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Arrogating Despotic Power Through Deceit: The Pompeian Model For Augustan Dissimulatio

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Chapter Summary

It is fairly well-known that Imperator Caesar Divi filius, and his successor, Imperator Caesar Augustus, skilfully used dissimulatio as a political lubricant for acquiring novel or possibly offensive powers and privileges. This chapter shows that it was par excellence Pompeius Magnus who had already set the historic precedent for these hallmark features of Augustan autocracy and the so-called Principate. Caesar Octavianus repeatedly and emphatically declared to return control over the armies, the provinces, the treasury and the laws to the discretion of Senate and People. In 22 BCE, Rome and Italy suffered a series of ominous setbacks. Hardly three years later, Pompeius' next big move not only amounted to a second breach of promise, it also provides a demonstrative example of Pompeian dissimulation and mass-deception. By the early sixties BCE, piracy in the Mediterranean had become a real threat to Italy and its massive overseas imports.

Keywords: Augustan dissimulatio; Caesar Octavianus; Italy; Pompeius Magnus; Rome



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