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Augustus Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, (62 BC - August 19, A.D. 14) was the first Roman Emperor. Before he became emperor, he is often referred to as Octavian in English speaking countries. He was accorded the name or title Augustus by the Senate of Rome in 27 BC, and as emperor is often referred to as Augustus Caesar, Augustus Octavian, or simply Augustus.

Julius Caesar made provisions in his will adopting his great-nephew Gaius Octavius Thurinus as his son and heir. In the Roman custom, Octavius took his uncle's name as part of his own. At the time of Julius Caesar's death Octavianus was 18. He was appointed as a member of the Second Triumvirate to rule Rome. To take leadership of the Caesarian forces he returned to Rome from Greece and successfully outmaneuvered Marcus Antonius for leadership of Caesar's armies and control of his political forces, ultimately defeating Antony at the Battle of Actium on September 2, 31 BC.

Octavian's military right-hand-man was Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and his link with the important class of the Equites or 'Equestrian class' was Gaius Maecenas. Augustus's evident intention was to have Agrippa succeed him; he arranged for Agrippa to divorce his wife and marry Julia, Augustus's daughter from his first marriage. When Agrippa died unexpectedly in 12 BC, Augustus's plans were upset. Until their deaths, Agrippa's minor sons (who were also Augustus's grandsons) Gaius and Lucius remained his heirs. His succession by his stepson and adopted heir Tiberius created the so-called Julio-Claudian dynasty from their two nomina or family names.

Ara Pacis Augustae--- the altar of the Augustan Peace

The Acts of the Divine Augustus, attributed to Augustus Caesar (summary)

Following is a summary of inscriptions that were found on two pillars in Rome. These pillars were in several Temples dedicated to the god of Rome (Roma). These Temples were built in honour of Augustus and the inscriptions recount the great deeds of Augustus.

At the age of nineteen, Augustus recounts that he was able to prepare an army at his own expense and with the blessing of the Senate. In that same year, the people made him consul. With this army and through other means Augustus (then known as Octavian) was able to exile and punish those individuals who had killed his adopted father Julius Caesar.

Augustus then fought many wars to expand the realm and influence of Rome. However, he wisely treated his captive states kindly; even allowing then to continue their customs and form governments so long as they paid tribute to Rome.

Augustus also mentions that he was a reluctant leader who decided to lead so long as his leadership did not break any established customs. He then states that he was made a Triumvir[?] (of the Second Triumvirate) and then Princeps[?].

Then Augustus states that he increased the number of patricians and held several censuses of the people in which the size of Roman citizenry rose by nearly one million people. However, he refused to be named Pontifex Maximus (head of the State religion) while a friend of his held that title.

His sons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar were made consuls-designate when they reached the age of fourteen and they were then made Princeps of the Youth.

Augustus then recounts how generous he was both with his own money, and with the money of Rome. Specifically, he mentions that the gifts that he gave "never came through to fewer than 250,000 men." He also mentions that he was able to help out the Public Treasury on four occasions.

Now he turns to the great building projects that he built. For example, he built the Curia (Senate House) and a temple to Apollo, and the Divine Julius. He also built a shrine near the Circus Maximus, temples of Jupiter Feretrius and the Thunderer. Augustus then shows how noble he is when he built both the Capitoline temple and the theater of Pompey without putting his name on them. He then goes into the repairs and expansions of infastructure projects -- including urban renewal.

How Augustus entertained the masses is also described in this document. For example, it describes how he funded three gladiatorial[?] games which included the slaughter of 3500 beasts.

He ends the document with an account of conquests of the sea, Egypt and the recovery of several Roman standards.

See also: Roman Emperors, Julio-Claudian Family

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Preceded by:
Julius Caesar, Dictator
Roman emperors
Followed by:
Tiberius



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