorship and the sword. There was one word which had the merit describing precisely the position  p135 he sought to hold, and which had the right kind of traditional connotation, the word "princeps." Cicero had used it of Pericles, who was the ideal statesman to Roman publicists of all parties;23 and of Pompey, whom he had chosen as his leader.24 As adopted by Augustus,25 it was a popular appellation, not a term of constitutional art, defining a status rather than an office. It described not a separate estate in the realm, but the man on whom the chief executive burden of the state must fall, and it is best translated "First Citizen" — first citizen and principal servant.26 "Princeps" was not an abbreviation of "princeps senatus," the Leader of the House, a dignity which he was about to receive and which he held until the end of his life, but it had a flavour of that old republican institution.27 The new title, therefore, had every merit. To Caesarians and reformers it suggested Pericles and the Gracchi and Julius's dreams, while for the conservatives it was linked with the speculations of Cicero and the career of Pompey. It combined diverse loyalties and aroused no antagonisms.

Wiser than Julius, Augustus gave thought to the title by which he should be familiarly known, for he recognized that names have a dangerous potency. His next step was to decide upon the precise form which his authority should take. He must have the reality of power, but he must dress it in a cunning constitutional habit. He knew well the antiquarian propensities of his countrymen and their passion for the minutiae of constitutionalism, and he was prepared to indulge it to the  p136 full so far as theory was concerned, provided that in practice he had the guiding of the state. His concern was less with abstract authority than with function. There was no such thing as a Roman constitution, for under the Republic the polity had always been insensibly changing, and if he set out to restore the Republic in full he would have found no general agreement as to what that Republic meant. His business, therefore, was to interweave his personal "auctoritas" with institutions which had still a strong appeal to the Roman mind, but, since these institutions were not clean‑cut and rigid, he could subtly adapt them in the interweaving. His task was not that of the lawyer, but of the practical statesman; the logic which guided him was not of paper but of facts.

Consul and Proconsul His first step was simple. To begin with, at any rate, he must hold the main office, the consulship, hold it in the old fashion by annual election. That would give him the dignity of the traditional head of the Roman state, and the handicap of colleagueship could be got over by the selection of the right kind of colleague. But the consulship alone was not enough. The kernel of his authority lay in his command of the chief — and, but for the Parthian, the only — army in the world. How was this command to be legitimated? Only by the grant of the "imperium proconsulare," so that he would be at once consul and proconsul. This was a departure from normal republican practice, but it was not without precedent, for in 52 B.C. the double office had been held by Pompey, and Pompey was still dear to conservative sentiment. Eduard Meyer is right when he claims that Augustus was the heir of Pompey rather than of Julius.28

But the imperium of a proconsul was not valid in the  p137 city of Rome, and in any case some authority was needed which would bring him more closely into touch with the people and conceal the truth that his ultimate power lay in the command of the army. The popular office of tribune was closed to him as a patrician, but already he had been granted many of the tribune's privileges.29 Now he must be invested with the others, for the key of his new policy was to acquire the power without the office. Julius had done this in 48 B.C. when he was given a seat on the tribunes' bench in the Senate, and on this point Augustus was ready to follow dutifully his great-uncle's lead. The full powers of a tribune carried rights of inestimable value to the man who sought to govern the state without the appearance of perpetual dictation. He won personal inviolability, the right of summoning the Senate and controlling its debates, of presiding at the elections in the Assemblies, of nominating and commending candidates, of vetoing the act of any magistrate, of interfering in and controlling the administration of justice, of aiding any citizen within the city bounds and a mile beyond. Since the powers were separated from the office, he escaped the impediment of collegiality, under which in old days one tribune could nullify the work of another. He must be at the head of the tribunes and yet beyond their reach. An acute critic like Tacitus saw in the tribunician power the real secret of Augustus's predominance.30 The principate was not a dictatorship or a kingship or a more potent consulship, but a magnified tribuneship. It definitely linked the Princeps with the popular tradition of the Gracchi and of Julius, and set him before the world as pre‑eminently the guardian of the plain man's interests. The military imperium was the actual basis of his authority, but the tribunician power was at once its popular colouring and the source of its moral appeal. The Res Gestae shows how highly Augustus valued it.31 The royal power in the Middle  p138 Ages was the chief defence of popular rights; it deduced from the Roman empire; is it fantastic to see this duty as in direct descent from that now assumed by the empire's founder?

