The Legacy Of The Eternal City Essay

The Legacy Of The Eternal City Essay

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Sickly and relatively trifling in childhood, Caius Octavius, rose to be one of the limited gravitationally overwhelming giants of history. The first Emperor of Rome, more commonly known as Augustus (after his name change in 28 B.C.), has survived the trials of time for a surfeit of reasons. Augustus’s dominant charisma along with his natural inclination for the assembling of the masses in both ideology and monumental architecture, which then fueled the inclusion of the common man made a lasting impact in all things Roman. Revolutions in Roman mentality and perhaps more importantly in the physical plan of “The Eternal City” itself are but two of the reasons his name is still common place today, over two thousand years after his infamous reign. Much of his looming legacy comes to us today from a document known as the “Res Gestae Divi Augustus” or “The Deeds of the Divine Augustus” where his accomplishments are literally listed one by one on two bronze pillars in Rome. The thirty-five paragraphs that make up the document cover all his earthly endeavors from his political career, to his extensive list of donations, to his public works projects and gladiatorial spectacles, and even to his widespread military history. There was no detail too trivial to be left out. In the wake of his rule is left a Rome that will never be the same, even a quick look at “The Deeds” could show this. Indeed a discussion of some of the more important contributions he made will help us better understand this overarching theme of change.
Foremost, it is important to note that this record is written in the first person to be read as if listening to Augustus himself. The record should be taken at face value. Augustus was often not the generous ruler as he por...


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... Africa, Spain, Greece, Asia, Syria, etc. During his rule Augustus attempts to further create Roman unity through entertainment, “Three times I gave shows of gladiators under my name.” What better way to bring a city together than blood sport. Let’s not forget the arts, he built the theater at the Temple of Apollo . Augustus’s precedent started a chapter, superficial it may be, of 200 years of Roman Peace or Pax Romana.
We could easily assume that all of these things benefited some population of Romans, but at what coast, what harm to other people, we may never know the full story. The fact remains though, Roman life was deeply altered. The Ageless Emperor was many things, of them all shrewd may be the most prominent and this attitude was enough to catalyze a new age. He summed it up best when he is noted saying, “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.”

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