Definition Rewrite– Plutoshouldbeaplanet

Who was Augustus Caesar?

Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome, is one of the most influential rulers during the beginnings of the Roman Empire. He is most known for changing the method of Roman government from a consulship to a republic, and for instigating the Pax Romana. Although from an initial inspection Augustus’ accomplishments are great and numerous, they also reveal his selfish political desires that contradict his “goals for the empire.”

Augustus Caesar was undoubtedly a political genius with a great influence on the evolution of Roman  politics, but he was also a self-righteous, moral hypocrite. His hypocrisy begins prior to his consulship or emperor-ship. It begins during his military career. Augustus fought alongside his great uncle, Julius Caesar, and gained a lot of his future influence from fighting alongside him. He was close with Julius Caesar and was able to become emperor through J. Caesar willing it to Augustus, even though it wasn’t rightfully his. Seutonius recalls, “News then came that Caesar (Julius) had been assassinated after naming him (Augustus) his heir, and Augustus was tempted, for a while, to put himself under the protection of the troops quartered nearby. However, deciding that this would be rash and injudicious, he returned to Rome and there entered upon his inheritance.” Augustus believed that it would be ‘rash and injudicious’ to put himself under protection, however later on in his career, he contrasts his actions and is swift to put himself under protection. As I had mentioned previously, the throne wasn’t rightfully Augustus’s. By Roman law at the time, the throne was rightfully Mark Antony’s. Mark Antony had married Julius Caesar’s daughter which would make him next in line. It is even speculated that Brutus, Julius Caesar’s assassin, was actually Julius Caesar’s son, which would have put him next in line. Due to the throne dispute between Augustus, Mark Antony, and Brutus, civil unrest came about the empire. Seutonius wrote, “Augustus actually engaged assassins to murder Antony and, when the plot came to light, spent as much money as he could raise on enlisting a force of veterans to protect himself and the commonwealth.” Augustus now clearly felt it was okay to protect himself, and to spend a large amount of money on doing so. Once he was willed the position of Emperor he had a new sense of self worth which showed through his changing of value and hypocritical actions.

Aside from his personal daily activities, Augustus shows hypocrisy within his values on Roman heritage. He campaigns on wanting to “revive old Rome,” displaying his admiration for older societal views. Part of his campaign is to also restore nationalism to the republic, however his prior actions towards Rome don’t show any nationalism at all. Suetonius wrote, “He usurped the consulship, marching on Rome as though it were an enemy city and sending messengers ahead in the name of his army to demand the appointment.” The piece of this quote that really sticks out to me is the part where Seutonius says “marching on Rome as though it were an enemy city.” His aggressive manner towards gaining the consulship displays how little he loved Rome. If Augustus didn’t actually have any admiration for Rome and its values, then it is hypocritical to expect the other citizens to love Rome and its new values just because he is the one instituting them. 

Although Augustus did many wonderful things throughout his career with Rome, it would be an inadequate assessment of him if his poor character and motives weren’t considered. For Augustus, hypocrisy isn’t shown in a way that we are used to thinking about it, but how Augustus displays his hypocrisy is something our current state is all too familiar with. He says he wants his citizens to have nationalism, but doesn’t display that nationalism himself. He doesn’t want protection after the assassionation of his ancestor, however when the citizens are paying for it, he spends a lot of money on his protection. He shows his immoral and hypocritical side through having expectations for his citizens that he himself will never follow. 

References: Suetonius, Gaius Tranquillus, et al. The Twelve Caesars. Penguin, 2006.

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4 Responses to Definition Rewrite– Plutoshouldbeaplanet

  1. davidbdale says:

    General rule: avoid repetition:

    Augustus Caesar comes to mind when thinking about the early beginnings of the Roman empire. He was the first emperor of Rome and was the instigator of the Pax Romana. When thinking about Augustus, the initial impression is based upon his accomplishments before, during, and after his reign; however Augustus is way more than his physical accomplishments. His physical accomplishments say a lot about his political desires, but upon deeper inspection we can deduce his selfish desires and how they influenced his political choices. 


    Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome, was the instigator of the Pax Romana. Augustus is way more than our initial impression of his accomplishments before, during, and after his reign. What he accomplished reveals his selfish political desires and how they influenced his political choices. 

  2. davidbdale says:

    Similarly, your second paragraph:

    Augustus Caesar was undoubtedly a political genius with a great influence on the evolution of the Roman political system, but it would be ignorant to not investigate his intent that made him such a great leader. Although he was a political genius, he also was a moral hypocrite. His moral beliefs and actions do not take away from his accomplishments as a leader, however it would be nonsensical to believe that his selfish motives didn’t affect his political actions. It isn’t unlike politicians or people of great power to be hypocritical in one way or another, but for Augustus, his hypocrisy is a bright beam that shines through all of his policies. It is rare to hear ancient, influential leaders such as Augustus be described as a hypocrite, but through his actions it is clear that he has tendencies that can only be described as self-righteous and hypocritical.


    Augustus Caesar was undoubtedly a political genius who drove the evolution of Roman politics, but he was also a self-righteous moral hypocrite.

  3. davidbdale says:

    What values? In P4, you mention:
    —Augustus shows hypocrisy within his values
    —older societal views
    —Rome and its values
    —Rome and its new values
    without any indication what they are. We can neither agree with you nor disagree with you without knowing what you’re claiming.

  4. davidbdale says:

    It’s too soon after your first iteration of Augustus’s actions for us to need them summarized again in a concluding paragraph. Use those 200 words or so to draw new conclusions, provide fresh evidence, prepare us for the consequences of his actions, something other than summary.

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