Augustus: His Life and Work - Rene Francis


To those who have no more than a general idea of the history of Rome, the name Augustus, or even Octavian, conveys little more than the memory of a man who followed Julius Caesar, who won the battle of Actium against Mark Antony, and who was the first Emperor of Rome.

And indeed Roman history itself, without some degree of study, does not seem to present more than the rise of a big republic from a small town on the hills, then a general confusion of wars and horrors, then one great luminous figure, Julius Caesar, and after him a long succession of emperors, some good and many bad, and, at the last, a general overthrow, an inrush of savage Northern tribes and the beginning of the Dark Ages.

But when we look more closely into the history of Rome we begin to see that one thing seems to lead into another, that there is a certain chain of events and consequences, almost inevitable in their occurrence and development, and that certain changes that came about were essential to Rome's development.

We then see that Julius Caesar was not in reality the Maker of the Roman Empire, great as were his deeds, and that the long line of emperors did not commence automatically or by chance, but that there was a definite sequence of facts and modifications that led from the Republic to Julius Caesar, and from Julius Caesar to the emperors. And we see that this definite sequence was due to an equally definite influence that brought to pass or at least made use of those facts that contrived those modifications in a certain way, and made it possible for the emperors to have their empire.

And when we look for that influence, we see one man, Augustus. And the more we study Augustus, his work, and his life, the more clearly do we see how, without him and all he did, the Roman Republic might have been forgotten, Julius's work would have been undone, and the long line of Caesars never would have existed.

Roman Empire


The life of Augustus is not the personal life and the doings, political, historical, or otherwise, of a great individual: it is the embodiment of a series of political changes, from autocracy to Imperialized Republicanism, in and due to the person of one man, whose great distinction is that he realized what changes were necessary and how he must bring them about. Though we cannot see in him the glory, the genius, the wonder, and the charm of his great ancestor, we can see that it was his personality, his ability, and his special genius that really made Rome great and kept her great through the centuries during which she ruled the world.

The biography of Augustus is then in reality a political even more than a personal history, and we must not be surprised when we find that a study of him involves a study of many things and people before and even after him. Our concern will be not so much what he was and what he did, as how and why he: did all that is recorded of him.

When we glance at Roman history we see that Rome, after a brief period of early kingship, settled down to republicanism, strong, solid, and self-confident. She had all the elements of conquest latent within her; she beat off every invader, she defeated every opponent, she crushed every rival.

Even when annihilation seemed to threaten her she was undismayed; she faced the danger and overcame it: after a reverse she rose again, all the stronger.

We see that she possessed the gift of assimilation. The Latins and then the Italians, and at last the whole of the Italian peninsula, became practically Roman, one united whole against the world.

She seemed to have the gift of world conquest: Africa, Greece, Asia, partly by conquest, partly by alliance and friendship, came under her influence.

Then suddenly she seemed to fail. A series of adventurers wasted her lands, her money, and her men. At last a leader greater than all the rest arose, and for a brief space she held the world and was at peace.

Again she failed: her great man was killed, and anarchy arose and raged once more. At length came, after thirteen long years, peace in the person and influence of one other man. Under him she regained all that she had once had, and yet farther extended her borders. And after him she widened her influence still farther: but her republic had given place to an empire.

These are the facts. And it is in the life of the one man, Augustus, with whom the present work is concerned, that we shall find the key to them.

Every step and every stage of the life and work of Augustus deserve study. For he did not invent new material for the great imperial framework which he built up; he used the old material, the elements of Rome. And he did not invent any totally new spirit that should, so to speak, inhabit this framework; he used and revived the ancient spirit of Rome. But he used both materials and spirit in a new manner: where they had meant limitation he gave them expansion; where they had meant rigidity he gave them elasticity. He renovated what was old, and he gave the sanction of tradition, the illusion of age, to what was new.

However clear it may be that, after his death, Rome was no longer a republic but an empire, totally changed, totally different from anything she had ever been or had even promised to be, it was impossible for any one to say, either during Augustus's life or after his death: 'Here is Revolution, here is Novelty, here is Creation.' For what he had achieved was all one gradual but most incomparably thorough and efficient reshaping and remodeling of the ancient framework, of which no single fragment was wholly rejected or lost, although no element remained exactly what it had been or occupied exactly its original position or influence.

Tu regere imperio, 'Thou shalt reign with command.' Even if Virgil was not thinking of empire  as we know the word, yet he chose the right word. We shall see during the course of this book how impossible it was for Rome as a republic to attempt what she achieved as an empire; and we shall see, still more clearly, how impossible it would have been for her to be an empire had she not had Augustus.

Without Augustus surely the epitaph of Rome would have speedily been written; and that epitaph would have been, like that of her legendary mother-city, Roma fuit:  'Rome has been and now is not.'

In conclusion we must remember not only that Augustus made an empire and made it out of the fragments of a republic, but also that he gave that empire stability. Even though it changed, tottered, staggered, was divided, became Christian instead of pagan—and that was indeed a pouring of new wine into old bottles—it was never overthrown from within.

The one force which could and which did conquer Rome was the force from without, the resistless inrush of those wild tribes who are the civilized nations of to-day. And who shall say how much they learnt from Rome, how much they would have lost had there been no Rome, had their inrush been a mere migration to new lands instead of the conquest of the world's greatest power?

When we think of what Rome was and of all we owe to her, not only in lessons of civilization but in lessons of empire, we must remember that, without Augustus, her civilization would have been lost and her empire would never have been.

The Development of the Republic

I. Historical

If we would understand and appreciate the full extent and true meaning of the work that fell to Augustus's lot, and that he accomplished so thoroughly, we must, of necessity, know something of the times and conditions that preceded his coming.

We must glance at the beginnings of Rome, at her development into a pan-Italian power, and at her subsequent development into a world-power.

We must also observe her internal conditions, and notice how the Republic came to be, and what it became. We must see how Rome grew great as a republic and as the Mistress of Italy, and why and how it was that, as a republic, she failed when she had to face the problem of being the Mistress of the World.

We must discover and remark upon the causes that led to the failure of her republican constitution, that opened the door to anarchy, to the adventurers, and, finally, to Caesar.

Lastly, we must comprehend what it was that Caesar accomplished, and why it was that his work had to be completed by Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire.

The exact facts of the beginning of Rome cannot be said to be fully known. Whether the Romans came from over the seas, as their own legend has it, or whether they descended from the North, or indeed how they evolved, is not really our concern. It is sufficient for us that there was a city, said to have been founded in 753 B.C., that this city was at first ruled by kings, and then transformed (whether by a sudden revolution or by a slow process of modification does not matter) into a republic about the year 509 B.C.

It is probable that during part of her period of kingship she was under Etruscan rule; for we read of her sudden, and otherwise inexplicable, expansion, and her equally sudden relapse to her former narrow extent—just the city and the land immediately surrounding it.

Her real history commences with the acknowledged beginning of her republic at about the date we have given.

The first hundred and fifty years of her existence from this date represent her attempts to live in the face of the many dangers that beset her from outside, and to stem and repel the tide of invasion.

She had a long and critical struggle with Veii up to 396 B.C.; she was all but annihilated by the Gauls under Brennus in 390 B.C.; and only fifty years later she ended a fierce strife for her existence with the Samnites. These were her greatest and most dangerous foes. Once she had survived their attacks her progress was far easier and swifter. It took her, as a fact, little more than seventy years to become the Mistress of Italy.

In 281 B.C. she had to meet one dangerous enemy, Pyrrhus of Epirus, who had formed the dream of being in the West what Alexander had been in the East, the pioneer of a vast Greater Grecian Empire. But Pyrrhus was checked where he least expected it, and his power and his hopes melted away before the stubborn Republic that refused to treat with him so long as he was on Italian soil.

By 264 B.C. Rome had conquered the whole of the Italian peninsula, and her northern frontier against Cisalpine Gaul was the line from the mouth of the Arno river to that of the Aesis.

Gaul invasion


As we know, she had yet to meet Carthage, perhaps her most formidable enemy and rival. The first Carthaginian war centred in Sicily, and it was the occasion of Rome's first appearance as a sea-power. It left her greater than ever, and in possession of her first provinces. It was in 227 B.C. that she acquired Western Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica; and Eastern Sicily came into her hands twenty years later.

The second Carthaginian war, which was a determined attempt on the part of Hannibal to establish Carthage instead of Rome as the future power of the West, began in 218 B.C., and ended with Hannibal's defeat at Zama in 202 B.C.

The third Carthaginian war was not a further struggle for domination, but simply a campaign resulting in the final destruction of Carthage, and the establishment—at the fall of Carthage in 146 B.C.—of one more province, 'Africa.'

Rome had acquired Spain in 197 B.C. She began her war with—or, rather, her 'liberation' of—Greece in 200 B.C. Macedonia became yet one more province in 146 B.C.

II. Political

We must now examine, as briefly as may be, the constitution of Rome, its beginnings and its changes, up to the date of the commencement of its failure.

Tacitus opens his Annals  with the crude hexameter, Urbem Romam a principio reges habuere. ('Kings held the city of Rome at the commencement.') As we have indicated, there is no need to go beyond this, except to say that these kings seem to have been the absolute masters of Rome in every respect.

They had certainly absolute power, so far as the plebs, or lower classes, were concerned, for life and death, and it was in the first year of the Republic (so we are told) that this was limited by the Lex Valeria de provocatione, which enacted that no free Roman might be condemned by a magistrate until the sentence had been referred to the Comitia Centuriata  (the mass assembly of the people) and confirmed by them.

It is true that this only applied within the city limits; the consuls had power of life and death when on campaign, and of course dictators had absolute power during their term of office.

The successors of the kings were the consuls (or praetores consules), elected annually and by the people. True, the patres  (and at first only a patrician could hold any office in the State) could, by means of augurs, pontiffs, and so forth, impede elections to a very large extent.

The first really important step in the emancipation of the plebs—even more important in the later history of Rome—was the institution of the Tribunate.

The tribunes were at first plebeians, elected by plebeians, to act as protectors and intercessors against individual acts of oppression on the part of magistrates. They had to carry out their intercession in person, and heir persons were therefore declared to be inviolable.

They were also permitted, by the Lex Publilia  in 471 B.C., to discuss and propose, in the meetings of the people, measures desired by and for the people; these were called plebiscite.

Though the Tribunate was a recognized fact, in 471 B.C., it was not until 449 B.C. that it became a real power. In that year the number of tribunes was raised to ten, and it was enacted that the measures they proposed and passed through the council of the plebs could become law and be binding on the whole people if approved by the council of the patres.

This enactment was largely due to the failure of the Decemviri  (or Commission of Ten for the reorganization of the laws) to effect a proper harmony between the plebs  and the patres  by instituting a code of laws which should bind both parties.

Four years later the first effort was made to open the magistracy of the State to the plebs. Tribunes were appointed under the title of 'military tribunes with consular power.'

From this date begins the genuine 'republicanizing' of the constitution, step by step. First one office and then another was thrown open to the people—the consulship in 366 B.C., the dictatorship in 356 B.C., the censorship in 350 B.C., the praetorship in 337 B.C.; and in 300 B.C. even the sacred College of Pontiffs opened its doors to the lower classes.

By the year 287 B.C. the sovereignty of the people was an accomplished fact; and from that date the original sphere or work of the tribunes no longer existed. We shall see later into what the Tribunate developed and to what uses it was put; but, roughly speaking, for the next hundred and fifty years it was practically in abeyance.

We must mention yet another development in the magistracy which played a most vitally important part in later days. This was the proconsulate, a prorogation of the consular office. It was first put into practice in 327 B.C., and its object was 'to allow matters to be carried on for the consul until the war should be fought out.' The primary reason for the institution of this prorogation was the inconvenience of calling back magistrates from an unfinished campaign.

This proconsular power in after-years proved to be the destruction of the Senate; later still it became one of the greatest and most powerful prerogatives of the Emperor.

We must touch upon one or two more points which illustrate the working of the magistracy. The praetors were at first the administrators of the law in Rome: later on, with the development of the colonies throughout Italy, the praetors remained at Rome more or less, but sent out substitutes, named 'prefects' (juris dicendi praefecti)  to administer justice throughout Italy.

When the first provinces were instituted and it was seen that resident magistrates were required, praetors were sent out, as were consuls later on, to fill these posts. The theory was that at the end of his year of office in Rome the consul or praetor should be appointed to his province or foreign command, which he had to resign or lay down before his re-entry into Rome.

The Commencement of Individualism

The year 134 B.C. may be said to mark the line of transition for Rome. Hitherto she had been a republic, in fact as well as in name. Henceforward her republican constitution was to suffer the various attacks that eventually destroyed it and paved the way for the inevitable result—Empire.

Italy was now a species of confederation under the rule of Rome—a series of states allied to Rome very closely, some more favoured than others, but one and all united under Rome against the outer world.

They were not as yet Roman; they had not the Roman franchise which was to weld them, with Rome, into one solid whole. That was to come half a century later.

Politically speaking, Rome had still the appearance of unity in her constitution; but the elements of disunion had already made themselves felt.

Provincial government, as it grew in importance, and in separation from the central government, tended to grow more and more independent. The Senate had no longer a complete control over the proconsulate, and the resident magistrates in the various provinces were developing, without check or hindrance, that capacity for avarice and general maladministration which was to make senatorial provincial government a byword and a reproach.

Internally also the disunion was ready to appear. The Senate and the assembly of the plebs were no longer in harmony, but were ready to break out into criticism and opposition, the one or the other. The first open attack was that of the Gracchi, 133-123 B.C.

Tiberius Gracchus raised the question of the allotment of the 'public lands' (won in conquest) among the poorer citizens. This (and, indeed, almost all the land of the Republic) had fallen under the control of wealthy men, who even used it for their pleasure-domains, or wealthy companies, who made vast grazing tracts of it.

Gracchi and Cornelia.


Allotment meant definite ownership; but so far only 'occupation' was allowed. Even that was on an exaggerated scale; a few individuals 'occupied' many thousands of acres.

Tiberius Gracchus also revived the old intercession  of the Tribunate.

Gaius, his brother, went farther. He strove for the enfranchisement of the Latins and the Italians, and for a share in the allotment benefits for them. He instituted monthly corn doles for the benefit of the people. These doles became a regular feature of the Empire. He proposed the restriction of the Senate in the matter of the assignment of provinces; he brought forward measures for regulating the taxation of Asia; and he made certain alterations in the conditions of military service.

As far as the land question was concerned, the attack had no permanent effect. In 118 B.C. the allotment of lands already occupied was stopped. In 111 B.C. all land occupied was declared by law to be private property. For the future, whenever the question of allotment arose, the land required for such allotment had to be purchased by the State.

One most effective step taken by the Gracchi—a step which had far-reaching consequences—was concerned with the Equestrian Order.

The Equestrian Order was originally little more than a name. It may have arisen from the three semi-legendary tribes—the Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres. It had some place in processions on feast days, triumphs, and so forth, and some sort of association with an idea of a citizen cavalry. But as yet the Equestrian Order had not figured as a feature of the State.

Nevertheless it represented a very important element in Rome, namely, the middle class. And for this reason we cannot pass over its first 'official' appearance without some comment as to what it was and what it represented.

The middle class in any State is always the last to make its appearance. But when it does appear it may grow to be the most important class in the community.

A State at its inception is automatically divided into two parts—the rulers and the ruled, the men who work and the men who exact and direct the work.

The rulers direct the history of the State, and the ruled make the history. The rulers make the law and the ruled obey it.

As the life of the State grows in complexity another class arises, between these two classes, allied to each class in a sense, yet independent of either.

The increasing necessities of daily life call for an intermediary who is prepared to deal with them. Thus the trader, the manufacturer, the agent, appear.

So long as the middle class has its own clearly defined occupations, so long as the frontiers between nobility, middle class, and lowest class are clearly marked, there is no particular danger of discontent. But when the line of delimitation becomes less clear, when the spheres of the different classes become gradually involved the one with the other, then readjustment and compromise become necessary, and jealousy and ambition make themselves felt.

The middle class, at the time when the Gracchi appeared, were an appreciable factor in the Roman State. But probably they themselves hardly understood their own ambitions or the possibilities of the power they might exercise. The Gracchi were the first to teach them.

The taxation of the provinces had hitherto been entirely under the control of the Senate and the senatorial magistrates. The Gracchi handed the taxation of the new province of Asia over to the middle class—the money-lenders and merchants. They also carried a measure by which the judges of the newly instituted courts for cases of bribery, extortion, and general provincial misgovernment were chosen from the middle class, or Equestrian Order.

This was the foundation of the hostility between this class and the senatorial class—a hostility that lasted until the time of Augustus, who found a new and a better means of utilizing the Equestrian Order and prepared it for the great part it was to play in the Empire under his successors.

The Gracchi were thus the authors of the first great organized attack upon the Senate. The second attack began, curiously enough, in the very year (118 B.C.) which had witnessed the breakdown of the Gracchan land schemes.

Jugurtha, an African prince, by means of bribes and treachery and murder had succeeded in making himself master of Numidia and throwing off allegiance to Rome.

The war against him was so scandalously mismanaged that the tribunes succeeded in getting a commission of inquiry appointed. They followed this by nominating—in the teeth of the Senate—Marius, a man of quite humble origin, as consul, and in giving him the sole command in Numidia.

Marius, who was an admirable general and soldier, brought the war to a successful finish and led Jugurtha to Rome in chains in 104 B.C.

He was almost at once confronted with a new crisis, the invasion of the Teutones and Cimbri. With this also he dealt successfully, finally defeating these savage northerners in 101 B.C.

