Historum - History Forums

Historum - History Forums (http://historum.com/)
-   Ancient History (http://historum.com/ancient-history/)
-   -   Was Augustus the greatest Roman Empeor? (http://historum.com/ancient-history/40335-augustus-greatest-roman-empeor.html)

jeroenrottgering April 6th, 2012 12:51 PM

Was Augustus the greatest Roman Empeor?
 
Do you support this claim and why? If not, why again?
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...e-Augustus.jpg

pixi666 April 6th, 2012 01:03 PM

Augustus had the huge advantage of living a very very very long time. That counts for a lot. The emperors usually listed in Top 5 Roman Emperor lists ruled for a long time: Augustus, Hadrian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Diocletian, Constantine. The greats who only lasted a few years are often passed over, like Aurelian and Majorian.

In my time as a member here, I've learned from all the discussions about 'Who was the greatest x' or " What was the best x' that the word 'greatest' doesn't really mean anything useful. Augustus was great, and let's leave it at that.

Labienus April 6th, 2012 01:04 PM

We've had several threads on this over the last few months.

Nevertheless, here's my take. Augustus was indeed the greatest Roman emperor as he had the most difficult job of all, which was establishing the principate. He had to establish an autocracy but at the same time, he needed to camouflage his own power behind a republican facade, and this is precisely why all the titles he bestowed upon himself were republican ones. He needed to avoid the mistake that Caesar did, of not trying to hide the fact that he was essentially a military dictator and he managed that brilliantly. His diplomatic and organizational genius was also second to none.

Other emperors did not have to take care of such a problem as Augustus had after Actium. Of course, there are some aspects of the Roman Empire that Augustus did not take care of.
Firstly, he did not clarify the question of succession. Obviously, that really wasn't easy for him as he was still trying to keep the republican mask over his government but that is one thing that remained a major problem for the principate until its demise.
Secondly, he never managed the problem of the army. As we know, the army was too powerful and with the Year of the Four Emperors, the army's massive role in determining who was in power was underlined. Any man could now become emperor if he had enough support from the army and this problem became endemic, especially with the Crisis of the Third Century.

Of course, it was extremely difficult for Augustus two solve these two problems because he couldn't really establish a divine right monarchy like those of medieval and early modern Europe, which in theory helps the stability of the state. Nevertheless, these are the two main issues of the empire that he did not address or did not do enough to remedy.

Still, Augustus was the best princeps in my opinion as he laid out the whole institution of the principate and dealt very effectively with problems that emperors did not face. The only emperor that comes close to him in my view is Hadrian, but even him did not attempt to solve the two problems that I have stated above.

koala April 6th, 2012 01:21 PM

Augustus, the first of all Roman emperors, delayed the greatest country's fall for about 500 years. So long period qualifies him for the "greatest". He succeeded in changing the Republic system into the Principate only during his 41yr reign. Even Diocletian and Constanine are not so good as him in that view.

Space Shark April 6th, 2012 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pixi666 (Post 994610)
Augustus had the huge advantage of living a very very very long time. That counts for a lot. The emperors usually listed in Top 5 Roman Emperor lists ruled for a long time: Augustus, Hadrian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Diocletian, Constantine. The greats who only lasted a few years are often passed over, like Aurelian and Majorian.

In my time as a member here, I've learned from all the discussions about 'Who was the greatest x' or " What was the best x' that the word 'greatest' doesn't really mean anything useful. Augustus was great, and let's leave it at that.

I second this opinion. IMO, there was no single great Roman emperor. Each of those five or six you mentioned has some good traits in addition to his longivety. But there are whom I call the "Camelots",like Aurelian, that are , like you said, over looked. So Augustus was a great emperor, but it's disputable weither he was the greatest.

TheBlessedTraitor April 6th, 2012 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Space Shark (Post 994684)
I second this opinion. IMO, there was no single great Roman emperor. Each of those five or six you mentioned has some good traits in addition to his longivety. But there are whom I call the "Camelots",like Aurelian, that are , like you said, over looked. So Augustus was a great emperor, but it's disputable weither he was the greatest.

It would seem to me that you can make both the argument that Augustus was great because he was in power so long, or you could also state that his greatness allowed him to stay in power so long.

Then determining the greatest emperor just comes down to how you define "greatest"

I always find threads like this wildly subjective, as in the case above. So, what are the criteria for what makes one "great"?

Space Shark April 6th, 2012 03:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheBlessedTraitor (Post 994736)
It would seem to me that you can make both the argument that Augustus was great because he was in power so long, or you could also state that his greatness allowed him to stay in power so long.

Then determining the greatest emperor just comes down to how you define "greatest"

I always find threads like this wildly subjective, as in the case above. So, what are the criteria for what makes one "great"?

Some of these might make an emperor great:
-Military victories
-popularity
-expansion of the Empire
-financial skills (some of them had it)

harbinger April 6th, 2012 07:34 PM

Absolutely he was the greatest,but he shouldn't have made the senate totally powerless or done away with thew yearly levy system.

Salah April 6th, 2012 07:48 PM

Pixi's opinion is good enough for me.

Perix April 6th, 2012 10:29 PM

Except the period till Mark Anthony episode, Octavian didn't encounter a serious opposition and threats till his death. The military campaigns were lead by Agrippa. A huge advantage to have a devouting general, like agrippa). And he lived almos half a century after Marcus death.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:29 PM.


Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.