What were Augustus Caesar's successes and failures?
As a young man, Augustus Caesar displayed much pluck when he accompanied his great-uncle Julius on his campaign to Spain. In fact, Julius Caesar was so impressed with Augustus, who was known at the time as Octavius, that he adopted him.
In his autobiographical Res Geste, Augustus Caesar accounts his own great deeds:
- He defeated the conspirators who assassinated Caesar
- Whenever he waged war, Augustus spared all those citizens who sought pardons.
- Twenty-one times he was named emperor.
Fifty-five times the people celebrated Augustus Caesar's successes.
- He refused a dictatorship.
- He gave money and grain on several occasions to plebeians.
- Several times he donated large sums to the senatorial senate
- He rebuilt the Capital and the theatre of Pompei.
- He built the temple of Mars and the forum of Augustus from war spoils. (He restored many other buildings)
- He restored peace to Gaul and to Spain; further, he expanded Rome's borders such as adding Egypt to the Roman empire.
- He rid Rome of many unfit senators.
- During his reign Rome was at peace
In short, Augustus Caesar restored peace and order to Rome, while rebuilding the infrastructure; he was one of the most successful statesmen of his country and loved by the Romans. He became renowned as a reformer rather than as a renovator. He was also an innovator, bringing water to nearly every Roman home.
Despite all of his accomplishments, Augustus Caesar lacked dynamism. Cary and Scullard wrote,
One of his greatest successes is that Augustus Caesar ended the long stretch of civil unrest in Rome that even Augustus' enemies congratulated him for doing. One of his failures was in not providing a bureaucratic system that could stand on its own even when a leader heading it was incompetent.