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Critical Analysis of the Development of Roman Empire under the Leadership of Augustus

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The Greek and Roman Golden ages are responsible for some of the world’s greatest advancements. They each had major contributions to the world of Arts and Sciences, but their reaction to different challenges resulted in the Greek Age of Pericles not having the longevity as Augustus; Pax Romana.

Rome was a giant military power in the ancient world, conquering all, making them virtually unstoppable. This is due to the change from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire, under the leadership of Augustus. Augustus was the first Roman Emperor and can be seen as the founder of the Roman Empire.

Before Augustus achieved success in The Roman Empire, Rome was in complete chaos. Julius Caesar was murdered by the senate, causing widespread anarchy and civil wars. Augustus was a masterful general, politician, and manipulator. Eventually, Augustus defeated Marc Antony at the battle of Actium. “The battle was the culmination of over ten years of rivalry between Octavian and Antony following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE and the resultant alliance of Octavian, Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (l. 89-12 BCE) known as the Second Triumvirate (43-36 BCE) formed to pursue and defeat Caesar’s assassins, which they did at the Battle of Philippi (42 BCE)”(2). Soon the Senate would offer all the powers and honors on Augustus Caesar. Augustus was the Emperor in Rome, and he led Rome to a prosperous and great state. Augustus wanted to bring Rome to a prosperous state by expanding on what Julius Caesar had done. Augustus brought about a number of reforms, including social, financial, and religious reforms. This can be seen in the Roman society, as he went about restoring pride and dignity to the Roman character, he encouraged morals from the early days of Rome, he introduced legislation to protect and promote the family unit, and he discouraged divorce and encouraged marriage. For Commerce, he created the Roman coin. This allowed all segments of the Roman empire to trade easily. He also constructed roads throughout the Roman empire. These facilitated trade as well as allowed the Army to mobilize and move quickly to all reaches of the empire.

Augustus quickly became the unquestioned master of the Roman world, by befriending the Senate as well as the Populous of Rome. He was so worshipped by the people that when the Senate gave him the name Augustus it was only previously bestowed on gods. This is an example of how vital he was to the Roman way of life and that they would give him the name of a god. He was able to craft an empire that would focus as much if not more energy on the quality of the life of its subjects than on just acquiring new territories. This was one of the major reasons that Augustus ushered in the Pax Romana Athens is known as the birthplace of democracy, but it was also home to one of the greatest leaders of the Ancient world. Pericles born in 495 BC ruled Athens for 50 years. During his rule, Athens ushered in her Golden Age. During these 50 years Greek democracy, arts, sciences, and culture reached their highest levels. Athens became the richest most powerful city-state. It also became the cultural center of Greece.

Pericles was born in 495BC to one of Athens’ most prominent families. His father was a general in the Greek Navy and was responsible for defeating the Persian Navy. His Mother’s family was part of Athenian high society. His birthright facilitated his rise to power. His family’s privilege, power, and money allowed Pericles to be taught by the greatest teachers in Athens. He was taught the art of debate and to be critical of the existing laws and culture. Pericles used his persuasive speaking ability and family’s fame to enter politics in 472. Eventually, he was elected strategos in 461BC which was the most powerful position a citizen could hold in ancient Athens.

Pericles started his political career with a mission to help the lower classes. His laws leveled the playing field to allow those that were not born with money and influence to be able to see a path to serve the state. He passed laws that removed the financial qualifications for people to hold certain offices, and he allowed jurors to be paid for their work. He was looking out for the common man.

He then turned his sights to culture and the Gods. He rebuilt the temples on the Acropolis that were damaged during the Persian war. Then he decided to honor the Goddess Athena by building what is today considered to be one of the 8 wonders of the world, The Parthenon. This program also helped make Athens the cultural center of Greece, because architects, artists, and mathematicians all took part in the construction.

Pericles also had the desire of Power and did all he could to make Athens a strong military and political power. The Delian League was a confederacy of Greek City States that were allied in the fight against the Persians. Under Pericles, the League transformed into a tool for Athens to exert power. Basically, the Delian League was dominated by Athens’ desires and ambitions.

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Pericles’ desire to make Athens the most dominant city-state in Greece created several enemies and caused its downfall. In order to stay in control of most of the Greek world, Athens had to fight in an increasing number of wars. Athens involved itself in numerous political and military conflicts, both local and foreign; and it inevitably overextended itself, wasting many of its resources in an attempt to achieve too much too fast.

Pericles was elected to the position of strategos for 29 straight years(1). He had unchecked military power. This eventually led him to be more imperialistic. This in turn led to Athens’ conflict with Sparta in the Peloponnesian Wars and his eventual downfall

Rome’s Golden Age, also known as Pax Romana, was not only a long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force, but also a time where order, efficient administration, and prosperity arose. This was also a time when commerce brought great wealth to its citizens.

