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selves. Octavius' popularity among Cæsar's veterans was a source of his strength when, at the age of eighteen, he crossed from Apollonia to Apulia, and proceeded to Rome to claim his inheritance. He made no claim to succeed to the public offices of his uncle; yet the youth's purpose was directed to the goal reached by his manhood. There is an evil and a good part to his career. While he was guarding his own head and using every means to increase his strength, he was dissembling, perfidious, cruel, as might serve his purpose. When he attained to power,
he used it for the broadest good of his Empire.
From the moment of his uncle's death, Octavius showed firmness, dignity, understanding of his own position, grasp of the general situation, and a consummate knowledge of men. He immediately declared his intent to carry out the provisions of his uncle's will. Antony had seized the main store of the Dictator's money. Octavius laid open claim to it, while he borrowed freely to pay the Dictator's bequests to the soldiers and the people. By his temperate conduct and firm assertion of a legal purpose, he deceived Cicero and others into thinking him the youthful savior of the state, who had no other thought than to aid in restoring the Republic. Although he was
not consul, the senate sanctioned his leadership of the army which he had gathered about him, and he felt himself secure to divulge his purpose that Cæsar's murder should not go unavenged, a purpose which he kept openly in view as soon as he and Antony, through Lepidus, had come to agree on a united scheme to hold the supreme power. Now followed the darkest deed of Octavius' career. Marius and his associates had slaughtered out of rage and hate and greed. Sulla's proscriptions had proceeded from vengeance, calculated as well as felt, from avarice and the need of funds to reward his adherents. But the proscriptions of Marius and Sulla had been directed against bitter enemies; neither one sanctioned murder of friends. Antony, Octavius, and Lepi
dus met, fearful of each other, on an island in the Reno, to divide the sovereignty of Rome. It was give and take. Each sought to weaken the others through destruction of supporters, and each abandoned friends and relatives in return. The proscriptions of the Second Triumvirate combined more kinds of perfidious wickedness than any previous deed in Roman history, and the evillest stroke of all was the murder of Cicero, whom Antony hated above all other men, but to whom Octavius was deeply indebted for counsel and support. From this lowest moral point Octavius' life bettered, gathering more and more the welfare of his country within the compass of its aims.
The collected forces of Brutus and Cassius required all the triumvirs' resources to meet them. After Philippi, the whole realm was divided among the three; and subsequently, when the Octavian chief Agrippa had finally conquered Sextus Pompeius, Lepidus, through his faithlessness and presumption, lost his portion to Octavius. Thereafter, it was Antony in the East, Octavius in the West, and it was Antony who came to represent tyranny and eastern corruption, while Octavius stood for Roman order and all the good there was in the Roman west. Before Actium, there was no doubt which of the two was Rome's enemy, and Octavius' victory was a true victory for Rome. His consummate policy made the war against Antony appear a war against Egypt. It was in fact a war wherein the strong and good elements of the Roman Empire were clearly arrayed against the evil and corrupt. Italy's war,' it should crush the Egyptia Conjunx; and Horace felt that Octavius had delivered Italy from that fatal monster and her evil train' as sincerely as he felt the horror of the civil wars, from which the Empire now might rest.'
Actium brought lasting internal peace. The work of constituting the Empire was now to be taken up where 'Eneid, viii, 678.
2 Carmina, i, xxxvii, 21.
3Ib., i, xxxv, 33-38.
Julius Cæsar had left it. His genius had devised the plan; Augustus had to carry it out. Though The Policy a lesser man, he was supremely fitted for the of Augustus. task. His powers of dissembling still stood him in stead, and his keen appreciation of the situation and the nature of his countrymen. If the great Julius had erred at all, it was in openly disregarding Roman sentiments. It had been a necessity with him to hold absolute power, and he had assumed the office of dictator, and perhaps intended to be called king. But the name of king was hateful to the Romans; the office of dictator, long unpopular, had recently stood for the tyranny of Sulla, and moreover was displeasing to the deeper Roman political sense as being an extraordinary office and not part of the normal government. Augustus, as well as Cæsar, meant to concentrate all power in himself. But he chose to dissemble; as sole triumvir in Italy, he had observed constitutional forms, after Sextus's defeat halting his army to address the people outside of Rome; and at the expiration of the second five years' term of the triumvirate, he declined to renew it.' After Actium he continued to dissemble, appearing unwilling to assume absolute power as entailing too great responsibilities; he even at times left the state to revert to disorder by itself, to show how essential he was to its welfare. Through these manœuvres, the supreme power was continually pressed upon him by all classes.
