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Deception, Lies, And Economy With The Truth: Augustus And The Establishment Of The Principate

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author examines the part played by duplicity and hypocrisy at various key points in Augustus' career. It considers how the theme is reflected in some of the chief ancient accounts of Augustus. The hostile view retorts with a lengthy indictment both of Octavian's rise to power, when, besides earlier frauds, Sextus Pompeius, Lepidus and Antony are all said to have been undone by his deceits, and of his sole rule, "a peace without doubt, but a bloody one". The triumviral office was instituted for a limited term, five years, and a justificatory claim was spelt out in its title: the holders were IIIviri rei publicae constituendae, a three-man board "to settle the republic". Augustus' external policies have usually been interpreted as a grand design - according to some, to give the empire defensible frontiers, according to others, to conquer the world.

Keywords: Antony; Augustus' career; Lepidus; Octavian; triumviral office



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