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The emergence of the augustan age


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THE EMERGENCE OF THE AUGUSTAN AGE

The Rise of Antony: (Marcus Antonius)

1. The Murder of the Dictator: Julius Caesar

a. The Official Heads of State.

1. The surviving consul, Marcus Antonius.

2. The Magister Equitum, M. Aemilus Lepidus.

b. The conspirators were forced to withdraw to the Capitol, where they were joined by Cicero.



Regret: Cassius’ failure to persuade Brutus that Antony should have been killed with Caesar.

2. Actions of Antony:

a. Secured Caesar’s papers and treasurers from his widow, Calpurnia.

b. Obtained the co-operation of Lepidus who as a provincial governorhad troops outside of Rome -- these were brought into the city.

c. Gained the support of P. Dolabella by allowing him to fill the vacant Consulship.

3. In the Senate: Cicero’s compromise between the Cesareans and Republicans.

* Caesar’s murderers were to receive amnesty, while Caesar’s will and acts were to be respected and his funeral was to be celebrated.

4. Antony Published Caesar’s Will:

a. Antony was disappointed at Caesar’s great nephew, Octavian, becoming the chief heir of Caesar.

b. Caesar left his fine gardens beyond the Tiber to the Roman People and 300 sesterces to every Roman Citizen.

Octavian was adopted as his son and became heir to three quarters of his estate.

5. Caesar’s Funeral:

a. Against Cassius’ advice, Brutus allowed Antony to deliver the customary funeral oration (laudatio funebris).

b. Antony succeeded in stirring up the people against the murderers of Caesar.

c. Brutus and Cassius were forced to flee from Rome less than a month afterthe murder. (Yet, they remained in Italy.)

6. Further Actions of Antony:

a. Secured for Lepidus the Office of Pontifex Maximus.

b. Appeased the Senate by proposing the permanent abolition of the dictatorship.

c. As consuls, the Senate allotted Macedonia to Antony and Syria to Dolabella.

d. Secured the removal of Brutus and Cassius from their duties as Praetors.

e. Passed an agrarian bill providing land in Italy for Caesar’s veterans.

7. Result: Two months after Caesar’s death Antony was in control.



The Rise of Octavian:

1. C. Octavius was born in the year of Cicero’s Consulship (63 BC) at Velitrae near Rome.

2. Lost his father at an early age and was raised by his mother, Atia, the niece of Julius Caesar.

3. 44 BC: Octavian was at Appolonia in Illyricum, receiving some military trainingfor the Parthian War. (18 years old)

a. Decided to cross over into Italy: a bold and dangerous move.

b. When he reached Brundisium, he discovered that Caesar had adopted him and made him his heir.

c. Using the name C. Iulius Caesar Octavianus, he reached Rome by the end of April.

4. Octavian turned to Antony -- Caesar’s former colleague and supporter.

Antony was not prepared to relinquish Caesar’s money which he had taken over and some of which he had spent.

Octavian began to pay off Caesar’s legacies from his own resources.

5. Antony’s Position Strengthened:

A law was passed transferring Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul to him for 5 years in place of Macedonia - yet he retained command of his Macedonian Legions.

6. Brutus and Cassius decided to depart from Italy for Macedonia and Syria.

7. By September: Cicero had returned to Rome and began to attack Antony in the first of a series of speeches, the Philippics.

8. Efforts of Octavian:

a. Antony had gone to Cisalpine Gaul whose governor had refused to leave it.

b. By appealing to Caesar’s veterans and by his own efforts (without any legal authority) Octavian raised a considerable force including two of Antony’s legions back from Macedonia.

c. Cicero (in his Philippics) persuaded the Senate and people that Antony was aiming at a dictatorship, and that Octavian should be used as long as they needed his help.

