Some leadership positions require not leading

Columnist and Columnist

To this point in my series about great leaders, no individual has been highlighted as the greatest leader of all-time.

Each candidate had flaws ranging from blind ambition to being fictional. This exploration in leadership will connect concepts of many of the previous issues, while centering on a character who manages to have none of these faults [while quite incredibly having all of these faults].

The man is of unquestioned brilliance and among the most emulated people of all time. Through pure and unrivaled skill as a world leader, this man ruled Rome as an emperor while Rome was still a republic.

Mark Anthony, Marcus Lepidus and the hero of this examination in leadership, Octavian Caesar [Julius Caesar’s adopted son], all dominated the Roman political system following Caesar’s death as they attempted to bring his assassins to justice.

The three ultimately turned on each other and my favorite among amazing things Octavian was able to do, revolves around Lepidus.

When Octavian waged war on Lepidus, he didn’t do so with a great army. Instead, Octavian walked alone, into Lepidus’ camp and announced that Lepidus’ soldiers now served him, Octavian.

While this seems ridiculous, Octavian reminded everyone in camp he was the son of the deified Julius Caesar.

In other words, Octavian was the unquestioned son of God.

In progress to defeating the other members of the second triumvirate, Octavian murdered many people. In fact, Octavian murdered far more people than Roman society was prepared for.

So what does one do at this point? The answer appears to be to change your name and create a new persona.

The best part is, I’m not joking.

Octavian changed his name to Augustus and completely changed his behavior.

While he did cease to murder all who opposed him, Augustus’ most compelling change was one he learned from Caesar’s death.

Caesar had declared himself perpetual dictator of Rome. This title did not set well with the elite of Rome.

Augustus recognized the taboo nature of Roman absolute authority and pretended to be just some guy. Instead of a glorifying title, Augustus called himself ‘first citizen’ and became furious when individuals referred to him as more glorifying titles, such as king.

To further limit his power, Augustus gave up all official positions and allowed citizens to take part in voting for the reestablished republican system.

At this point, you may question how much power Augustus truly had, as well as my sanity for idealizing him. If you are, Augustus and I thank you for falling for his trap and validating my argument.

While Augustus publicly took steps to ensure the survival of the Roman Republic, in actuality, it had long since perished.

While it’s true Augustus gave up political offices, the senate had already voted him every power imaginable. The façade he kept of fighting for republic only created a more worshiped and revered figure.

To simplify this, Augustus invented a system to gain more power every time he pretended to relinquish it, and the people loved him for it.

Augustus was not only cunning, he was an effective leader. He extended the borders of the Roman Republic/Empire while spreading its culture and rebuilding its infrastructure.

Many historians view Augustus’ reign as the golden period of Rome and among the heights of Western European civilization.

To date this monumental achievement and recognize how long ago this progressive leader ruled, consider a famous birth during Augustus’ reign, Jesus Christ.

His methods are popular, nearly every ruler for hundreds of years wanted to be like Augustus, even after the “Fall of Rome.”

Next week, we will further consider the “anti-Augustus” portrayal we already touched base on.

More information on this and related topics can be found at TheCaveJournal.wordpress.com.

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