How was Augustus related to Julius Caesar?

Julius Cäser and Octavian


1. Timeline

2nd Gaius Julius Caesar
- Origin
- Situation in Rome after Sulla
- Pompey
- The rise of Caesar
- Caesar's reforms
- The assassination of Caesar

3. Gaius Octavianus
- Origin
- The principal
- The constitution of Augustus

4. Comparison
- Constitution
- Political goals
- Achieved goals

5. Keywords list

6. Indication of source

1. Timeline before the birth of Christ


Confederate War. The Italian allies are fighting for Roman citizenship


First war against Mithridates VI. from Pontos. Associated with this was civil war between the Optimates under Sulla and the Populares under Marius


Second war against Mithridates 82-79

Sulla conquers Rome and becomes Dictator 73-71

Slave revolt under Spartacus 74-64

Third war against Mithridates. Pontus subjugated by Pompey 60

First triumvirate: Pompey, Caesar and Grassus 58-50

Caesar conquers Gaul 55

Consulate of Pompey and Grassus 53

Defeat and death of Grassus near Carrhae in the fight against the Parthians 49

Beginning of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey 48

Defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus in Thessaly 45

Caesar Dictator for Life 44

Assassination of Caesar 44-43

Mutinensic War. The Caesar murderer Brutus is besieged by Mark Antony in Mutina (Modena)

Second triumvirate: Antonius, Octavianus and Lepidus Africa 42

Near Philippi in Macedonia, the Caesar murderers Brutus and Cassius are beaten by Antonius and commit suicide


Peruvian War: Armed conflict between Octavianus and L. Antonius, the brother of M. Antonius

Treaty of Brundisium. Division of empire; Octavianus receives the west, M. Antonius the east, Lepidus Africa

Renewal of the triumvirate for five years

Excluded from the triumvirate, Lepidus remains Pontifex Maximus - Antonius

marries Cleopatra VII of Egypt and himself as Hellenistic God-King 32-31

Ptolemaic War: Octavianus against Antony and Cleopatra 31

Victory of Octavianus at Actium (Greece). Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide. Egypt Roman Province (special position 30

Octavianus sole ruler 28

Octavianus receives the title of first citizen (Princeps). Justification of the principle

Octavianus is honored with the cultic name of honor> Augustus <(the exalted) - Augustus in Gaul and Spain 23

Augustus tribune for life 20

Peace with the Parthians. Return of the Roman legionary eagle 19

Augustus receives consular power for life 17

Secular celebration of the city of Rome and the proclamation of world peace (PAX AUGUSTA)

Augustus Pontifex Maximus 9

Drusus has an accident west of Saale 2

The Romans cross the Elbe 2

Augustus receives the title of Pater Patriae

2. Gaius Julius Caesar


He came from an ancient Roman family around the year 100 BC. Born in BC. His father died early. Through the marriage of his aunt to C. Marius, the young Caesar was led to her side (on the side of Marius). In the civil war between Marius and Sulla, Caesar, who was still half a child at that time, was ostracized by Sulla and had to hide in the Pontine Marshes until a rehabilitation was obtained from noble friends.

Sulla said at the time that there was more to Caesar than to the failed Marius. Thus, shortly after the old constitution (which Sulla had overturned) was restored, Caesar became the recognized head of the People's Party.

Situation in Rome after Sulla's resignation

Sulla could not satisfy the internal and external unrest, so they continued to endanger the state. Mithridates caused unrest, as did pirates who made the sea unsafe. Several coup attempts followed to remove the leading class (Cicero). However, Cicero uncovered the conspiracy and had the uprising quickly ended by the Senate.

This is how the lack of consensus in Roman society can be understood. Rome was shaken by several uprisings and crises.


Pompey was a powerful man in Sulla's time. He was honored by the people for his great military successes and received many great honors from the Senate. Nevertheless, the Senate refused to seek the consulate. Then he allied himself with the rich businessman Crassus. With him he was elected consul (70 BC). In doing so, they withdrew crucial parts of the constitution by re-equipping the people's drive with their old rights, re-admitting knights as jurors and restricting the power of the Senate. After Pompey had brought the pirates and Mithridates under control (67 BC) he returned to Rome laden with booty. Dismissed his army at the urging of the Senate and was pushed into political isolation without honor.

At this time Pompey met Caesar, who promised to help him take care of the veterans. This created a temporary alliance of convenience and a triumvirate (60 BC). Although they were rivals in their objectives, they still want nothing more to happen in Rome without their consent. So Caesar became consul with the help of the triumvirate (59 BC)

The rise of Julius Caesar

After Caesar's year in office he received the provinces of Gallia, Cisalpina, Transalpina and Narbonensis (northern Italy and southern France with today's Provence) for administration. In a long war (from 58-51 BC), which he himself had described in his book the "Gallic War", he conquered all of Gaul (today's France), landed in Britain (England) and crossed the battlefield with Germanic peoples the Rhine. In doing so he increased his political weight in Rome and created a reliable army that was loyal to him.