1. Octavian was to be made Senator and a Propraetor in order to cooperate.

2. Octavian along with the two consuls were sent against Antony in Cisalpine Gaul.

9. Two battles were fought between Mutina (Modena) and Bononia (Bologna).

a. Antony was defeated and fled to Transalpine Gaul.

b. Both consuls had died leaving Octavian in command of the consular armies.

1. The Senate declared Antony a public enemy (as well as Lepidus).

2. Brutus and Cassius were grated their commands in Macedonia and Syria receiving maius imperium in the East.

10. The Reaction of Octavian:

a. He demanded the Consulship which the Senate ignored by offering him a praetorship.

b. Octavian marched on Rome where he was elected consul suffectus (one appointed to finish the unexpired term of another) together with an obscurerelative Q. Pedius.

11. The Republican Cause: Cicero’s Policy

a. Lepidus in Narbonese Gaul decided to support Antony.

b. Two other former officers of Caesar decided to join Antony: C. Asinius Pollio from further Spain and L. Munatius Plancus from Northern Gaul.

c. In Rome: a lex curiata confirmed Julius Caesar’s adoption of Octavian.

d. Pedius got a measure passed revoking the amnesty granted in 44 BC to Caesar’s murderers.

Brutus’ and Cassius’ command of forces in the East would lead to further civil war.

e. Pedius also persuaded the Senate to revoke the decrees of outlawry against Antony and Lepidus, whom Octavian now decided to meet.

Cicero’s policy had failed, and the Republic was again at the mercy of men who commanded the loyalty of the legions.



The Second Triumvirate and Philippi:

1. Octavian’s Rise to Power:

By appealing to the plebs and veterans, he raised a private army and built up a political faction of friends, men of ambition and ability including the Roman Knights: Q. Salvidienus Rufus, M. Vispanius Agrippa, and C. Maecenas.

* Octavian had also become Consul before he was twenty.

2. Octavian met Antony and Lepidus on a small island in a river near Bononia.

a. It was decided to have themselves appointed Triumviri Reipublica Constituedae for five years with authority to make laws and to nominate magistrates and governors.

b. Distinction: Unlike the First Triumvirate which was a private agreement between its members to work together for their mutual benefit, the Second Triumvirate (which came into being on November 27, 43 BC by a bill passed by the Tribal Assembly) was a formal magistracy legally appointed which could dominate the Senate and State.

c. Division of the Western Provinces:

1. Antony retained Transalpine and Cisalpine Gaul -- a strong position from which he could keep a watch on Italy.

2. Lepidus took the rest of Gaul and all of Spain.

3. Octavian received Africa, Sicily, and Sardinia.

d. It was decided that Lepidus would be Consul for 42 BC, while Antony and Octavian attacked the Republican Armies in the East.

* To advertise their rule, all three issued coins bearing their portraits.

3. Need for Political Security and Money: Proscriptions (i.e. example of Marius and Sulla.)

a. Some 300 senators and 2,000 knights were executed and their property was confiscated.

b. The most famous victim, on whose death Antony insisted, was Marcus Tullius Cicero.

* Antony had his head and hands hung on the Rostra in the Forum at Rome.

* Republican Opposition in the West had come to an end.

4. Republican Opposition: In the East

a. In the East - both Brutus and Cassius had built up powerful armies.

b. Brutus had become a Republican rallying point -- issuing coins referring to the Ides of March and showing daggers of the Liberators.

1. Late in 43 BC: instead of advancing into Italy, Brutus moved (against the advice of Cicero) into Asia to meet Cassius.

2. In the interval: Cassius had defeated Dolabella (Antony’s consular colleague of 44) in Syria.

3. Cassius then joined Brutus in overrunning Asia Minor meeting at Sardes.

* They reached the Hellespont by September 42 BC with 19 legions and a powerful fleet.

c. Octavian’s prestige had risen: he had become the son of a god (divi filius).

