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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

The assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) on 15 March 44 BC propelled the Roman Republic into the final throes of internecine warfare as the Roman Senate struggled to fill the vacuum left by Caesar. The period between 44-30 BC remained one of constant turmoil and warfare. The situation became so dire that at one point the Roman Republic resembled an assortment of independent states under the control of military dictators. In the end, neither legislation by the Roman Senate nor effective governance restored order. Rather, the application of overwhelming military force by Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus “Augustus” (63 BC-14 AD) brought peace to Rome. Although events thrust Augustus into the center of Roman affairs unexpectedly rather than by design, he quickly developed into a superior political leader and competent military commander to rescue Rome from the fires of civil war. The visionary leadership of Augustus enabled Rome to end a lengthy period of civil war and completed the transformation from a republic into a principate (as derived from the root word princeps meaning “leading man” from Christopher Mackay’s definition). The emergence of Octavian as Augustus began the era of Pax Romana (Roman Peace) and brought stability to the citizens of Rome.

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