Reliefs onthe altar depict the symbols and fruits of peace in juxtaposition withfigures of war by which peace was gained, and there are processions perhapsrepresenting the major priesthoods in Rome, with Augustus himself portrayedin religious attire.
Less than one month after his death in 14 A.D., divine honors were decreedto Augustus at Rome, and the precedent was set there for the posthumousdeification of successive emperors.
For the historian the mostintriguing question such literary circles prompt is the degree to whichthe political and cultural sentiments expressed by these writers were officiallydirected, and so in effect provided propaganda for the Augustan regime.
Throughout, the Augustan style is a mixture of conservatism andinnovation and often strives for a Greek look so that it has been termed"classicizing" in tone, which is aptly demonstrated by the way Augustus'sageless portraits stand in sharp constrast with the sometimes brutallyfrank "veristic" representations of the Late-Republican elite. The Augustan literary scene was also exceptionally vibrant.
In his private life, Augustusfell short of his own ideals (witness the turmoil engendered in his familyby adultery and infidelities of all sorts), but the thrust of his sociallegislation was less to regulate individuals' private behavior than tomaintain the proper outward appearance of and decency thatAugustus felt had been lost during the Late Republic.
While Augustus did not go so far as to station the legionsalong the frontier as a defensive garrison force (as was to happen in laterages), he at least removed them from the center of power and began theprocess of keeping them in the vicinity of the frontiers.
Augustus completed the ongoing professionalization of the Roman militaryby establishing a force of 28 standing legions (three were to be lost inGermany in AD 9), made up of volunteer recruits.
In achieving these goals, Augustus's actions werea rousing success, since the army was tamed as a force in imperial politicsfor the better part of a century.
For, in the Augustan system,an imperial princess who had been married to no less than three indicatedfavorites (Marcellus, Agrippa, and )and who then brought outsiders into her bed was also bringing them intothe heart of the dynasty.
Again,debate has swirled around these arrangements but, following the suggestionsmade above, it is probably best to avoid notions of regency or paired succcessionand see here an attempt by Augustus to re-establish a "pool" of princesfrom which to draw candidates, with as the favored successor and to come behind him.
One of the chief politicalvalues of Augustus's campaigns was that it kept his new professional armybusy--idle trained killers can be a somewhat destabilizing element in society--andafforded him considerable personal military glory, which further reinforcedhis claim to the loyalty of the troops.
The career of Marcellus, short though it was, already revealed the elementsof Augustus's methods: he was to use family links (marriage or adoption)in conjunction with constitutional privileges (office-holding and the privilegeof standing for office early) to indicate his successor.
But the informal natureof Augustus's succession arrangements, even if forced on him by the natureof his position, opened the door to domestic turmoil and proved the singlemost consistently destabilizing political factor in his reign and thoseof future emperors.
If, as Augustus himself claimed in his, he really "possessed no more official power than the otherswho were my colleagues in the several magistracies," then he had as littleright to appoint a successor as did a governor, or a consul, or a praetor.
Throw into the equation his modest lifestyle, affableapproachability, routine consultation of the senate, and genuinely impressivework ethic, and we have in Augustus one of the greatest and most skillfullymanipulative politicians of any nation in any age.