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Role of Augustus and Augustan Army for Roman Empire: Analytical Essay

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Question: examine the significant contributions of the Augustan army to the achievement of pax Romana and the subsequent development in Roman north Africa.

Augustus was a Roman Statesman and a military leader who became the first Emperor of the Roman Empire. Augustus reigned from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD. His status as a founder of the Pax Roman has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history. Augustus was the first Emperor of ancient Rome. Augustus came to power after the assassination of Julius Caesar in the 44BCE. In 27 BCE Augustus restored the republic of Rome. Augustus created a standing army made up of up to 28 legions. Each of these armies consisted of roughly 6000 men. There was also a similar number of auxiliary troops.

Augustine’s army actually helped to achieve the Pax Romana which caused the subsequent development in the Roman army. The Pax Romana (Roman peace) was a period of relative peace and stability across the Roman Empire which lasted for over 200 years. This began during the reign of Augustus (27BCE-14CE). This Pax Romana was established by Augustus Caesar which is why he is sometimes referred to as Pax Augustus. The Pax Romana ended when the barbarians, Vandals, Huns, and Goths sacked the Empire in the 4th century. This made the people go back into fighting and wars. Augustus chalked a lot of successes that are worthy of note. Below are some of his major achievements.

First and Foremost, Augustan’s army was credited for the two centuries of Pax Romana, that Rome enjoyed. There had been ensuing warfare in the Roman Republic domain for centuries. Augustus’s victory at Actium in 31 BC brought the lengthy civil wars to an end and transformed the decaying republic into a stable monarchic regime. It initiated a period of relative peacefulness and minimal expansion in the Roman Empire which lasted for over two centuries from 27 BC to 180 AD and is known as Pax Romana (Roman Peace). The Pax Romana is said to have been a “miracle” as before it there had never been such a long period of peace in the history of the region. Augustus is credited for ensuring durable peace in the Roman Empire through his administrative genius and reforms which brought stability and prosperity.

Secondly, Augustus established a very effective financial system in the Roman Empire;

The financial reforms of Augustus played a critical role on the subsequent success of the Roman Empire. Arbitrary taxation had often led to resentment among taxpayers increasing the chances of revolts. Augustus imposed consistent and more direct taxation on the provinces in the empire. Augustus created two kinds of taxes; a poll tax which was called “tribute capitis”. This type of tax was paid by all adults in most provinces but sometimes by males only. The second tax which is the land tax and (tribitum soil) were also kinds of indirect taxes like a 4% tax on the price of slaves. Augustus Caesar’s financial system was far more effective than any implemented in the empire before. It greatly increased Rome’s net revenue and established stability among Rome and its Provinces.

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Furthermore, Augustus maintained the order and peace of Rome by commissioning an executive and Fire Fighting Forces. Augustus started a new fire-fighting force in Rome called Vigiles Urbana (“Watchmen of the City”). Apart from combating the common problem of fires, it also acted as a night watch and maintained order in the streets. Vigiles was complimented by Rome’s first institutionalized police force known as Cohortes Urbana (urban cohorts). It was divided into three cohorts with each containing around 500 men. While the Vigiles performed the day-to-day role of policing the streets and protecting against fires, the urban cohorts acted as a heavy-duty police force, capable of riot control duties.

Again, Augustus created a permanent office to effectively administer Rome; to ensure regulation of public lands as well as proficient census and tax collection, Augustus divided Italy into eleven regions. To efficiently administer Rome, it was divided into 14 administrative regions. Augustus converted the occasional appointment of the prefect of the city (of Rome into a permanent office. The Perfect held the responsibilities of supervising all guilds and corporations, ensuring the provision of grains from overseas, maintaining the city’s sewers and water supply system, keeping the Tiber River clean, and maintaining the monuments of the city. To enable the Prefect to exercise his authority, the Cohortes, Urbana, and Vigilei were placed under his command.

In Addition to that, Augustus introduced a religious reform to revive the beliefs of his people toward their traditional gods; According to Augustus, lengthy civil wars had led to the moral deterioration of Rome; temples across the empire had fallen into decay and its people had lost faith in the gods. He believed that there was an urgent need to reawaken the importance of religion among his subjects. Augustus Caesar oversaw the renewal and repair of numerous temples across his empire and initiated projects to build many more. He worked towards renewing the trust of people in the traditional gods to revive the spirit of Rome. Augustan era also saw the return of many of the old, popular festivals.

In conclusion, the Pax Romana did not mean Rome was at peace vis-a-vis the peoples at its borders. Peace in Rome meant a strong professional army stationed mostly away from the heart of the Empire, and instead, at the roughly 6000 miles of frontiers of the imperial frontier. There weren’t enough soldiers to spread evenly, so the legions were stationed at the locations thought most likely to cause trouble. Without a shadow of a doubt, Augustan’s army did not only achieve the Pax Romana but also helped with the development of Roman North Africa.


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