The Augustan Principate - With Annotated Bibliography
The first of the Roman Emperors, Augustus, is arguably the single most important figure in Roman history. Throughout his long and political life, Augustus went to great lengths to avoid being perceived as a Dictator or a King, as "he would have to throw off the republican disguise...essential to his position" (Bury, 1908, p14). Maintaining this disguise is the prevailing reason he wrote in his Res Gestae that, 'of power I possessed no more than those who were my colleagues' (Res Gestae quoted in Lewis, 1955, p11). However, the purpose of the Res Gestae was to glorify and indoctrinate, whilst abating suspicions of a monarchy. Accordingly, analysis of Augustus' political life of veiled sovereignty contradicts his claim of political equality. Although Augustus' constitutional masquerade upheld the faÃ§ade of republican government, he was able to manipulate the constitution so that supreme power lay in his hands alone.