AUGUSTUS (OCTAVIUS) 63 BC - 14 AD -
Caesar's sole male relative was a slight, frail grandnephew only 18 years old, who was named heir in Caesar's
will to three-quarters of his great wealth. By another condition in the will of the dead dictator, this youth
was also adopted as Caesar's son, and so for a while he called himself Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, or
Caesar the Younger. After 27 BC, he is known as Augustus. Octavian Augustus was really the greatest civil
leader that the ancient world ever produced.
When he came to Rome after Caesar's murder, his only possessions were an inherited name and whatever appeal
his youth might bring; but in cold, sagacious steps he made his way rapidly on the policy of avenging Caesar.
Through his good sense, moderation, and conscientious attention to duty, Augustus won the support of all
major elements in the Mediterranean world. In many provinces, which now enjoyed more careful government and
suffered less from extortion, he was made a god, and the month of his final achievement was named after him.
Augustus lived to be 76 years old. In his last year, he revised a recital of the great deeds he had achieved
for the Roman state, which was to be set up at his tomb. The original version in Rome has disappeared, but
another copy of this work, was carved on the temple of Augustus at Ancyra and still survives. In his
administration of the Roman Empire, the disaster which upset Augustus the most took place in Germany. While
Augustus remained at peace with Parthia, he advanced the Roman frontier in Europe to the Danube and Rhine.
By this advance he subjected modern Switzerland, Austria, much of Hungary, and the Balkans to Roman rule and
protected the connections between the western and eastern provinces of the Empire; no other Roman leader made
such additions. In 9 AD, the governor of Germany, Varus, was lured into a trap and three Roman legions were
wiped out; all of Germany was lost.
Since Augustus had neither the energy nor the military strength to start a reconquest, the Roman frontier
remained essentially on the Rhine. Yet, the Mediterranean world attained peace and prosperity under the
government of Augustus, who was celebrated in temples, statues, and dedications as an earthly redeemer. The
Empire was expensive in its demands of men for the armed forces and of money to support the political system,
but the accompanying economic expansion supported these burdens without great difficulty for two centuries
Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) was the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he
ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.[note 1] Born Gaius Octavius Thurinus, he was adopted posthumously by
his great-uncle Gaius Julius Caesar in 44 BC via his last will and testament, and between then and 27 BC was officially
named Gaius Julius Caesar. In 27 BC the Senate awarded him the honorific Augustus ("the revered one"), and thus
consequently he was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus.[note 2] Because of the various names he bore, it is common to call
him Octavius when referring to events between 63 and 44 BC, Octavian (or Octavianus) when referring to events between
44 and 27 BC, and Augustus when referring to events after 27 BC. In Greek sources, Augustus is known as Ὀκτάβιος
(Octavius), Καῖσαρ (Caesar), Αὔγουστος (Augustus), or Σεβαστός (Sebastos), depending on context.
The young Octavius came into his inheritance after Caesar's assassination in 44 BC. In 43 BC, Octavian joined forces
with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in a military dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. As a triumvir,
Octavian ruled Rome and many of its provinces[note 3] The triumvirate was eventually torn apart under the competing
ambitions of its rulers: Lepidus was driven into exile, and Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle
of Actium by the fleet of Octavian commanded by Agrippa in 31 BC.
After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Octavian restored the outward facade of the Roman Republic, with
governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, but in practice retained his autocratic power. It took several years to
determine the exact framework by which a formally republican state could be led by a sole ruler; the result became
known as the Roman Empire. The emperorship was never an office like the Roman dictatorship which Caesar and Sulla had
held before him; indeed, he declined it when the Roman populace "entreated him to take on the dictatorship". By law,
Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including those of tribune of the plebs and
censor. He was consul until 23 BC. His substantive power stemmed from financial success and resources gained in
conquest, the building of patronage relationships throughout the Empire, the loyalty of many military soldiers and
veterans, the authority of the many honors granted by the Senate, and the respect of the people. Augustus' control
over the majority of Rome's legions established an armed threat that could be used against the Senate, allowing him to
coerce the Senate's decisions. With his ability to eliminate senatorial opposition by means of arms, the Senate became
docile towards him. His rule through patronage, military power, and accumulation of the offices of the defunct Republic
became the model for all later imperial governments.
The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana, or Roman peace. Despite continuous
wars on the frontiers, and one year-long civil war over the imperial succession, the Mediterranean world remained at
peace for more than two centuries. Augustus enlarged the empire dramatically, annexing Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, and
Raetia, expanded possessions in Africa, and completed the conquest of Hispania. Beyond the frontiers, he secured the
empire with client states, and made peace with Parthia through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation,
developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian
Guard, and created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome. Much of the city was rebuilt under Augustus;
and he wrote a record of his own accomplishments, known as the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, which has survived. Upon his
death in 14 AD, Augustus was declared a god by the Senate - to be worshipped by the Romans. His names Augustus and
Caesar were adopted by every subsequent emperor, and the month of Sextilis was officially renamed August in his honour.
He was succeeded by his stepson, former son-in-law and adopted son, Tiberius...