The Senate There was another power which he must possess before he could deal with the hardest part of his problem, the status of the Senate. He must have some of the rights of the censor. Without these he could not proceed to recast the Senate and the aristocracy, which was a necessary step in his reconstruction. He had no desire to hold the post of censor, for he had wisely determined to avoid a multiplication of personal dignities, but he must have the censorian power. He could carry out measures of reform in public and private morality through the tribunician power; but for the taking of a census — neglected since 70 B.C. — and the revision of the Senate and the whole class system, he must have an ad hoc authority. In 28 B.C. he entered upon his sixth consulship with Agrippa as his colleague, and some time before that date he was granted by the Senate a special "potestas censoria," in virtue of which he held a census of the people, purged the Senate, which had become unselect and unwieldy, replenished the patriciate from good plebeian stocks, and held the solemn sacrifice of purification on behalf of the people, which Rome had not known for forty‑two years.32

With a Senate purged and reduced in numbers and a purified aristocracy he was now ready for his great step — the division of the burden of empire between the Senate and himself. He had no need to concern himself greatly with the popular Assemblies. In theory the  p139 supreme legislative organ, they had enjoyed a brief revival under the democratic régime of Julius and were still useful on special occasions, but they had become dull inorganic things, without individuality or prestige. But the Senate was a different matter. It was the very heart and soul of the Republic, and had still in the popular eye the glamour of ancient dignity and long descent. Having revived the distinction of its membership by expelling the low‑born element introduced by Julius and Antony, he could ally it with himself in the business of government. His intention was to restore all of the Republic that would work; the Republic meant nothing without the Senate, and the Senate would lose caste without the aristocracy. A Senate based upon a winnowed patriciate, a Roman thing and not, as Julius had intended, an imperial hotch-potch, the repository of all that was best in Roman tradition — this was his ideal. To such a body he would assign every duty which it could efficiently perform, but of such efficiency he would be the judge. In the last resort the army gave him the casting vote, though he had no desire to parade this ultimate power. The Senate should reign like a modern constitutional monarch, and it should be permitted to govern up to the full limit of its capacity.

III

A Provincial Constitution The ground was now prepared for what was to be at once the restoration and the transformation of the Roman constitution; but first it was necessary to create a fitting atmosphere. In his sixth consulship in 28 B.C. Augustus shared scrupulously both its honours and duties with his colleague Agrippa. By a single edict he abolished as from that date all the acta of the triumvirs in order to wipe out the memory of the old absolutism. He increased the distribution of free corn,º and made presents of money to needy senators to enable them to undertake public office. His aim was to restore the Roman morale by inspiring confidence in his own mildness and decency. Above all he sought to prove his loyalty to Rome and to  p140 kill the rumour that he had any thought of changing the seat of government.33 He continued his town-planning schemes and the restoration of dilapidated temples and the building of new ones; much of the expense he met out of his own pocket, and he permitted no harsh expropriation of land. He induced his friends to imitate his gifts to the people. The discovery of the Carrara quarries enabled him to sheathe much old brick and cement in marble. Many famous buildings and public works began to take shape: the temples of Vesta and Jupiter Capitolinus, and that of Apollo on the Palatine, where the Sibylline books were housed; the temple of Mars Ultor, vowed since Philippi; the replanning of the Field of Mars, with its great mausoleum of the Julian house; while Agrippa finished in marble the Saepta Julia which Julius had begun in travertine, and erected the first Pantheon,34 Statilius Taurus completed the first amphitheatre, and Plancus built the great temple of Saturn. Here, said the ordinary citizen, as he saw the builders busy in all quarters, is a Roman in truth and no déraciné — one who loves Rome and believes in her eternity.

Augustus might build for all time in marble, but he had no illusions about the temporary nature of the constitution which he was about to offer to the people. It was a trial trip, a provisional arrangement strictly limited in duration, a structure which might have to be profoundly modified. The fundamental principles, which he was careful not to emphasize unduly, he did indeed believe to be essential, but the details were to be largely a matter of slow evolution and adjustment. He was summoning Rome to a partnership in a great experiment and taking her frankly into his confidence — confidently, because he knew that he possessed supreme advantages. One was the deep weariness of all classes and their longing for a  p141 settled life. He had given the world peace, and the world now turned to him for security. A second was his wealth, his family fortune and the treasures of Egypt, which enabled him to lighten public burdens and cancel public debts, and inaugurate great works to relieve unemployment, and restore Roman pride without recourse to new taxation. A third was the fact that he had no competitor. There was no figure which for a moment could compare with his in authority. More important, there was no political creed passionately held which might be an obstacle to his own. Doctrinaire republicanism had sunk almost out of sight; it had become less a dogma than a lingering sentiment, which he was ready to conciliate since he himself shared it.

One creed might indeed have been a formidable rival — the bequest of Julius — and Augustus might have found his most serious difficulty in his own early loyalties. But the Caesarian legend was already beginning to fade out of the air.35 The far‑sighted policy of Julius had never been well understood in Rome, and even those who grasped it had rarely been adherents. Augustus from the start had discarded much of it, and had given the autocracy, on which it was based, a subtler interpretation. To the conservatives it seemed that the Augustan tradition was in most ways the flat opposite of the Julian. The Caesarians were content, for their great man had been amply avenged and they had never penetrated into the secrets of his audacious mind. Only here and there some disconsidered thinker may have realized that a wonderful vision had passed from the world, and continued in secret to venerate his ineffectual dreams.


The Author's Notes:

1 "immensa Romanae pacis majestas," N. H. XXVII.3.

2 Tac. Hist. I.1; Dio LIII.19;º Florus, Epit. II.14.

3 See p143 infra.

4 Donatus, Vita Virg. II.40.

5 Plut. Mor. 207.

6 Cromwell had only nine; Napoleon, after 18th Brumaire, only fifteen.

7 This fashion, derived from the schools of rhetoric, is common to all the Roman historians, even to the unexpansive Tacitus. Cf.  Ann. III.33‑4; XI.23‑4; XIV.20‑1.

