oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Augustus, legislative power, and the power of appearances

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



Imperial control over legislation is one of the crucial changes between Republic and Principate. The aim of this essay is to analyse this historical change through the narrative tradition concerning the development of Augustus' legislative powers. Accounts by Augustus himself as well as later Roman historical authors such as Suetonius and Dio describe Augustus as legislator, which seems to indicate that there were two contradictory narratives, one Republican and the other an imperial sovereign one. These narratives were possibly aimed at different constituencies and served different purposes. Because of later developments in the powers of the Roman emperor, the imperial sovereign narrative became the dominant one in later historiography.

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