The rise of Marius marks the beginning of the stage of individualism in Roman history.

Six times consul, and the head of an army which he had made, he practically ruled Rome for the time being. His veterans helped to pass every measure that he and his associates, Saturninus and Glaucia, proposed, and the Senate was powerless against him. His successive elections were a sign that the people were tired of frequently changing commands, and felt the need of more permanent leadership.

The army of Marius marks the beginning of professional soldiering in Roman history.

True, the army had long ceased to be a mere citizen force raised for emergency. It had its regular training, and its pay while on service: that had been instituted as long ago as 396 B.C., during the, lengthy siege of Veii. But Marius was the first to make the army a separate entity in the State and to sever it entirely from the civil element. He abolished the old compulsory levy, and instituted voluntary enlistment and admission ()I' all classes in the State.

We need not dwell on Marius's statesmanship: it was not his strong point. He only succeeded in passing various measures purely hostile to the Senate and more or less favourable to the other classes of the State. His associates, Glaucia and Saturninus, alienated all classes by their violence and recklessness, and he was actually called upon by the Senate to protect Rome against them. While on their trial the two were murdered by the populace. Their death ensured an interval of quiet for the State.

But a new and formidable crisis supervened. The Italian states had persistently been asking for the franchise, which should have been granted to them years earlier. Again and again disappointed at the scornful attitude of Rome, they at last matured a plan of independence. A vast confederation was to be formed, with a new constitution of its own (faithfully modeled on the hated constitution of Rome, with a Senate and everything else that was Roman!), and a new capital, Corfinium, now to be called 'Italica.'

Rome at once took action, and the 'Social War,' as it was called, commenced (90 B.C.). Marius acted therein as one of the legates of the consuls, and with him Sulla, destined to be his successor in the absolute control of Rome.

The war ended in 88 B.C., thanks to the granting of the franchise. The only state that held out was Samnium, the ancient enemy of Rome; but the Samnites were subdued by Sulla, who distinguished himself greatly in the campaign.

We should mention here one man, Marcus Livius Drusus, who attempted the work of general reconciliation. His ideal was the cessation of hostility between the Equestrians—they were now definitely known under this name—and the Senate; and he strove for the extension of the franchise to Italy. But he failed, as did Cicero after him. The hatred between the two classes in Rome was too great. The Equestrians, indeed, had proved to be quite as bad as the senatorial class; they were extortionate in their taxation, and the courts which they controlled were nothing less than hotbeds of blackmail: not a single magistrate could hope to escape prosecution and condemnation unless he was prepared to pay his accusers all they demanded.

Drusus only succeeded in rousing the enmity of both classes against him; and his efforts in regard to the franchise were construed into support of the Italian allies against Rome. Murdered in 91 B.C., he fell a victim to his zeal for reform.

As soon as the Social War was ended the rivalry between Marius and Sulla came to a head. War had broken out against Mithradates, king of Pontus, in Asia Minor, and the command would obviously go either to Sulla or to Marius.

A tribune, Publius Sulpicius Rufus, proposed Marius; he also brought forward various measures hostile to the Senate. Sulla at once marched from Campania on Rome. Marius fled to Carthage, and Sulla entered the city at the head of his legions—the first armed entry in Roman history of a Roman into Rome.

Sulla at once imposed his conditions, elected the consuls, and left for Asia in 87 B.C.

As soon as he was safely out of Italy Marius returned to Rome, and with him Cinna. The proposals of Sulpicius Rufus were promptly revived. Octavius, the consul chosen by Sulla, drove Cinna out of Rome, but Cinna and Marius gathered together an army and once more were masters of the situation. Marius became consul for the seventh time, and carried out a fearful massacre of all his opponents. But he died shortly after his return to power, in 86 B.C., and Cinna was all-powerful for the next three years.

Sulla meanwhile had finished his task and brought the war in Asia to an end in 85 B.C. He re-entered Italy two years later and again marched on Rome, defeated the 'Marians' (now joined by the Samnites), and gathered the whole power of Rome into his hands. By 81 B.C. the Civil War was at an end.

Sulla pointed out to the Senate that only by his appointment as dictator could order and law be restored, and the Senate, perforce, gave him his will. He had the legions! They could hardly do otherwise.

He might have now reorganized and restored the constitution of Rome once and for all. He did pass measures for the restoration of senatorial power and the restriction of the tribunes. But his laws died with him.

For one thing, Sulla could not forego revenge. His rule was a reign of terror, of proscriptions and confiscations.

Further, the time for reaction was past. The Gracchi had broken down the old traditions of obedience to the Senate.

Lastly, Sulla himself had shown how there was no longer any possible safeguard in any laws. He himself, as proconsul, had defied the Senate: it had never authorized or recognized the peace he made with Mithradates. The very laws he had passed owed their validity to the fact that he was the master of the army.

Any one who could get proconsular command and control of the legions could do just what Sulla had done, and could alter the constitution of Rome to his will.

All that Rome remembered of Sulla after his death was his reign of terror. He and Marius were the first of the 'Adventurers,' the pioneers of individualism, in Rome. We now come to the last of the 'Adventurers.'

Gneius Pompeius was given a proconsular command against Sertorius, a 'Marian' who had practically ruled Spain since 82 B.C. Pompeius was under thirty years of age and had not yet held even the office of quaestor. He defeated Sertorius and returned to Rome in 71 B.C.

Marcus Crassus (prominent for his wealth rather than any other quality) was given command against Spartacus in 73 B.C. Spartacus was a runaway gladiator from Capua; he had organized an army of seventy thousand—brigands, outlaws, slaves, ruined peasants—and was master of Southern Italy. Crassus crushed him in 71 B.C.

Pompeius and Crassus—thanks to the presence of their troops just outside the gates of Rome—were made consuls for 70 B.C. They promptly restored the power of the tribunes, and elected censors (for the first time since 86 B.C.) to purge the Senate of the evil characters surviving from the reign of Sulla.

They also restored to the Equestrians the courts which Sulla had handed over to the Senate. They then devoted their attention to the chances of big foreign commands.

The old order was ended; no one of ambition or ability thought any longer of the old-fashioned magistrate's career. Foreign commands, power over the legions, and the reversal of one or the other party of the State—these were now the mode.

Pompeius was the first to find what he wanted, in the shape of a three years' command against the Cilician pirates, who were ravaging the Mediterranean. He started his campaign, with fifteen legates, two hundred ships, and unlimited troops, under his sole command, in 67 B.C.

The next year brought him a further command against Mithradates. So far the war had been conducted, successfully enough, by Lucullus, an able general and a man of far higher character than was common in his time. But Lucullus, though successful in active campaign, was unable to retain his hold over his legions: he would not bribe them by plunder, and he could not gain their affection as, for example, did Caesar. He returned to Rome in 66 B.C., and his laurels devolved upon Pompeius, who retained them until his return to Rome in 62 B.C. And now appears the third figure of the so-called First Triumvirate, the man who was to lay the foundations upon which Rome, under the auspices of Augustus, was to build her Empire—Gaius Julius Caesar.

Caesar had come to the front in 70 B.C. A nephew of Marius and the son-in-law of Cinna, he was marked out to be the leader of the popular party, and he naturally devoted himself to the work of compensating—so far as that was possible—for the reign of terror instituted by Sulla: he strove to gain the sympathy and the help of Rome for the children of the proscribed.

He also worked for another cause, the extension of the franchise to the peoples beyond the Po.

He worked for the populace. As curule aedile in 65 B.C., he instituted splendid games for the pleasure of the mob; and he spent vast sums of money on the Appian Way, Rome's great southern thoroughfare.

He associated himself with Crassus, whose wealth constituted his real value for the object Caesar had in view—no less than a Western command equivalent to that of Pompeius in the East.

Here we must return to the subject of the Tribunate. We have shown what was the value of this office in early days, and how it practically lapsed when the plebs rose to their rightful position in the State. We have seen how the Gracchi used it as a weapon against the Senate; and Drusus sought its influence in the cause of reconciliation and order.

Now we see it in a different light. The tribunes are no longer the 'protectors of the plebs': they become the jackals for foreign commands.

Sulpicius Rufus acted for Marius. Similarly Clodius, Gabinius, Manilius, Vatinius, appear as agents for Pompeius and Caesar. They gain the power for their chiefs, and at the same time ensure to them popularity with the mob. We shall see how, later on, the chiefs dispensed with their jackals, and themselves annexing the tribunician power, posed as the direct protectors of the populace.

Caesar suffered a set-back by the revolt of Catiline in Southern Italy in 64 B.C. Catiline was one of the lesser adventurers whose only hopes lay in violence; he had collected round him a band of outlaws, brigands, and broken men. Caesar, who had supported him for the consulate in 64 B.C., now fell under suspicion of having favoured this rising. Catiline lost the consulship, and Cicero—the supporter of law and order and the ancient Republican regime—enjoyed a moment of favour and power, thanks to the vigour with which he suppressed the Catilinian revolt, and to the distrust of Caesar prevalent in the middle class.

Caesar went to Spain as propraetor, returned in 60 B.C., and gained the consulate for 59 B.C. He lost no time in cultivating the different factors in the State. He ratified Pompeius's Eastern policy and achievements; he gave to the Equestrian Order the relief which the Senate had denied them: the two orders had quarrelled over the price to be paid for the right of collecting the taxes in Asia. He carried an agrarian law providing for purchase by the State of land for allotment among the poor, and also for distribution of the rich Ager Campanus—a coveted and fertile tract.

Then at last he secured his long-desired command. He was appointed for five years to do as he wished with Illyricum, Cisalpine and then Transalpine Gaul—thanks to an obedient tribune, Vatinius.

We come now to the final stage. Pompeius returns. The Triumvirate meets again at Luca in 56 B.C. Caesar is given five years' further power; Pompeius has Spain and Africa; Crassus has Syria. The last act begins.

In 53 B.C. Crassus fell a victim to the Parthians. At the same time, owing to the disturbed condition of Rome, Pompeius was recalled and entrusted with the 'protection of the State'—even made sole consul in 52 B.C. Caesar had still nearly four years' command to run, but he wished to have the consulship for 49 B.C. and yet not to give up his command. The law of the constitution demanded that a proconsul should resign his command before re-entering Rome. The aim of Caesar's opponents was that he should not stand for the consulship, or, failing this, that he should give up his command. Caesar parleyed in vain with the Senate, who, secure of the support of Pompeius (once their master, but now their hope), commanded him to disband his troops.

In 49 B.C. Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and Pompeius fled to Greece.

We know the ending—how the two met at Pharsalus; how Pompeius, defeated, met his death on the very shore of Egypt, whose king had promised him his friendship; how Caesar, now alone in the field, crushed Pharnaces (a successor to Mithradates) in 47 B.C., ended one rising at Thapsus in Africa in 46 B.C., leaving only suicide for Cato, the last of the true Republicans, and another at Munda in Spain in 45 B.C., and returned at last to Rome—only to fall, one short year later, to the daggers of his assassins.

The Master of Rome

We have no real reason to suppose that Caesar foresaw what was to be the extent of his power. At first his sole aim had been a great command, as the fashion was at the time. Then circumstances had, step by step, forced him to fight against his rivals, until eventually he found himself in sole control.

He had, so to speak, worked imperially throughout. That was in his nature. He could not conquer Gaul without organizing it, nor could he look on—as did Pompeius—at the general disorder in Rome without attempting to organize that. Though it was only in 47 B.C. that he was entirely alone in his power, he had been—perhaps unconsciously—building up the structure of that power for the last five years or so.

It remained afterward for Augustus to systematize all that Caesar had done.

Caesar's first task was to convince Rome that he had no intention of being a second Sulla. He was exceptionally lenient, and had no thought of proscription. In his allotment of lands to his veterans he took especial care not to evict or in any way persecute existing landholders.

He had formerly seemed to be lavish in the extreme toward the mob. He now established a proper control over the doles of corn, and all else that concerned the populace.

He, with his fellow-potentates, had restored their power to the Equestrians. He now instituted a species of censorship of that order, and purged it of evil and over-rapacious and unjust judges.

He worked hard to repopulate the wasted lands of Italy. He put forward a scheme for the draining of the Pomptine Marshes and the Fucine Lake, and projects for changing the course of the Tiber and the creation of a great Apennine road.

The provinces were not regarded by Caesar in the light of fields for exploitation. He began on them the work which Augustus completed. He had his plans for the frontiers—eastward, from Gaul, to the Rhine and to the Elbe, northward, from Italy to the Danube. He had his notes for the possible reconquest of Parthia. He had already allied all Gaul to Rome.

As to his own position, he saw nothing for that save absolute control—not merely because he possessed the legions, but because he perceived that unless everything were in his own hands no efficient result could be attained.

He solved the difficulty by naming himself perpetual Imperator and Dictator. The dictatorship was after all the only office that could fall in with the old Republican traditions and at the same time ensure the proper control and ordering of the State.

Caesar had everything in his hands. He appointed his own legates, wherever a sub-ordinate appointment was necessary; they were responsible to him and to him alone. He held the entire control of all the revenue. He allowed no other authority of any sort save his own to exist in the State. And, in sign of this, he wore the laurel wreath of the Imperator and held the sceptre of the imperium, or supreme command.

Naturally enough, he concentrated in his person the proconsular authority, which meant the complete control of Senate and magistracy. He also held the tribunician power, thus having, besides their goodwill toward him as their protector, the command of the plebs.

It is difficult—even impossible—to imagine how else Caesar could have regularized the situation. What he might have done had he lived is mere conjecture. The work of setting Rome and Italy—not to mention the provinces—in order was more than enough to occupy all his energy and faculties. And the factors of the constitution hardly seemed to be worth consideration. Senate, Equestrians, tribunes, populace, all alike were corrupt and useless: at least they did not dispute anything that Caesar chose to do. He was far too great; and, besides, he was working purely in their interests, never selfishly for his own!

Who, then, were his opponents? Cicero, to a certain degree. Cicero had been the champion of the middle order, the 'New Men'; but, far more than this, he worked for the restoration of the old order, the ideal republic whose traditions he loved. He was a speaker, a writer, a poet, and a student—a 'moderate' man, never an adventurer. He had—in his own estimation—once before restored the Republic, in the days of Catiline; he had then been expelled and outlawed by Clodius, and had again returned, to be again welcomed by the Republic; and he still hoped to see it established yet a third time. He never would wholly accept Caesar, even though he, with all his ideals, could see that Caesar alone was capable of ensuring and preserving order in the State.

The worth of the other 'Republicans' is hard to estimate. No single one of them, with the exception of Decimus Brutus, seems to have any striking abilities, or even strength of character; nor do they appear, either before or after their deed, to have more than a very misty and half-hearted idea of the kind of regime they wished to institute. They had not even the vigour and initiative of their philosophical leader Cicero; and it is difficult to imagine what they would have made of the State even with his help.

They really had reason to be grateful to Caesar and to value his life and his favour, inasmuch as, in spite of all their professions of republicanism, they were all more or less nominees of his and owed to him such posts as they occupied in the State. The very provinces which they allotted to themselves after his death had been assigned to ahem directly by him.

But they were jealous of him and they disliked the sight of his perpetual power. So they furbished up their academic ideas of the Republican constitution, and pleaded hard with themselves that this endless dictatorship was unconstitutional. At last they persuaded themselves that it was a tyranny in the ancient Greek sense of the word, and that it must be ended: they would be noble in the sight of Rome if they succeeded in ending it. The old Republic would, somehow or other, come to life again, thanks to them.

They must have noticed, moreover, that that ending would not really be difficult—though we must hope that they kept their higher motives more in prominence before their eyes.

Caesar, confident in his own strength and popularity, never troubled about escorts or guards or any other precautions. He would have been the first to disdain them; rather he would have said that if he could not walk about Rome unarmed it was high time for him to go! A writer, the late George Warrington Steevens, from whom we quote later on, puts these very words into his mouth in an imaginative but deeply suggestive sketch.

Caesar and Assassins


And so the 'Liberatores,' the would-be champions of the ancient traditions of Rome, plucked up their courage and gathered their numbers together and surrounded Caesar in the Senate House. We know the rest—dramatic, highly philosophical according to those fine ideals, and possibly excusable had Caesar been anything but what he was! On the Ides of March Caesar fell: and with him fell the Republic also, once and for all.

And yet perhaps he was 'happy in the hour of his death.' Old age might have made him into a real tyrant, or it might have unnerved him until the sceptre slipped from his grasp. As it was, he died at the very moment when all Rome could not but lament him, and condemn, or at least deplore, his slayers.

Extinction of the Republic

As we have said, the 'Liberatores' had some sort of idea that as soon as they had killed Caesar the Republic would somehow or other come to life again; in it they would appear as the central figures, noble deliverers—and doubtless worthy of posts of high honour and glory. If Caesar had given them high honours, could the Republic, saved by them, do less?

After all they had this much excuse for their idea, that—so far as could be seen—there was no one save themselves (and of course Cicero, their philosopher-in-chief) who could take up the power Caesar had left.

Caesar had made no preparations for the future—that is to say, the future without and apart from himself. He had not had the time to do so! His notes (for he left quantities of rough notes of projects) concerned chiefly provincial or military arrangements, frontier plans, ideas for the municipalizing of Italy, and so forth. But he does not seem to have laid down any plan for any system which might keep the constitution up to the level of efficiency to which he had raised it.

That, of course, is the feature of the work done by Augustus, whose systematic and consistent idea was so to arrange the supreme power that it could not but be taken over—and taken over with comparative ease—by a successor: and he took good care to arrange for his successor.

