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Camillus and Augustus Essay

In 406, Rome started military attacks against Veii, a remarkable Etruscan city. During these times, the Roman Senate appointed Marcus Furius Camillus as a military commander to control the Roman Army. Due to his talent as a warrior, Camillus managed to defeat Falerii and Capena, two allies of the Etruscan city.

In the book, Livy notes, “…Marcus Camillus …found an increase of glory in the country of Faliscians… he compelled them to come forth from the city” (Livy pg 487). As a result, Camillus was a fearless warrior whose courage and furious temper imposed fear on rivals, which left the Roman Senate nothing, but proposing him the title of the Roman founder. Being a talented strategic leader, the defeat of Gauls was among his utmost achievements.

In Res Gestae Divi Augusti, (The Achievement of the Divine Augustus), the Roman Emperor Augustus talks about his remarkable achievements and journeys contributing to the welfare of the Romans. In particular, the book reveals stories about his donations of money and land to the Roman plebs during his consulship: “I paid out 400 sesterces as largesse to each man from my own patrimony…I bought grain with own money and distributed twelve rations apiece” (Augustus pg 25).

The emperor also remembers his multiple donations to his soldiers, including lands and monetary rewards. Apart from his patronage, the Emperor depicts himself as a wise ruler. His wisdom and great experience in military field are revealed through exceptional talent in establishing multiple alliances with other states during the period of his reign.

In particular, Augustus writes, “The Gallic and Spanish provinces, Africa, Sicily and Sardinia swore the same oath of allegiance” (Augustus pg 31). Over seven hundred senators promised to serve under the Emperor’s law. Further, the Roman Emperor describes his expansion policy and peaceful co-existence of the conquered provinces. Further, Augustus claims about his success in expanding the territories without waging military actions on the peaceful population.

Camillus’s achievements are mostly confined to his military attacks and conquering of numerous lands. He is known as a cruel and fearless soldier who misused his power and deterred the civil population of Rome. Unlike Marcus, Augustus’s deeds and achievements were less connected with his military policy, but with his social and economic reforms. This is of particular concern to his donations to the Roman plebs and soldiers.

Marcus Camillus, an acknowledged military leader and Roman soldier, is also known as the second founder of Rome. He is also known as the most powerful and cruel dictator, although his military tactics helped Rome to stand the attack of the Guals. When the Roman army was defeated, the Rome was immediately seized by the rivals, although the Capital Hill remained under the control of the Roman garrison (Livy pg 520).

The Roman Senators were aware of Camillus’s exceptional gift as a military leader and, therefore, they had to recall him from exile to win the battle: “Camillus should…instantly nominated dictator by order of the people that the soldiers should have the general whom they wished” (Livy pg 520).

The Roman government, therefore, acknowledged that they would not be able to conquer the rival without his assistance (Livy pg 521). Despite the fact that the Roman Senate awarded the warrior an honorable title, Marcus did not agree to take the position until he was officially recognized as a Roman dictator.

In contrast to Camillus’s aggressive policy, Augustus’s tactics was less invasive. In particular, the emperor sought to extinguish civil wars and establish peace on the conquered territories. As a proof, Augustus recalls the story of his appointment as the Roman Emperor.

Augustus writes, “…and a civic crown was fixed over my door and a golden shield was set in the Curia Julie…which was given me by the senate and people of Rom” (pg 35). Once he was appointed as the governor of Rome, Augustus proved to be an influential figure possessing stronger power than other members of the Senate. In the book, the Emperor emphasizes that the Roman people entitled him as Father of their Country (Augustus 37).

More importantly, the Roman people decided that this title “…should be inscribed in the porch of my house and in the Curia Julia and in the Forum Augustum below the chariot” (Augustus pg 37). Therefore, the Emperor’s reign was not marked by negative critics on the part of the Senate and the Roman population.

With regard to the above-presented achievements and deeds, both Roman leaders have demonstrated wisdom and courage, but in a different way. In particular, Marcus is presented as an ambitious warrior possessing conspicuous features of talented military strategist. In numerous combats he headed, Marcus revealed himself as a strong personality whose power and control was gained through deterrence and violence (Livy pg 443).

Despite this, the Roman citizens agreed to accept this necessary evil because his reign protected them from foreign invasions. Unlike Marcus, Augustus’s achievements were more tolerant and managed to sustain peaceful reign of the Roman Empire despite his constant engagement with territorial expansion of the Empire. Therefore, Augustus is also considered as an excellent negotiator who managed to establish peaceful unions with adjacent states.

With regard to the achievements in conducting wars, both Roman leaders can be regarded as experienced combatants. However, Marcus is more known as a warrior and soldier who gave tribute to military expansion whereas Augustus is more known as a talented politician and negotiator whose territorial expansion was successful through establishing unions with other powerful economies.

While considering the historical accounts on Marcus military tactics, it should be stressed that his commitment to war and expansion was much stronger than that to peaceful and prosperous existence of the Roman Empire. The legends also runs that, although his was among the most outstanding personalities known in the Roman history, his dictatorial power did not please the population that refused to meet his triumphal return with all glories.

In the book, Livy states, “Camillus returning home, crowned with honors of far greater value…the Senate did conceal their sense of the respectful attention” (pg 490). Hence, Marcus Camillus managed to conquer the attention and receive the triumphal ceremony on his arrival. The leader, therefore, attained much importance to glory and recognition of the Roman population.

Unlike Marcus Camillus, Augustus was less concerned with glory, although he mentions that the Roman people were ready to serve his people with honors and awards in return. In his autobiographic narration, the Emperor confesses that his did not accept some of the award and titles because he was more committed to the welfare of his people. Therefore, all contributions he made to the Roman Empire were aimed at improving economic, social, and political situation in the state.

Therefore, although he managed to restore the strength of the Empire, he considered himself to be equal in front of other people. The narrations also points to emperor’s absolute inclination to divine right and monarchy. In addition, Augustus’ political career can also serve an example of his brave experiment whose successful propaganda allowed him to gain power and respect of the Roman population and the Senate.

One the one hand, the strategic policy of the Roman leaders differed much because of their attitude to the reign and power. On the other hand, the origin of narrations allows to judge the historical figures from various angles of objectivity. In particular, the account about Marcu’s life and achievement is presented in the third person, which imposes objectivity on the military hero.

In contrast, the book by Augustus is a bibliographical representation of his achievement and, therefore, it can be considered as a more subjective evaluation of his political career and accomplishments. Nevertheless, the book is more concerned with Augustus’s achievements apart from his military expansion. Specifically, the story accounts on the Emperor’s donations and his active participation in constructing and renovation of various buildings in Rome.

As per Camillus, the history presents an ambivalent attitude to his personality. On the one hand, Camillus was known as a remarkable dictator with aggressive military tactics and, therefore, the Roman population was reluctant to accept him as the head of the state. On the other hand, the Roman Senate acknowledged his strong influence on his rival and, therefore, it had to give Camillus a title of the Roman founder.

Works Cited

August , “Res Gestae Divi Augusti: The Achievements of the Divine Augustus”. n. d. Web.

Livy. The History of Rome. US: T. Cadell and W. Davies. 1797. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Camillus and Augustus." July 4, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/camillus-and-augustus/.


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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Camillus and Augustus'. 4 July.

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