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The monograph The Republican Monarchy : the Metamorphoses of Ideology and Policy of Emperor Augustus consists of an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion. At the beginning Augustus time is characterized as an important landmark in European history and the meaning of the Latin term Res publica is specified. It is pointed out in the survey of historical sources that the assessment of Augustus principate as a camouflaged monarchy can be found only in works written many years after his death.

Chapter I contains an analysis of the Western and Soviet historical works on the issue in its bearing on the events of the 20th century. Chapters II and III show how the Roman patriotic idea of restoration was shaping itself during the final decades of the Republic, while the period of the Civil Wars revealed the vitality of views based on the Roman myth and everyday values of the civic community. Octavians political talent displayed itself in his ability to feel the potential of those ideas and to use them opportunely. This was far from difficult, since his consciousness was part of the public mentality. The return of the republic in January 27 B. C. was not brought about by any crafty scheming, but came a natural result of events and processes developing in the Roman society and the Roman spirit. Chapter IV treats of measures in the spheres of religion and matrimonial legislation. The restoration character of this actions is emphasized. Chapter V shows the continual modification of the legal and political basis of the principate with due regard for the evolution of the public mood. Chapter VI contains an analysis of changes in the political outlook of Octavian/Augustus and his contemporaries. It draws on fragments of Octavians early works, Res gestae, architectural monuments and works of the poets of the Augustan age. Special attention is paid to the search of the sources of ideological opposition. Those who witnessed the settlement in January of 27 B. C. did not doubt that they lived in the restored (if somewhat improved) republic of their ancestors. Later on, in spite of manifestations of resentment and plots directed against Augustus, his contemporaries were not aware that they had crossed the boundary of a new epoch. Only some indirect data point to the latent gestation of the rebellious idea of the death of the republic in the second half of the Augustan principate. However, the idea came to be regarded as a criminal one only under Tiberius (the case of Cremutius Cordus in A. D. 25).

It is stressed in the conclusion that the transformation of rei publicae into a monarchy turned out to be a continuous process, based not on isolated legal and/or political acts, but on the complex metamorphoses in the public mentality. The significance of the upheaval was realized only by the oncoming generations, when republicanism was transformed into an ideology of opposition to the tyrannical encroachments of the princepses, on the one hand, and into a negligible decor on the strengthening monarchy, on the other. Yet the contemporaries were unable to discern the splendid butterfly of monarchy in the chrysalis of rei publicae restitutae.

The author, Jakob Mezheritsky, is the lecturer and head of the chair of foreign history of the Kaluga state pedagogical institute.

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