The Roman Empire

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The Roman Empire

In 27 BC, Augustus became the first emperor of Rome, thus creating a strong leader figure, which could shape and mold the Republic system into what was best for the empire or themselves. During the reign of the emperors, the political policies for Rome would vary according to, which emperor was in power. Not only were politics shaky, but also there never was a clear-cut method of succession for the man who controlled those politics. Rome had created the position of emperor in hopes that men like Augustus would continue to lead her into prosperity, however the office of emperor struggled in attempting to find great men to lead Rome. The office never truly evolved into something greater than when it had been created, but rather the office varied according to the personality of the man in the position.

Augustus created the office of emperor with the Augustan Principate, which was “to have no institutionalized authoritarian power, no perpetual dictatorship such as Julius Caesar had had himself voted early in 44, or anything like it (Stockton, 124).” Despite his wishes the people of Rome ended up giving Augustus eternal office, and powers to control the Senate with the rights to dictate agendas and veto (Stockton, 128). The people of Rome had created a position of absolute power, the exact thing Augustus was attempting to prevent. At the time the people of Rome could not have realized what they were creating in the office of emperor, for Augustus was a great man whose leadership created a great shadow over the shoulder of any future emperor.

Augustus would be followed by the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which reigned over the beginnings of Imperial Rome. The succession of Augustus demonstrated the diffi...

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...ed in times of good fortunes, and expansion. While during times of instability the artistic ingenuity would stagnate. Finally at the end of the empire, the art quality would decrease as the empire was deteriorating. This deterioration in art quality would continue for decades until the Renaissance would bring back an art quality on the level of that of ancient Rome under the Antonines. The type of art being created could be used as a very good indicator of what the political scene in Rome looked like at the time.

Works Cited

1. Stockton, David. “The founding of the Empire.” Oxford Illustrated History. Oxford U. Press, 1988. pp. 121-149

2. Purcell, Nicholas. “The Arts of Government.” Oxford Illustrated History. Oxford U. Press, 1988. pp. 150-181

3. Wilson, R.J.A. “Roman Art and Architecture.” Oxford Illustrated History. Oxford U. Press, 1988. pp. 361-399

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