Augustus and the Evolution of Roman Politics: A Strategic Analysis of Governance and Leadership | MyPaperHub

Politics and government in relation to the reign of Augustus (Gaius Octavius) as a Roman Emperor

Augustus rose as the first emperor of the Roman Empire at a time when the empire was in great turmoil. It was a time when there was no order because of civil war, corruption and infiltration by enemies. The empire had lost a lot of its strength in the Mediterranean region and the rest of Europe. Augustus was born as Gaius Octavius in 63 BC. He was the nephew of Julius Caesar and grew favor with him because of the time they spent together. The favor went to the extent of Caesar including him in his will as he adopted him. The death of Caesar was not met very well by August, and he found ways to avenge him. He returned to Rome to fight Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and instead of an all-out pursuit of the power held by the two he decided to develop an alliance referred to as the triumvirate. This was an alliance that saw the division of Rome between the three and was beneficial because it led to peace rather than civil war. The alliance was, however, not strong enough because of conflict between the three rulers. Antony broke the alliance by having a romantic relationship with Cleopatra and leaving Octavia, Octavian’s sister who he was supposed to marry. Marcus, on the other hand, was ousted out of the alliance. The conflict between Octavian and Antony grew and led to the battle of Actium which saw the defeat of Antony and his Lover Cleopatra. The two fled to Egypt and committed suicide. This left the Rome in the hands of Octavian who became the rightful ruler at a time when the empire was in chaos. His reign was however strong and saw great political changes. Octavian developed an autocratic approach to his rule and leadership but in a sustainable manner that saw peace and prosperity of the Roman Empire (James, Margaret, Myrna, and Theodore, 1981).

The political changes brought about by Octavian, and his rule in Rome led to the improvements in social and economic aspects of Rome as an empire. After conquering Antony and Cleopatra and becoming the sole ruler of the Roman Empire, Octavian decided to develop an autocratic rule that still had support from the people as well as the ruling class. Autocracy granted him control over the nation and limited resistance and problems in the decision-making process of his rule and leadership in the country. It ensured that political equality does not exist and all rules were based on the imperial commands that came from him. He ensured that he and the rest of the emperors that would come after him had absolute power. However, he disguised this power so that he does not lose favor with the people. The nation became more of a Monarch and its political aspects became more centralized (PAPAIOANNOU, 2008).

Octavian’s autocratic rule was more of creativity than greed and abuse of power. He developed this political system to develop more cohesion in governance and reduce divisions and conflicts. He wished to restore political order that had been lost from civil wars and anarchy from the previous rule. He was close to his uncle Caesar and wanted to avenge his death and return Rome to its glory. He developed great loyalty with the military by offering soldiers benefits of land in Italy after becoming veterans. He made the military professional, and many young people volunteered. He took care of the people by fixing the roads and restored monuments that had been brought down. He developed more access to water for the people by building them water mains. He led to a more effective distribution of food and wealth and took great care of the poor. He gained the favor of his soldiers, the ruling class, and the people. He ended corruption and improved the taxing system (James, Margaret, Myrna, and Theodore, 1981).

Politics and governance are aspects that can lead to the prosperity of a nation. The leadership and rule of Augustus show how politics can be used to develop and unite a nation. His leadership can be used to show how western societies can emulate his style. Most western societies lead by the use of democracy where power is given back to the people. It is a leadership that maintains political equality and gives the people power over governance. In the case of Augustus, he established an autocratic rule that that made him and the rest of the emperors after him as God like. This gave him more control over the nation. However, this form of leadership was not influenced by greed but by the need to give back to the society. He ensured that the people influenced their governance. He unified the people and brought the nation out of tough times. The case, therefore, shows how politics and governance can be used to influence the success of a nation (Austin, 2014).



Austin, Michael. "Augustus & the birth of the West." New Criterion 33, no. 4 (December 2014): 43-46.

James R Jacob, Margaret C. Jacob, Myrna Chase, and Theodore H. Von Laue. Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, and Society. 1981.

PAPAIOANNOU, SOPHIA. 2008. "The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic/The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus/A Companion to the Roman Empire." Ordia Prima 7, 207-223. 

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