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I Caesar:
First of the Emperors
1 hour
Monday 1 September at 9.30am EST/ NZ
It is appropriate to have a program on Augustus in September 2014 to celebrate the
2000th anniversary of his death in August 14 CE. This program is a well-balanced
overview and appraisal of the rise and rule of Augustus.
There is comment throughout from well-known and recognisable experts. Ancient
sources are cited and quoted as well. Augustus’s legacy is also discussed.
This would be an ideal starting point for a study of Augustus or the Principate. The
divisions in the program could serve as starting points for study in depth of the first
“Emperor” and his regime.
Denis Mootz
This is the data collection stage of the activity.
The detailed questioning is designed to ensure that students decode the visual and aural materials
presented to them in the video.
The video programs can be stopped at the end of each section. This will allow students to share and
discuss answers.
Note the terms in which Augustus is described.
What were his achievements?
Act 1.
The Will of Caesar
How was Augustus’s related to Julius Caesar? Result?
Why was Rome in chaos in March 44 BCE?
Note the details of the assassins.
What were their plans for Rome? Result?
Note the role of Marcus Antonius in the aftermath of Caesar’s death. Implications?
What were the provisions of Caesar’s will?
Note the background of Caius Octavius.
Where was Octavius at the time of Caesar’s murder? Result?
Note Prof. Hopkins’s comments on the “risk” Octavius took by going to Rome. Implications?
Who had taken control of Rome? Result?
Note Prof. Wallace-Hadrill’s comments on Antonius’s ambitions. Result?
What plan was “hatched” by Antonius’s opponents? Result?
Note Cicero’s comments on the young Octavius. Implications? Result?
Act 2.
Why did Octavius change his name? Implications?
What did Octavian now tell the Senate of Rome? Implications? Result?
Note the campaign by Cicero against Antonius.
How did Antonius react?
Note Prof. Wallace-Hadrill’s comments on Roman politics. Implications? Result?
How did the Senate force Antonius’s hand? Result?
How did Octavian exploit his victory over Antonius? Implications? Result?
Why did Octavian now “turn” to Antonius? Result?
Note the fate of their enemies.
Note the comments of Dr David Shotter about Octavian’s “ruthlessness”. Implications?
Why did Octavian and Antonius go to Greece? Result?
What happened to their partner M. Aemilius Lepidus? Result?
Note the division of the Empire. Implications?
Act 3.
How did Augustus consolidate his position at Rome? Result?
How did Octavian consolidate his relationship with Antonius? Result?
Note the role of Kleopatra. Result? Implications?
How did Octavian now exploit Antonius’s ‘marriage’?
Why did Antonius promote the claims of Caesarion? Result?
Note how Octavian portrayed Antonius in his attacks in Rome. Result?
Note the claims made by Octavian against the foreign queen. Result?
How did Octavian portray himself?
Note Octavian’s preparations for the war.
Note details of the battle of Actium. Result?
Note how Virgil describes Octavian and Antonius. Implications?
Note the fate of Antonius, Kleopatra and Caesarion.
What was the status of Egypt after Kleopatra’s death? Result?
How was Octavian received on his return to Rome?
Why was he careful about how he ruled Rome? Result?
How did Octavian portray himself in comparison to Antonius? Result?
How was the wealth of Egypt used? Result?
Note the comments of Tacitus on “servitude”. Implications?
Why were the people of Rome likely to accept ‘peace’ above all else? Result?
Note Prof. Averil Cameron’s comments on “balance”. Implications?
Note Octavian’s offer to the Senate in 27 BCE. Implications? Result?
Note Prof. Wallace-Hadrill’s comments on Octavian’s “power base”. Result?
Note the definition of “Princeps”. Implications? Result?
How did he tighten his grip on the military and the provinces? Result?
How did he secure the support of the volatile populace of Rome? Result?
How did he secure the support of potential enemies? Result?
What does “Augustus” mean? Implications? Result?
What was the “Pax Romana”? Implications?
Act 4.
Pax Romana
What did Augustus demand of his subjects?
