Augustus does a deal with the Parthian King Phraates IV to return the standards and prisoners from their previous encounters with Crassus and Antony. And Lucius Cornelius Balbus gets a triumph – the last one awarded to a private citizen (eg who wasn’t a member of the Emperor’s family) – for five and a half centuries.
While Augustus is out in the provinces, he tends to give his speeches in Greek rather than Latin, to show how much he respects their regional cultures. He also treats them fairly magnanimously – except when he doesn’t.
One of the client rulers who is best known during these years is Herod The Great. He was brutal, but the Romans didn’t mind, as long he paid his respects and kept his people under control. He built the Second Temple in Jerusalem but it didn’t buy him much love from his main constituency – the…
For the people in the provinces, Augustus was just the latest in a long line of foreign rulers, like the Greeks and the Persians before him. For Augustus, the provinces provided him with the opportunity to let it all hang out.
In the year 22 BCE, Augustus went to Sicily, Rome’s oldest overseas province. But the people aren’t prepared to let him go that easily. They start burning shit down and breaking the furniture, until he pays them attention – and sends Agrippa home.
Gary Arndt has been everywhere. Which is why his blog is called Everything Everywhere. Since 2007 he’s been travelling nearly non-stop, taking photos – and has been named Travel Photographer of the Year three times. He joined us on Skype from an undisclosed location recently to discuss Caesar-related travel destinations.
The Primus Affair continues. Shortly after, there’s another scandal – the Fannius Caepio conspiracy. It’s time for Augustus to crack down.
The people try to convince Augustus to become dictator. He refuses. Then the proconsul of Macedonia, Marcus Primus, is brought up on serious charges of ruining the reputation of Rome. He blames his actions – on Augustus!
It’s late 23 BCE. Agrippa leaves Rome and makes his home in Lesbos. Rumours fly. Meanwhile there are still plagues, famine and natural disasters in Rome. The dark shadow of death lies over at least one member of Augustus’ inner circle.
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In 23 BCE Augustus fell very sick with man flu once again. It was so bad, everyone thought he was going to die. When he miraculously recovered, he decided he’d had enough of the stress of being consul – and he resigned. This time – for good. Which caused some problems.
When Augustus finally returns to Rome late in 24, he travels along newly restored roads that he had mostly paid for himself. They were adorned with statues of him. But how much did those statues, and those that survive today, actually resemble his true likeness? Also, Marcellus and Tiberius, the young guns, are being prepped…
We’re back! First show of 2017! On his way back from Spain, Augustus falls deathly ill with man flu, which forces him to think about his future. It doesn’t stop him from becoming consul for the 10th time where his new colleague is a guy with an unfortunate name that leads us into some dark…
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.
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…