chapter  3
9 Pages

THE NEW PRINCEPS

The previous chapter has made frequent – and unquestioning – references to Augustus’ ‘dynastic’ or ‘succession’ policy; in the later years of the first century ad, with the benefit of hindsight, Augustus’ policy was recognised for what it really was – the establishment of a hereditary monarchy, built around the Julian and Claudian families. As we have seen, it was Augustus’ earliest hope that the former – his own family – would predominate. Augustus knew, however, that it would have been self-defeating to have proclaimed such an intention openly. He had come to power as a faction leader; despite appearances, carefully orchestrated by himself, that he was making war on Marc Antony in pursuance of a ‘national crusade’, he was in fact at the battle of Actium inflicting a defeat on the one man who could have realistically challenged him as a faction leader.