The Senate had recognized Julius Caesar as a god on 1 January 42 BC

1. He and Antony took 28 legions against Brutus and Cassius.

2. Republican forces wee found in a strong position at Philippi on the Via Egnatia.

3. Both Brutus and Cassius were eventually defeated who then committed suicide.

5. A Second Division of Western Provinces:

a. Antony took all Gaul except Cisalpine which became a part of Italy.

b. Lepidus who was suspected of conspiring with Republicans was ignored.

c. Octavian received Spain, Sardinia, and Africa.

6. Antony was to go to the East to raise necessary funds and re-establish order there.

Octavian’s Consolidation of the West:

1. Octavian needed land in Italy for around 100,000 veterans.

a. Protest In Rome: supported by Antony’s wife Fulvia and his brother L. Antonius (consul in 42 BC).

By use of propaganda, L. Antonius raised eight legions and occupied Rome.

b. Octavian aided by Salvidienus and Agrippa forced Antony’s forces out of Rome -- they fled to Perusia (Perugia) where they were forced to surrender.

1. Lucius Antonius was spared and made governor of Spain.

2. Salvidienus occupied Gaul where Antony’s legate had died, and Lepidus was given Africa.

2. The Treaty of Brundisium:

a. Antony returned to the West in 40 BC and was allowed to enter Italy at Brundisium.

1. Antony then began to overrun Southern Italy until Octavian’s forces arrived.

2. Civil War was avoided through an agreement arranged by Maecenas and Asinus Pollio.

b. The Treaty (October 40 BC)

1. Antony was to keep control of the East.

2. Transalpine and Narbonese Gaul were added to Octavian’s previous command.

3. Lepidus’ control of Africa was recognized.

c. Antony warned Octavian that Salvidienus was plotting against him.

* He was recalled to Rome and executed.

d. Marriage Alliance: Antony, whose wife had died, married Octavian’s sister, Octavia.

3. Sextus Pompeius, son of Pompey the Great, complicated the situation in the West.

a. He had occupied both Sicily and Sardinia, and had hoped for official recognition in the Treaty of Brundisium.

b. Sextus began to interfere with Rome’s overseas corn supply until the triumvirs decided to meet him near the promontory of Misenum (39 BC).

1. It was decided to give Sextus proconsular command for five years in Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, and Achaea.

2. Exiles that had joined him then were to have their property restored.

c. A break came when Sextus’ governor, Menas, offered to hand over Sardinia to Octavian and he accepted.

Octavian also divorced Scribonia, a relative of Sextus, on the day she gave birth to his daughter, Julia.

Octavian had fallen in love with Livia, the wife of Ti. Claudius Nero who at the time of the Perusine War had fled with her and their child Tiberius (the future emperor) to join Sextus in Sicily.

* Octavian married Livia and Lived with her for fifty years.

d. 36 BC: Sextus was defeated in a Naval Battle in the straits at Sicily.

* Sextus fled to the East where he was put to death on Antony’s orders.

4. Lepidus: commanded 22 legions after the surrender of some Pompeian troops.

a. He claimed the island (Sicily) and ordered Octavian to leave.

b. Lepidus’ troops did not want further fighting and began to desert to Octavian.

c. Octavian spared his life (Lepidus) and allowed him to remain Pontifex Maximus, but deprived him of his triumviral powers.

* Lepidus’ public career was ended.

5. Italy’s Greatest Need:

a. Security and prosperity for Italy and the West.

b. Octavian identified his cause with that of his country.

c. He had a sincere respect for Italian tradition and thought contrasted with Antony’s increasing leaning towards eastern tradition.

6. In Rome:

a. Octavian and his friends (Agrippa, Maecenas, and Statilius Taurus) began to adorn the city with new buildings, as well as providing good water and cheap food.

b. To emphasize Rome’s earlier beliefs and traditions: he expelled astrologers and magicians, banished eastern rites, and repaired old shrines and temples.

