It’s in Spain where we first see the new cautious Augustus. Instead of taking crazy risks, like he sometimes did when he was younger, now that he’s 38, his favourite slogans are now: “festina lente” or “make haste slowly.” This doesn’t mean he isn’t fully aware of his own mortality.
Augustus needed to decide on the size and shape of the army. How many soldiers would he need to maintain the borders and to expand them when desired? And now that the civil war is over, what kind of new discipline is needed?
Before Augustus leaves Rome, the gates of the Temple of Janus were re-opened, which means the peace is officially over. He’s going to war, to restore Roman order to his regions. But these are good old fashioned wars against foreign tribes. They aren’t civil wars. And Rome loved a good old war against barbarians.
With great reluctance, Octavian allows the Senate to refuse his resignation. It’s a brilliant piece of political theatre. And to celebrate, he gets a new name.
On the 1 January 27 BCE, Octavian started his seventh consulship. On the 13th Jan, the Senate convened with Octavian as presiding consul. And it was that day, that Octavian quit his job.
Just this one time, we ignore Augustus and Rome to do a special edition about what just happened.
Apart from reviving the traditional institutions, Octavian also starts rebuilding the physical infrastructure of Rome. He ordered the restoration of 82 temples within Rome. So he’s working hard to bring back a sense of religious order and a return to traditional values. The Temple of Apollo on the Palatine Hill was opened and on the…
Octavian gives a speech to the Senate, inviting each senator to look at his own reputation, wealth and ancestry and decide whether he was truly fit to belong to Rome’s most prestigious body. He reduces the number of senators and he is made ‘princeps senatus’ – the principal senator, “first among equals”. It was also…
Octavian is trying to restore some kind of normality to Rome. He hands out large wads of cash, opens the Temple to the Divine Julius and on 1 January 28 BCE begins his sixth consulship – this time with Agrippa – which they hold for the entire year, taking turns, month on, month off, just…
Octavian is running around settling affairs in the Middle East before he returns to Rome. Herod in Judaea visited Octavian to win his support. Octavian then does a peace treaty with the Parthians. Finally, in 29 BCE, Octavian finally returns to Rome to celebrate his three triumphs.