Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor, was one of the most effective leaders the world has ever known.
He knitted together the Roman world, east and west, into one great organisation of which the Emperor stood as the supreme head.
He set his legions upon the distant frontiers and their swords formed a wall of steel within which commerce and peace might flourish.
The security was not perpetual, yet it lasted for four centuries, and saved ancient civilisation from destruction.
But for the Empire and the system inaugurated by Augustus, there is every probability that the Roman civilisation would have been as thoroughly wiped out in Gaul and Spain, as it was in northern Africa, and as the civilisation of Greece was blotted out in Asia Minor and Syria.
We may regret the degeneration of Rome, its loss of freedom, the tyranny of the later Emperors, the civil wars which followed, and the decay of the old martial spirit in the Roman people. But the seeds of degeneration and decay had been planted in the days of the Republic, and would have come to maturity far sooner if there had been no Augustus and no Empire.
Augustus started the Roman world on a new career. He made it realise its unity for the first time. That was his life-work, and its consequences are felt to this day.
John B. Firth’s work is brilliant study of this remarkable man and the empire that he forged.
“attractive as well as scholarly … will certainly be helpful to all who are interested in Augustus and his age.” George Willis Botsford, The American Historical Review
John Benjamin Firth was a British historian of the ancient world. One of his most famous works was his translation of the letters of the younger Pliny. Augustus Cæsar And The Organization Of The Empire Of Rome was first published in 1902 and Firth passed away in 1943.