The most biggest lie about roman emperors

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,192
It very much means something. Roman culture has a peculiarity that is not immediately obvious, and television rather tends to ignore the details in terms of describing the empire in terms of themes we recognise readily today, mostly I suspect because tv producers aren't Roman experts and talking heads prefer the career opportunity to confusing the general public. Olleus has tried to argue that Augustus was an autocrat. I have always maintained that anyway. The differences are what we see autocratic power as. This is particularly pertinent to the Principate, an era in which a monarchy evolves rather than arrives at day one. I'm sorry my 'poker' analogy didn't work for you. But the concept is valid nonetheless. Roman autocratic power was orignally based on republican foundation, not the installation of a new regime.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,589
T'Republic of Yorkshire
It very much means something. Roman culture has a peculiarity that is not immediately obvious, and television rather tends to ignore the details in terms of describing the empire in terms of themes we recognise readily today, mostly I suspect because tv producers aren't Roman experts and talking heads prefer the career opportunity to confusing the general public. Olleus has tried to argue that Augustus was an autocrat. I have always maintained that anyway. The differences are what we see autocratic power as. This is particularly pertinent to the Principate, an era in which a monarchy evolves rather than arrives at day one. I'm sorry my 'poker' analogy didn't work for you. But the concept is valid nonetheless. Roman autocratic power was orignally based on republican foundation, not the installation of a new regime.
It still means nothing. What does "held all the aces", "not the Joker" actually mean? Was he playing cards or something?

I require you to be more explicit, for the benefit of the readers of this thread. They are not required to divine your meaning. It is incumbent upon you to state your argument clearly, and concisely. And lest there be any misunderstanding, a post in red means I am posting as a moderator, not as a participant in the discussion, so you can take this as a moderator request.

I also request that you remove the link in your signature. You may include it in your profile and direct people there.
 
Mar 2018
667
UK
The justification for autocracy evolved over time, no doubt about that. But the power itself was pretty much set from 30BC. It might have been dressed in different clothes as time went on, but it was autocracy from Augustus until the end. You really need to separate the exercising of power, from the justification for/presentation of that power. They are two different things. The former defines how the government is actually run, while the latter is just propaganda.

For the purpose of this discussion, I am interested in only the former for now. So with that, can you say if you disagree with either of my enumerated points in my previous post?
 
Jan 2015
3,511
Australia
Cal in the 3+ years you've been making this line of argumentation, you most definitely put the following points:
1) That Augustus and the emperors were not autocrats (there was a thread literally titled "Was Augustus an autocrat" and you made it clear what side you were on in it), and
2) That the Senate was as powerful, if not more powerful, under Augustus and the Emperors.

You've moved since then to a position where you've basically conceded an extralegal action like a coup was the only way to remove the emperor, and that Augustus is an autocrat. You've mostly adopted our position, minus some weird quibbles about how to define a dictator that seem to exist solely so you can avoid mentioning Augustus in the same sentence as Stalin or Hitler (two guys you've yet again refused to reply to my basic questions about; were they dictators or not?). He was a better guy than them for sure, but he was (like them) also a dictator and autocrat.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,192
It still means nothing. What does "held all the aces", "not the Joker" actually mean? Was he playing cards or something?

I require you to be more explicit, for the benefit of the readers of this thread. They are not required to divine your meaning. It is incumbent upon you to state your argument clearly, and concisely. And lest there be any misunderstanding, a post in red means I am posting as a moderator, not as a participant in the discussion, so you can take this as a moderator request.

I also request that you remove the link in your signature. You may include it in your profile and direct people there.
I'm well aware of the significance of red text. I refer you to post 187. But for convenience...

Augustus was not dictatorial. He was however very powerful as a politician and his various attributes - virtus, auctoritas, potestas, offices, titles, etc combined to a hand of cards far better than anyone else. Roman politics was in some ways like a game of poker. You had to gamble to get ahead. You had to put money in the pot to maintain your career, such as funding games, civic improvement, the military, or even public largesse. But ultimately you had to build a hand with higher value cards. Augustus proved fortunate that his hand grew unbeatable in the high stakes game.
Post 187 (Caldrail)

The Joker is a playing card found in most modern French-suited card decks, as an addition to the standard four suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades). The Joker originated in the United States during the Civil War and was created as a trump card for the game of Euchre. It has since been adopted into many other card games, where it often acts as a wild card, but may have other functions such as the top trump, a skip card (forcing another player to miss a turn), the lowest-ranking card or the highest-value card. By contrast, a wild card is any card that may be used to represent another card or cards; it need not be a joker. The Joker is unique within the French pack in that it lacks an industry-wide standard appearance.
The Joker (Wikipedia)

The 'hand of cards' refers to the cursus of an individual in Roman politics. I thought the concept was simple. So then, using the cursus of Augustus as a measure of his power, one can quite easily see how overpowering he was. The important point underlying this however is not obvious because it relies on understanding something of patrician mindset. Augustus occupies a position in society that accumulated a higher status. The son of a god, the victorious general, control of the empire's military, the father of his country, the protector of public morality, and the offices hekld during his career. He could have been dictatorial. He didn't have to be.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2015
3,511
Australia
He could have been dictatorial. He didn't have to be.
That amounts to you admitting he was a dictator though. The fact a dictator "doesn't want to act like a dictator", or in this case "doesn't want to be seen to act like a dictator", has nothing whatever to do with the actual powers he possesses, whether he's choosing to exercise them much or not. I might not take advantage of being 7 feet tall very often, I might not even like being 7 feet tall, but I'd still be 7 feet tall regardless. You are confusing reality with illusion or a mindset. Whether someone wants to be a dictator, or likes brazenly throwing their powers around, has nothing at all to do with the powers they actually possess. I said that twice because it's been said a dozen times in this thread, and you continue to ignore it. If a dragon doesn't like burning people alive, it doesn't mean it can't. Whether it likes it or not, it is still a dragon in the physical reality that exists, in the same way that Augustus was still a dictator.
 
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Mar 2018
667
UK
That amounts to you admitting he was a dictator though. The fact a dictator "doesn't want to act like a dictator", or in this case "doesn't want to be seen to act like a dictator", has nothing whatever to do with the actual powers he possesses, whether he's choosing to exercise them much or not. I might not take advantage of being 7 feet tall very often, I might not even like being 7 feet tall, but I'd still be 7 feet tall regardless. You are confusing reality with illusion or a mindset. Whether someone wants to be a dictator, or likes brazenly throwing their powers around, has nothing at all to do with the powers they actually possess. I said that twice because it's been said a dozen times in this thread, and you continue to ignore it. If a dragon doesn't like burning people alive, it doesn't mean it can't. Whether it likes it or not, it is still a dragon in the physical reality that exists, in the same way that Augustus was still a dictator.
At this point it's clear that Caldrail agrees with us on all points of substance (although he has twice ignored my request for him to actually state this by answering two simple questions). He however refuses to use the word "dictatorial" in the same way as everybody else, I'm guessing because of a positive emotional attachment to Augustus and a negative one to dictatorial. At this point it's purely semantics and not history.
 
Mar 2018
667
UK
So then, using the cursus of Augustus as a measure of his power, one can quite easily see how overpowering he was. The important point underlying this however is not obvious because it relies on understanding something of patrician mindset. Augustus occupies a position in society that accumulated a higher status. The son of a god, the victorious general, control of the empire's military, the father of his country, the protector of public morality, and the offices hekld during his career.
You've been repeating this over and over again. Why? Nobody disagrees with you there. There were many causes to Augustus' power. We all agree. There's no need to keep rephrasing and resaying it. You can drop this strawman and save your fingers some typing.