Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

Gaius Octavius

Ex-Augustus

Recommended Posts

Again, not to encroach on the 'Ex-Caesar' thread, another dreaded 'what if' thread might also shed some light on members' thinking.

 

Many charges and slanders have been strewn at Augustus' feet. Assume that Augustus died one day after Caesar was murdered. Who, living at that time, would have been the man to have done things 'properly' (as you see them), and why?

Edited by Gaius Octavius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Again, not to encroach on the 'Ex-Caesar' thread, another dreaded 'what if' thread might also shed some light on members' thinking.

 

Many charges and slanders have been strewn at Augustus' feet. Assume that Augustus died one day after Caesar was murdered. Who, living at that time, would have been the man to have done things 'properly' (as you see them), and why?

 

Gaius - are you asking if someone else would have instigated the Principate? Or are you asking if, without an Octavian, there would not have been one? It sounds like an interesting topic, but I just need to know from where we start. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, not to encroach on the 'Ex-Caesar' thread, another dreaded 'what if' thread might also shed some light on members' thinking.

 

Many charges and slanders have been strewn at Augustus' feet. Assume that Augustus died one day after Caesar was murdered. Who, living at that time, would have been the man to have done things 'properly' (as you see them), and why?

 

Gaius - are you asking if someone else would have instigated the Principate? Or are you asking if, without an Octavian, there would not have been one? It sounds like an interesting topic, but I just need to know from where we start. :rolleyes:

 

I'll try to make myself clear.

 

Without Augustus, and therefor his alleged crimes and blunders, who would have led the way to a 'proper' government, 'constitutional' or otherwise? Might it have been Tiberius, Cicero, Antony, Brutus, Cato, or any other man or group of men alive at that time? How should the State have been composed, and comprised of whom?

 

You chose the form of government and the person or people or institutions to run the then Empire efficiently. Again, a government that would not have led to the alleged failures of Augustus or the pre Caesar government.

 

Hope that I cleared up matters.

Edited by Gaius Octavius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This leads into one of these fun but useless "alternate history" scenarios. I would assume without Augustus, the struggle would have been against Antony and the pirate son of Pompey. If Antony had won, and the gravity of the Roman world shifted to Alexandria, the world would be a different place today with mystical Greco-Egyptian ideas of religion and kingship influencing the West far more than they otherwise would have had.

 

 

And I have always thought such a scenario woud be the perfect setting for an alternate history novel about Rome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Antony clearly had intentions of taking up the gauntlet from Caesars demise. He blew it by bedding Cleopatra. After that, he could only have risen to power in Rome as an oriental tyle king regardless of any title he made for himself and that was unacceptable to romans. Had he attempted it, Rome would have rioted and Antony ousted by someone else. Cleopatra had spoken to Octavian after Antony's suicide hpoing to walk away. She saw quite clearly that Octavian was going to use her for political capital, and probably have her executed quietly when she wasn't useful any more. That sort of thing was going to happen to her anyway. By involving herself in roman politics, she had placed herself at risk.

 

Livia would have pushed Tiberius toward domination. Unfortunately, I don't think Tiberius would have been a success. He was never popular and his demise would have happened in perhaps two or three years. Without Augustus's seal of approval, he never stood any chance of winning roman hearts.

 

Cicero is a possibility but I find it difficult to see him as a success. He was already living on past glory and his own popularity was waning.

 

My own thoughts is that a scenario similar to the AD69 Year of Four Emperors was going to happen. People pushing their way to the front, stumbling and groping for stability and popular acclaim, only to be ousted in plots and coups. Rome was exhausted by civil war and unless another charismatic figure came out of obscurity, Rome was set to fragment into petty nations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Livia would have pushed Tiberius toward domination. Unfortunately, I don't think Tiberius would have been a success. He was never popular and his demise would have happened in perhaps two or three years. Without Augustus's seal of approval, he never stood any chance of winning roman hearts.

 

Tiberius has to be taken out of the equation totally. If 'Octavian had died a day after Caesar' as Gaius originally proposed, I doubt that Tiberius' own father would have suddenly grown a spine and pushed himself to the forefront of Roman politics. He was too much of a weathercock, having commanded Caesar's fleet in the Alexandrian war when quaestor, then as soon as Caesar's body hit the floor he began proposing honours for the 'liberators'. Then he served as praetor quite happily under the triumvirs until the country began to rise against Octavian due to the land allotments for the veterans and Pompeius' harrying of the corn supply. This prompted him not to lay down his office as the law demanded, join the list of proscribed, and instigate a slave revolt, easily put down by Salvidienus and Agrippa. Nero was forever choosing the wrong moment and the wrong side. In my humble opinion he deserves to wallow in the obscurity to which history has confined him. But your essential point, Caldrail, about Tiberius not lasting a minute without Augustus' approval is a valid one.

 

As I see it, if we are to go back all the way to Caesar's death here, and Octavian dies more or less immediately afterwards, then you return to the situation of Antony and his supporters versus the 'liberators'. I have to agree with Caldrail, Antony wanted to be heir to Caesar's power, so I think we would still have had Mutina, and that other great Roman weathercock, Lepidus, could have swung either way (Cicero's letters of the time are full of snippets about which way Lepidus was leaning. He seemed to change his stance with each month!) But without Octavian's extra legions, Decimus Brutus may not have been able to withstand the siege of Mutina, and Antony would not have fled to Gaul. Had Lepidus supported him at that stage Antony may well have seized the dictatorship for himself. I still think we would have had a Philippi situation, as Brutus and Cassius had to challenge him. I do believe that Antony would have still won such a battle, but then he would have had to deal with Pompeius. Are we allowing for Agrippa in our theory? If not, who would have created the naval base and built the extra ships needed for the Sicilian War? This was a long and protracted affair and Octavian lost half his fleet at one stage! Would there have even been a Sicilian War? Would Antony have instigated Proscriptions if he was sole dictator? If not, then Pompeius would not have had the suypport of the proscribed as he did under the triumvirate. Heck, he would not even have been proscribed himself!