As we know, Caesar had a son, Caesarion. But Caesarion was never more than a mere figurehead: you may see his portrait—and a very poor and conventionalized portrait it is—with that of his father and mother, on the west wall of Dendera Temple to-day. He was put to death in the year after the battle of Actium. Caesar had also an heir, the young Octavius, afterward Augustus, a clever, promising grand-nephew, who had been left to finish his military education at Apollonia, in Illyricum. But Octavius at the moment of Caesar's death was little more than a boy.

There were Caesar's two lieutenants, Antony and Lepidus. But their importance seemed slight enough at the time; at any rate, the 'Liberatores' did not reckon with it. For Caesar, neither Antony nor Lepidus had been more than lieutenants.

In a word, there was, so far as could be seen, no successor to Caesar. It should be possible, surely, to restore the Republic!

But the Liberators were speedily disillusioned. The populace took a view very different from their own. Whatever they may have expected, they received neither acclamation nor approval. The attitude of the veterans of Caesar's army was even less encouraging.

Then Antony declared himself, and the Liberators saw what a mistake they had made in sparing him and Lepidus.

On the very day after the assassination Antony got possession of Caesar's will and all his papers, as well as the large sums of money at the time deposited in the temple of Ops and representing revenue due to Caesar. He also got into touch instantly with Lepidus, who had the armed forces at his command.

The Senate met to discuss the situation. Here the Liberators had their chance: they should have revoked all Caesar's edicts and reversed all his policy. But they had no legions at their back; they held their posts in the State through the liberality of Caesar. In a word, they temporized. And the Senate temporized also. On the one hand, Caesar's decrees and appointments were confirmed, and a public funeral was ordained. On the other, a general amnesty was proclaimed.

The Liberators confirmed their own various posts. Marcus Brutus was to go to Macedonia, Decimus Brutus to Cisalpine Gaul, Cassius to Syria: these three concern us more than the rest.

But they had nine months to wait before they could take up these posts. Antony, on the other hand, had the money and the men for war, and was acting already. He profited by the fact that he was consul for the year, and took control in the name of law and order; he also declared that his desire was to carry out such work as Caesar had left unfinished.

Nominally, and as he declared, he was only as it were Caesar's executor. He had even carried a proposal in the Senate that the office and title of Dictator should be abolished for ever. But as he shut himself up in his house, surrounded himself with a guard of six thousand men, and issued decree after decree to suit his own convenience or ambition, Rome had not really gained much by the abolition of the hated title.

Cicero's phrase Fructuosa Officina  ('that most prolific factory') exactly hits off Antony's house. Antony had all the acta Caesaris, or rough notes, at his disposal; and as no one else had access to these notes or could see what was and what was not in them, it followed that Antony both could and did arrange and even add to them as he wished. Forgeries might be suspected, but could not be proved.

Antony proposed a military command for himself in Cisalpine Gaul, the province actually assigned to Decimus Brutus; and he demanded the Macedonian legions (which really were assigned to Marcus Brutus) as an additional force for his command.

We should mention here one other personage, who for the moment, had not come into prominence, but who had to be reckoned with later on. This was Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompeius. He had been repressed by Caesar in 45 B.C. at Munda, but was gradually collecting a following in Farther Spain. So far as Rome was concerned, he was little known or thought of at the time.

Octavius—Augustus that was to be—now makes his appearance on the scene. As we have said, he was the grand-nephew and heir of Caesar, who had adopted him into his own family, the Julian gens, and had sketched out for him an education which should qualify him later on for high office in the State. He had enrolled him among the patricians and had made him his 'Master of the Horse' at the age of eighteen. The title was purely honorary, but it was a sign of Caesar's favour. Octavius was the son of Gaius Octavius by a second wife, Atia, who was the daughter of Caesar's sister Julia; he was born in 63 B.C.

Octavius heard in Illyricum the news of his great-uncle's death. Against the advice of his friends he decided to start for Italy. He did not know definitely at the time that he was Caesar's declared heir, but he had even then, in his nineteenth year, sufficient foresight to show him that his only course was to go to Rome immediately.

On his landing at Lupia he learnt that he was the inheritor of Caesar's wealth, and saw that his voyage had been thoroughly justified.

But he was fully alive to his disadvantages. He had much to conquer, and his youth was greatly against him in most respects—its only advantage, indeed, was that it secured him from notice. He was not suspected of being a possible danger, and so he could mature his plans without too much risk.

His first step was to let it be known that he merely posed as Caesar's legal heir in a private capacity: he laid claim to the possessions bequeathed to him, but not in any sense to Caesar's powers or offices. He at once declared his intention of paying to the various claimants the legacies Caesar had left to them.

His second step was the assumption of the name of Caesar. This was a sure means of gaining the favor of Caesar's veterans and admirers; it might arouse some suspicion among Caesar's opponents, but, after all, Octavius, as grand-nephew of Julius Caesar and an adopted member of the Julian gens, had a perfect right to assume the name he now took—Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.

He began his 'campaign' quite quietly. He strengthened his claim on Caesar's veterans and on the lower classes; he met and cultivated Cicero, playing deftly on the hopes and ideals of the old orator, who really began to think that, in spite of his hated name of Caesar, this young man might prove to be a useful helper in the cause of reform and the restoration of the old regime.

He avoided any open rupture with Antony, though he contrived to detach the allegiance of two of the legions who had left Macedonia and whom Anthony was to take over for his command in Cisalpine Gaul.

It is hardly necessary to say that both Antony and the Liberators took little notice of the claim to Caesar's inheritance. Antony simply refused to give an account of his stewardship: the money had all been spent on State objects—it had, indeed, been meant for that! So the young Octavius—or, as we must now call him, Octavian—had to borrow money to pay the various legacies of Caesar's will.

Octavian, having no recognition from Antony, and as yet no command or position either from the Senate or from the people, retired to Campania and collected an armed force round him, but did not give any indication as to his possible uses for it.

Antony now took action on his own account, as he wished to enter on the Cisalpine Gaul command and to displace Decimus Brutus, who was also turning his, attention thereto. He shut up and besieged Brutus in Mutina.

This gave Octavian his opportunity. He came forward at once as the champion of the Senate and the defender of the Republic, and he offered to use the force at his command for the relief of Brutus. The Senate accepted the offer, elected Octavian, in spite of his youth, to senatorial rank, and gave him consular authority to act against Antony in Conjunction with the two consuls of the year (43 B.C.), Hirtius and Pansa.

The campaign ended in April 43 B.C.: Antony was driven from Mutina, and Decimus Brutus was released from his siege.

The victory, admirable as it seemed to be at the time, was, in point of fact, a disaster for the Republic. Hirtius and Pansa both died, the one in the battle, the other of wounds received in an earlier engagement.

Also Antony escaped. Decimus Brutus, ignorant of the full extent of support available for him outside Mutina, and afraid to force further exertions on the enfeebled army under his command, had considered himself unable to pursue him. Octavian, from motives that soon explained themselves, would not attempt pursuit, but deliberately allowed Antony to make his retreat in safety.

The Senate then made their great mistake. Octavian stood for the consulship for 42 B.C. They neglected his claims for this, and, moreover, they gave the sole command of the army to Decimus Brutus. Octavian promptly marched on Rome with eight legions, and 70) ?> forced the Senate to give him the consulship he desired.

Antony had profited by his escape. He had joined Lepidus at Forum Julii (near the modern Nice,) and the two had secured the adhesion of Pollio, who was in command of Farther Spain, and Plancus, who held Northern Gaul.

Then came the next great blow to the Senate and the Republic in general. This was the death of Decimus Brutus, the best of the Republicans in many ways. He was murdered at Aquileia while on his way to join his brother in Macedonia.

Octavian turned his back on what had seemed to be his former policy—the policy which had almost commended him to the approval of Cicero. He arranged a meeting with Antony and Lepidus at Bononia, and the three were appointed—rather they caused themselves to be appointed triumvirs 'for the reorganization of the State during a period of five years.' It was an official appointment, unlike the Triumvirate of Caesar, Pompeius, and Crassus, which had been merely an unofficial agreement between the three men concerned.

The Triumvirate

With the appointment of the Triumvirate the hopes of the Republicans were at an end. The man in whom they had placed their trust had gone over, openly and flagrantly, to the enemy: it was not, for nothing that he had taken the name of Caesar!

The reign of the Triumvirate began after the most orthodox traditions of Sulla's day—proscription and confiscation were rife. Among the proscribed was Cicero, the last of the orator-philosopher-statesmen. The massacre was extended right and left among all who had been concerned, or could have been concerned, in the death of Caesar.

We know how Antony had comported himself on the day when he addressed the people above the dead body of his master. He now put into action, in company with Octavian, all that he had expressed in words. Caesar was deified by popular accord, and the punishment of his murderers was declared to be an act of high filial piety. An oath was also taken by the plebs, the Senate, and the Triumvirate that Caesar's ordinances were to be observed.

Among those ordinances were certainly arrangements for rewarding with gifts of land the soldiers who had served under him.

As we know, Caesar had been most tactful in his land allotment policy, and careful not to disturb or cause any prejudice or injustice to existing landholders. His successors carried out his scheme of rewards—with lavish additions—but threw all his tact and his justice to the winds: they confiscated where and how they pleased. True, they had a task larger than that of Caesar, for they had not only to carry out his bequests, but also to gain the soldiers' goodwill for themselves.

For the outer world also they had much to do. They were masters of Rome, Italy, Spain, and Gaul. But in Sicily and the Western Mediterranean Sextus Pompeius was in control: he had with him by now a strong force, both military and naval, backed by the presence of a large number of fugitives from Italy.

Brutus and Cassius held Macedonia, Achaia, Asia Minor, and Syria; and they had with them almost all that was left of the Republican faction.

In the autumn of 42 B.C. Antony and Octavian decided to go to meet Brutus, whose stronghold was Philippi. They gave Lepidus the command of Italy.

Just as in the First Triumvirate Crassus had been the least important factor, so in this Second Triumvirate Lepidus was the negligible quantity.

Antony and Octavian duly met their opponents. Brutus had sufficient ability and experience to see that his best course was to remain in his entrenchments and tire out his adversaries by a policy of delay.

He had still the chance of adding to his strength by the reception of fugitives, whereas his enemies might have to face defections, want of supplies, the likelihood of revolts at home, and the danger of general weakening.

But his subordinates were eager to fight, and he was not strong enough to restrain them. The first day of battle was, in reality, doubtful in its results: Brutus beat off the attack of Octavian. But Cassius, outmaneuvered by Antony, gave up the cause as lost and committed suicide, and the Republican army again retired to their entrenchments.

Again Brutus attempted the policy of patience, and again his officers were too strong for him. He was defeated; but he met his death bravely. His men surrendered en masse to the number of fourteen thousand, and his officers were slain or captured, a few only of them escaping.

Almost the whole of his fleet succeeded in getting away and joining the fleet of Sextus Pompeius, with the exception of one squadron which remained in the Aegean Sea, under Domitius Ahenobarbus.

The Triumvirate—or rather the two active members of it—now arranged that Antony should take supreme command of the East, with the view of restoring order and also collecting money for the payment of the legions of the victorious army, while Octavian was to return to Italy and complete his allotment of land to veterans, and then undertake the defeat and suppression of Sextus Pompeius.

Antony seems to have lost all his Western and Roman instincts as soon as he set foot on Eastern soil: he wasted his time in useless pomp and ceremony, and entered upon the life of Oriental luxury and laziness which was to prove his downfall.

Octavian behaved in a very different manner: he set to work resolutely, but tactfully, to gather into his hands the full control of the State machinery of Rome.

One of his tasks was the usual land allotment for the many veterans who had claims on him. Mutina and Philippi had greatly added to their number. Here trouble arose, partly through the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants of the Italian cities, which were destined for the soldiers, and partly through the agency of Antony's brother, Lucius Antonius. Lucius Antonius may possibly have had views of his own as to the restoration of the old regime; perhaps it was that he had hoped to share the business of allotment with Octavian. In any case, he was instigated by Fulvia, Antony's wife, who was unduly zealous in her absent husband's cause. Lucius Antonius came forward as the champion of all who were either evicted or threatened, and he marched on Rome with a fairly considerable following. But he retired to Perusia before the advance of Octavian. Octavian besieged Perusia, and Antonius surrendered in January 40 B.C. The land difficulty was ended thereby, and Italy was safely in the hands of Octavian, who now went to Gaul and took formal possession of it for himself—hardly a fair action, as it belonged, strictly speaking, to Antony as his share of provincial command, in virtue of arrangements made after Philippi.

Octavian made free with yet another province belonging to Antony—Africa; he offered it to Lepidus in exchange for the command (only nominal in reality) of Italy, which had been assigned to the latter.

He now commenced operations against Sextus Pompeius, who had been making his presence felt and causing infinite trouble by ravaging the coasts of Italy, and, what was far more important, cutting off all foreign supplies with his pirate ships. Agrippa, who was by far the most able of Octavian's lieutenants, was sent down to Sicily to dislodge Sextus Pompeius. But operations were abruptly suspended by the news that Antony proposed coming to Italy and claiming his rights.

Antony had been touring his Eastern domains in sovereign state, actually parading in the costume attributed to Dionysus, who was the god especially honoured in Asia Minor. At Tarsus he met Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian princess, at a conference of his vassal kings and princes. Her object was, almost certainly, his subjection; she had gone to Tarsus with that end in view; and she most fully succeeded. Antony accompanied her to Alexandria, and remained there during the year 41 and until 40 B.C., qualifying better and better for the role of the Oriental despot.

In the spring of 40 B.C. he left for Asia and then for Greece. In Greece he heard of the fall of Perusia and the surrender of his brother. It was a critical situation for Octavian. Antony, with the resources of Egypt and the East at his command (not to mention his legions), would have been too dangerous; moreover, he might join Sextus Pompeius and blockade Italy. As a matter of fact, there had been an agreement between the two to this effect. Antony had conciliated Sextus Pompeius by offering to repeal the sentence of outlawry passed against him, and also to restore his father's property.

But if Octavian did not want war, neither did Antony; he wanted to return to the East, and to undertake a campaign against Parthia. His wife, Fulvia, was the firebrand. But—fortunately for the peace of Italy and the ultimate success of Octavian—Fulvia died, and the struggle between the two triumvirs was postponed for nine years. It was just in time, this death of Fulvia. Antony had gone so far as to lay siege to Brundisium. He relinquished this, and the peace of Brundisium was signed. Octavian was to have Italy and the West, Antony the East, Macedonia, and Achaia. Lepidus was allowed to stay in Africa. To make the peace more binding, Antony married Octavia, the sister of Octavian.

A treaty was made at Misenum in the next year, whereby Sextus Pompeius was for the time being pacified by the concession of Sicily and Sardinia from Octavian and of Achaia from Antony, to hold for five years—with the additional clause that any political or other refugees who wished might leave him and return to Italy under a free pardon.

Antony went to Greece in the summer of 39 B.C., and Octavian went back to Gaul, to resume his work of organizing that country.

It was high time now for Antony to take some action with regard to Parthia.

Orodes, the Parthian king, had made an alliance with Brutus and Cassius, who needed any help they could get: he had even sent Parthian cavalry to fight at Philippi. He now was hoping for some sort of profitable consequence of his alliance, considering the disturbed state of affairs in the Roman Empire. He meditated a raid on Syria, and would have carried it out in 40 B.C., had he not heard that Antony intended to invade his own kingdom. The fear of Antony made him hesitate.

But Antony was wasting his time in Egypt—in 'dalliance and' (perhaps) 'wit,' as one poet has it. Also Orodes had at his court a powerful agent of disturbance, Quintus Labienus. This man was the son of Titus Labienus, once one of Caesar's most trusted lieutenants in Gaul, and later on his bitterest enemy in Spain.

Quintus used all his influence and persuaded Orodes to entrust to him the campaign he wished to carry out: and he had a rapid and apparently complete success, conquering Cilicia and all Syria, with the exception of the impregnable fortress of Tyre. It was, in fact, a repetition of 88 B.C. Just as Rome had lost all Asia in that year, thanks to the quarrels of her most prominent men, so, from similar quarrels, she lost Asia again in 40 B.C.



Indeed, Labienus was counting on a civil war in Italy; but that, as we have seen, was averted by the treaty of Brundisium.

At last Antony awoke; at least he sent a useful representative, Publius Ventidius Bassus. Bassus was a man of eventful history. He had fought in the Social War and had figured as a captive in the triumph of Gneius Pompeius Strabo in 89 B.C. Later on he had entered the army, had risen from the ranks, had won the favour of Caesar and the governorship of Narbonese Gaul. He had at one time, so it is said, made his living by dealing in mules. In any case, he was a most capable soldier, and he completely defeated Labienus and drove him out of Syria. The next year (38 B.C.) he utterly routed the Parthians at Gindarus—curiously enough, on the anniversary of the day, June 9th, on which the Parthians had overwhelmed Crassus in 53 B.C. Among the slain was Pacorus, the son of Orodes. In the autumn of 38 B.C. Bassus rode in triumph—his own triumph—through the streets of Rome that had once seen him pass as a captive in the triumph of another.

Octavian in 38 B.C. married Livia, the wife of Tiberius Claudius Nero. He had divorced his wife Scribonia the year before. Livia had a son, Tiberius, who afterward succeeded Octavian as emperor. Another son, Drusus, was born three months after the divorce. Drusus conquered the Raeti, and was the father of Germanicus and Claudius.