Pax Romana is literally translated as ‘the Roman Peace”. This period of time was between the reign of Augustus Caesar through the death of Marcus Aurelius. This 200-year period brought many changes to the Roman Empire and was a time for unity, peace, and national stability. The Pax Romana was started by Augustus Caesar, born Gaius Octavius – the grandnephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar. After the assassination of Julius Caesar by members of the Roman Senate, Octavius eventually won full rule over the Roman Empire from his rivals. His goal of having power over all of Rome was finalized when Octavius defeated his former ally, Mark Antony, and Cleopatra at Actium. His rule signified the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire. Octavius changed his name to Augustus Caesar as he took supreme control over the Roman Empire and was given the ‘authority of tribune’ which gave him the ultimate power of veto over the senate. He became Rome’s first true Emperor and ruled until his death 45 years later in A.D. 14 . Augustus used this time to restore peace, reform, and reconstruct the Roman Empire. Augustus was successfully able to unite all of the different conquered city-states of the Roman Empire under one rule by allowing each to retain their own identity – yet encouraging them to adopt the Roman rule. He did this by making everyone a citizen of Rome and therefore equal. . This was a huge driving force for the success of his reign over the empire as it inadvertently discouraged rebellion and revolt. In addition to incorporating conquered lands, Augustus created the “Denarius” the Roman coin. This uniform currency facilitated trade within the vast empire. It was another way of how the conquered lands were part of the Roman world. Augustus also saw the need to have improved transportation between the cities. His program to build roads facilitated trade between the city-states and it also was a great advantage for the Roman military to quickly respond and move within the empire to protect it from external threats

The greatest facet of the Roman Golden Age may be that Augustus’ successors, although somewhat different in many ways, preserved the way of life he had put into practice. “The Time of Happiness” as the Romans called it continued. Roads were built, aqueducts and bridges were constructed, and a stable currency was maintained without depreciation. Conditions for the Roman empire improved for those at the bottom of society (slaves and women); an orderly world community unfolded; literature and history reached its highest point; philosophy, science, art, architecture, laws, and Engineering were transformed and revolutionized, and Entertainment was also at a high with the Gladiator Games at the top of the list. What was the key to the longevity of the Pax Romana? By limiting themselves to minimal expansion, the Romans were at a point where they could stop thinking about expanding the Empire and instead start thinking of ways of improving the quality of

Following the Persian Wars, the Delian League was formed and an exceptional leader emerged. Pericles was born into a wealthy aristocratic family in 495 B.C.E. Then around 462 B.C.E., Pericles was deemed leader of the democratic faction in Athens. Around the same time, the Golden Age was dawning on 5th century Athens. With Greece shifting into its Classical Period of art and the Parthenon rising from the site of a previously destroyed temple in 447 B.C.E, Pericles shaped a sublime Greek democracy.

The Golden Age of Greece started with its great leader Pericles. This period of time included many key innovations such as flourishing art, astonishing architectural feats, and a revolutionary government. Despite the impeccable works of this time, prolonged peace and a steady government proved to be the most significant impression left from the Golden Age of Pericles. Beginning around 480 B.C.E., Athens went through many reforms; the art and sculpture slipped into the Classical Period. Sculptures like the Athena Parthenos were constructed to honor the gods, as well as symbolize prosperity and sacrifice. Although Athenian art and architecture glorified Athens during a time of boundless prosperity, the true legacy left of the Athenians is their revolutionary government. Many facets of this 5th-century idea are alive and well in our American society of 2020. In Greece Democracy was direct. This meant that Athenian citizens. held all of the power, and if you were a male over 18 you could propose, vote on, or even reform a law. It is easy to see the similarities between the Greek government of then and today’s American democracy. The Greek Assembly essentially did everything that makes up the three branches of American democracy. The Athenian Assembly tried political crimes, elected certain officials and executives, made certain pronouncements like deciding to go to war, and wrote up legislation for Athens.

Once in power, Pericles made many popular changes to Athens’ society and made the city a world power. He led Athens to its highest achievements by creating policies that expanded democracy to the poor and promoted architecture and art. However, by overextending the empire, it caused his and Athens’s eventual demise. Sparta felt more and more threatened and began to demand concessions from the Athenians. Pericles refused which led to the Peloponnesian War in 431 B.C. Pericles decided to have everyone retreat from the countryside and gather within the city walls. This strategy backfired, however, when plague broke out among the Athenian refugees in their unsanitary encampments and swept the city. As a result, a third of the population perished. Then in 429 B.C., Pericles died from the same disease and the Golden Age of Athens came to an end. Today, world leaders can learn from the lessons of Pericles. Democratic freedoms are important to help a country’s society succeed, but trying to gain too much power at the expense of others can lead to failure.

The Greek and Roman Golden ages delivered amazing advancements in the worlds of art, and major breakthroughs in the fields of Science, Mathematics, and Philosophy. The democracy that emerged from Greece is still visible in the US and other modern democracies. The architecture that came out of Rome is still used in many of today’s modern cities. Although the Greek and Roman Empires both experienced eras of prosperity, the Greek empire did not have the longevity of the Pax Romana. Did the Greek era end too quickly, or did The Romans do some extraordinary things to make it last so long? Greece was involved in many conflicts with city-states within their region as well as having sectional differences when it came to a central power. On the other hand, the Roman Empire prospered. They had an overpowering military and more importantly, they incorporated their conquered lands into the Roman empire. They became citizens so this sense of belonging helped lower disagreements. There was uncertainty in Greece between Athens and Sparta; they both wanted to be the central power. Sparta had the upper hand being a militaristic island and Athens was not; they were more into the arts and learning. Rome didn’t have to face any hardships like this because of their empire being united. They also are so big that they don’t have any major enemies.

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