After Julius Caesar’s murder by Roman Republicans, his grand nephew Augustus faced and defeated his murderers, continued Caesar’s reforms, modernized the existing sclerotic Republican structures, and set down the foundations of the great Roman Empire. We will look at Augustus’ struggles and new civic statutes, as well as the enlargement and solidification of the Roman Empire that Augustus and his otherwise famous descendants Tiberius, Claudius, Vespasian, and others established.
How did Augustus bring the Empire to the Romans? Where were the Republican leaders? What innovations did Augustus bring to the Roman government? Was his a major reform, or did he maintain some Republican institutions? How did his successors, the first emperors, carry out his reforms? How did the famously degenerate emperors, for example Tiburius, Caligula, and Nero, perform in this environment?
The writings of Suetonius, Tacitus, Plutarch, Cicero, as well as that of the poets and philosophers Virgil, Horatius, Ovid, Lucretius, Plautus, and Seneca will help us understand these turbulent but enlightening times.
While this is the second course in a two-part series, part one is not a prerequisite.