By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
During the Second Triumvirate, by presenting himself as a successful politician wanting to help Rome, rather than its future emperor, Octavian was able to slyly ready Rome for his takeover.
Although the senate had grown into a corrupt pawn, Octavian cleansed the senate and restored its exclusiveness. He also began preparing secretively to restore the republic. He manipulated Rome into giving him total control of most territories by offering the senate total control and resigning.
This caused such a frenzy that they pleaded with him to return and offered him special command for 10 years. In addition, he was renamed Augustus now that he was emperor in the year 27 BCE.
Augustus initially seized control of the consul, but then reinstated it so that wealthy citizens could eagerly become politicians and maintain their dignity.
However, to compensate for loss of the consul he was given imperium procunsalare maius; Augustus was given power over the entire empire and was able to retain control of Rome. So far, Augustus had accomplished so much via simple manipulation. He had established himself as an excellent candidate, then when he declared retirement he was given greater control in order to tempt him; after this, he relinquished the control to wealthy aristocrats and in exchange took an even higher position.
In addition, he attained tribunal power. August was now able to control both domestic and foreign affairs of the state: he stood upon Rome's twin pillars. Next, Augustus attained censorial powers and then became chief priest. At this point, Augustus had so much power that he was declared the Father of His Country. Augustus' supreme autoritas allowed him to have done anything he wanted.
The citizens of Rome, given tremendous liberty at the dawn of the Republic, had eventually became broken by civil war and disorder. They gladly exchanged their freedom for a strict government which gave them tremendous security and peace.
As Augustus slowly, legally and constitutionally transformed the republic into a monarchy, he made sure that it functioned with the consent and delegation of the masses. Governmental decisions were not arbitrary, but rather were made to further and stabilize Rome. In addition, his generosity toward the military ensured their allegiance to him rather than to their generals.