Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent 2016

Caesar Augusts


            I, Octavian, entered Rome at age 18 to avenge Julius Caesar's murder (44 bc) and execute his will which named me, Octavian, his heir.  A civil war erupted with Antony and others.  Eventually, I was named tribune for life by the Senate and began to rule the West.  Antony took charge of Egypt, Greece, and the East.  Soon he married Cleopatra, and they planned to seize power from Rome and set up Alexandria as the capital.  The Senate declared war on Egypt, and I was victorious over Antony and Cleopatra in 30 bc.  When I returned to Italy, the grateful Senate yielded its major powers to one who would plan, take responsibility, and lead.  I offered my solution and they accepted my leadership.  So I made a list to get started.


        Things to do:

· Bring the treasury of Egypt to Rome.

· Make property rights sacred once again.

· Pay the soldiers with substantial gifts of money and an allotment of agricultural land if discharged.

· Undertake great public works to end unemployment and beautify Rome.

· Take a census of the people and revise membership of the Senate.

· Set up nine cohorts of a thousand soldiers each to assure order of the desired kind near and within Rome; this Praetorian Guard would protect the commander-in-chief.

· Confer Roman citizenship on selected individuals in Italian communities.

· Seek to unite and strengthen the Empire within rather than extend it without.

· Celebrate the beginning of the Pax Romana.

· Name governors over each province and set salaries to discourage corruption.

· Make taxation bearable; respect local religions, languages, and customs; allow freedom of speech except for attacks against the sovereign power; retain local laws as far as they do not conflict with Roman profit and mastery.

· Instruct Agrippa to construct the Pantheon, a temple to Venus and Mars.

· Reform tax laws; have the provinces pay property taxes based on head or poll tax after taking census; collect water and salt taxes and fines imposed by the courts.

· Pass a series of Julian laws (moral reform) aimed at restoring morals, marriage, fidelity, parentage, and a simpler life.  Try to make people good as well as happy.

· Eat lightly of only the plainest food - coarse bread, cheese, fish, and fruit.  Honor physicians by tax exemption.

· Carry a sealskin around to protect against lightning; obey warnings derived from dreams.

· Accept name change to Caesar Augustus.  Name Tiberius as heir.


(Death came to Caesar Augustus quietly at age 76 (ad 14).  The principate he had established would give the Roman Empire the longest period of prosperity ever known to humankind.  The Pax Romana, 200 years of peace and prosperity, would in the perspective of time be accounted the supreme achievement in the history of statesmanship.  This was the world as known to the people of Judea when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea; King Herod was tetrarch of Galilee.)


-- Marty Foxx



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