42. Caesar Augustus Rules. Brutus and the other conspirators expected that the people would applaud what they had done. But the Romans did not do so. When Caesar was buried, his friend Mark Antony made a powerful speech, telling what a great man Caesar was and how much he had done for the people. As they listened to his words the mob became so angry that they threatened the lives of Brutus and his supporters, and drove them from the city.

Mark Antony and the young nephew of Caesar then took the lead. They followed the conspirators with an army, defeated and slew them in a battle in Greece, and thus became rulers of the Roman world. It was agreed that Antony should rule all the eastern part and Caesar's nephew, the western. They could not live long in peace, however, but soon fought each other, just as Caesar and Pompey had done before them. Mark Antony lost his life, and then young Caesar was supreme.

Caesar Augustus, as he was called, was a tall, fine looking man who seemed born to be a ruler. He proved both wise and clever. Instead of taking all the state of a king, Augustus allowed the Romans to have their assemblies and play at electing consuls just as in the old days, but he himself took the title of emperor and really had all the power. From this time on Rome always had an emperor at its head. The Roman Republic became the Roman Empire. (31 B.C.)

The Roman Empire started well. Augustus was firm but wise. Though he had risen by violence he did not like war, and kept the empire peaceful. He thought it best to beautify and improve Rome by new squares and buildings, and to encourage great writers and artists. So at the end of his rejgn he justly boasted that "he found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble."

Well indeed would it have been if all the emperors or "Caesars" who came after had followed his example. But some loved bloodshed; others cared only td eat and drink and live in luxury. So people often looked back to the "Age of Augustus" as the happiest and greatest time Rome ever had.

43. What the Roman Empire Was. All the civilized world had been conquered by Rome and for four hundred years was ruled by Roman emperors. From the distant Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Asia to the surging waves of the Atlantic Ocean in the west; from the dark forests of Germany on the north to the sands of the Sahara in Africa were seen Roman officials in their white "togas," or robes of state, and stern-faced Roman soldiers with sword and shield. Each country was now but a Roman province, ruled by a governor sent from Rome. The cultured Greek, the tattooed Briton, the dark-skinned Moor, and the savage Gaul must all alike bow to the will of Caesar, and even worship his image.

Yet it was a good thing for them to be conquered by Rome. They could now no longer fight and plunder each other, but must live in peace and apply themselvea to industry. Everywhere throughout the empire might be seen splendid cities, with fine buildings, beautiful public squares, and noble theaters. Huge stone aqueducts often brought to such towns a supply of clear water from a distance of many miles. Between the cities lay smiling fields and green vineyards, cultivated in peaceful security, while through the country stretched those wonderful white roads for which the Romans were famous. All of these led finally to Rome itself, the capital of the world.

As time went on, the people of many provinces of the empire became like the Romans. They learned to speak the Latin language; they dressed in Roman costume; they sent their children to Roman schools. Thus, after a while, if a person had traveled in Spain, in Gaul, or even in northern Africa he would have seen little that was different from Italy itself.

Not everything in the empire was good by any means. Thousands of poor slaves still groaned at hard labor that a few wealthy Romans might enjoy every luxury in their villas. Harsh Roman governors sometimes played the tyrant over the people in distant provinces, and plundered them of their goods. Heavy taxes had to be paid that some Caesar might have his great court, and the mob at Rome be fed and amused.

Yet, all things considered, the world as a whole was, a much better place to live in during the days when the Romgn Empire was strong than it had ever been before. At least, there was peace and security.


The Leading Facts. 1. The Roman people could no longer manage their affairs in the old ways. 2. The greatest leaders of that time were Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar. 3. Caesar was the ablest, and won the favor of the people. 4. Sent to govern Gaul, Caesar conquered all that country and visited Britain. 5. Pompey and other wealthy Romans feared Caesar, and tried to punish him. 6. Caesar declared war upon them, crushed Pompey, and made himself master of Rome. 7. Before he could improve matters he was stabbed by Brutus and other men who had plotted against him. 8. After further struggles, Caesar's nephew, called Caesar Augustus, became master. 9. He was a wise and peaceful ruler. 10. From this time on Rome was always ruled by an emperor. 11. The world now had peace, and in many ways was better off than ever before.

Study Questions.1. Why did Rome need leaders wiser than the Gracchi? 2. Who were the chief men of this period and what did each have which made him a leader? 3. What was the purpose of the first "triumvirate"? 4. What difficulties did Caesar meet in Gaul? 5. Why was he so successful? 6. Tell the story of Caesar's expedition to Britain. 7. Why did Pompey now fear Caesar? 8. What people in Rome favored Caesar? p. Why did Caesar invade Italy so quickly? 10. Why did many good men take the side of Pompey? 11. What was the result of Caesar's victories over Pompey and his supporters? 12. Why did Brutus wish to slay Caesar, when he was planning to improve matters? 13. Tell the story of Caesar's death as if you had been a spectator in the Senate House. 14. What were the results of Caesar's death? 15. How did Augustus become ruler of Rome? 16. Prove that Augustus was a wise ruler. 17. How was the government of Rome changed after his time? 18. What were some of the things you would have seen had you traveled through the Roman Empire? 19. How were many of the people who lived in the empire changed? 20. What were some of the bad things in the empire?

Suggested Readings. Tappan, The Story of the Roman People, 123-181; Kaufman, Our Young Folks' PLutarch, 406- 418; Gould, The Children's Plutarch, 10 7-134; Harding, The City of the Seven Hills, 184-211; Yonge, Young Folks' History of Rome, 2 29-284; Clarke, The Story of Caesar; Haaren and Poland, Famous Men of Rome; Guerber, The Story of the Romans.

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© 2000 by Lynn Waterman