 

There are so many 'ifs' and 'buts' in these sort of speculative theories. Cleopatra? She had aided Cassius, so no doubt Antony would have still been involved there, but without the threat of Octavian would he have embroiled himself so deeply in a political way? This is the point where I differ with those who say that he would have formed some kind of dual monarchy with Cleopatra. We can only speculate about that if all had proceeded as it did but he had been the victor at Actium. Without Octavian the events leading to Actium would not have happened.

 

My own simple view is that of Caldrail's too. I think we would have seen the anarchy and civil wars of a 69AD. The Republic would have only put up with Antony for so long, and the strife would have continued. I cannot hold with the view of some scholars that Antony was a good old republican at heart and would have restored ordered government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Until now, the thread seems to see nothing but chaos befalling Rome, ex-Augustus.

No views as to a peaceful 'democratic' outcome to the crisis?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Until now, the thread seems to see nothing but chaos befalling Rome, ex-Augustus.

No views as to a peaceful 'democratic' outcome to the crisis?

 

Well, Gaius, I have always subscribed to the theory that history is made by the men/women who made it (if you know what I mean). Whether this has become old-fashioned or not, I cannot renounce it. Maybe there could have been a peaceful outcome if we had no Antony. It's so hard to judge on theory alone without taking account of the main players at the time. You asked us to take just one of those players away - Octavian - but that still left others who were not only shaping history at the time but who, had things gone differently, could have shaped it for the future. We can only work with the characters we are given. Would another man have steered Rome towards a new form of government - of course, it is possible. But when we come to ask who that man was (if not Augustus) we then have to either make assumptions about the people who were still there, or speculate about a new person coming to the fore. Phew - it's a tough one. Let's throw something else into the pot: If Brutus and Cassius had formulated a proper plan for the restoration of the Republic after they raised their daggers, the world may well have been a different place. Brutus always strikes me as a decent, patriotic man who, under different circumstances, could have rallied more people to his cause. I guess the main thing that is coming out of our posts is Antony. If your original question had allowed for his death as well as Octavian's - well, then we would be headed for a whole new theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this is pure speculation, I'll toss in my guess. Without Octavian (sine Octavian, not ex Octavian), Antony still would have been defeated at Mutina, and thus sent packing to lick his wounds. In Rome, Cicero would have continued the process of reconciliating the Caesarian party with the necessities of normalization. Brutus would have attempted to take his province in Macedonia from Antony's brother (successfully). Cassius would have controlled Asia. The lack of enmity (indeed respect) between Brutus and Antony--combined with Cassius' connections among the former of legates of Caesar and with the desire of Cicero to broker peace--would have allowed for a peace in their time.

 

In terms of vision, Cicero certainly had one. If you haven't read his political writings, you should. It lays out a complete and comprehensive blueprint for a secure and stable republic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MPC, my PM adds nothing to your repertoire?

 

Je parle Latin comme une vache espangnole. Je pense que vous mean 'sine Augustus'.

 

;)

Edited by Gaius Octavius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Until now, the thread seems to see nothing but chaos befalling Rome, ex-Augustus.

No views as to a peaceful 'democratic' outcome to the crisis?

 

Its difficult to see that occurring. The senate has been purged and its members replaced with more compliant members. Those still in the senate have the memory of Sulla fresh in their minds. If Caesar is murdered and Octavian soon afterward, thats two powerful personalities out of the running. Antony had every intention of running for the top slot. He's something of a maverick character but he certainly had something going for him. When he was camped at Ephesus we read that he has thirty legions with him. Thirty? Thats what, one hundred and fifty thousand men or more, plus camp followers and any mercenaries he picked up on the way, not to mention a huge fleet harboured along the coast? He really was the front runner. I've already said this, but getting involved with Cleopatra was disastrous. It ruined his credibility. Although he may have foisted himself and his egyptian wife on Rome, I forsee a violent end to it very soon. Eventually a stronger person would calm things down, but we would remember the period as the increasingly bitter end of the Republic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for the fun of it, EX:

 

Ex-dividend (without the dividend).

Ex-rights (ditto).

Ex-interest (ditto).

Ex-warrants (ditto).

Ex Augustus (ditto).

 

But, I will alert the Wall Street Journal that they should use the Latin, sine, in their English language paper!

Edited by Gaius Octavius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ex-dividend (without the dividend).

Ex-rights (ditto).

Ex-interest (ditto).

Ex-warrants (ditto).

Ex Augustus (ditto).

 

But, I will alert the Wall Street Journal that they should use the Latin, sine, in their English language paper!

 

The "ex-" comes from the Latin for "out of" or "from". The financial uses above are related to the commercial uses of ex (e.g., ex warehouse, ex ship, ex elevator), which referred to the price paid for the good coming out of the warehouse, ship, elevator, etc (thus, without having to pay for the costs of storing the good in the warehouse, ship, etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Source: Page M14; Barron's; 12/31/07. Look at 'ww' first; then 'xw'; then 'x'.

 

This doesn't mean that your explanation is wrong. This is simply current usage, and understanding - vernacular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×