Augustus' Relationship with the Senate

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The factors affecting Augustus' relationship with

There were three main factors which affected the princeps relationship with the senate:

1. The influence of Julius Caesar

2. His conservative inclinations

3. His need for co-operation with the senate 

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The Influence of Julius Caesar

Augustus had learnt from Julius Caesar's previous mistakes.

During the latter part of his career, Julius Caesar had shown a lack of respect for the senate quite openly. In addition, he blocked the ambitions of prominent men by holding most of the top positions for himself, including the dictatorship.

Augstus wanted to reconcile with the senate and thus tried to increase its dignitas.

Augustus also respected the senatorial need for competition for some of the highest positions in the senatorial order and the system of the cursus honorum.  

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Augustus' Conservative Inclinations

Augustus was a conservative and wanted to retain the republican forms of the senate.  However, where there was need for change within the system of the senatorial order, Augustus showed political tact to avoid offending the upper classes, particularly the patrician class.

The senate could vote for honours for Augustus, administered some of the more 'peaceful' provinces and had control over the state treasury. 

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Augustus' Need for Co-operation with the Senate

Administering the empire proved to be a monumental, huge task and Augustus needed members of the senate to put their hand in and help with its administration. 

Therefore, he divided legislative, executive and judicial functions between the senate. However, there was never a division of power as Augustus retained control over the armed forces and oversaw the administrative areas which were under control of the senate. 

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