How Augustus Maintained and altered the feature of Roman life

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Augustus Caesar emerged as one of the undisputed rulers of Rome but battled for the welfare of the Roman people. He led the Augustan revolution, which was provoked by internal turmoil, including economic stagnation, slave revolts, and dissension of the military. However, Augustus instituted distinct reforms for the Roman people, such as the creation of a civil service based on the judgment and participation of the Roman people, the introduction of cash compensation for the military, and an equitable tax system to facilitate the state’s growth. Therefore, Augustus maintained the values, ideas, and ideals of the Roman people and the military but altered the Roman constitution, re-introduced the land protection function of the constitution, and involved the participation of the Roman people in his government.

How Augustus Maintained the Feature of the Roman Life

Augustus valued the ideas, ideals, and values of society, which inspired his reign. These values were expressed in the government, social policy, art, literature, and religion (Galinsky, 1996). Therefore, he revitalized the mores of the republic, which was a program of moral legislation, and further elaborated them to ensure uniform expression. The government reinforced the traditional and Roman virtues attributed to Romulus, Numa, and Pompey (Chapter III, n.d). However, it differed from that of previous leaders because it was a combination of traditional and individual innovation. Therefore, the Augustan government was reinforced by classicism and involved the development and shift of relationships with the involvement of Roman values and ideas.

Further, Augustus revitalized the values of virtus, a competitive value from the Roman tradition, to ensure the effective service of the leaders to the state. This virtue encouraged manly valor on the battlefield and resulted from the value of moral effort encouraged among statesmen of the previous republics (Chapter III, n.d). Augustus maintained this value because it prompted the winning of personal preeminence and glory through the commissions of great deeds in the service of the Roman state. Therefore, this virtue was included as one of the values in the shield to act as a reaffirmation of the concept of moral effort in its fullness. This virtue led to the acquisition of many territories to the Roman domain that anyone before him, including Pannonia, Moesia, Raetia, and Noricum, had acquired (Chapter III, n.d). These territories were conquered through a moral corollary underlying the military virtus.

How Augustus Altered the Features of Roman Life

Augustus played a pivotal role in the improvement of Roman life. First, he consolidated the imperium Romanum into a unified entity than a collection of different provinces through the transformation of the constitution of the Roman republic into the constitution of the Roman Empire (Galinsky, 1996). The constitution mandated both proconsuls and imperial lieutenants the responsibility to operate the provinces. Further, the constitution was not only composed of legal aspects but also a system of values (Galinsky, 1996). These values were traditional concepts and principles that did not change with the evolution of political reality. Therefore, the failure of the republic was linked to a lack of adherence to the traditional value system, which placed the common good of the people ahead of private-public interests.

Second, Augustus restored the basic function of the constitution, which was the protection of private property. The Augustan government was committed to this principle and effective actions to ensure the restoration and protection of private property, which were the root causes for its acceptance and lasting support (Galinsky, 1996). For instance, the confiscation of land for returning officers was common, but Augustus compensated the expropriated landowners with his own funds at the time. Later, he changed the compensation system for soldiers from land to cash sum and introduced the military treasury, which he funded until it was secured by the tax. Therefore, Augustus’ reformation of the land protection function safeguarded the welfare of the citizens and that of the Augustan state.

Third, Augustus strove to have many people participate in the life of the state. He called for their participation and judgment, which accrued to a unique and moral leadership. As a result, the constitutional settlements during Augustus’ reign were not concrete but involved the modification of various aspects of government and administration. Through an appeal to the old, Augustus justified the new through the inclusion of people in his government (Galinsky, 1996). The inclusion resulted in the creation of the golden shield enacted by the Roman senate and the people to honor Augustus with the four values inscribed in it, virtus, clementia, iustitia, and pietas (Chapter III, n.d). The shield represented reciprocity between the princeps, senators, and the Roman people. Therefore, the Augustan government involved the participation of the people, which led to its success.  


The Augustan revolution represented successful and innovative solutions, which the senatorial aristocracy was previously unable to solve. Augustus maintained the values, ideals, and ideas of the Roman people. The values were practiced in the government, social policy, art, literature, and religion. Further, Augustus reinforced the value of virtus among the leaders to ensure great service to the state. This value was also applied in the military, which led to the acquisition of many territories. However, Augustus changed the constitution and unified all provinces. Further, he restored the basic function of the constitution of land protection and compensated soldiers whose land had been confiscated. Ultimately, Augustus’ leadership improved the welfare of the Roman citizens and the state.


Chapter III. (n.d). Ideas, Ideals, and values. 

Galinsky, K. (1996). Augustan Culture: An interpretive Introduction. Princeton University Press, 1-9.