The Month of Augustus

By N. Mark Castro

Only two human beings have had over two millennia worth of staying power, deeply embedded in every waking mind on earth, regardless of race, color and creed, older than the spiritual Jesus the Christ and Mohammed and, ironically, both are pagans: Julius Ceasar and Gaius Octavius Thurinus, otherwise known as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus … for whom this month has been named in his honor.

Among Roman rulers, only Julius and Augustus permanently had months named after them — though this wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of later emperors. For a time, May was changed to Claudius and the infamous Nero instituted Neronius for April. But these changes were ephemeral as opposed to the global impact that both Julius and Augustus have created.

If you can read and write your name, I’m sure you’d know that Augustus was responsible for defeating the tragic tandem of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but more than that, he was also responsible for bring peace and prosperity to Ancient Rome.

Augustus was a very clever politician, having learned from the downfall of his grand-uncle, he held several different offices at the same time. But even though he held these offices, he did not want to become emperor because he knew that most of the Romans would not accept a one-man rule unless it was a republic.

Augustus managed to separate government officials from the republic, which ensured the senators to feel honored, and talked about the need to bring back the “old Roman virtues.”

While he was doing this, Augustus strengthened his authority by having every soldier give allegiance to him. This gave him more control over the armies. He also built up his household to take over the daily business in the government. Augustus chose people based on their talent instead of birthright. This gave slaves a chance in the government.

After defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra, Augustus did not pursue to acquire new territories. Instead, he worked on governing the empire that he already had. He gave the provincial governors longer terms in office so they could get experience in their job. He also gave them big salaries so they would not overtax the people. Also, to make sure that the taxes weren’t to much or too little, Augustus had a census taken every once in a while.

He wrote strict laws that governed how people acted in public. He also made a fire brigade and police force to protect the city, and promoted learning by making the first library in Rome.

During the 41 years Augustus ruled, he brought peace to Rome. This peace was called the Pax Romana and lasted for over 200 years. He also let people in the provinces get citizenship and, lastly, gave Romans a new sense of pride and patriotism.

Despite the turbulent administration that he inherited, he managed to convert his problems and succeed in ways that continue to impact our lives, including the name of this month. More than that, his skillful flexibility in politics allowed him to take Rome to the next level, ensuring his tenure longer than most modern-day dictators combined.

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on August 1, 2012, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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