Italy and the West were now in a thorough state of order and repose, thanks to the ability and leniency of Octavian. But the inevitable rupture between him and Sextus Pompeius now occurred. Menas, a Greek freedman and the admiral-in-chief of Sextus's fleet, went over to Octavian, and brought with him the control of Sardinia, as well as his troops and his fleet. Octavian now thought he was strong enough to attack Sextus, but he found out his mistake. The first fight, off Cum, was drawn; in the second, off the Scyllaean promontory, Sextus Pompeius won a complete victory, and Octavian had to admit that by sea he was not nearly powerful enough for his far more experienced rival.

Octavian garrisoned the coasts, so as to prevent raids and blockades as far as he might; and he set himself to the task of building up a powerful fleet. He arranged a harbour specially for this purpose in the Bay of Naples, cutting the dam known as the Via Herculanea between the open sea and the Lucrine Lake, and making a canal between the Lucrine Lake and Lake Avernus, which lay about a mile inland. Thus he had an outer and an inner harbour; and Agrippa, whom he recalled from Gaul specially for the work, had ample room not only to build his new vessels, but to maneuver them and so train his men.

The year 37 B.C. marks the last peaceful meeting between Octavian and Antony. As usual the peace was a case of patchwork. Antony reached Brundisium with 300 ships: these were by way of a contribution to the fleet needed against Sextus Pompeius. But Antony was nothing if not consistent in his slackness. Octavian had closed the port of Brundisium, and Antony was angry at having to land at Tarentum. A reconciliation was effected by Octavia and Maecenas, who now comes to the front as one of Octavian's most trusted advisers.

The Triumvirate was renewed for another period of five years. Antony gave Octavian 120 ships, and took for himself 20,000 Roman troops and departed for Syria, leaving his wife, Octavia in Italy.

Octavian continued his naval preparations, and by the next year, 36 B.C., he had a thoroughly good fleet at his disposal.

He commenced his attack on Sextus Pompeius on July 1st. He and his lieutenant, Agrippa, were to attack from the north, Antony's squadron of 120 ships were to threaten from the east, and Lepidus with another fleet was to join the attack from the south. But luck was on the side of Sextus Pompeius. Lepidus had not arrived when the time came; and Octavian met with a gale of wind and had to flee to Lipara. He left his fleet there and crossed to Italy, whence he brought his troops to Tauromenium (now Taormina). There Sextus attacked him, and again he fled to Italy, in great difficulties from the harassing tactics of Sextus's light troops.

The squadron left by Antony was now in the straits of Messina, under Cornificius. Agrippa was on the northern Sicilian coast: he had had some success and had taken Tyndaris and Myhe, at which latter city he established his headquarters. Here messages reached him from Cornificius, who wished to effect a junction with him. This was successfully carried out, and the two together frustrated Sextus's attempts to prevent Octavian from landing in Sicily. Then at last Lepidus arrived, and the four commanders joined forces and defeated Sextus Pompeius once and for all at Naulochus: he fled, and his army and fleet surrendered.

There is little more to be said so far as Sextus is concerned. He went to Lesbos in the hope of intriguing with Antony. On his arrival there he heard that Antony was campaigning beyond the Euphrates and was in difficulties; so he began planning a raid on Asia; but he was slain by one of Antony's legates.

Sextus Pompeius has no claim to distinction except that he held his own for so many years with a fleet manned by runaway slaves and led by Greek freedmen. He was little better than a corsair chief—a contrast to his father, whose main distinction it was that he had suppressed the Mediterranean pirates! He owed his success largely to the fact that he was in a position to cut off the foreign supplies of Italy, which was not a self-supporting country. That he was an able general is proved by the fact that he repeatedly defeated Octavian; but he was always too conceited and too short-sighted to follow up his victories. If he was ever sought out and conciliated—or threatened—by the members of the Triumvirate, it was simply because he could imperil Italy by cutting off her supplies.

After the defeat of Sextus Pompeius, Lepidus, now at Messina, seems to have realized that his colleagues were by no means treating him with the consideration he had a right to expect. So he demanded possession of Sicily, and threatened Octavian with his troops. Fighting would have resulted, but the soldiers on both sides were sick of war. Octavian won over Lepidus's troops, and sent Lepidus himself as a prisoner to Circeii, where he died in 12 B.C. The only vestige of honour he was allowed to retain was his office of Pontiff; and it was rather a mockery, considering that that very office had been one of the chief temptations that had induced him to join the other triumvirs.

Octavian was now sole master of the West. Africa formed one united province under the firm rule of Statilius Taurus, Spain was in thorough order in the hands of Domitius Calvinus, and Northern Gaul was under the command of that most excellent general and administrator, Agrippa. In Italy there was no one to raise the slightest interference with Octavian. Indeed, there was no likelihood of anything but contentment under his rule. He was no longer feared as the chief mover in proscription; he had now adopted a permanent leniency as his policy.

He had by now a huge army at his command. He discharged and gave lands (in Italy and Southern Gaul) to the veterans of Mutina and Philippi, but he kept as standing army a force of forty-five legions, 24,000 cavalry, and 35,000 light troops.

He put an end to the danger of the presence of Sextus Pompeius's former followers, the runaway slaves; he crucified 6000, and sent some 30,000 back to their original masters.

He repressed severely all brigandage. He also—and this appealed strongly to every one—repealed many of the taxes that had been lately imposed. He cancelled arrears of debt due to the Treasury; and—most reassuring step of all—he burnt publicly the various lists of suspects, outlaws, and men proscribed, and with these lists a number of letters that compromised those who had secretly corresponded with Sextus Pompeius.

Octavian now even professed that he intended to restore the ancient constitution, and that he was only awaiting Antony's return and would then make this restoration formally. He encouraged the regular magistrates to continue their functions, though one cannot but remember that while he was away or occupied, as was the case from 36 to 34 B.C., he left affairs in the sole charge of Maecenas, who was neither a magistrate nor even a senator. However, Rome was easily satisfied in those days, and a burnt suspect-list made up handsomely for slight lapses from strict constitutionalism. Every one could see that without the supremacy of Octavian it was no use expecting any semblance of order or tranquillity in the State; and they showed their feelings clearly enough by the honours they showered on him when he returned from his Sicilian campaign against Sextus Pompeius: among these honours was the gift, for life, of the tribunician power, which practically made him supreme over all other magistrates, in that it gave him the right to propose in theory—as he disposed in fact—any and all extraordinary commands that he might think necessary.

He was now the master of one half of the Roman Empire, and only one war—external and not civil—menaced his supremacy. This was caused by the attitude of Illyria (the Iapydes) and Pannonia. The latter was more than once a thorn in the side of Rome. The Pannonians were always a resolute and turbulent nation.

Octavian gained a victory at Siscia (Sissec) in 35 B.C., but he was unable to do more than put a garrison there and safeguard Roman authority along the line of the Save and Drave rivers.

The Beginning of Empire

In 33 B.C. the attitude of Antony became a serious menace not only to Octavian, but to Rome also.

As we have shown, Antony had throughout had an idea of invading Parthia and recovering the laurels lost by Crassus. But Cleopatra had gained more and more ascendancy over him, and had always restrained him at the critical moments when he made up his mind for action. In 38 and in 37 B.C. he made up his mind, but changed it; the most he did was to make various alterations concerning the different kings of Syria and Asia Minor, and to offend Roman feeling by presenting Cleopatra with lands in the Roman provinces of Syria and Cilicia. In 36 B.C. he really started, and crossed the Euphrates. He made an alliance with Artavasdes, king of Armenia, and proceeded against the king of Media, who was Artavasdes' enemy, intending himself to march rapidly on Gazaca. He left his lieutenant Oppius with the baggage and two legions at the Median frontier. But Oppius was attacked, and his force cut to pieces. Antony had heard of his danger and had hurried back, but was too late. He returned to Gazaca, but every tiling went against him, and he had to conduct a long and exceedingly difficult retreat; (in which he showed some of his old ability) over the mountains into Syria. He came to the conclusion that Artavasdes had played him false, or had at least been culpably indolent. But he found consolation with Cleopatra and deferred any action until 34 B.C. He then set out on a campaign against Artavasdes, and contrived to induce the latter to come to his camp, where he made him prisoner and deposed him from his kingdom. Artavasdes' son, Artaxes, fled to Parthia, and Antony returned to Alexandria, where he celebrated his rather cheap achievement with a triumph.

The real danger to Rome was not Antony, but Cleopatra. She had caused herself to be proclaimed 'Queen of Kings'; she had insisted on the gift of Syria, Cilicia, Cyprus, Africa, and Cyrenaica to herself and to her sons; and she caused Caesarion to be proclaimed as rightful heir to Caesar, whose natural son he was. Antony was entirely in her hands, and it was through her that he was now a menace to Octavian.

Octavian took up the challenge, and denounced Antony to the Senate as an enemy of Rome.

Antony, on his side, took definite action also. He visited Armenia, then made an alliance with his former enemy the king of Media, then went to Greece with his troops; but he followed his usual custom and stayed at Athens with Cleopatra instead of attacking Italy at once.

Any prospects Antony might have had of a reconciliation either with Octavian or with Rome were entirely destroyed by the discovery and publication of his will, in which he named Cleopatra's sons as his heirs, and also by his divorcing Octavia in favour of Cleopatra. The Senate in 32 B.C. declared war on Cleopatra, and passed a measure depriving Antony of his Eastern command. It was war now, once and for all. And if Antony had acted in 32 B.C., that war might have turned in his favour.

He took up exactly the position best suited for his attack, namely, Actium, where he harboured his fleet and entrenched his legions; the place practically commanded the eastern Italian coast. He had under him sixteen legions and 800 ships, and, more important even than these, all the wealth of Egypt, given as he wanted it by Cleopatra.

To Octavian, on the other hand, money was the great difficulty, as Italy was practically exhausted by the long years of warfare; and Octavian had no such treasury as Egypt on which to draw.

But Antony left Actium and went to Patrae for the winter, thus giving Octavian the time he wanted for the completion of his preparations.

In the spring of 31 B.C. Octavian's fleet was ready. He sent Agrippa with a squadron of fast-sailing vessels to harass the garrison which Antony had stationed on the Peloponnesian coast and to cut off supplies from Egypt and Asia; he himself crossed from Brundisium to the Epirot coast, and was successful in blockading Antony's force; his legions held the northern promontory and were entrenched on the landward side, while his fleet remained at the mouth of the straits that led to the Ambracian Gulf, where lay Antony's ships.

Antony should at least have attempted to decoy Octavian's troops into the Thessalian plains; then, in the open country, his superiority in numbers, and in tactics, would have assured him the victory. This was the advice given him by such Roman officers as he had with him, but he disregarded it. Of all futile courses he chose the most futile: he attempted to invest the position of Octavian's troops.

Agrippa's squadron then appeared on the scene, and the need of retiring became still more urgent. But still Antony would not yield. Cleopatra was against retreat; Antony, moreover, was afraid that a retreat might lose him his fleet and also cause the defection of his Asiatic allies, some of whom were already showing an inclination to desert him.

He took the desperate resolve of cutting his way through his enemy's ships, and began the attempt on the 2nd of September, 31 B.C.

The start was not unsuccessful: Octavian could do little so long as his enemy remained in the narrow straits. But as the wind freshened Antony had to take to the open water to gain sea-room. Still neither side had any very conspicuous advantage, nor was Antony's cause by any means lost.

In the afternoon Cleopatra's Egyptian squadron suddenly set sail and left the scene of action, and Antony followed in his own vessel, giving up all his hopes of victory.

His ships fought on gallantly, but Octavian's strength was too great; moreover, his men were equipped with fire-balls, which worked great destruction. By the next morning nothing was left of Antony's superb fleet save wreckage and plunder. His troops, seeing how hopeless their case was, surrendered and went over bodily to Octavian within a few days. Octavian had won his inheritance.

As usual he set himself with all his tact to the work of recovering her Eastern possessions for Rome—those possessions which, so we may almost say, had so nearly passed into the keeping of Cleopatra. He was, as ever, most skilful and diplomatic, abstaining entirely from vengeance or plunder, respecting, especially in Greece, municipal liberty, and restoring treasures and statues.

Antony had imposed various new kings on different small states: Octavian confirmed these in their position; and he even left unmolested, in Greater Armenia, Artaxes II, the son of Artavasdes, and the ally, almost the vassal, of the king of Parthia.

We must mention here that Phraates, the Parthian king, had been expelled from his kingdom in 33 B.C. by a rival, Tiridates. He had contrived to re-establish himself on the throne by 30 B.C., the year of Octavian's visit to Syria; but he was too weak to oppose Rome, and so preferred to offer alliance and friendship, which were accepted. Octavian, however, took the precaution of leaving Tiridates in Syria, to act as a check against any possible treachery on the part of Parthia.

Octavian still had to deal with Cleopatra: Egypt was too strong to be left alone, and Cleopatra was already forming new schemes of invasion and empire in Spain and Gaul, and even the Far East.

She tried to negotiate with Octavian, hoping to entice him as she had enticed Antony. But Octavian was far too wary. He put her off with vague promises and hopes until he had completely finished his work in Asia, and then he attacked Egypt and took Pelusium, while his lieutenant, Cornelius Gallus (the poet, who afterward incurred his disfavour and was banished), led the legions which had belonged to Antony against Alexandria.

Antony attempted one final fight, but was beaten back. Hearing that Cleopatra had killed herself, he followed the example, and left the mastery of Alexandria to Octavian, his one-time colleague.

Octavian had hoped to capture Cleopatra herself and to lead her as his captive in triumph through the streets of Rome; but she chose an end befitting the last reigning descendant of the kings of Egypt. Her conqueror gave fitting burial to her and her lover in the mausoleum of the Ptolemies, and sent her sons to Rome, where they were put under the charge of Antony's Roman wife, Octavia.

The two daughters of Cleopatra have their place in history: one married Gneius Domitius, from whom was descended Nero, and the other was the wife of Drusus, and thus from her were descended the emperors Gaius and Claudius.

Octavian now formally annexed Egypt as a Roman province, and had the head of Alexander engraved on his ring as the sign of his conquest. He founded a new city in his own honour near Canopus.

The land of the Pharaohs and the Ptolemies was now the treasury of the Emperor of Rome and the granary of the Western world.

Octavian had become supreme over both the East and the West, and his wars were ended, in sign of which, on the 1st of January, 29 B.C., he closed the doors of the temple of Janus, thus signifying that Rome, for the first time for two hundred years, had peace now within all her borders. The Triumvirate was at an end and the Empire had commenced.

The Principate

On his return from Egypt Octavian was received by Italy and Rome not as the victor in a civil war, but as the saviour of the Republic and of his fellow-citizens, the restorer of peace to the world.

Whether this was due to fear or to his prestige and the admiration for it matters not; it was perfectly logical. Antony, when Octavian met and defeated him at Actium, was no longer a Roman rival for Roman power: he represented Cleopatra, and an Eastern, probably an Egyptian, empire.

Octavian, too, behaved entirely as flee guardian of Roman power and Roman interests. His first duty was to complete the rewarding of his victorious soldiers, past and present. He was even more careful than before in his allotments of the land they wanted. He purchased what was required from the Italian municipalities, instead of annexing it as had been done in the early days of the Triumvirate. He gave land not only to his own men, but also to those who had surrendered to him from Antony's command. Last of all, he set himself to place these veterans where they could really be of use in cultivating and redeveloping waste areas in Italy and in strengthening doubtful frontiers.

Octavian founded—at least he claims (on the Monument of Ancyra) to have founded—twenty-four military colonies; and of these several were placed near the Alps and the Illyrian borders, where their presence was of the greatest effect in restraining the raids that did so much harm to the farmers of the rich plains just below the mountain-lands.

This is one illustration among many of what was the leading feature of Octavian's life policy from the day of his acquiring the sole power until the day of his death: even the least of his actions was so planned and carried out as to have an influence upon and a relation to his work as a whole. This land-allotment was no longer a mere reward or bribe; it was now a part of the whole scheme for imperial consolidation.

Two other actions at once signalized for the people at large his beneficence and forgiveness on his return from strife and conquest. Carrinas, whom he allowed to share his great three days' triumph, was a son of one of those whom Sulla had proscribed; and proscription under Sulla meant that the descendants of the victims were for ever debarred from having any part in official life.

Marcus Licinius Crassus, whom be chose as his fellow-consul for 30 B.C., had been a follower of Sextus Pompeius and then of Antony. Octavian promoted him to be legate of Moesia, and now associated him with himself in the highest magistracy of the State. Financially, Octavian was in quite a different position now that he had conquered Egypt. He had all the money he could desire, and was able to remit arrears of taxes and to give munificent largess to the populace. Such was the general feeling of security in business circles (and these, after all, are, as it were, the barometer of the State) that the rate of interest in Rome fell from 12 to 4 per cent.

But Octavian had now to face the greatest of all his tasks—a task before which even his rise to power and his struggles with his various rivals recede into the background: he had to legalize his position and to reconcile it to Republican traditions.

The events of the last hundred years had made it clear, in the first place, that the old mechanism of the State was quite unfitted for the work that fell to its lot; and, secondly, that authority, firm and central, was a necessity.

Irresponsible authority had shown what it could bring forth, and how even its few good actions could be reversed or neutralized at the next change of regime.

Responsible authority, such as had been assumed by Julius Caesar, involved the perpetual danger of death.

Therefore authority must be made constitutional, and—here was the counterpart of the problem—the constitution must be made authoritative. Autocracy, responsible or irresponsible, was not possible.

It was equally evident that no one save Octavian had the slightest claim to possess authority or the slightest chance of establishing it. We shall see how he established it in the one manner possible under the conditions with which he had to deal. It was, of course, obvious that the Republic, by itself, without a guiding hand, would have at once meant complete anarchy; and yet the Republican forms at least had to be maintained.