7. The Second Triumvirate In Trouble:

a. The Roman World was split in two: Octavian had eliminated his rivals in the West and controlled Sicily, Africa, Corsica, Sardinia, Gaul, and Spain.

b. The Triumvirate was further weakened by Antony’s treatment of Octavia and the elimination of Lepidus.



Antony In the East:

1. After Philippi Antony (in agreement with Octavian) had gone to the eastern provinces to raise money.

2. Antony summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus to meet him.

a. The reason probably was his need for the treasures of the Ptolemies.

b. Antony had first met her in Alexandria, and then in Rome when she was living there as Caesar’s mistress.

c. After Caesar’s death she returned to Alexandria where she killed her young brother and consort, Ptolemy XIII

d. Cleopatra realized that Antony’s support would strengthen her rule in Egypt.

After the Tarsus meeting Cleopatra returned to Egypt where Antony joined her for the Winter (41/40), but left in the Spring and did not see her for four years (nor his twins which she gave birth to).

3. Antony Faced Two Wars:

a. The Parthians were invading Syria.

b. The Parthini (an Illyrian tribe, not to be confused with the Parthians) were invading Macedonia.

* Antony also had to negotiate terms at Brundisium.

4. Antony made Athens his headquarters where he lived with his wife Octavia.

a. He restored order in both Macedonia and Syria.

b. In 37 BC: After Jerusalem was captured, he installed Herod as King of Judea (the reign of Herod the Great had begun).

5. Late in 37: Antony sent Octavia back to Italy as she was expecting a child.

a. Cleopatra then joined Antony in Antioch.

b. To the Romans Antony’s legal wife was still Octavia who continued to protect his interests in the West.

c. Antony formally acknowledged his children by Cleopatra and renamed them Alexander Helios (the sun) and Cleopatra Selene (the moon).

d. Antony gave Cleopatra control of Goel-Syria, Cyprus, and part of Cilicia.

6. Spring of 36: Antony sent Cleopatra who was expecting another child (Ptolemy Philadelphus) back to Egypt and then launched his attack on Parthia.

7. The Parthian Campaign of 36 BC was a disaster.

a. Both Cleopatra and Octavian had prepared supplies of food and clothing for Antony’s starving army: Antony only accepted Cleopatra’s gift.

b. In 34 BC: Antony invaded Armenia and captured King Artavasdes.

* Armenia became a Roman province, but only for two years.

8. Antony and Cleopatra:

a. Cleopatra’s aim appeared to be an extension of her kingdom and a revival of the empire of the Ptolemies.

b. Antony’s Problem: his ability to persuade his troops, who might be ready to be led against Octavian, to fight for Cleopatra or himself who might be a king of Egypt.

9. Autumn 34 BC: The Donation of Alexandria

a. Antony and Cleopatra (who was robed as the goddess Isis) appeared on a golden throne with their children.



    1. Antony proclaimed Caesarion (Ptolemy Caesar) as the legitimate son of Julius Caesar.

* Thus by implication the adopted son, Octavian, was a usurper.

1. Caesarion was proclaimed King of Kings, and his mother Cleopatra, Queen of Kings.

2. Both were recognized as joint monarchs of Egypt and Cyprus.

c. Antony’s Children:

1. Alexander Helios: received Armenia, Parthia, and Media.

2. Ptolemy Philadelphus: received Syria and Cilicia.

3. Cleopatra Selene: received Cyrenaica and Libya.

d. Antony avoided taking any royal title for himself, and announced these arrangements by virtue of his triumviral powers.



The Final Break and War: Actium

1. News of Antony’s actions reached Rome in the Spring of 33 BC



A War of Propaganda: Antony was pictured as demoralized in the thrall of an Eastern Fury.

2. Octavian needed to win over public opinion.

a. Antony offered to lay aside his triumviral powers, if Octavian would do the same.

* No response was given.

b. At the end of 33 the Second Triumvirate came to a legal end: No official action was taken.