What did Augustus guarantee his subjects in return?
What indicates that the Pax Romana had a beneficial impact? Result?
What image did Augustus project?
Note Prof. Averil Cameron’s use of the term “ostentatiously simple” life style. Implications?
Note Prof. Hopkins’s comments on Augustus’s work habits?
How did Augustus establish the iconography of his regime? Result?
What was the reality of his physical appearance?
What special honours was he accorded? Why?
What was the role of Horace and Virgil? Result?
What “moral crusade” did Augustus launch in 18 BCE? Why? Result?
What hypocrisy lies behind Augustus’s “morals”? Implications?
Act 5.
Note Augustus’s provisions for a successor. Result?
Why is a named succession dangerous? Result?
What alternative solution to this problem did Augustus adopt?
What role did Julia play in Augustus’s plans? Result?
Note the husbands that Augustus arranged for Julia.
Who did Augustus adopt as his sons?
In what sense did Julia “rebel”? Implications? Result?
Why is Livia suspected of scheming against Julia? Implications? Result?
What other personal tragedies did Augustus endure? Result?
In what sense was the Empire expanding during Augustus’s rule?
Note the events in Germany in 9 CE. Result?
Note the advice given by Augustus to Tiberius. Implications?
Why was Tiberius adopted as Augustus’s son and successor? Result?
Note Augustus’s comments on “immortality”.
Note details of Augustus’s death.
Note the honours that followed his death.
Note Prof. Wallace-Hadrill’s comments on Augustus’s contribution to the Empire.
Note Prof. Averil Cameron’s comments on Augustus’s achievements.
Note Prof Hopkins’s comments on Augustus’s achievements.
Useful, interesting, challenging, books, sources and websites will provide materials to supplement and
complement the History presented in the video program.
The data collected here should be used in the notemaking below.
Some useful Internet sites:
Roman Republic:
Roman Senate:
C. Julius Caesar:
Caesar’s murders:
Marcus Antonius:
M. Tullius Cicero:
Battle of Actium:
C. Julius Caesar Octavianus…b. 63 BCE, Octavius; post 44 BCE, ‘Octavian’; post 27 BCE, Augustus:*.html
The settlement of 27 BCE:
The Augustan Principate:
Pax Romana:
Imperial succession:
Livia and Julia:
This is the collation stage of the activity. Students need to organise the field of information and begin to
explore its context.
Directions and /or Inquiry questions are provided for notemaking / summary exercises that
will follow the viewing of the video.
The materials / data for the summaries have been collected above.
The activity could be done in teams, groups, or by individuals, or as a class with teacher direction.
1. Draw up a timeline / chronological chart of the events described and discussed in this program.
2. Note details of the constitution of the Roman Republic.
3. Note details of the role of the Roman Senate.
4. Note details of the career and murder of Julius Caesar.
5. Note details of the career of Marcus Antonius.
6. Note details of the career of C. Julius Caesar Octavianus (Augustus).
7. Note details of the Augustan Principate.
8. Note details of the Pax Romana.
9. Note details of the efforts of Augustus to ensure a succession on his death.
10. Note details of the legacy of Augustus.
Key issues and inquiry questions that have been raised by the video are addressed at this stage for
discussion and research.
1. Why had there been a century or more of civil unrest in Rome and the empire?
2. By what means did Octavian claim his inheritance from Caesar?
Questions of reliability and validity of the perspectives, evidence and sources presented in the video
program need to be considered, tested and researched.
1. Why was it important that Octavian promoted a war against Kleopatra not Antonius?
2. What evidence is there that Livia was plotting against Julia the Elder and her family?
The key issues and inquiry questions are potential topics for debate, essay writing, reports, historical
recount and explanation.
1. Write a REPORT on Livia Drusilla and Julia the Elder.
2. Prepare notes (both sides) for a DEBATE of the proposition that
Augustus bribed the Romans with ‘bread and circuses’ and took away the freedom.
3. How did Augustus solve the constitutional and dynastic challenges of the Principate?