Augustus, the Roman Plebs and the Dictatorship 22 BCE and Beyond

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In 22 bce, amidst a crisis caused by an acute grain shortage, the Roman populace offered the office of dictator to Augustus, who turned this offer down in a particularly dramatic fashion. He is said to have knelt before the people, imploring them to desist when they were pressing him to accept this invidious power. The grain shortage, as Augustus relates in the Res Gestae, was then quickly and successfully solved by him without resorting to dictatorship, with the help of a much more modest and specific power of ‘managing the corn supply’ which he agreed to take. The incident seems highly instructive as regards the public image that Augustus sought to project, the way he and his rule were regarded by the people, and the relations between him and the populace in the early years of his rule as princeps.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationRulers and Ruled in Ancient Greece, Rome, and China
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781108641166
ISBN (Print)9781108485777
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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