During Caesar's absence, a centering of optimatic opponents who wanted his overthrow arose in Rome. Upon his return, he was to be sued for multiple violations of the Constitution. Their starting position was favorable, after the death of Crassus (53 BC), they succeeded in winning Pompey on their side and appointing him unconstitutionally as consul without colleagues. He was also given extraordinary powers. With this he was supposed to counteract the breaking anarchy and thus restore peace and order.

Caesar, however, suspected this intrigue and ignored the decisions of the Senate. So he did not dismiss his army, but marched into Rome with them.

Since Caesar started a civil war shortly before (crossing the border river Rubicion), most of the senators and Pompey had fled Rome so that he could march in with his army without a fight.

Then he let himself be elected dictator by the remaining senators. Caesar surprised the Roman Empire with an unusual gentleness towards his enemies, he publicly offered an offer of amnesty for the supporters of Pompey. In doing so, he made a strong impression on his people and army. He even had Pompey's murderers executed when he found out about it.

Caesar's reforms and his claim to sole rule

After the end of the civil war, he had succeeded in consolidating his position as sole ruler. Nevertheless, there was growing resistance among the nobility, which was provoked by its reforms, which greatly changed the structure of the state. He succeeded in reducing the number of those who received grain at the state's expense, he also generously granted citizenship to provincials, increased the number of senators to 900 and increasing the number of magistrates increased the efficiency of the administration. Nevertheless, he stuck to the organs of the Roman Republic. Even if he "hollowed out" them, since he united several offices in himself. He was elected dictator for life by the Senate.

Thereby he tried to build up a “monarchical and a godlike position.

The assassination of Caesar

Brutus and Cassius formed a conspiracy with some senators and knights to assassinate Caesar. They wanted to restore the old republic.

On the Ides of March 44 BC They murdered Caesar in the Senate. However, he did not succeed in their wish that the old republic would rise again from the ruins, instead a ten-year civil war broke out over the successor of Caesar.

3. Gaius Octavianus


Octavian was born in 63 BC. Born in BC. His mother was Caesar's niece. This relationship secured his political career. In his will he was declared successor to Caesar or he was adopted by Caesar. He took the name of his great-uncle and skilfully tried to integrate himself into the political intrigues and party struggles. He quickly gained prestige and power. With Marcus Antonius and Lepidus, two former military commanders of Caesar, he concluded a second triumvirate (43 BC). Since his name was also changed to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, he quickly gained sympathy among the supporters of Caesar. The murderers of Caesar were persecuted and exterminated in a bloody way. In the Battle of Philippi (42 BC) the army of the Caesar killers Brutus and Cassius was defeated. The most prominent victim was Cicero, who was murdered in this proscription, with him 130 senators and 200 knights were killed.

After the triumvirate achieved its goals, it fell apart again. They divided the Roman Empire among themselves. Octavian got the west, Mark Antony the east and Lepidus had to be content with Africa, which Octavian soon took away from him (36 BC). With a clever propaganda campaign, Octavian succeeded in making Antony appear to the public as a traitor who was in Egypt at the time. Thereby he obtained authorizations that he could go into battle against Antonius.

Octavian succeeded in defeating Antony, who fought with the support of Cleopatra. In doing so, he secured the sole ruling power of Rome and thus ended the decades-long civil war.

The principate

Immediately after his victory, he began to reshape the administration and the constitution according to his ideas in order to secure the foundations for a new, monarchical system of rule, the principate.

This was made possible by the severely decimated Senate aristocracy and because he stood there in public as the one who could bring peace and order again. His system of rule was also closely linked to the old republican constitution.

He put his powers of attorney back into the hands of the Senate after consultation (27 BC). After that, he announced his retirement into his private life. The Senate, fearful of further outbreaks, gave Octavian control (over the not yet pacified and new provinces) for another 10 years. He thereby obtained the supreme command over the Lord and received the honorary title "Augustus" (the exalted). At the same time he gained excessive wealth through the rich province of Egypt.

In addition, he combined all the powers of the offices in his person and appointed himself as Princeps (first citizen) head of the Senate (26 BC).

At 23 BC He received tribunician power (right to initiate legislation and veto), and he was declared sacrosanct (inviolable).

Many honors followed, such as the honor that he was consul for life (19 BC). The nickname “pater” was, among other things, a title of Jupiter and thus moved Augustus into divine spheres.

Constitution of Augustus

Augustus reformed the administration in secret. Although he did not touch the Senate, he curtailed the right to appoint new senators (he kept this right to himself). Thus, the Senator's Stand had become a closed stand, just like the Knight's Stand, they were now locked from above and below. Nevertheless, he gave them important tasks.

When electing officials, he made recommendations, which were also accepted. He also entrusted the administration to the imperial officials (only in the most important provinces) and ensured a sufficient number of qualified and experienced officials (Italian nobility). These groups were easy for him to lead, as there was little political interest to be found in them. He combined the necessary differentiation and expansion with a centralization of his administrative apparatus that was convenient for him. This is how the first paid civil servants emerged who enabled the administration of the empire to become bureaucratic. The standing army was also converted into a professional army, which was treated as after the reforms of Marius. They were directly subordinate to the emperor (the Praetorian Guard). Especially since the payments from the provinces ran into the coffers of Augustus, so that he could intervene personally in the event of an emergency. He was also able to intervene directly with structural measures.

