Presentation on theme: "Fall of the Republic 2 nd Triumvirate – Principate of Augustus."— Presentation transcript:
Fall of the Republic 2 nd Triumvirate – Principate of Augustus
Assassination and Aftermath Caesar was assassinated by a senatorial conspiracy on March 15 of 44 BC. He was dictator at the time. Mark Antony promised to cooperate with the conspiracy, but gives an inflammatory address at Caesar’s funeral. Riots begin and the conspirators are forced to flee Rome. No one is able to assume political dominance in Rome, although Antony tries.
Octavian Gaius Octavius was Caesar’s great- nephew, an 18-year-old in Apollonia in Macedonia. His companions tried to convince him to stay safely in Macedonia, but he returned to Italy to see if he could gain some power in the crisis there. On returning to Italy, he discovered he had been adopted by Caesar in his will. He changed his name to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, and began working to regain some of Caesar’s power, which set him at odds with Antony.
Antony, Cicero, and the Senate Antony was working to take over Caesar’s veteran troops and establish dominance over the Senate as the new Caesar. Cicero led a political party which opposed him. In a series of 14 famous speeches known as the Philippics, he attacked Antony as a private nuisance and a public enemy. When Octavian appeared as a rival to Antony, Cicero allied with him, seeing his popularity with the troops as a counter to his enemy. There were tensions, however, especially around a remark by Cicero that Octavian was ‘laudandus, ornandus, tollendus.’
The Second Triumvirate Octavian accompanied an army led by the Roman consuls to drive Antony out of Cisalpine Gaul, where he had established a base. At Mutina, the senatorial army was victorious, but both consuls were killed. Octavian requested that he be elected consul, but Cicero and the Senate refused. Octavian realized that he might have more advantages teaming up with Antony. He, Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who had troops in Spain, formed the Second Triumvirate, which was ratified by the Senate as the governing body. Enemies of the triumvirate, including Cicero, were put to death.
Battle of Philippi Some of the conspirators, especially Brutus and Cassius, had gone to the East for safety. They gathered troops, preparing for the inevitable move by politicians like Antony and Octavian, who claimed to be loyal to Caesar’s memory, to punish them for his murder. Octavian and Antony led an army with a core of Caesar’s veterans to meet them near the town of Philippi in Macedonia. The battle was fought in two stages. In the first, Antony defeated Cassius, who committed suicide, but Brutus’s army overran Octavian’s. Brutus then committed suicide as well, and his army fell apart.
Aftermath of the Battle Because Antony had won the battle, he took the popular job of going east to fight a war against the Parthians. Octavian was left to go back to Rome to settle the continuing political and economic troubles, and find land for the soldiers. However, Antony’s war did not go well, and Octavian did an excellent job of consolidating power in Rome. He defeated Sextus Pompeius, who had become a pirate, and eventually dealt with Lepidus, who felt he was losing power and opposed him. Octavian sent Lepidus into retirement, seizing his power and offices for himself. Octavian and Antony drew apart. Antony’s wife was killed in a revolt. Octavian arranged for Antony to marry his sister Octavia, but he sent her back to Rome and began a famous affair with Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt.
Agrippa and Maecenas One of Octavian’s advantages was his ability to maintain friendships with other very capable people who did not mind him taking the credit for their work. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was a talented military commander who usually handled Octavian’s troops for him. Gaius Cilnius Maecenas, a descendant of Etruscan kings, was a talented diplomat and a patron of artists.
Battles of Actium and Alexandria Octavian was able to spin Antony’s Egyptian attachments as treasonous, and gathered an army of Romans to go east to meet him. Actium (31 BC) was a siege that became a sea battle. Antony and Cleopatra had an enormous but undermanned fleet, and lost the initiative to Octavian’s lighter, better-handling ships. Antony’s navy attempted to break out through Octavian’s fleet, but at a critical point in the battle, Cleopatra ran, and Antony followed, leaving much of his fleet and most of his army in Octavian’s hands. They returned to Alexandria, where each committed suicide to avoid being captured.
Augustus and the Principate The Senate realized that Octavian was both an opportunity and a threat. In 27 BC, he officially handed control back to the Senate, but was voted many powers and the new title ‘Augustus.’ Augustus is careful to always present himself as reforming the Republican constitution, but the Senate takes no action without his approval and that of his army.