CLS 150-01

Antony & Cleopatra v. Octavian

  • Antony had money, troops, opportunity to invade Parthia
  • Octavian stuck with veterans to settle in Italy, less developed west
  • Sextus Pompey (son of Pompey the Great) cuts off grain by sea to Rome, Lepidus & Octavian defeat him in 36 BC, then Lepidus’ troops desert to Octavian
  • Antony falls for Cleopatra (last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt), gave her and their children vast territories he won back from Parthians (they later defeated him when he invaded them)
  • Octavian uses brillian propaganda campaign to portray Antony as under Cleopatra’s foreign thumb. wins strong support in Italy and west
  • Showdown on west coast of Greece: sea battle of Actium (near Pylos) in 31BC, Cleopatra & Antony flee, commit suicide in EG
  • Augustus – Constitutional settlements: the principiate

  • Octavian attains sole power 31 BC: how to rule? How to make his power acceptable and avoid Caesar’s rule
  • Constraints and considerations
    • cant have appearance of monoarchy
    • control of armies: how to justify? how to organize?
    • reward core supporters (eg Agrippa)
    • aristocracy: still the governing class (Senate)
    • urban masses at Rome:; volatile
    • respect existing structures, customs, practicers
  • First Settlement, 27BC

  • Requirements: proconsular imperium to control legions, legal standing in Italy without holding any republican office
  • Settlement: Proconsular imperium over Spain, Gaul & Syria (where legions are) — gets name Augustus, title Princeps (first among equals) plus it was the term given to the most senior member of the senate, other honors
  • acts of second triumvirate abolished, to signal an return to normal
  • Second Settlement

  • Augustus’ illness, resignation from consulship in 23BC
  • takes Tribunican Power (TRB): right to make a formal motion at any meeting of the Senate, protection of sacrosanctity
  • imperium proconsulate maius = greater proconsular power in any province, including those governed by the senate
  • urban masses view of settlement: rioted in 22 during grain shortage and demanded Augustus be annual consul in perpetuity, every year forever
  • Third settlement in 19 BC

  • took powers of a consul as well as a title which made him overseer of morality
  • developments of 2BC: splits the consul in half, 6 mo terms, 2 consuls per term = 4 consuls per year instead of 2
  • Augustus & start of Pax Romana

  • creating something new by “restoring” old titles, powers all had Republican era precedents (but of course went way beyond them), princeps, imperator
  • adroit use of personal authority, auctoritas
  • moral reforms, aimed at governing, class 100 years of violence and civil war destroyed the old consensus
  • from brick to marble: massive building program at Rome
  • Establish board of elders; recover lost military standards
  • yet early 28BC construction of a large mausoleum, for himself and his descendants made a strong statement
  • located by Tiber River, one of the most important buildings “House of Augustus”
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