With a still deeper policy, Augustus respected the constitutional sense of his countrymen by establishing the Empire as a continuance of the Republic.' He showed a deference for the nominal power of the senate and the suffrage of the people, while he actually exercised absolute power under a continuance of the regular republican magistracies united in his own person. Continually refusing the office of dictator, he accepted the regular and limited magistracies. After Actium, when he had
1 He was consul at the time.
O Certainly Cæsar had this in view as well. But he worked less tenderly.
quieted the Empire, he closed the temple of Janus and offered to resign the office of Imperator. But the senate and people insisted on his retaining it. Shortly after, he accepted the appellation of Augustus, a title never borne by man, but applied to many sacred things connected with worship. He also accepted the titular office of Princeps Senatus. Through a natural growth in the import of the first of these words when associated with the holder of supreme power, the limiting word Senatus fell away, leaving the simple word Princeps, which, with the title Imperator and the appellation Augustus, continued to designate the emperors. Being a Patrician, he could not legally be tribune; but he accepted the tribunitia potestas, which clothed him with similar power, rendered his person sacred, and gave him the right to propose laws. As the tribunitian office stood for the people's majesty, thoughts surrounding the conception majestas populi gradually attached themselves to Augustus. Here also was the source of the imperial conception of treason, crimen majestatis. After the year B.C. 23, Augustus declined the office of consul. But he accepted proconsular power coextensive with the Empire; and in B.C. 19 he accepted the potestas consularis for life. He also accepted successive censorships for terms of five years, and, on the death of Lepidus, was made Chief Pontiff, thus becoming the formal head of the priestly observances which made part of the government of Rome.' The Emperor Augustus thus became the formal unification of the offices and powers of the Roman republican magistracy.
Augustus was also careful that the enactment of laws should follow the usual forms, although he controlled legislation, and the initiative usually proceeded from him.'
1 See for these matters Merivale, History of the Romans under the Empire, chap. xxxi.
9 But imperial rescripts, edicts, and letters, as formal expressions of the emperor's will, came to have the force of law. They were all included in the general term Constitutio.-Gaius, Ins., i, 5.
He continued the forms of free elections of magistrates, afterwards transferred by Tiberius from the Comitia of the people to the senate, to which body the nominal legislative power was also transferred by that prince, as well as the criminal jurisdiction, an appeal being reserved to the emperor.
The reorganization of the provinces followed the partly executed designs of Julius Cæsar. They were divided into senatorial and imperial. The latter were those where troops were most needed, and, by retaining control of them, the emperor kept military power in his hands. They were governed by imperial legates, the senatorial provinces by proconsuls; the latter class of officials having greater dignity, the former more substantial power and longer tenure of office.'
Augustus had recast the government of Rome. Actually the change was complete; but the cautious temper of the Emperor, deferring to the conservative spirit still surviving at Rome, had continued so far as possible the republican forms. His successors continued to profess obedience to the senate, till the death of Pertinax.'
The admiration with which the Romans of Augustus' time viewed Rome's period of struggle and attainment, was heightened by the sense that much of the ancient strength and virtue which had brought Looking to empire to Rome existed no longer. Distance which hallows may consist in differences between the present and the past, as well as in mere years. Serious Romans now looked back upon the past which was no more; they looked upon the present which was so different, and saw menace and evil in it. Yet they thought their own Rome great-how could they not?-and looked to better her people and make strong her empire. One
1 Mommsen, Provinces of the Roman Empire, vol. ii, p. 252, regards the annexation of Egypt after Actium, in the form of an imperial province directly under Augustus' control, as the beginning of the Empire.
2 A.D. 193.