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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

IX. THE EARLY EMPIRE: THE WORLD UNDER ROMAN RULE, 31 B.C.-l80 A.D.

Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


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Page 2

THE NEW GOVERNMENT

Augustus had almost unlimited power. His position was that of a king, as supreme as Julius Caesar had ever been. Better, however, than Julius Caesar, Augustus realized that an undisguised autocracy would only alienate public opinion and invite fresh plots and rebellions, Augustus intended to be the real master, but he would also be careful to conceal his authority under republican forms. The emperor was neither king, dictator, nor triumvir. He called himself a republican magistrate-- Princeps [2]--the "First Citizen" of the state.

[2] Hence our word "prince".

POWERS ENJOYED BY AUGUSTUS

Augustus gave up the externals, only to keep the essentials, of royalty. He held the proconsular authority, which extended over the frontier provinces and their legions. He held the tribunician authority, which made his person sacred. As perpetual tribune he could preside over the popular assemblies, manage the Senate and change its membership at pleasure, and veto the acts of almost any magistrate. In the provinces and at home in the capital city the emperor was supreme.

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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

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IN PRINT

Rediscovering the Path to Europe Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

Learned Freeware

 

Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

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