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The Third Augustan Census

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

This year, 20 years after the previous census, Augustus will decide to conduct a census of the Roman Empire. As we heard in David's section, Augustus is preparing for his death and this census is likely just one other way he is doing that.

My Take by Southpaw Ben
I read or heard somewhere that there are 2 major reasons a government or ruler will conduct a census; to see how many men they have that are capable of being used as soldiers and to figure out how much they can make with taxes. While I'm sure both reasons are part of why this census was conducted, I think part of it is so Augustus can see how well his emperorship went, as well as set the starting place for his successor to build from and to compare to.

The Young General

Contributed by David Verne

Augustus continues to prepare for death, as he feels his health continue to fail him. He sends his grandson, Germanicus, to command eight legions on the border of Germania. Germanicus is a popular figure in Rome and held the consulship last year. He is only 28 and has a good claim to the throne. Augustus is ensuring that a good general is holding the border and a potential claimant is out of Rome. Meanwhile the chosen heir, Tiberius, can ensure that none will question his appointment as emperor after Augustus' death. [1]

My Take by David Verne
When he was consul, Germanicus would advocate for accused people to Augustus directly. This won him the favor of the common people. He also had a reputation of caring about his men. In a couple years after a fierce battle in Germania, a wounded and battered Roman army will be met by Germanicus' wife, Agrippina, who handed out food and medicine. It's hard to tell 2,000 years later, but I think Germanicus actually cared and wasn't doing these things for political gain.

See Also


  1. 12 AD.

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