His Adoption

In 53 B.C., at the age of 12, Octavian delivered the funeral ovation (the laudatio) for his grandmother Julia, which was his first public appearance, and several years later he served in the priesthood. Caesar was to play a determinative role in shaping the rest of Octavius's life. He saw his uncle’s triumph in Rome in 46 B.C. and in 45 young Octavian journeyed to Spain to be with him on campaign.

Octavian was not strong physically, he suffered from a variety of illnesses that plagued him his whole life. The trip to Spain was a very dangerous journey. He also suffered a shipwreck and was in a sorry shape when he arrived at Caesar’s camp. But his uncle recognized something unique in him, rewarding his efforts with military training and the young man was included as his Master of Horse for 43 B.C.

See Image of Young Octavian

After a time Octavian was elected to the pontifical college and sent to Apollonia, in Epirus, to study philosophy and the arts of war. He took with him his two dearest friends, Marcus Agrippa and Marcus Rufus. His studies were cut short by the assassination of Caesar in Rome.

Octavian was only 18 years old, but the will of his uncle declared him his chief heir and adopted son and not Marc Antony as was expected.

Octavian’s position in Rome was now became radically different and bound by the obligation to avenge Caesar’s death. His family, now fearful for his life, urged him to renounce the adoption but Octavian traveled to Rome. Instead of rash action he found that cautious deliberation would be far more useful. His patience was a characteristic that would mark his later years.