Tokarev A. N. Formation of the Official Ideology of the Emperor Augustus’ Principate.
ñ.265 The origins of the official ideology of Emperor Caesar Augustus’ principate are within the scope of ideological opposition between different political forces in the age of Late Roman republic.
Political struggle of that time has its distinctive features. In the I century B. C. there were no political parties in Rome. In the time of peace the struggle was carried on between aristocratic coteries (small, unstable in time factions that were formed around a politician-leader which included friends, relatives and political supporters constituting its consilium) and single politicians-aristocrats. Larger unions called partes, that involved both their supporters and those who «expressed sympathy» with them, appeared on their basis in the periods of home discords. Distinctive features of these unions were personification and dualism. It should be noted, that neither of these political groups had their own «political ideology», though two distinctly tracing and opposing to each other tendencies are observed in late republican ideology. It was due to the existence of two «ideologically-political» tendencies, that were called optimates (or boni) and populares, which were responsible ideologically for the development competition between the competing sides. Most of them, united in coteries and supported by the senate, shared the optimates views, the other part, «political outsiders», acting through peoples’ meeting used populares interpretation.
A significant peculiarity of late republican ideology was the use of similar common Roman traditional values by both optimates and populares supporters in political propaganda. It gave the possibility to overwhelming majority of researchers to treat the late republican ideology as a whole. As a result such modern terms as «republicanism» and «traditionalism» denoting this phenomenon appeared, these being equated by many researchers. But scrupulous analysis carried on the main optimates and populares slogans such as res publica, libertas and pax showed cardinal distinctions in their interpretation.
The senate supporters linked such values as libera res publica, libertas, pax, that were fundamental for each citizen of Rome with the existence of their power, and the loss of the latter — with their disappearance. In their turn, populares put the idea of the Roman people sovereignty and its supremacy in ñ.266 the state into the same slogans. Hence, late republican ideology can’t be treated as a whole, and such modern terms as «republicanism» and «traditionalism» can’t be synonyms. It’s evident, that «traditionalism» was the basis both for the ideology of optimates, and for that of populares. Therefore it’s necessary to differentiate between «traditional» and «republican» tendencies because their displacement may result in misunderstanding intentions and final aims which some Roman political figures put before themselves. Accordingly, two more hypothetical bases for early Principate official ideology: «traditionalism» and populares ideology together with «republicanism» appear before us.
The «republicanism» influence upon Octavian ideological policy, especially at the beginning of his political career, is extremely overestimated in historiography. It may be clearly seen in the period before the battle at Philippi. The analysis of the sources shows, that Brutus and Cassius supporters though they shared ideological views of optimates, consciously borrowed successful ideological slogans or actions of «Caesarians»; all this was caused by the weakness of ideological positions among plebs and veterans. At the same time the main Octavian tasks at the beginning of his political career were legalisation of his activity and creation of the image of «new Caesar» among veterans and plebs. As a result, no of his actions can be connected with «republicanism». On the contrary, he dwelt on «traditional» imagination and used «Caesarian» slogans. His activity in 44—
By the middle of the 30th B. C. he hadn’t enjoyed popularity among the Roman aristocracy. The basis of his ideology was «revenge for Caesar». But at the same time he put the new slogans: pax, securitas, prosperitas, which marked the transit to the propaganda of peace, stability and prosperity of the whole Roman community. By the way these slogans also didn’t belong to the «Pompenians» political lexicon too. By the end of the 30th B. C. the propaganda of traditional Roman values had come forward. The new Octavian image as a successful general and a defender of these values, to which M. Antony corrupted by the Orient was opposing, was formed.
The victory in the battle at Actium made Octavian the sole ruler of a tremendous state though there were no legal grounds for his being in power. It made Augustus do many efforts in the sphere of propaganda in order to justify his actions. One of the principally important decisions was carrying out restitutio rei publicae in 28—
At the same time, the prevailing tendencies in the official ideology in 20th B. C. were «monarchy» ones. This it pointed by the new name of the monarch — Augustus. Admitting a specific term as a name that belongs to the sphere of cult, religion, and the name that characterises things and notions closely linked with gods was a frank challenge to the «republican» traditions. To the great extent the idea of the emperor personal power was expressed in the Greek congener of this name. The «monarchy» tendencies were also strongly expressed in the propaganda of Augustus virtues. Presenting Octavian with the gold shield for his «courage», «justice», «charity» and «piety» opposed him sharply to the whole Roman society and declared him as a bearer of the moral superiority.
Thus, both at the beginning of his political career, and in 30—