In one respect Octavian had unique qualifications for his task. He had not the dazzling personality of Julius Caesar, nor could he claim, as did Julius, to be wholly and directly descended from the very founders of Rome. He could claim this descent on his mother's side, and this materially aided his imperial prestige; but on the other side he simply came of a good family of Italian municipal aristocracy—the class of which Cicero had been the great representative and chief upholder. He was the grandson of a burgher of Velitrae who had been 'content with municipal magistracies'; he was an Italian rather than a Roman noble—and thereby he avoided another dangerous extreme, the narrow-minded pride of the Roman nobility, who had jeered at Cicero for a foreigner of Arpinum, and who had brought on the Social War by their refusal of the franchise to Italy.

Thus by his descent Octavian appealed to all parties of Rome, Italy, and the Empire.

His ideals, too, were equally apt in their appeal. Julius Caesar had had a dream of a union of all Rome and Italy, allies, provinces, and dependencies united in one vast State, governed by the same laws, and directly under the same central authority. Octavian, on the other hand, insisted on maintaining the distinctions between Rome, Italy, and the allied dependencies. Julius had planned the municipalization of Italy, possibly as a convenient method of administration; Octavian carried this out by a species of vast Local Government Act, and thereby encouraged a spontaneous and independent growth of spirit and feeling throughout the Italian peninsula. The excellence of this policy is shown by the fact that it spread by degrees through the provinces and even into Spain; but it must be remembered that Spain was the one particular part of the Empire which be came, before any other, 'more Roman than Rome.'

In personal character Octavian was not unlike Louis XI of France, homely in many ways, with a vein (but a far slighter vein) of superstition; cautious, yet shrewd and far-seeing; using all classes and valuing them at their exact worth in themselves and for the State. Also, like Louis XI, he knew bow to choose men and how to keep their affection and fidelity. Lastly, he had a complete and unchanging indifference to all the external signs of power.

Octavian commenced his 'restoration' with the purification of the Senate. That, body, as was to be expected after so many years of trouble and anarchy, was in sore need of purging and reorganization. He associated Agrippa with himself for this work; and, following his usual practice, he did not actually constitute himself and Agrippa censors: he took the 'power of censorship' for a period of five years, thus having the authority to do whatever he chose, without needing to monopolize for himself and his colleague the office of censorship, which was in its way a definite magistracy.

There had always been a definite qualification—the possession of a certain sum of money—required for senatorial rank. Octavian raised this qualification, and thereby excluded from the Senate those who had not an adequate fortune. He wished to have men who had a distinct stake in the country.

This principle was made even more definite under the later emperors, who insisted that their senators should not only possess a certain fortune, but should be owners of a certain amount of land in Italy itself.

Octavian insisted on this monetary qualification; but where he found men whom he wished, for one reason or another, to pro mote he supplied the funds or grants required to make up their qualification, thereby binding them closely to himself and his interests.

To occupy a seat in the Senate it was not merely necessary to be of the proper rank—to be a noble; a candidate must also have held at least the office of quaestor, the lowest senatorial magistracy. As Octavian, by his nominations and recommendations, had, in fact if not in name, the entire control of all elections to all the magistracies, he of course controlled the elections to the quaestorship. But he took a further step. He ensured control not only of the actual seats in the Senate House, but also of admission to the senatorial order or class.

In the old days all nobles, patricians or wealthy and prominent plebeians, were, by virtue of their social position, eligible for the rank and for the seats; or, rather, they were senators by right; of birth, and the seats in the Senate House and the senatorial magistracies were filled from their numbers: nobility of birth implied senatorial rank.

Under Octavian all this was changed. He began not only to fill the seats in the Senate, but also the senatorial class, with his nominees. He left the old nobility to enjoy their former privileges and prestige, but he added to their numbers. The old nobles had become officials; the new officials became nobles.

In order to control admission to the senatorial class, Octavian acquired the right of bestowing the laticlavium, or broad purple band, for the toga. Hitherto this had been a sign of noble birth and had meant senatorial rank; now it was a sign of senatorship and meant nobility, though it did not carry with it the right to a seat in the Senate: that had to be gained by holding some definite office, at lowest the quaestorship, as we have said above.

Octavian had his own special reason for raising the monetary qualification for the senatorial rank, or 'class,' which is really by far the better word. That class must be exclusive and it must be wealthy; but the real reason for its exclusiveness and its wealth was that senators should have greater social distinction than any others in the State. They could no longer be powerful: the Senate, as a body, was practically superseded, as were the magistrates as individuals; the ancient control of the army and the provinces and of the commonwealth in general was no longer theirs. Only one resource was left to them, that of a dignified and noble display, an aristocratic social splendour. And it was this that Octavian encouraged in his reorganization of senatorial order.

Octavian devoted much attention to the material and spiritual sides of Roman life. He restored the old temples and built others, and he prohibited foreign rites and cults. It was his object to restore the ancient; traditions of Rome and the memory of the favour she had always enjoyed from heaven—her own heaven peopled by her own gods; and he wished it to be felt that foreign gods and their cults were of and for the foreign nations who were now the subjects of Rome. Moreover, it was not for Romans to ape the manners or fantasies of inferior aliens.

Among other ceremonies, Octavian conducted one which had been neglected for the past forty years, namely, a solemn purification of the people in the Campus Martins. This again was a sign, first, that Rome was at peace, freed from wars foreign and civil; secondly, that she was returning to her ancient custom and ritual.

In 28 B.C. Octavian, now consul for the sixth time, issued an edict cancelling the irregular enactments of the Triumvirate; he also announced that in the following year he would lay down the especial and extraordinary authority that he held and restore the commonwealth to the Senate and people. He fulfilled his promise on the 1st of January, 27 B.C., when consul for the seventh time.



Naturally, and as he had calculated, he regained the essentials of the power he had resigned. He was given, first, the imperium  for ten years and the exclusive control of certain provinces; secondly, the position of commander-in-chief of all the forces of the Empire, and, with this, the sole right of levying and discharging troops and of declaring war and peace and of making treaties. He thus had supreme control outside Rome. He held this power as consul and with consular authority, and this gave him the chief magistracy in Rome, as well as precedence over all magistrates outside the city. Thirdly, he was given the title of Augustus, i. e.  sacrosanct, which implied that in him was vested the sacrosanct power of Rome itself.

By the people and the provinces Octavian, whom we must now call Augustus, but, whom they called Caesar, was recognized as the guardian of the Roman Empire and the governor of the whole world. Rome and the higher classes were content, with the polite fiction that he was Princeps Civitatis, or 'First Citizen of the State,' primus inter pares, or 'first among his peers.'

The old magisterial functions were in active use. Augustus was neither king nor dictator, nor did he hold any office of which Rome could say, 'This is contrary to the usage of our forefathers.' He simply had, in principle, a position similar to that of Pompeius in 67 B.C., or Julius in 57 B.C. It was quite according to precedent that a consul should have both legions and provinces under his control. Even Cicero, the great authority on forms and precedents, had advocated such a Principatus. Augustus simply held the primacy in a free commonwealth.

Of course, in reality he was the ruler of the Empire. He had the prestige of having crushed Antony, and of being the heir of Julius; he was the generalissimo of the whole army and the direct ruler of Hither Spain, Gaul, Syria, and Egypt; he was consul and therefore head of the executive; incidentally he held the tribunicia potestas. What rival could he have?

On June 27, 23 B.C., Augustus took the decisive step that was to crystallize the constitution as he had planned it: he resigned the consulship that he had held since 31 B.C. He retained his imperium, but only as proconsul—i.e.  abroad, and not within Rome. Proconsul ad portam urbis deponit imperium:  ('The proconsul must lay down his command at the gate of Rome.') this deprived him of his right of precedence over all other magistrates and of his power to convene the Senate and the assembly of the people.

This step caused general anxiety. Augustus was offered one honour after another—the dictatorship, the consulship for life, the 'care of laws and morals' (the word mores includes morality and customs and the ordering of life in general); but he refused all these as being unconstitutional.' He reassured Rome, and also secured what he really needed, by three enactments: first, he was to retain his imperium  to use it in Rome; secondly, his imperium, was to be consular, thus giving him precedence of all others at home or abroad; thirdly, he was to have the same rights as the consuls for convening the Senate, introducing business, nominating candidates for election, and issuing edicts.

Outwardly, he was placed on a, level with the consuls; he had a seat between them, in the Senate, and he was allowed twelve lictors.

This arrangement may be said to have regularized the Principate for the next three hundred years. But one point was incomplete. It was not right that a proconsul, who held command over camps and in provinces, should rule in Rome over the heads of the elected magistrates: the proconsular authority was essentially military and provincial. Augustus overcame this difficulty by means of the tribunicia potestas, which he now used in the one manner most exactly suited to his own needs and those of the constitution.

He did not pose as perpetual tribune; he, as a patrician, and with an imperium, was not eligible; he simply adopted the tribunes' powers, and thus acquired the ideal title for the expression of his position. It fell in with urban necessities and with democratic tradition; it gave him the right (thus legalizing what he had in fact) to convene the Senate or the assembly, to propose laws, to veto the proposals of other magistrates. He used this right constantly as a means of carrying out for Rome and Italy social reforms demanded by the Senate. It also gave him the right to receive appeals, and, more than all, the inviolability, or majestas, which was so powerful an instrument later on against treason or the suspicion of it. We have to-day the phrase lese-majeste  to express insult or treason to the person of the sovereign.

This inviolability had its own special meaning, in that it invested Augustus, or whoever else held the tribunician power, with the inviolability of the sovereign People. Thus not only did it in a sense invest him with a sacrosanct position of his own: it also represented him as the personification  of the people. He could not be called an autocrat!

Incidentally it signified that he was the especial protector and patron of the populace. Thus he bound to his person all that section of the community.

We have so far attempted to outline the methods by which Augustus converted the State machinery to his own use and the needs of the Empire. Without superseding any single factor in the State, he, so to speak, amalgamated himself with every factor and made himself superior to and the controller of every factor. The Republic could not exist without an imperator; yet it did not cease, in law and in name, to be the Republic. It is curious but true that these arrangements did not provide for any sort of hereditary or other transmission. All the powers given to Augustus had to be voted over again to each of his successors. The Principate died with the death of each princeps. The various powers were always voted, with occasional slight modifications. The choice of the candidate varied: at first it was a question of more or less direct descent, then of kinship or adoption, then of military ability or popularity. But the candidate was always found, and, when found, was always given his special powers.

Empire, at first a craving, became with Rome a habit.

We will now attempt to outline the actual work, apart from its constitutional aspect, that Augustus did, and to show what was and what became the procedure of government under his auspices. And the last word perhaps expresses the whole situation: Rome ruled herself and the world auspice Augusta.

Foreign and Military Policy of Augustus

We will deal first, with what we 'nay call the 'Imperial' work of Augustus that is, his work on the frontiers, in the provinces, and in connection with the army.

Augustus, as the supreme arbiter of all foreign policy, and, whir this, the absolute master of the legions, was in a position to attempt what the Republic never could have faced, namely, the problem of establishing definite frontiers for the Empire, a definite frontier policy, and a definite scheme of frontier defence.

The western frontier of the Empire was the Atlantic. Augustus formulated no schemes for visiting or Romanizing Britain: that he left to his successors.

The southern frontier extended from the eastern borders of Egypt to the eastern borders of Mauretania. Mauretania acknowledged the sovereignty of Rome, and this carried Roman influence practically to the Atlantic seaboard. The only trouble on this frontier was that caused by occasional marauding tribes. Augustus systematized the defence of this frontier as far as he could, but left it to his successors to develop and perfect the system.

The northern and north-eastern frontiers presented far greater difficulties.

The theory of the northern (and north-eastern) frontier had been the line of the Danube and the line of the Rhine. Gallia Belgica and Raetia—this latter became a province in 15 B.C.—ensured the Rhine. Noricum (15 B.C.), Pannonia (A.D. 10), and Moesia (A.D. 6) ensured the Danube. All these were Imperial provinces—i.e. directly administered by Caesar.

But the question arose whether the Elbe would not be the proper north-eastern frontier. It would certainly provide a far better safe-guard against German invasions of Italy from the north. This had been one of Julius's ideals, and they were generally worth following, from a practical point of view. Augustus therefore pursued the extension eastward from the Rhine border.

For a time he seemed likely to succeed. Drusus and Tiberius gained ground for him steadily from 13 B.C. onward; in 9 B.C. Drusus had reached the Elbe, and three years later Tiberius took up the wort: with, apparently, excellent results. Roman troops were stationed along the new frontier; roads were being made, bridges built, canals cut. Roman administration and taxation, and even civilization, were making headway among the savage Germans. Most significant of all, the worship of Rome and Augustus was being taken up, and an altar stood in the land of the Ubii for all men to see that the northern barbarians were adopting the cult of Caesar.

Then occurred in A.D. 9 the disaster of Varus, who was cut to pieces with his three legions in the Hercynian Forest. Those who wish to read one of the most perfectly written and pathetic pages in literature have but to turn to the passage in which Tacitus describes the tragedy as only he could do it.

The incident deserves more than a passing word, for it marks the permanent abandonment on the part of Rome of expansion east of the Rhine. Augustus refused to continue his attempts: he withdrew to the Rhine, and in his will he enjoined upon his successors that the Rhine was to be their frontier.

The importance of the Rhine and Danube was such that Augustus put both rivers under special government. The Rhine and the 'three Gauls,' Aquitania, Lugdunensis, and Belgica, were under one man, and the three Danube provinces under another. Strong centralized authority was thus secured for these dangerous borders. There was no possibility of establishing anything in the nature of what we call a 'buffer-State' between Rome and the barbarian; in consequence the chain of provinces had to be under special supervision and rule.

The eastern frontier was also a source of anxiety. The great danger here was the Parthian ruler, the 'King of Kings,' as he styled himself. Ever since Parthia had risen to her great strength there had been the danger that she might, by one sweeping raid, or else on the occasion of some display of weakness on the part of Rome, induce the Asian states to throw off their allegiance to the Western Power and bow down to the 'King of Kings.'

We have seen something of the changes and chances of Parthia. It was in 62 B.C. that Rome, in her undertaking to annex Syria, had first been brought face to face with the Parthians. She found out in 53 B.C. how greatly they were to be feared.

In 40 B.C. Parthia invaded Asia, Minor and practically regained all that had been Rome's undisputed property. Ventidius Bassus won back the last lands two years later. In 36 B.C. Antony attempted his counter-invasion of Parthia, but without success.

Thanks to internal dissensions, Phraates was willing, as we have seen, to make alliance and friendship with Augustus in 30 B.C., just at the moment when Augustus needed such a compromise.

Parthia was still weak when Augustus returned thither in 20 B.C., and Phraates readily consented to give back the standards lost at Carrhae, and asked that his alliance and friendship with Rome might continue.

But, naturally, Augustus, who never liked to leave problems half solved, was anxious for some settlement which should lie on a more solid basis than the caprice or changing fortunes of an Eastern king. An invasion of Parthia would be far too costly and dangerous.

There was no clear frontier line along the whole border. Syria was safely bounded by the desert and the Euphrates on the east, but the states on the north-east between the Euphrates and the Roman provinces of Bithynia, Galatia, and Cilicia were not to be depended upon. Moreover, Bithynia was a senatorial province. All three of these states, Pontus, Cappadocia, and Commagene, were under native rule, and their allegiance was as doubtful as that of Parthia herself. Annexation was necessary, but this Augustus had to leave to his successors.

The one debatable land was Armenia, and Augustus decided to bring this country, so far as he might, within the sphere of Roman influence. He twice sent Tiberius, and once Gaius (4 B.C.), the son of Agrippa, on special missions for the encouragement of friendly relations. Armenia was to Rome and Parthia exactly what Afghanistan is to-day to the Indian Empire and Russia.

Furthermore, to ensure proper control in Asia, Augustus left Agrippa for ten years (from 23 to 13 B.C.) as special commissioner in the East.

We must now glance at the army, as the military forces of the Empire were, after the 'accession' of Augustus, indissolubly bound up with the frontier policy.

During the later days of the Republic the army had become a serious menace to the home Government and an undue burden on the provinces.

In theory it was still a militia, liable to be called out year by year for the defence of the State; but in practice it was simply a standing army. The old custom of returning home after the term of service was ended became obsolete during the last century of the Republic.

We have seen how Marius took the first real steps to separate the military from the civil element. Soldiering in his day became a profession rather than a duty. But the soldier had as yet no recognized claim to reward or pension on discharge: he could and did look to his leader for grants of money or land, wrung from that leader's victims, and in return he gave his vote—or, if wanted, his sword—for the measures which his leader wished to pass.

During the period of the 'Adventurers,' as we have called them, Rome saw, not one, but several armies, under independent leaders, who as often as not were hostile to one another. In the intervals between periods of active service these armies lived, free of cost, upon the provincials.

During the civil war there were perhaps as many as fifty legions under arms. Augustus reduced these by half. He gave money grants or land to discharged soldiers, many of whom, as we have said in the chapter previous to this, he settled in the military 'colonies' wherewith he sought to repopulate waste districts of Italy (Veii and Perusia are two instances of towns that regained their ancient importance in this way), or to strengthen doubtful borderlands—for example, in what had formerly been Cisalpine Gaul.

He retained twenty-five legions for service on the frontiers. He stationed no less than twelve on the Rhine and Danube frontier; four were for Egypt and Africa, four for Syria, three for Spain, and two for Dalmatia. A permanent force for the defence of the Empire was thus constituted. The legion was by now a distinct standing corps, with its own special number and name, and under the command of its own legate appointed by the Emperor. Its ranks and grades were clearly defined. No longer did nobles or knights enter the ranks as in the old days: the 'privates,' for the most part, remained separate front the 'commissioned' officers, and promotion from the ranks was exceptional. The men all took the oath of allegiance to Caesar, were paid by Caesar and discharged by Caesar; and their pay was put on a regular basis, being provided by certain taxes which went to fill the military chest instituted by Augustus in A.D. 6.

