Augustus as C-in-C: Strategy and Leadership in War

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Abstract

When focusing on Augustus as a Commander in Chief (C-in-C), a strategist, and a field commander, there are numerous potential approaches. We know that he fought battles, campaigns, and wars. Sometimes he did well, sometimes less so. As the focus of this paper is on political initiative—here understood as the ability of political agents and dynasts to behave proactively, in this case in warfare—we will here discuss the actual fighting only when it has a direct bearing on what might be termed the ‘command structure’, in this case during the triumvirate and beyond, and its formulation of strategy. Rather, the main question is as follows: how did the learning curve followed by Young Caesar on his rise to power create a new, shared command structure as part of a monarchical system, with Augustus as C-in-C? If we look at political initiative in warfare and military campaigns, rather than just tactically, then leadership is always a learning curve. This is accordingly a question of how we, as scholars, approach ancient warfare, strategy, and the relationships between commanders: for example, the ‘high command’ or C-in-C in one theatre and the field commander in the other. This is thus also a paper on how we, as scholars, approach Roman military history in general.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTaking the Lead in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome
EditorsChristopher Burden-Strevens, Roman Frolov
PublisherBrill
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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    Lange, C. H. (Accepted/In press). Augustus as C-in-C: Strategy and Leadership in War. In C. Burden-Strevens, & R. Frolov (Eds.), Taking the Lead in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome Brill.