Previously on Daniel 11. We began into look into the Scriptures which pertains to Augustus Caesar and saw how he came in peaceably under the auspices of defending the Republic but with the ultimate aim to obtain the Republic as his personal empire. Where his uncle Julius Caesar failed, Augustus intended to succeed. In the end he did it just as Scripture said: “ And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
Starting in a nation that didn’t honour kings, Augustus intended to give Rome a king or emperor. Daniel 11:22-28 now deal with the way Augustus obtained the Roman empire. In verse 22 we saw by his history how he flooded out his enemies in his quest to become the sole ruler of a Republic. “ And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. “ Dan.11:22
During the civil war Augustus gradually gathered troops to flood out his fellow Roman opponents. Let’s look at some of the numbers Augustus used to flood out opposition. After he defeated Mark Anthony while backed by the senate for the first time at Mutina, he marched on Rome and demanded the vacant consulship with about 8 legions.
“ In July, an embassy of centurions sent by Octavian entered Rome and demanded that he receive the consulship left vacant by Hirtius and Pansa. Octavian also demanded that the decree declaring Antony a public enemy should be rescinded. When this was refused, he marched on the city with eight legions “ [Wikipedia]
A Roman legion typically consisted of up to 5400 troops, so that means he had about 43 200 soldiers after his first mayor victory. When Augustus and Anthony later joined forces to defeat the murderers of Julius Caesar, they flooded them out with 28 legions. That is a whopping 151 200 troops. “ Antony and Octavian then sent 28 legions by sea to face the armies of Brutus and Cassius, who had built their base of power in Greece “ [Wikipedia]
In the war between Sextus Pompeius the son of Pompey the great, and the combined forces of Augustus and Lepidus, history record this huge number of soldiers were killed in Sicily. “ Some 200,000 men were killed and 1,000 warships destroyed in the fighting which followed, with many of the casualties being taken by Sextus and his army and navy.” [Wikipedia]
Indeed he used a flood or arms to deal with military threats. Augustus and Rome in general for that matter, sometimes flooded out opposition in war with numbers when they had to, exactly as Scripture said it. History tells that Rome used 85 000 soldiers to crush Carthage. Even the Prince of the covenant [Lord Jesus Christ] was not spared their floods when during the reign of Augustus, his side kick in Judea, Herod the great, eliminated every male child from 2 years and under in Bethlehem in his search for the Messiah, King of the Jews whom he thought could take his position as Jewish leader.
Scripture now reveals more of the methods Augustus and Rome used to obtain world dominion. “ And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.” [Dan.11:23]
One of the ways in which Augustus obtained power was to join forces with people and then later on work deceitfully against his allies after they’ve served their purposes. Born 23 September 63 BC, Augustus would have been 18 years old on the ides of March [15 March] 44 BC, when Julius died. He started out as a student.
“44 BC, Octavius was studying and undergoing military training in Apollonia Illyria. Rejecting the advice of some army officers to take refuge with the troops in Macedonia, he sailed to Italia to ascertain whether he had any potential political fortunes or security. Having no living legitimate children, Caesar had adopted his great-nephew Octavius as his son and main heir.” [Wikipedia]
Yes, he started his march to power not from a powerful position of being a general with command over many troops. In fact, he had no troops and had only the name of his adopted father Julius to ride on, and the fact that he was named heir to two-thirds of the estate of Julius. Mark Anthony for a while refused to release his uncle’s wealth to him, so that also complicated matters. But he was promised to become great from that difficult position: “ for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.”
After seizing some of the funds his uncle had saved he bought himself a small army.
“To make a successful entry into the upper echelons of the Roman political hierarchy, Octavian could not rely on his limited funds. After a warm welcome by Caesar's soldiers at Brundisium, Octavian demanded a portion of the funds that were allotted by Caesar for the intended war against Parthia in the Middle East. This amounted to 700 million sesterces stored at Brundisium, the staging ground in Italy for military operations in the east.” [Wikipedia]
“ Octavian began to bolster his personal forces with Caesar's veteran legionaries and with troops designated for the Parthian war, gathering support by emphasizing his status as heir to Caesar. On his march to Rome through Italy, Octavian's presence and newly acquired funds attracted many, winning over Caesar's former veterans stationed in Campania. By June he had gathered an army of 3,000 loyal veterans, paying each a salary of 500 denarii.” [Wikipedia]
The first people he allied himself to were actually enemies of his uncle Julius. The Optimates, were a faction of senators bitterly opposed to dictatorships within the Republic. They feared Anthony had the same plans as Julius and thus wanted him stopped. Both sides saw Anthony as a mutual threat and intended to use each other to eliminate that threat. The senate needed an army against Anthony and Augustus seemed to be their man for the time.
“ Octavian began to make common cause with the Optimates, the former enemies of Caesar. In September, a leading Optimate orator Marcus Tullius Cicero began to attack Antony in a series of speeches portraying him as a threat to the Republican order. Octavian meanwhile built up a private army in Italy by recruiting Caesarian veterans, and on 28 November won over two of Antony's legions with the enticing offer of monetary gain.”
Despite his youth, the senate now voted in Octavian or Augustus in as senator with enough power to take on Anthony, one year after Julius passed on.
“ At the urging of Cicero, the Senate inducted Octavian as senator on 1 January 43 BC, yet he also was given the power to vote alongside the former consuls. In addition, Octavian was granted imperium (commanding power), which made his command of troops legal, sending him to relieve the siege along with Hirtius and Pansa (the consuls for 43 BC).In April 43 BC, Antony's forces were defeated at the battles of Forum Gallorum and Mutina,” [Wikipedia]
But when the senate after his first victory over Anthony, wanted to empower Brutus above him, Augustus changed course and formed a league with Mark Anthony, and Lepidus. It was at this time that they purged the senate.
“ In a meeting near Bologna in October 43 BC, Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus formed a junta called the Second Triumvirate. This explicit arrogation of special powers lasting five years was then supported by law passed by the plebs…” Augustus now formed this league with the 2 most powerful other generals of Rome.
How perfect the Scriptures there! But this league was bound to failure even as Scriptures had it, because Augustus intended to rule the empire alone. It was from this point onward that he used every political trick in the book to win over the people and the approval of his handpicked senate to later become sole ruler of Rome.
But the history of Augustus is also the same as that of Rome. Both were born insignificant on the Palatine hill and started out small. Ancient Rome before it became a huge Republic and later empire, was a mere city state next to the Tiber river at it’s beginning. They were not even a country, but a mere village which gradually conquered their neighbours. Someone had a title for a book called “ From a village to an empire” on Rome. And title says it all. Like Augustus that very small group of village people extended it’s city limits, till it engulfed the ancient world.
At first they were part of the Latin League of city states, who ruled their cities independently. The league had an agreement to join forces in times of war to defend their cities. Like Augustus later worked deceitfully with those with whom he had a league agreement, so did Rome later conquer their fellow Latin city states, contrary to their former agreement.
“ ...for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.” This verse is truly also a very accurate description of the general rise of Rome.
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