The term of service was sixteen years 'with the colours,' (for the Romans, the 'colours' were eagles), and then four years in the reserve. On being discharged the soldier was granted a definite sum of money. Enlistment by voluntary means was found to suffice except in rare cases (as, for example, after the defeat of Varus), when the old system of forced levy had to be resumed. However, the liability on all Romans to serve was not abolished, nor was any one save a free Roman citizen allowed to serve in the legion.

Augustus drew largely on the various allies and provinces for supplementary military aid. Contingents from various tribes acted as auxiliaries, and kept their tribal dress and arms, and even their special methods of fighting. After their term of service (in their case twenty-five years) these auxiliaries received the full Roman franchise for themselves and their descendants.

The employment of the supplementary forces served a twofold purpose. In the first place, the various warlike tribes in different provinces found an outlet for their proclivities, and this was most necessary, as the Roman Empire when peace prevailed became a trifle dull for certain of its adherents.

Secondly, the retiring auxiliaries, what; with their long association with the Roman legionaries and the full franchise given with their discharge, were in many cases thoroughly 'Romanized.' Each generation of auxiliaries ensured a second generation of legionaries.

Naturally, as the army became more and more concentrated on the frontiers, and recruited from the provinces, Italy and the peaceful senatorial provinces lost touch with it, and memory of it. It became, indeed, more and more rare for the Italians to see or even to furnish soldiers for the defence of the Empire.

We now come to the provinces. As Augustus established and consolidated the constitution, and with it his own position, he gradually created a department of his own, entirely under his personal direction and apart from all senatorial control. We shall see, a little farther on, how he annexed various portions of the home executive. But, so far as concerned the provinces, he had by far the larger share of the administration in his hands, and this share was extended under his successors. By the end of the first century A.D. no less than three-fourths of the provinces were directly under the Emperor, and were known as the 'provinces of Caesar.'



This Imperial Department, both for home and for foreign affairs, was an absolute necessity; the old Republican machinery was quite inadequate for anything like organized or efficient government, inside or outside Rome. We have only to read a few pages of Cicero for confirmation of this. It was obviously necessary to give certain definite executive powers to the Emperor. This was rendered more easy and natural by reason of the Imperial prestige; the Senate was only too ready to vote any extension of the Imperial Department that Caesar might suggest.

Of course Augustus, as having the majus imperium, or superior command, took precedence both at home and abroad, as we have shown, over all other magistrates; and he thus exercised a good deal of indirect, control even over departments and provinces that were under the charge of his 'colleagues.' In some cases he even gave direct instructions to proconsuls; at any rate, the praetors at home and the proconsuls abroad, though legally the equals of Augustus, lost their original independence. Hints or counsels from the master of the legions were usually taken as commands: at the very least they carried some weight.

The organization of the provincial system occupied Augustus fully from 27 to 19 B.C. He added thirteen provinces (eight of which he 'created') to the Empire.

In the West, as we have said, he formed three 'Gauls'—Aquitania, Lugdunensis, and Belgica. In Spain he pacified the warlike north-west highlands, and he established Roman influence firmly up to the Atlantic seaboard by constituting the province of Lusitania. In the East he formed in 25 B.C. the two provinces of Galatia and Pamphylia, after the death of King Amyntas, under whose rule they had been.

The African coast was all 'province' as far as Mauretania. Egypt was the especial province of Augustus himself, under his exclusive control, and almost his private property.

Egypt deserves special mention. It provided Augustus and his successors with money. It was indispensable to the emperors for that reason. Not only were there vast stores of treasure in the country, but the land itself, as it is now, was a veritable treasure-house, rich in crops, irrigated by the Nile, cultivated by a peasantry who were accustomed to pay taxes without a murmur. Egypt was the 'key to kingship.'

Augustus did not treat Egypt as he did the other provinces: he left the administration and general arrangements of the country very much as he found them, and put a responsible prefect at the head of all affairs. His chief concern was the irrigation. Canals and irrigation works had been neglected during the past few years. He set his legionaries actually to the work of cleaning out and repairing the canals, and he thereby made it possible for a lesser Nile-flood than before to give sufficient irrigation to the whole land. Egypt was his milch-cow, and he took care that she should be properly tended and fed.

Egypt was the only country apparently that tempted Augustus to go beyond his usual caution in development policy. His prefect Aelius Gallus attempted a campaign on the Red Sea coast, which failed disastrously, and other expeditions were tried, with equal lack of success, against Nubia and Ethiopia. True, Gallus seems to have been singularly incapable; but we can hardly suppose that he acted entirely on his own initiative. Augustus must have had ideas of trade campaigns. Perhaps the glamour of Africa enticed him, as it has others: more probably he remembered how the great monarchs of Egypt, Pepi, Usertsen (or Sesosiris), Mentuhotep, Rameses II, had all exploited Nubia and Ethiopia and Somaliland (Punt) with great commercial success. But he realized before it was too late that he must establish his frontier at Assouan (Syene) and not tempt the fortunes and dangers of the Soudan.

The provinces, under the Republic, had been so many distinct and separate principalities, so to speak, each under its own Roman governor. Under Augustus they were all, directly and indirectly, under his own imperium. The provinces under his direct control were Egypt, Gaul, Syria, Hither Spain in 27 B.C., Lusitania, Cilicia, Galatia, Pamphylia in 19 B.C., and Moesia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia in 16 B.C. These, the most warlike, populous, and rich in the whole Empire, really formed one big province, administered by his own men and under his absolute rule. The most important among them were controlled by his legates, and the others by procurators, or agents, usually men of Equestrian rank. Now and again one of these procurators was given charge of the finances in a legate's province. Legates were men of senatorial rank, but the procurators, who were directly responsible to the Emperor, often acted as a check upon them.

Now and again, as in the case of Egypt, a prefect was appointed for a province.

A further check on the legate was the fact that the soldiers under him were Caesar's men, the wars he waged were declared and ended by Caesar, the triumphs were Caesar's triumphs, the salute given to the imperator  after victory was given to Caesar.

Again, as in old days the provincials had had the right of appeal to the Roman people, so now they had their appeal, so highly prized under the Empire, to Caesar, who represented the Sovereign People of Rome.

This whole system could not but mean efficiency in the highest degree. So excellent, indeed, was its effect that even those emperors who seemed to Rome to be monsters appeared to the provincials in the light, of admirable rulers.

Naturally this efficiency was respected and envied both by the governors and by the governed of the senatorial provinces. These had, of course, improved to a certain extent. They were, as before, governed by ex-consuls, or praetors, responsible to the Senate, who took with them a quaestor for the financial executive work.

But the responsibility was only technical; Augustus could, in practice, impose a check. The governors must have at least five years' standing in their rank. Also, the ranks of the magistracy were now filled by the nominees of Augustus himself.

For foreign and military affairs Augustus had, as we have said, complete control. Besides, the provinces left to the Senate were those least inclined or exposed to war: they were even described as provinciae inermes, or 'unarmed provinces.'

For taxation the old policy of levying requisitions, rightful and otherwise, which had been such a scandal in its day, was entirely suppressed. All revenue arrangements were made by Caesar's procurators.

Again, the senatorial governors had only a very limited right to confer or refuse the Roman franchise. They were liable to receive direct orders and instructions from the Emperor; and appeals were addressed to the Emperor over their heads. In more than one case—for example, those of 13itlhyni.a and Sicily—Augustus himself arranged tie affairs of the province and left the governor to watch r over what he had instituted. And, to sum up the whole matter, both the governors and the governed grew into the habit of looking to the Emperor for all things.

Under the Republic there had never been any means of ascertaining either the revenue or the expense of the provinces, or, indeed, of the Empire as a whole, nor had there been any sort of control over either income or expenditure. Augustus remedied this in the most thorough manner. Finance, indeed, seems to have been his strongest point.

He began by having a scientific statistical survey of the whole Empire made by the greatest experts the time afforded. He also took the census of his own provinces. He then instituted two definite and regular forms of tax, instead of the numerous and irregular modes of taxation imposed under the Republic. These were the tributum soli, or land tax, and the tributum capitis, or property tax. He had, of course, the entire control of all revenue and expenditure. He also organized fixed allowances instead of the ancient requisitions. Needless to say, the old system of farming out taxes was extinct.

He then arranged for an annual budget showing the financial condition, year by year, of the Empire. At his death he left a complete financial statement of the Roman Empire.

He also organized and developed the possibilities of each province by putting down all brigandage and piracy and establishing commercial and personal security; and he spent liberally on public works, besides freeing commerce and industry in general from harassing and hampering restrictions.

Lastly, he arranged that the citizens of Rome and Italy should bear a share—not a large share, but still a share—of the cost of governing and protecting their Empire.

In short, Augustus organized, and organized thoroughly, the whole of the external maintenance and development of the Roman Empire.

We shall now turn to his internal or home policy.

The Home Policy of Augustus

We have already spoken of the reorganization of the Senate and its conversion by Augustus into what we may almost call an official peerage. We now have to glance at its functions as a governing body.

The legal prerogative of the Senate had been to advise the magistrates when consulted. The advice so given was registered in a senatusconsultum  (opinion of the Senate consulted), which was a command and became law.

But under Augustus the Senate was very seldom asked for advice, and when that advice was asked for and given it was no longer held to be a command. Again, the field of consultation was greatly narrowed, in that Augustus held in his own hands all the greater issues of government, the foreign policy, war, etc., etc. The magistrates merely sought advice on their own departmental questions; and even these were greatly restricted, not only by the indirect control which Augustus had over all things, but also by the fact that he definitely annexed several important branches of the executive into his own hands.

Augustus kept up the fiction that the Senate was the consulting body. He convened it and consulted it, and, as a senator himself, he spoke and gave his opinions; but naturally such opinions were little less than decisions. Moreover, he could always stop discussion by virtue of his tribunician power, so that in practice the Senate did little more than listen to his announcements and confirm his proposals.

He did, however, frequently use the Senate for edicts; it gave an appearance of constitutional tradition, and also lessened his personal responsibility. His successors followed his example in this.

He found another function for the Senate, that of acting as a High Court of Justice. But here again any real power it might have had was neutralized by the fact that supreme appeal was vested in him, above the heads of his senators.

In a word, the Senate had some work to do, but nothing was done without the Emperor's approval. The real mission in life of a senator was to be rich and dignified and to make a fine display. All chance of regaining the ancient power, or even so much of it as had remained during the great wars of the last hundred years, was gone beyond recall.

The Assembly of the People—the ancient Comitia—was also practically extinct. The Sovereign People of Rome now meant little more than the city mob: it was largely composed of aliens, freedmen, and slaves; such Roman citizens as there were were of an inferior breed, too proud to keep shops, but quite pleased to accept all that their patron would give in the way of games and food.

Augustus could do little enough with this city mob. He insisted, as far as possible, on decency of behaviour and dress, especially on the maintenance of the Roman toga as against foreign and 'servile' garments. He put down all the old political and electioneering clubs, which had been simply nests of corruption; and of course he stopped all rioting and violence. He did allow the most respectable of the ancient 'guilds,' or collegia, to survive, and he even permitted the registration of new guilds, provided always that they also were respectable.

But Augustus did not wholly destroy the plebs  as a factor in the State. He allowed the populace to preserve their old right of electing magistrates and passing laws: but as both magistrates and laws were of his own making this meant little more than a formality. The Comitia  had no part in the Empire, save to maintain the theory that 'The sovereignty of the people is the maxim of empire.'

Augustus did make one attempt to inspire a feeling of corporate life and work in the city populace; he instituted wards, or vici, under the control of ward-magistrates, who were plebeians elected by the plebs, and who played a certain part in police and fire-brigade work and the like.

But in the end the plebs, or Sovereign People, became little more than the clients of the Emperor, their patron and protector.

We now touch on the 'outcome' of the Senate and the people, namely, the magistrates. We have shown how the elections and general conduct of these were 'modified'—to put it mildly—by Augustus.

As time went on the young men of senatorial rank saw that if they wished to find work that would satisfy their ambition it was far better for them to enter the Emperor's own department as soon as they could and become legates of some kind or other.

Of course Augustus had improved conditions; no one could hold an appointment even in a senatorial province unless he had at least five years' standing in his particular rank; but we can imagine how small would be the scope for a senatorial magistrate who had no great issues to deal with, and who found that even in the small issues he was continually being supervised and checked by the Emperor's officials, or even the Emperor himself. The Senate might bestow honour, but it was the Emperor who gave a career.

We now come to the Equestrian Order, of which we have spoken in an earlier chapter (Ch. II). But before showing what Augustus made of this class we must mention his great innovation, the Concilium, which practically superseded both Senate and plebs as directing bodies, and paved the way for his reconstitution of the executive and his use of this very Equestrian Order.

The Concilium  was a body consisting of the Emperor, the acting consuls, the consuls-designate for the next year, and fifteen senators chosen by lot and serving for six months; it was the body to which Augustus referred discussion of the important business of the State.

If we wish to have a vivid idea of the Concilium, and indeed of the actual government of the Roman Empire, we must imagine our own Empire governed directly by the Sovereign in conjunction with his Privy Council, and his decrees executed by the permanent officials of the Civil Service, the Houses of Lords and Commons being relegated to the position of debating assemblies.

For his Civil Service Augustus employed the Equestrian Order.

The changes that had been forced upon the senatorial nobility were repeated with the knights. There were plenty of men who had the Equestrian financial qualification, and who might be called titular knights: under Augustus they lost any sort of legal claim to the title. He revised and organized the order, and wholly reserved to himself the right of admission and exclusion.

Just as he was chief senator and head of the senatorial or highest order in the State (amplissimus ordo), so he arranged that the younger members of his family should he the chiefs of the Equestrian Order.

We have seen what position the knights occupied formerly: they had had a certain part in the taxation and in the legal business of the Empire. Augustus had, of course, taken all this from them.

For the rest, they were the financiers and business men of the community the professional men.

Augustus found for them both business and profession in the shape of the Civil Service. As we know, the highest posts in the provinces were given to legates of senatorial rank, but the minor provinces were administered for the Emperor by procurators or prefects (procurators also were given posts in important provinces, under the governors). Egypt was under a prefect, for example.

There were Admiralty posts at Ravenna and Misenum, and there were posts in the Home Civil Service, such as head of the city police, head of the corn supply, and of the water supply; there was the War Office prize, head of the Praetorian Guard. All these posts were given to knights.

Augustus had created a service which was completely outside the senatorial magistracy, and he filled it from a class that was completely outside the senatorial order—a class defined and recruited by himself and bound to him in loyalty and gratitude, inasmuch as he had given to it both rank and career. It must not be forgotten either that Augustus frequently promoted deserving Equestrians to senatorial rank.

We must now touch on one section of the community whose position was ambiguous in that they were neither Romans nor provincials. We allude to the Italians.

As we have said, Augustus carried out the municipalization of Italy. And in that municipalization he contrived to found yet another new class among the Italians.

We have shown how Augustus preferred what may be called the caste system in the Empire, and how he distinguished and preserved the distinction between Romans, Italians, provincials, and members of allied States. He also applied the caste system to Rome itself, and introduced strict, laws with respect to intermarriage of rank with rank, very much as he introduced a strict, supervision over the freeing of slaves and the granting of the franchise to freedmen.

We should say here that Augustus encouraged marriage and family life by imposing a tax upon celibates and giving special rights to fathers of three or more children.

To return, however, to the caste system. Augustus instituted in the municipalities of Italy a class known as the 'Augustales.' We may perhaps call them 'Imperial freedmen.' Freedmen could not hold office in their municipality, but at least they might gain some importance, and a certain degree of public spirit might be instilled into them. Augustus arranged that in each municipality sexviri Augustales  should be elected annually from among the freedmen by the local Senate. These six special freedmen were bound, in return for this honorary title conferred on them, to contribute to the municipal chest and to provide public games. Out of these Augustales developed gradually a species of municipal aristocracy, under the direct patronage of the Emperor. They were to the Italian municipal aristocracy very much what the knights were to the Senate. 'To gain a place among the Augustales became an object of ambition to the richer freedmen, to whom it gave a recognized station in their community, and welcome opportunities of displaying their wealth and public spirit.' (Pelham.)

It is curious to note that Rome herself had not even a municipality. She was practically entirely governed by the Civil Service of the Emperor, under the general supervision of a 'prefect of the city.' The title was old, but the office only became permanent after a peculiarly flagrant period of trouble, 22-19 B.C., when Augustus sharply told the magistrates that as they evidently had not the ability and he had not the time to keep Rome in order Rome must have a master.

Rome indeed needed a master. Though the city contained nearly a million inhabitants, it had practically no police; fires and floods were disastrously frequent; the corn and water supply were hopelessly defective. And it is hard to see what Augustus could have done except take personal control or the situation.

After all, a municipality would hardly have suited Rome, being, as she was, the central seat of all government and authority. It is never easy for the municipal and the governmental authorities to work, or even to exist, harmoniously in the same city, especially if that city is the metropolis; the machinery of the great general executive overshadows that of the small local executive. Besides, Rome, as we have said, consisted, apart from the wealthy senators and the busy knightly class, of many mixed elements. She had not that solid burgher stratum which is the real foundation of municipal life.

As a city Rome was greatly improved by Augustus and Agrippa. Agrippa did much good work when curule aedile in 33 B.C., and he was for ten years associated as a sort of partner in the Empire with Augustus.