So one could say that the principate represented a monarchy, but Augustus hid this under the various offices and powers.

4. Comparison


The two constitutional forms are the same in terms of their effects. Caesar drew up a constitution in which he was the central figure. He declared himself dictator during the battle with Pompey. Which would coincide with the old constitution if he hadn't proclaimed himself a lifelong dictator. The fact that he combined all leadership positions no longer corresponded to the old constitution. In this way he built himself a monarchical position. Which is why he was murdered at a Senate meeting. He tried to build a godlike position. However, it failed because the Roman people or the Roman nobles were not ready to give up their recently re-established democracy. Even since the country was shattered by civil wars, it did not help him to get into the desired position. Although he created an autocracy that resembled a monarchy, he was never regarded as a demigod, as was customary in Egypt at that time to honor its emperors or pharaohs as gods.

Quite different from the constitution of Augustus. Although he had the same goals, his path to attainment was different from that of Caesar. It must also be said that the time of Caesar's day was different from that of Augustus. So there was a great deal of opposition from Caesar who could criticize Caesar's decisions. On the other hand, with Augustus, due to the proscription previously carried out by the Caesar followers, almost all the dangerous opponents had died, fled or were afraid to raise their voices from the crowd. Also since he was the legal successor of Caesar, he was recognized by the mass of the Roman population as an emperor / principate. So Augustus had all the power he needed to achieve his goals. He ensured that all offices were retained, but still had no authority. Like Caesar, he combined all offices in himself, only that the appearance of a dictatorship was preserved. This created a monarchical democracy that could always keep the appearance of not being ruled by one person. Especially since he was able to make a large number of donations with the financial means of his great-uncle, which increased his personal reputation in the people and the army. So both achieved their goals in one way or another. Except that Caesar did not get any godlike honors.

Political goals

The goals of the two leaders were very similar. Caesar as well as Augustus wanted to have a godlike position in the people and in the government. They wanted sole rule over the Roman Empire.

Goals achieved

Caesar achieved only part of his goals. Although he managed to be appointed sole ruler over Rome, he would not be honored as godlike or as a demigod. However, Augustus only managed this unofficially, as he represented a democratic republic to the outside world.

However, he was only able to achieve this through his favorable starting position.

5. Keywords list

The emperor

The emperor was de facto sole ruler. His will was subject not only to his personal staff, but also to the Senate (which, of course, most of the early emperors respected).

The Council

Augustus created a political council (consilium principis) - a permanent one

Committee of Senators with whom the Emperor discussed all matters before they were submitted to the Senate.

The Senate

The Senate retained a number of competencies. He administered certain provinces, appointed their governors (the proconsuls) from the ranks of former consuls and magistrates, and nominally ruled Italy. Under Augustus the Senate was given increased legislative power; Laws no longer needed to be ratified by the popular assembly. To this end, the Senate assumed the functions of a high court, the sessions of which were chaired by the consul, although the emperor himself could pass judgments at his own request. Tax revenues from the senatorial provinces and Italy were withheld by the Senate for the maintenance of public facilities and for the financing of ritual ceremonies.

The magistrates

The various magistrates continued to be elected to their respective offices by the popular assembly, which had not changed significantly since the republican era - only that the praetors now took over the state treasure (aerarium) from the quaestors. Former magistrates with their administrative experience represented a reservoir from which proconsuls often came.

The Treasury

Augustus had to rely on a huge army, which was the foundation of his power. Among other things, he appointed his secretaries and accountants (procoratores fisci) from among their ranks for the administration of his private assets (patrimonium) and the imperial treasury (fiscus), which received taxes from the imperial provinces and who were responsible for the maintenance of the army and navy as well as the administration of these Provinces financed and came up for the grain supply of Rome. The emperor had his own gold and silver coins minted, while the senate was responsible for minting copper coins.


To cope with the various state affairs that were under his personal control, Augustus created his own civil service. He recruited the staff from the equites (freeborns with certain property requirements). The jury was also chosen from this group (ordo) and divided into the three jury lists (decuriae). A large number of offices were open to the members of the ordo. Most began their careers in the military and moved to civil offices in the senatorial or imperial provinces. The most successful had the chance to become commander of the Praetorian Guard - a personal bodyguard that Augustus 27 BC. Set up. The civil service became an important element of the administration.

The army

The army was directly subordinate to the emperor: he paid the wages, appointed theirs

Commanders and deployed them at will in the imperial provinces. The more important provinces were administered by legati Augusti pro praetore, who belonged to the senatorial class; the less important of procuratores from the knighthood. If necessary, two additional consuls could serve as governors.

The citizenship

The people's assembly met for a while under Augustus, and theoretically every citizen had the right to vote for or against new laws. In practice, of course, meaningless, this custom was soon completely abandoned. Citizens who met certain conditions of origin or property could become senators or civil servants.

6. Indication of source

Figure not included in this excerpt