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The Alternative Augustan Age$
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Josiah Osgood, Kit Morrell, and Kathryn Welch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190901400

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190901400.001.0001

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Augustus as Magpie

Augustus as Magpie

Chapter:
(p.12) 2 Augustus as Magpie
Source:
The Alternative Augustan Age
Author(s):

Kit Morrell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190901400.003.0002

This chapter examines some instances where Augustan initiatives seem to have adapted or continued republican reforms and experiments. A well-known example is Augustus’ “revival” of the lex Pompeia de provinciis of 52, which required a five-year interval between civic magistracy and provincial command. This measure tends to be interpreted as a means of securing Augustus’ power while maintaining a veil of republicanism; this chapter argues that it shared the purpose as well as the mechanism of its Pompeian predecessor, namely to combat corruption in Rome and the provinces. Other examples, including changes to judiciary procedure, anti-bribery measures, and arrangements for the oversight of the treasury, suggest that Augustus took inspiration not only from Pompeius Magnus but even from the younger Cato. Recognizing these connections between republican and Augustan initiatives sheds light both on the continuities between Republic and principate, and on the aims and achievements of republican reformers.

Keywords:   Augustus, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Marcus Porcius Cato, reform, provincial command, ambitus, Roman republic

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