1. Antony kept the title and acted as if he was still in office.

2. Octavian dropped the title and was prepared to take the risk and rely on his prestige, his auctoritas.

* He would be consul in 31 BC

3. Consuls of 32: C. Sosius and Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus were supporters of Antony.

a. Sosius propose a vote of censure against Octavian in the Senate.

* It was vetoed by a tribune.

b. When Octavian defended himself at another meeting, and attacked Antony, the two consuls and over three hundred senators left Rome to join Antony.

c. Antony then sent Octavia formal letters of divorce.

4. Octavian seized Antony’s will, which was deposited with the Vestal Virgins, and read it to the Senate.

It acknowledged Caesarion, provided for Antony’s own children by Cleopatra, and ordered that he should be buried at Cleopatra’s side.

5. Propaganda: Octavian spread the rumor that Antony hoped to transfer the capital to Alexandria.

a. Italian communities and many in the western provinces passed a vote of confidence in Octavian.

b. They took an oath of allegiance (coniuratio) to Octavian personally becoming clientela of an individual party leader.



Importance: Personal allegiance to a dux was replacing loyalty to constitutional forms.

* Octavian later described this as a personal mandate to proceed against Antony.



"Iuravit in mea verba tota Italia spote sua et me quo vici ad Actium ducem depoposcit."

6. Antony, who had crossed with Cleopatra and his forces to Greece was deprived of his powers and prospective Consulship for 31 BC

* Octavian formally proclaimed a iustum bellum against Cleopatra.

7. Antony’s Problems:

a. His supporters were former followers of Julius Caesar, Republicans, and Pompeians.

b. Lack of a cause to unite them: personal loyalty to Antony was not enough, and the presence of Cleopatra alienated some.

* desertions began, but Cleopatra provided much of the financial support.

8. Antony took up a defensive position in Greece.

a. He headquartered himself at Patrae and his fleet and army were centered on the promontory of Actium on the Gulf of Ambracia.

b. Antony hoped for a land rather than a sea battle.

9. Actions of Octavian:

a. Octavian left Maecenas in Rome and took most of the senators still in Italy with him.

b. His army occupied a position just north of Actium.

c. Octavian’s fleet, commanded by Agrippa, captured Leucas, Patrae, and Corinth cutting Antony off from the Peloponnese and began to interfere with his supplies by sea.

d. Antony rejected a suggestion that he should retire to Macedonia and fight by land, and followed Cleopatra’s advice to use the fleet.

10. 2 September 31 BC: Antony drew up his fleet (500 ships) off Actium in three squadrons.

a. When his center and left wing began to retreat, Antony signaled Cleopatra to escape.

b. Antony managed to join her with forty ships while the rest of the fleet was captured or surrendered.

Octavian had to go to Italy to provide for pay and settlement of his veterans before following Antony.

11. Summer of 30 BC: Octavian reached Egypt and occupied Alexandria which Antony could not defend.

a. Hearing a rumor that Cleopatra was dead, Antony committed suicide.

b. Cleopatra was taken prisoner. When she discovered she could not retain her kingdom for her children she died by the bite of the asp which the Egyptians believed deified its victims.

12. Octavian secured what he needed most, the treasure of the Ptolemies.

a. He was lenient toward Antony’s followers and his children by Cleopatra.

b. The children were brought up by Octavia -- Selene ultimately married Juba II of Maurentania.

c. He executed Antony’s elder son by Fulvia, Antyllus. Caesarion, the son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar was also killed.

* Octavian could not allow a potential rival to survive.

13. Egypt was annexed, but not as an ordinary roman province, it became the private possession of the Roman Emperor.

14. On 11 January 29 BC: the Temple of Janus in Rome closed, a symbol of restored peace.

a. In the Summer Octavian returned to Italy and celebrated a triple triumph



(ie. Illyricum, Actium, and Egypt).

b. The Republic and liberty was gone; men now turned gratefully to their new savior.


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