Originally Posted by musicfan
What if, after defeating Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian somehow dies on the way back to Rome.
Would Lepidus have become emperor? Would the Senate try to restore the republic?
Let's assume Agrippa and Maecenas survived.
I'm no expert on Roman history, but it seems to me that the situation in Rome was such that a vast centralization of power, such as in an Emperor, was almost inevitable. As a society conquers land, fights wars with increasing frequency, funds a huge professional army to deal with those wars, and acquires vast wealth, it's a recipe for the centralization and hardening of state power.
The Republic might have been restored for a time, but the Roman civilization was going in a direction that would eventually almost require an all powerful leader.