8 There is no evidence that Agrippa ever had the smallest tincture of republican sentiment. See Reinhold, op. cit., 65; P. Meyer, de Maecenatis oratione a Dione ficta (1891).

9 "De reddenda republica bis cogitavit: primum post oppressum Antonium." Div. Aug. 28.

10 This was the view of Franke, Fasti Horatiani (1839); cf. Conway, Makers of Europe, 54 sqq.

11 Mon. Anc. VI.13‑16 (cf. Hardy's ed., 151 sqq.); Rice Holmes, I.262‑3; Greenidge, op. cit., 338.

12 For parallels in Roman history see Hammond, The Augustan Principate, 15‑17.

13 Div. Aug. 28. It was the answer to Cicero's appeal to Julius, pro Marc. VIII.23‑5.

14 I borrow the phrase from L. Homo, Auguste, 111.

15 "Of all societies in the world, those which will always have most difficulty in escaping absolute government will be precisely those societies in which aristocracy is no more, and can no more be." De Tocqueville, L'Ancien Régime, pref., xvi.

16 Tac. Ann. I.2.

17 Hist. of Freedom and Other Essays, 290.

18 C. I. L. VII.872.

19 For the Augustan sacred days and the Augustan calendar generally, see the appendix "Le calendrier d'Auguste" in Gagé's ed. of the Res Gestae (Paris, 1935).

20 Virg. Aen. VIII.714‑23.

21 Dio LI.22.

22 "consultis facta conjungens." Vell. II.79.

23 "princeps civitatis suae." de Rep. I.25.

24 ad Fam. I.9; pro Planc. XXXIX.93. Cf. ad Att. IX.4.º He had also used it of Julius, ad Fam. IX.17. The Greek translation (as in the Fifth Edict of Cyrene) was ἡγεμών.

25 He uses it three times in the Res Gestae (Mon. Anc. II.42‑5; V.44‑9; VI.6‑8).

26 "President," which Ferrero favours (IV.134), is certainly a mistranslation if the word is used in the modern sense. The conception of "first servant of the state" is clearly set out in connection with Trajan by Dio Chrys. (Or. I.22) and Pliny (Pan. 63‑5); "non est 'princeps supra leges' sed 'leges supra principem.' "

27 Dio LIII.1. For different views on this point see Rice Holmes, I.263‑4. The Greek translation of the word in connection with the Senate was πρόκριτος, Dio LVII.8. Cf. Momms. Staatsr., II.774, 776 n.

28 Caesars Monarchie, 548; Strabo (XVII.3.25) says that the command of the army was specifically granted by the Senate, and the law granting it to Vespasian (C. I. L. VI.930) speaks of it as having been vested in Augustus, but it is likely that this was due to a confusion of de jure and de facto. There is no evidence of any grant to Augustus of a military imperium, except that which was implied in the "imperium proconsulare." For the "lex de imperio Vespasiani," contained in a tablet set up by Rienzi in St John Lateran and now in the Capitoline Museum, see Dessau, 244. Momms. Staatsr., II.878, and C. A. H. XI.404‑8.

29 See p100 supra.

30 He calls the tribunician power "summi fastigii vocabulum," Ann. III.56.

31 Mon. Anc. I.28‑30; II.21‑23; III.12‑17. Ferrero (IV.242 n.) seems to be mistaken in underrating it.

32 The increase of the patriciate was done under a special law, the lex Saenia (Mon. Anc. II.1; Dio LII.42.5).º There is much dispute as to the grant of the censorian power. Undoubtedly in the absence of censors the consuls did perform censorial functions (cf. E. Herzog, Röm. Staatsverfassung, I.797), and some scholars have assumed that Augustus acted under the censorian power inherent in the consulship (Hardy, ed. of Mon. Anc., 56; Hammond, op. cit., chaps. IV and X). But the Fasti of Venusia (C. I. L. IX.422) say plainly that Augustus and Agrippa held the classes "censoria potestate," and it seems reasonable to assume with Mommsen a special grant by the Senate on a point where Augustus wanted all possible constitutional buttressing. This is also the view of C. A. H. X.123, and Rice Holmes, I.261‑2.

33 Cf. Hor. Od. III.3. For this question, which for a generation had disquieted the Roman mind, see Pascal, "L'Abbandono di Roma" in Rend. I. L., LVII (1924), 713‑24.

34 The present structure was rebuilt by Hadrian, presumably on the original lines. Agrippa's building contained a statue of Venus with earrings made from Cleopatra's pearls (Pliny N. H. IX.121). In the vestibule there were statues of Augustus and Agrippa (Dio LIII.27).

35 A friend of Augustus, like Livy, could ask quite frankly whether it was not a disaster that Julius had ever lived. The reaction is plain in later writers. Even a stout Caesarian like Velleius Paterculus does not regret the Ides of March, and Suetonius, who is appreciative of Augustus, thought the murder of Julius a just act.


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 20 Aug 17