“The closer we look at Augustus’ rule the more we are forced to agree with Tacitus viewpoint, Augustus was a military dictator.” R.D Milne’s quote states that Augustus (Octavian) Caesar, the first Emperor of Rome, was a military dictator however according to the evidence, Augustus was not a military dictator but a skilful and manipulative leader who was able to use Rome’s chaos and fear to create stability. Augustus’ great military and political awareness led him to become known as one of the greatest figures in all of Roman history. (Unknown, 23rd March 2006, “Roman Emperor’s”)
To understand fully what R.D Milne’s quote is expressing, it must first be understood who R.D Milne and Tacitus were. Not a great deal is known about R.D Milne, for all that is certain is that he is a famous historian in modern times on the other hand Tacitus is a well known author of several ancient and historic texts. A lot of what we know today of ancient Rome is from writers such as Tacitus. In R.D Milne’s quote it states “…the more we are forced to agree with Tacitus viewpoint…” This sentence gives the impression that R.D Milne did not want to agree with Tacitus; and according to (Unknown, 23rd March 2006, “Tacitus Biography”) this might be because of Tacitus reputation as being a biased writer. Tacitus made it no secret that he despised autocracy and absolute rule; he also was known to state that Rome should become Republican once again. Tacitus wrote many comprehensive transcripts and one was entirely based on Augustus’ Principate. Though Tacitus’ work is important in defining Roman History he was born over 40 years after Augustus died and didn’t start writing until well over half a century later. From this it can be seen that Tacitus was biased and was writing on common knowledge and hearsay, however his works are still credible in the view of ancient times.