Many fine public buildings were erected, and among these a splendid edifice in the Campus Martius especially for the Comitia, for voting purposes: this building was surrounded with statues of Republican heroes.

It is noticeable and characteristic of Augustus that he would not himself have a splendid palace, nor would he allow statues of himself to be erected in the city.

He confined his lavishness to public and national expenditure. Much of this was devoted to work outside Rome. The Via Flaminia, the great North Road, was put in a state of thorough repair, as were the other roads throughout Italy. The coast defences also were thoroughly organized.

Augustus spent large sums of money on temples and chapels or shrines for public worship. It is notable that he specially indicated—we may say that he publicly justified—certain features in his own career. In the old Forum he built a temple to the 'Divine Julius,' and in the new Forum, called the Forum of Augustus, another to Mars the Avenger: these referred to, and so to speak explained, his ruthless vengeance on the murderers of his great uncle. On the Palatine Mount he built a temple to Apollo of Actium, thus commemorating his victory over Antony.

This brings us to the question of religion. Augustus held the office of Chief Pontiff. In the first place it was only fitting that this honour should be his; secondly, he thus had the opportunity of re-establishing the old Roman religion. We have said already that Augustus possessed a vein of homely superstition (this, at least, is the opinion of one of his biographers; we quote it as such); also he had a strong strain of burgher Italian blood; also he had the other strain of noble blood by his descent from the great family who claimed to go back even to the Founder of Rome. These three facts fully explain why he should have so strong a feeling for the genuine old worship of the country, and such a dislike to the exotic and neurotic alien cults that were just beginning to intrude into Roman life.

But he had another and a far stronger reason; he saw that an empire without a fixed national idea of divine favour, extended from the foundation of the State even to the achievement of its greatness, could have but little permanent faith in its own destiny and guiding star.

Above all, he saw that that divine favour, that destiny, and that guiding star must be, as they reasonably could be, bound up with the fortunes of the family to whom the State owed its present greatness.

The gods, now duly recognized, worshipped, and thanked by Rome for all they had done for Rome through the agency of the favoured Julian family, would continue to extend that favour, always through that same family, to Rome and to her empire.

Actual worship of Augustus himself was not an official fact until after his death, but a spontaneous cult did arise during his life in different parts of the country and in the provinces—witness the altar to Rome and Augustus erected in the country of the Ubii; and even in Rome many families worshipped the genius  of Augustus (we might translate genius  as 'sacrosanct and favoured personality') among their own Lares, or house-hold gods. There were, however, regular public prayers for the safety of Augustus, and thanksgivings for his victories and services; and his various anniversaries were specially and officially observed.

With the revival of the national worship Augustus took care to revive its history and traditions: hence the celebration of the Secular Games in 17 B.C., with the Carmen Saculare  specially written for these by Horace.

The poets were enlisted into this cause. Virgil's Aeneid  is the history of the divine favour extended to Rome and culminating in her greatness in association with that of the Julian family. Ovid revives and 'edits' legend after legend of the old gods and their doings. Horace, in at least one ode Parcus deorum cultor et infrequens  ('worshipping the gods seldom and with no great fervour'), indicates the value and the necessity of real faith and reverence. Augustus was happy in his poets.

His one really great prose-writer, Livy, performed a similar task for the heroes of Roman history, commemorating in the clearest possible language the many deeds that had made Rome great.

But the poets did yet a third service in suggesting a species of resignation and contentment for those who, now that the Republican regime was extinct, felt that there was far less scope for them in life. Virgil's Georgics teach the pleasure a country gentleman can derive from the cultivation of his domains. Horace dwells on the happiness of a retired and philosophical life.

Virgil , Maecenas, Horace


The Augustan age, as it is called, is a commemoration of the greatness of the past and the rational and peaceful enjoyment that may be obtained in the present.

We can here leave the home policy of Augustus. He had eliminated all that was bad and useless in the old regime, and had adapted and improved all that was good. The gaps in the Republican machinery he filled up, and, generally speaking, he so arranged the machine that it could deal with the far ampler material submitted and to be submitted to it. For those whom his changes had deprived of their original scope for action he found other action; for others, who had not as yet worked seriously for the State and to whom it was necessary to give real and serious employment, he provided both career and honour. For those who did not need nor wish to work there was reasonable scope, at least for contentment, at home And he established and organized and kept in their proper places all the different classes of the State.

His successor? This question had throughout been a difficulty for Augustus. Apart from the fact that there was no definite arrangement for a successor, there was no definite successor ready to hand! Had Augustus died, say, twenty years earlier than he did, the supreme command would unquestionably have devolved on Agrippa, whom he actually associated with himself as a partner in the Empire; but when Augustus was nearing his end Agrippa was far too old. Maecenas might have been capable of empire, but again here was the question of age. Drusus died, as did Gaius and Lucius Caesar, the sons of Agrippa whom Augustus had adopted; they were the sons of his own daughter Julia, whom Agrippa had married, and they were his preferred candidates. The young Marcellus, son of his sister Octavia, died. Augustus, and indeed all Rome, had fixed their hopes on this child of promise: and had not Rome's national poet said, through the mouth of Anchises, the sire of Rome's founder, 'Marcellus shalt thou be: give ye lilies with full hands'—words that brought tears to the eyes even of the hard, strong Livia when she heard them after the child's death?

There remained only Tiberius. He had been fully tested by difficult commands in Germany and Illyricum and delicate missions in Armenia; he had distinguished himself in that most thorny and dangerous province, Pannonia; he was a sound and cautious general, an able administrator, and was recognized as a possible successor by the fact that he, with Augustus, held the tribunician power: this power, by the way, became in later times one of the distinguishing prerogatives of the heir-apparent. But he was gloomy and sullen, and Augustus disliked him, and yielded largely to Livia's maternal ambition in conferring such powers and honours as he did upon his stepson.

Augustus had no choice, and Tiberius succeeded to the Imperial throne at his step-father's death in A.D. 14; and though is not our purpose to speak particularly of Augustus's successor, we may say that until his later years made hint morose and over-suspicious and cruel, be was a capable and good ruler. Even Tacitus, who detested him and his memory, had to admit that he was imperii capax  ('fit to hold empire'), though he cannot refrain from the bitter qualifying phrase, nisi imperasset—'had he not held it!'

We conclude this chapter—perforce some what lengthy, as it deals with various subjects or various phases in the life and character of Augustus which cannot well, in so short a book, be treated independently—by quoting George Warrington Steevens, to whom we have already alluded. Steevens speaks through the lips of Claudius, a 'loutish' prince, but not without his moments of clear insight. Loutish in body as in mind, Claudius stumbles occasionally in both.

'Yes, the d-divine Augustus, you see, had to be d-downy. He did not really want the people to see how much power he'd really got. He was afraid of being pinked like his uncle. So he never took any sp-p—any definite office in the State, you know. So, n-nobody quite knew what was the Emperor's prerogative and what wasn't, you know. That's been the difficulty with all his s-successors. We want a fixed Constitution. Each Emperor's afraid to g-go beyond his powers, and afraid n-not to. I'm the f-first Emperor that's seen that. . .

. . . So, you see, I get behind my favourites and wives, so as not to be unpopular. Pallas! Yes, I know he's an awful sc-crogue, but I like him. And the more a sc-crogue he is, the honester I'll look when I come forward and supersede him. You see, I'm not such a f-fool, Lepidus, eh?'

This sums up the situation. And Claudius actually did try to legalize the constitution, but had no real success. The most that he and his successors could do was to take full advantage of conditions and to encourage what we have already called the craving for empire which Augustus had so carefully instilled into Rome.

Augustus, the Man and the Prince

Let us glance at Rome in, say, the second or third year of the Christian era, the seven hundred and fifty-fifth year or so since the foundation of the city.

We see Augustus firmly established in his position; and a very curious position it is. In actual fact he is master. He commands all the armies, makes all the treaties, decides when and whither the eagles are to be borne, where they shall be planted fast to mark the frontiers of Rome. He is the chief of the Senate, and he can make and unmake it as he pleases: he has made it indeed! For he has given grants here and there, or conferred the broad stripe, without grants, upon the men whom he has seen fit to promote to his new nobility. And into the Senate House itself he has nominated or quietly recommended his quaestors, praetors, consuls, as he chose. He calls the Senate together, speaks, asks questions; but when he speaks a law is made. If he chooses, the Senate, dissolves, to meet again only when he wishes.

Consuls, praetors, and quaestors still have work to do; but it is greatly curtailed. At any moment a 'procurator' may descend upon a province, investigate, quite independently of the real governor, and make his report direct to headquarters. At any moment the master may descend upon the province and set its affairs in order himself, as he did in Sicily and Bithynia. At any moment he may call up the governor and give him hints, even special directions, that entirely override the governor's own intentions or policy.

Moreover, there is little enough scope in the provinces. All the best have gone. The wealth-laden Egypt, Gaul, Pannonia, where there was always the chance of distinction in war; Noricum, the Armenia!' border-land—all these are the master's own. Only a few tame districts are left. It may be an honour to be a proconsul, but it certainly is not a career. Far better to aim straight for a legateship directly under Augustus himself.

Even in Rome the work is shorn of all its importance. What of those sharp words twenty-three years ago, when Rome was given a master, a governor under the supreme Governor! The corn, the aqueducts, the police, the roads, nearly everything is under the master's own charge, and he puts in his own men just as he pleases—and not even nobles! Mere knights, wealthy or fairly well-to-do business men, those very fellows who used to quarrel with the Senate and blackmail the governors of provinces, and squeeze the last drop at forty or fifty percent out of the luckless provincials. But so did certain senators, after all! The provinces were certainly rather a scandal in the old days. Sicily still remembers Verres, who didn't even dare come into court once he knew that Cicero had prepared his brief!

And Rome! It really was abominable. Even in daylight one might be killed in a street riot. And there was never any water, or corn. And the floods! And the fires! It is certainly an improvement, and the old rulers have only themselves to blame if a cleverer, longer-sighted man than themselves has taken all these things out of their hands.

Rome and all that belongs to Rome—a large slice of the world now—would have indeed been hopeless without the Prince, as Maecenas calls him. Imagine Antony, half satrap, half Pharaoh, with his foreign 'Queen of Kings'! or the weak Lepidus! or the old Republicans, Cassius or Brutus. Decimus Brutus was a man, true. But could he or his friends have restored order? Would they have given Rome her splendour at, honk and abroad? Would Cicero, with all his philosophy?

And after all every one is so tired of all those wars and proscriptions and sudden changes that drained all Italy both of money and of blood. Life, the restful life of to-day, is worth living. If one can do nothing else, why not be resigned to what Rome offers? A splendid palace like that of Maecenas, a few poets and artists at dinner, plenty of poor clients; or a country estate, nicely tended and well farmed, cultured leisure beneath the shadow of the hills, a copy of Virgil's new work on farming and country life, or the latest ode by Horace on contentment. One can read and reconstruct the greatness of ancient days in the fine new history of Livy; one can revive the old gods in Ovid's smooth poetry. Poor Ovid! now he writes sorrowful poems from bleak ice-fields at the Back of Beyond. But he really deserved it; he had no business to write scandalous chronicles or to mix himself up with disreputable intrigues in high circles. The court is respectable, and it should be respectable.

Besides, one has always those 'new' men to laugh at: they do strive so desperately hard not to appear 'new,' and they are so easily seen through, and Horace hits them off so neatly!

Of course in a way it is annoying to see the 'new' men and those knights taking all those fine positions—Noricum, Raetia, the Ravenna base, the Prince's Guard. Yet they are well chosen: no 'jobs'—all good men, and they work hard. It is a pleasure to see some one else working hard to keep the State in order after all those years of terror and unrest. It is an incitement, even, to philosophy and the cultivation of the great Epicurus.

Yes, and the master is Pontiff as well, reviving all the old divine glories and stories. Very excellent for the people. Legends, of course, most unphilosophical, but interesting and ingenious in their glorification of Rome. And the Julian family—they are not forgotten: they have their special part therein; and it is really rather as if no one else had any part! Though it isn't easy to see who else has done much for Rome except the Divine Julius and the Prince.

But, after all, he is only the Prince. No more of your Dictators or Domini, no Kingship: that suggestion of Romulus, wasn't at all well received! He is genial, too; very polite at the meetings of the Senate: any one can speak, and quite freely too; and it is always at least interesting discussing and hearing views on the new Bills. There are no Tyrants now, thank the gods; and no Tyrant-slayers, thank the gods yet more!

Rome is fine to look at, too, with the new Forum, the Campus Martius building, all those new statues, Apollo's new temple, the Divine Julius's new temple, all the little shrines restored. And, talking of Julius the Divine, it will be the Divine Augustus one fine day. He lives long, but there were all those illnesses! He can't be strong. He will be the Divine in any case; So-and-so has even now got the genius among the Lares; the provincials seem to be putting up altars. Not that that German altar brought much luck to Rome! All that fine country once more overrun by the forest savages. Varus dead, three full legions cut up, the frontier back to the Rhine again and likely to remain there! Even Rome can't have everything, and certainly not Arabia and Ethiopia the Blameless! That was a big mistake, and Aelius Gallus made it worse!



Still, the Divine Augustus is simple enough in his ways: no crown but the civic crown over the door; no palace—only a plain house; no big dinners—chiefly some salad, cheese, and the like. One must go to Maecenas for a dinner: one mistake in a dish, and the cook is sold and a new one bought!

But who will come next? It seemed as if Agrippa would have it all one time, just when the Prince was so ill; then Marcellus—that was unfortunate. And the two young Agrippas: that was mysterious! Could Livia Augusta—but one should not, say too much! The Prince wouldn't stand a word against her. But he is lenient enough otherwise; even a conspirator doesn't get very severe measure. It might be worth while conspiring if one fell like a martyr; but to be smiled at by the Prince, and spat on by the mob all through their precious new wards! No, not that they'll ever do much with their wards and ward-masters: they're a poor set, mostly slaves and foreigners that; and the real Romans just beg for corn and flock to the games, and play at voting in their fine big Comitia  building.

To return, however, Tiberius seems to be destined: again the August Livia! The Prince would never tolerate him, surely, but for her. Still, he has done good work, and he knows his business. It will be rather slow, but quite businesslike; rather disagreeable, but quite efficient, and quite safe. He won't throw away men over useless frontiers; and he knows his work as a soldier. He will give the legions plenty to do, and we shan't see many of them near Rome.

Augustus did well too with those legions—all over the frontiers, and the time-expired men placed just where they can be most useful. Italy wants new blood: it had been a pity for Veil to remain in ruins and Perusia in ashes. They are useful, too, in that rather awkward bit of old Cisalpine Gaul, just in the right places to scare the mountaineers into good behaviour and warn them to leave the farmers alone.

Rome is well enough, after all.

We can imagine a reasonably-minded senatorial noble thinking and talking somewhat after this fashion. There may well have been a few disappointed men, but the Roman world was content. Everything was regularized—so well regularized abroad, more over, that even the mad caprices of Gaius and the bestial cruelties of Nero were only felt seriously in and near Rome. For the provincials an excellent emperor reigned—thanks to the system which Augustus had built up, stone by stone, on the ruins of the ancient, worn-out, and obsolete fabric. As he found Rome, so did he find Roman power, in brick, and he left it in marble. Or perhaps we may allow ourselves a mow homely simile—the Irishman's stocking. He found but a few fragments of the old homespun; he darned and added, sole and heel and leg, with good wool—elastic wool, moreover. It was the same stocking, yet entirely different.

We know how the later emperors made, as it were, a silken stocking, extravagant and unseemly; and we know how, later still, when the hordes of savages were nearing the borders of Rome, the Empire became parti-coloured like the hose of a jester, at, the last a laughing-stock for the world.

We have twice quoted from George Warrington Steevens' Monologues of the Dead. Let us again do so, more fully this time. He gives, more vividly than we can, a picture of the real Augustus.

'I am late this morning. I can feel in the air the vibration of the third hour. Attius! Attius! I suppose he thinks that having lain so long I may as well wait until to-morrow. Well, Attius, have you too overslept yourself? No more dinners with Maecenas; we are getting too old for them. It is the third hour. I will rise. But first ask Livia Augusta to favour me with her presence. Dear old Attius! that little trick of telling him the hour never fails. Now for my daily bargain with the August. Madam, good morning; leave us, Attius. And how is the Emperor? Judging from her roses, better than her lazy deputy. I spare you the encomium on Maecenas' wine. . . .

'. . . You must see by now, Livia, that it's impossible for me to let Tiberius go on any longer as he's doing. You must let me send him away. Yes, yes; I know all you've done for me, but it doesn't justify your son in studied insolence. After all. I'm supposed to be Proconsul and Pontiff and Augustus and all that, and I can't let him do it. Claudian pride? Well, I can only say there's no vacancy for Claudian pride, in Rome just at present. . . . First, you must talk to him seriously about, his demeanour—not as coming from me, you understand. Secondly, I put, him on the list for foreign service. Oh, yes, you can make your mind easy. He shall have a big war and a triumph, and all the fandangles. Also I'll throw in Agrippa: he shall go abroad and have no triumph—I'll try to keep Julia quiet. I'm a generous Jove, eh, Junicila? Give me a kiss, old wench. We've had some battering times together, eh? Eh? Eh? Adieu, my Empress. Send in Cleobulus, will you? . . .

