Augustus and the Plebeians

Moves to Help, Sources

Acts to Help

Rome had no real industry. As a result many found it hard to survive.

The supply of grain through the corn dole was therefore important.

  • Augustus reduced those receiving the Corn Dole to 20,000
  • He gave out monetary gifts regularly
  • He held many games to keep the populace content (Bread and Circus's)
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Rome lived in constant fear of famine, due to the limited farming that actually took place

Augustus stimulated the growth of wheat in Egypt and drew 4 months rationing from there

22BC, takes control of corn dole 'I so administered it that within a few days i had freed the whole community from the immediate fear and peril' Res Gestae

Establishes Equestrian officer to look after corn supply, Praefectus Annonae

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Prior to 12BC, relied upon Agrippa to build and maintain Aqueducts. Upon death he left 240 slaves to Augustus, who gave them to the state and set up a Water Board

19BC constructed the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, erected Thermae. Water available to most houses in Rome

'Imperator Caesar Augustus...repaired the channels of all the aqueducts' Inscription 5-4BC

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Ban on unlicensed collegia (organisations)

Suppression of petty crime, set up the vigils (7cohorts)

Made the office of Praefectus Urbi permanent office

Demonstrations at festivals suppressed

'Dissolved all work men's guilds except those that had been established for some time and were carrying out legitimate business' Suetonius

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Created Fire Department, 21 BC, 600 public slaves

In AD6, permanent officer, Equestrian, Praefectus Vigilum. Brigade of 3500.

We know this from Suetonius

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Res Gestae 2BC i gave 240 sesterces to the plebs which then recieved the corn dole; the number was a little over 200,000 men. 5BC I gave 240 sesterces per man to 320,000 members of the urban plebs.

Horace  may bring back the singing and games// add to our blessings already recieved

Suetonius suppressed a series of sporadic riots and revolts besides certain conspiracies

Tacitus seduced the soldiery with gifts, the people with corn and everyone with the delights of peace

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