What was the Augustan Settlement? And the Important Events in Julius Caesar’s Life

What was the Augustan settlement? How did Augustus/Octavian balance his perceived need for absolute power, with leaving the impression that the Roman republic was still intact, and that the old customs and ways were being observed? Also what were the important events in Julius Caesar’s life?

The Augustan Settlement

The Augustan settlement was where Octavian returned back to Rome and made a “show” in giving back his political “power” back to the Senate; the Senate on the other hand gave him back those powers, so there was a back and forth. The way he balanced his need for absolute power with leaving the impression that the Roman republic was intact, was by accepting administration of Spain, Gaul, and Syria. If he had not done that a civil war would have broken out again. He also began making some reforms, in order to restore Roman tradition to the way it was. In 23 BC he made further changes and even resigned from consulship, and granted an imperium that could override any provincial governor.

Some of these social reforms that Octavian put in my place included: making a law that every man under the age of sixty and every woman under the age of fifty had to be married(people who did not follow this law were not allowed to attend certain festivals or public games); he also made a law against adultery making it a public crime, which was very harsh. For example if a wife committed adultery she could be banished or even put to death! A wife could not prosecute her husband if he committed adultery though. Also if a husband does not prosecute his wife who had committed adultery, the wife’s father could indict her. Octavian had to do this to his own daughter.

The Important Events in Julius Caesar’s Life

Julius Caesar was born in around 100 BC, to a political family. He was a key figure in the development of the Roman Empire. Caesar was well liked and rose in power pretty quickly. In 60 BC he was elected as a Consul; and was associated with Pompey(106-48 BC) and Crassus (115-53), two very important Roman men at the time. Caesar also was in charge of Germany and Helvetti. When Crassus died, Caesar and Pompey began fighting, which began a one year civil war in Rome. Caesar wins against Pompey’s forces and becomes dictator of Rome in 48 BC. By 44 BC he was pronounced dictator for life. 

During Caesar’s rather short reign as dictator he made a reform to the calendar at the time, and had plans for some major building projects. But things for him were cut short. In 44 BC, the same year that he was pronounced dictator for life he went to the Senate where he was assassinated by two of his political rivals(many of the key Senators at the time were fearful and resentful to Caesar). He is remembered today for his impressive political, military tactics, and his leadership in Rome. 


Octavian balanced his relatively obvious want for absolute power by making it seem that he didn’t need his power by giving back his power to the Senate, which in turn was given back to him, which made it seem that the republic was intact. He also tried to bring back old Roman tradition and morality by encouraging marriage(making it law), and making adultery into a public crime. In short Caesar was highly influential to the course of Roman history, and I would say that he was the individual that influenced Rome’s turn from a republic to an empire.

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