'H'm. My excellent spouse was pleased with my little attentions. Also she was pleased with the idea of her Tiberius in high command; she doesn't yet, understand the value of interior lines in politics, my Augusta. I suppose she foresees her Tiberius crossing the Rubicon while we all sit tremulous at Rome. And yet she's seen the Praetorians at drill every day these many years. Naturalists have greatly neglected women. Now, Cleobulus, my wig and the eye-brightening stuff. I always assume you don't give away these secrets of the toilet, Cleobulus. If you do, the next wig will be the scalp of one Cleobulus, mysteriously disappeared. Now the gown. Not that, you nincompoop of genius. How often must I tell you I'm only plain Proconsul? That will do; now announce me at the levee. I wonder who's there to-day. I'm glad the Roman senators haven't the political insight of that hairdresser.

'Attius, precede me into the ante-chamber, while I have a look at the company. Gods, what an air the rogue has with him! And how very right he is, considering the way they grovel to him! A poor set of curs, I'm afraid, these nobles at Rome; yet I'm afraid I like them.

'Good-day, gentlemen. I fear I have ill repaid this courteous attention by keeping you so long awaiting. Ah, Isauricus, my dear old friend, this is too kind. Too kind. It is I that should be calling on you; you must, not expose yourself to this morning air; all Rome is waiting for your speech on this new Land Bill of Agrippa's. By the way, Egnatius, I do not think you have yet taken the public into your confidence as to your attitude? You reserve it? Ha, I am not sure you are right, if I may say so. One loses a great part of one's due influence, I always think, unless one gives an opinion time to percolate, as one might say. I have told Agrippa frankly all along that, I shall oppose him on the municipal clauses. What, says Piso? Opposed to the whole scheme; you will speak, of course? Aha, good-day, Iulus. What says Iulus on the question of the hour? An excellent measure all round! So well, it should be an interesting debate, and personally I am still open to be convinced. And here is the author of the trouble himself. How do you do, Agrippa? Eh? a word in private; by all means, old man. Want to go away? No, no, dear fellow, we want you here. Pannonia and Germany? Nonsense, you're losing your nerve. Why, we settled the Pannonians years ago. . . . Well, we'll think it over. Morning, Maecenas; survived your own wine, I see. Amusing fellow, that little Horace of yours. Underbred? No, I didn't notice it. I tell you what, though; if I were that man, I wouldn't stand the way you treat him for five minutes, good as your dinners are. However, that's his affair. Been here long? Overheard anything? I'm beginning to agree with you about Iulus. See me before dinner. Well, gentlemen, I thank you once more for the high honour you have paid me. I am afraid you spoil me with your indulgence, for I am now about to ask to be excused. You have put me in an important public position and I am anxious not to disappoint you. Adieu, my friends.

'H'm. To-day's hypocrisy over. Not that it is, though, for I have to play the hypocrite one way and another every minute of my life. I'm beginning to think it's a mistake to be a tyrant. It's exciting enough when you have to fight for it, but when you've got it, decidedly a bore. And unluckily the posing isn't the worst of it; the worst of it is that you have to suppress so many good fellows. Now I know Egnatius is guilty of the impiety of not seeing why he should do what I please any more than I should do what he pleases. I must get rid of him; I can't help myself. Such a witty, astute fellow, too, and what a boxer! Iulus I must get rid of, too. I fancy Maecenas has got his own reasons for wanting Iulus out of the way; still, he's his father's son, and never quite safe. A man I've known since they first, put me into the long gown. No, I shan't get rid of lulus. He can go to Gyarus if Maecenas likes. No, hang it, why Gyarus? He won't do any harm at Rhodes, and at least he can get a dinner there. Poor old Iulus! And poor old Agrippa! He wants to get back to his soldiers. But I can't do it. Once he gets to Pannonia, he'd forget his obedience—and he is most astonishingly obedient—and go for the chiefs. His loyalty's splendid, but I can't trust even it, when the old war-horse sees the enemy in front of him. And the worst of it is that the chiefs ought to be smashed this summer, and no man in the world could do it so well as Agrippa. It would be all over in a month. But Pannonia's got to be nursed, for Pannonia's to be a big thing, and Tiberius is to get his triumph for it, sulky dog. Yet he's got the stuff in him, too. I suppose I'd better make up some reason to send Agrippa to Gaul again; Livia can't object to him there. After all, the real devil of it isn't being a tyrant, but being a married tyrant. There isn't an easier or a pleasanter thing in the whole world than to go on as I'm doing now, and keep my place to the end, and my friends into the bargain. It's this cursed dynasty business, and that cursed woman—though she's behaved a deuced deal better to me than I deserved. But why in the gods' name must I turn out my oldest friend to die miserably in Gaul? Why, to make the way easy for a moody young prig that I dislike—and who dislikes me. What do I get for it all? I wish to the gods I'd got my uncle's pluck; then I should have been cut to pieces years ago. Still, after all, Agrippa's going to Gaul would be a way out of the Land Bill business, and I begin to think I went, too far in that matter. Yes; he had better go.'

It would be difficult, in many ways, give a better picture of the man and his time. If anything, the picture is, however, a shade cynical. Augustus had malty genuine moments of kindliness, especially with children, and he could show and feel real affection. Moreover, he was not merely as shrewd politician; he had wide vision and foresight. One of his biographers asks the question, Was Augustus imaginative? He points out how Augustus preferred his financial statements and business affairs. But that is hardly proof of a lack of imagination.

We can surely say that, in his way, Augustus was imaginative, and in a high sense of the word. Not that he was ever like Julius, with that tremendous clarity of thought and rapidity of insight that makes Julius Caesar stand out as one of the world's greatest, and most wonderful figures. He was far more worldly, more calculating.

It may be argued that he found a plan ready to his hand, that his uncle had anticipated and even prepared much of what he carried out; but it needed imagination and insight to carry out so much, to see it as a whole, and a connected, graduated whole, a fabric that should last all those centuries; it needed these gifts to see so clearly the spirit of Rome, obscured, maybe, even to the point of extinction, but still existing, and to rescue and strengthen that spirit in such wise that the history of Rome under the Empire became even greater than the history of the Roman Republic. Only an imaginative man can see such things clearly, and only those who have that clear, far sight can really claim to have imagination in the truest and greatest sense of the word—not the mere faculty for diseased fantasies, but the real and high imagination without which no great thing can be seen or done.

Last of all, was Augustus a genius? We seem to use that word in many senses. A man has a genius for this or for that; a genius has only one line of thought or action; genius is 'an infinite capacity for taking pains'; and so forth.

If genius means a capacity for taking pains, Augustus certainly fulfils the definition as far as his policy goes. He calculated everything out to the last figure, he worked everything out to the last detail. His financial policy is a monument in itself, and his building up of the Principate is a work that perhaps no one else in the history of Rome could have achieved. Senate, consulship, proconsulate, imperium, tribunate, censorship, proconsulate, he brought all into his service and that, of Rome, yet without actually annexing any office or declaring any prerogative that could not be justified by the law and the constitution.

Julius Caesar was a genius in the real sense of the word—namely, one who sees and does successfully, as if by an unfailing instinct, and without long labour and trouble, the things that others only do after infinite devotion and deep thought; and Julius Caesar did for Rome, in the way of expanding her greatness and power, what perhaps no one else could ever have done.

Without Julius Caesar Rome would have crumbled to pieces. Without Julius Caesar Augustus would never have had an empire to make.

But without Augustus that empire would never have been made. Nor could a genius, in the sense that Julius was a genius, have succeeded where did Augustus. Rome needed just that other species of genius, that infinite capacity for taking pains. And Augustus had this capacity and used it to the full, from the day when he landed in Italy, a boy, poor, unconsidered, frail, in 44 B.C., to the day when he died at Nola, in A.D. 14, full of years and deserving the plaudits for which he asked on his deathbed, in that he had 'played his part well.'

The Meaning of Empire

We have seen how Julius Caesar made the Republic impossible. Others had begun the task, for their own ends; he achieved it—well, it, is difficult to say whether he achieved it for Rome or for himself. As we have said, he worked imperially; he could not do otherwise, from his very nature. He could not but see to the very end of the problems with which he dealt, and he could not but, deal with them; it was instinctive in him.

Those others who preceded him worked consciously for themselves; they simply wanted as much power and wealth and destruction of rivals as they could possibly effect. Caesar was certainly free from such ideals, if self-seeking can be called an ideal. But, unconsciously, he was working for himself, even as great men will. They identify their ideals with themselves and think of little or nothing but them. They may realize that they are leaving much to posterity, but it is for posterity to make what it can of the legacy. Nor do they think of the past. If their ideal means that the past must be neglected or even overthrown, they neglect it or overthrow it. Reconciliation and compromise are not for them. If they die before their work is finished, so much the worse for the work and the world in general: 'Art is long and life is short'!

Such was surely Julius Caesar, not selfish in character or in his behaviour to others, but selfish, without knowing it, in his ideals, which he achieved for his own personal satisfaction. It is because they were good and great ideals that they did Rome good and brought her greatness.

We can say that had it not been for Julius and his work Augustus could never have made such an empire as he did; but we must also say that the work that lay before Augustus was all the harder by reason of all that Julius had done.

Augustus was not selfish, consciously or unconsciously. He worked both for the past and for the future, not only seeing what he was doing in its full extent, but also seeing how it fitted in with the past and how it could fit in with the future.

And his was not a case of a task too long for a life. Even though, through one mischance after another, he did not and could not designate his actual successor until within a very few years of his death, a successor would certainly have been found to take over his work as he left it at any time after, say, 23 B.C.

Now what, after all, was the meaning of all these changes, and, still more, what is their meaning for us?

We have seen the obvious explanation of obvious facts. Rome had fallen into confusion; her machinery was obsolete for her increasing needs; she had been a prey to various adventurers, and circumstances had made her a possible prey to any adventurer.

One supreme Head was a necessity; and, for the work of that Head to continue, a permanent system had to be devised. It had also to be a system remodeled in some degree on the old system, at least in name, otherwise there was still enough feeling in Rome to overthrow it. One of the most significant facts in the career of Augustus is that, just at the time when it was being discussed what title he should have, or, rather, what surname (he was still Octavian then), some flatterer had proposed 'Romulus,' the name of the first king. Octavian, with unerring instinct, had at once rejected the name; it meant kingship, and kingship, in Rome, meant the complete overthrow of all traditions. We know how Octavian made it half of his life's work to respect, revive, and glorify traditions; his choice of his name, 'Augustus,' was the crowning achievement of that part of his work, in that it, so to speak, sanctified his deeds and also his person as the means chosen by the gods for the furtherance of Rome's greatness.

His work was necessary to Rome, and the divine sanction was necessary to his work.

But the real meaning of his work, its meaning for us as well as for Rome, is wider and deeper.

Rome was destined, we may say, to expand, not to remain a self-contained State, to civilize the whole world, 'sparing those thrown under her feet and beating down the proud.' She had inherent in her the qualities of solidity, of conquest, of assimilation. She had proved this from her first years, when she 'Romanized' first the Latin tribes close to her city walls, then the Italians, then the Greek colonies in the south—in a word, the whole Italian peninsula.

Had Rome confined her power to the Italian peninsula she need never have changed her Republic. Apart from the fact that it was—it always is so in this world—the deeds of individual adventurers that gave her her great oversea possessions, and that it was the conduct of these adventurers (and the precedent they set of defying the Republic and magnifying themselves) that forced empire upon her—apart from these things, empire was unavoidable when once Rome adventured outside Italy. For she could not, under any but the Imperial system, have governed her foreign possessions. She might have kept them in order by constant harshness of rule and continual fighting, but she would never have transformed them into 'Greater Rome.'

'Quite so,' will be the answer; 'you have told us how bad was the senatorial provincial Government and how good was the administration of the Imperial provinces; you have also, for that matter, shown how the Republic could not even police Rome or keep up a proper fire-brigade.'

Yes, these are 'obvious facts.' The Roman Republic did degenerate; the average proprietor or proconsul was arrogant, ignorant, avaricious, and generally detestable when once he found himself let loose for a year on some luckless province. And he had nothing much to fear; he had, as one Roman saying has it, three fortunes to make, one to pay off his old debts, one for his future, and one to buy off the court, Equestrian or senatorial, that would almost inevitably try him at the end of his year's command.

Again, it is quite true that the Emperor's men were well chosen, ambitious, hard-working, not unduly avaricious or self-seeking. And they had a great deal to fear! Any one in the province might find means of conveying a complaint to Caesar's ear, and then the judgment on the unfortunate governor was summary and exemplary!

The obvious facts of Roman history and experience were against Republican and for Imperial government.

A republic cannot govern an empire. It cannot even govern a country, unless that country is reasonably self-contained and accessible.

When it is possible for all the affairs of the country to be presented clearly, and without the likelihood of too many opinions being needed, before the Central Board of Authority—that is perhaps the best way to describe the administrative part of the republic—then it is possible, and even reasonable, to expect that, clear lines can be laid down and clear directions given to the executive. It is equally possible for affairs to be dealt with and for hue country to be maintained in a fairly efficient and orderly state if there is a really effective system of municipal or other local government. That ensures that each town and each village shall be able to attend to its own business. We can even conceive oversea local government, and that supplies an argument to supporters of the republican regime.

But in practice it is then a case either of the State, at home and abroad, resting stationary, or else of able men being sent out to control the oversea possessions. And when this is so there is always the possible danger that some crisis from within or without may upset the state of affairs, or else that (as we saw in the case of Rome) one or other of the foreign governors may become too powerful. Either way, the 'empire' risks overthrow.

The reason for this is that a republic, from its very nature, is the most centralized form of government that exists. Everything has to be referred to the people, or at least to those who represent the people, their Parliament or their Cabinet. There is no one single mind or single will. Questions must be discussed, and cannot be settled quickly. Routine work, of course, goes through automatically; but routine work hardly means 'empire,' or anything, indeed, beyond the everyday practice of ordinary life.

Then, again, when the people hold the power—and the more genuine the power of the people, and not of a few, the stronger is the argument—they are naturally interested in the use of the power. They do not suffer omissions; everything of any importance must be referred to them and settled by them.

Now it is obvious, first of all, that the people are concerned chiefly with home and local affairs; these are nearest to their interests, and therefore appear to be far more important than anything farther afield. Secondly, the people are not in a position, even if they cared to do so, to acquire the experience necessary for affairs outside their local ken. For one thing, we cannot send a whole nation, man by man, to live and work in each several colony or foreign. province or dependency until one and all have a thorough knowledge of everything to do with all their foreign possessions! Thirdly, we have to think of the mind, the ability and insight of the people. We know the proverb that the strength of a chain is its weakest link!

A people, as a people, cannot possibly rise to the height necessary for a real grasp of great external questions of which they have no intimate national knowledge; nor can they follow the minute and intricate details a full knowledge of which is vitally necessary for the arrangement of certain, and especially foreign, affairs.

Specialists are always required, and specialists always arise, expert at their work but almost completely out of touch with the 'man in the street.' Even in modern times the task of keeping the whole people fully acquainted with all that goes on and all that is needed outside the mother country is not easy, nor can it be done thoroughly, nor can it be so done that one opinion and one decision alone may prevail.

And so, from the very fact that a republic is so centralized, everything beyond the immediate control, we may say beyond the immediate borders, of the metropolis has to become highly decentralized.

An empire, controlled by one supreme head, is exactly the reverse. We have, naturally, the impression of entire centralization, inasmuch as we see one man laying down the law for everything. But when once everything is organized that one man simply becomes the head of a hierarchy in which each member has his own special department. The emperor may investigate many minute details and listen to many personal appeals; but he does not need to undertake the entire work or even supervision throughout every corner of his empire. His experts see to that, and they are responsible to him. He himself, as a rule, has the ability and the experience required for a sufficient, grasp of the main issues, and he can leave the details to his subordinates, who keep entirely in touch with him, and never lose that touch as they would if responsible to a body of men most of whom would be ignorant of or indifferent to the special issues, and all of whom would be liable to differ in opinion, the one from the other, over any one issue.

The emperor can, of course, be entirely responsible to the nation for the general good conduct of affairs; but, so long as he ensures that, the nation leaves him largely to his own plans and actions, and busies itself with its own affairs.

As a rule, we may say (though this is hardly essential to the argument) that under an emperor such branches of life as literature, art, science, etc., are more highly and effectively developed than they are under a republic; it is not an absolute rule, but there is at least a tendency that way. An emperor can patronize and encourage such things, and the people, less concerned with the cares of State, have more leisure to devote to them.

But, however that may be, an empire can decentralize safely; a republic cannot. The fact is that a more or less absolute ruler is to an empire what a business manager is to a business. And, just as a good business manager organizes and establishes a system under which the business may continue and expand, so does a good emperor organize and establish his system for his empire.

And this is exactly what a republic cannot really do. There are too many heads, and they are not all experts! Also, one has as much power as the other, and this provides the elements of disagreement and indecision.

Lastly, once the system is well established the actual personality of the head is of less importance in the sense that time system can continue even though he may show less energy or ability than his predecessor, let us say. And this is unquestionably the case with an empire in which there is no absolute certainly of 'getting the best man.'

To sum up the whole argument, a republic cannot govern an empire—first of all because a republican regime, which entails the practical rule of many, cannot have the breadth of view or the grasp and knowledge of varied and special detail required by the task; and, secondly, because the 'many' are predisposed to think of their own local and individual needs (they have little interest or experience beyond these) and to neglect the greater issues which exist outside.

This was the case with Rome when the age of the Adventurers began, and before Rome had the burden of the civilized world fully thrust upon her. That responsibility was of Julius Caesar's making; but he bore the burden himself.

And the work of Augustus is that he systematized that burden and made it bearable, not for the old Republic nor for a declared emperor, but for an Imperialized Commonwealth, republican in name, but imperial, and therefore world-powerful, in fact.