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Published by jack elliot

 

THE AUGUSTAN REFORMATION

 

Augustus became the ruler of Rome and its empire at the end of a long and bitter civil war.  A competent general (he was the only one standing at the end of the war), he transformed himself into a brilliant statesman and created political institutions that would rule Rome for centuries.

His political and economic reforms were very successful and earned him the gratitude of the Roman people;  however, as Will Durant in The Story of Civilization said, "He destroyed his own happiness by trying to make people good as well as happy; it was an imposition that Rome never forgave..."

The extension of citizenship as a means of gaining support for political reforms; the increasing tendency to emancipate slaves whose children automatically acquired Roman citizenship; the low marriage and birth rates among native Romans---all of these things were causing a major shift in the racial balance.  Augustus was convinced that Rome's success depended on the self discipline, morality , and dedication that could be found only in the native born, aristocratic Roman:  this class had declined considerably in number, scorned marriage, and allowed its women far too much freedom.

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