Augustus

Augustus

16 January 27 BC – 19 August AD 14
Predecessor 
SuccessorTiberius
Born23 September 63 BC, Rome, Italy
Died19 August AD 14 (aged 75), Nola, Italy
SpouseClaudia (42–40 BC; divorce)
Scribonia (40–38 BC; divorce)
Livia (37 BC–AD 14; his death)
Children Julia the Elder
Gaius Caesar (adopted)
Lucius Caesar (adopted)
Agrippa Postumus (adopted)
Tiberius (adopted)
FatherGaius Octavius
Julius Caesar (adoptive)
MotherAtia

His Story

Known for initiating two centuries of peace in Rome, Augustus Caesar’s rise to political power was anything but amicable.

As the great-nephew of Julius Caesar, he was appointed as his sole heir. After the murder of his great-uncle, Octavius took his name and founded a private army at the age of 19. (He never used the epithet Octavius himself.)

Extremely determined and ambitious, he soon gained prestige and trust of the Senate. At Cicero’s suggestion, he became praetor and member of the Senate.

He recruited Lepidus and Marc Antony to take revenge for the murder of Julius Caesar. They defeated Brutus and his co-conspirators and then carved up the Roman world among the three.

While Marc  Antony administered the East and Lepidus Africa, Octavius turned to Western Europe. Nevertheless, Italy remained his real domain, especially after he suppressed the Perusian revolt (42-41 BC).

In 40 BC he reconciled with Mark Antony, his friend Agrippa defeated Sextus Pompey, his sister Octavia married Marc Antony shortly before the renewal of the triumvirate.

In 32 BC, however, Octavius broke away from Mark Antony, who meanwhile ruled like a despotic king on Cleopatra’s side.Octavius sent the unreliable Lepidus into retirement and, with support of the Senate, declared war on him.

In the Battle of Actium (3 BC) he decisively defeated Marc Antony and returned to Rome as sole ruler and much-celebrated victor.

Following a general reorganization of the Eastern Empire (Egypt became a prefecture), he returned the power to the people and the senate in 27 BC. Then he received the honorary name Augustus.

However, he retained the authority (Potestas), was elected consul every year and ruled the empire in the form of a constitutive monarchy.

In the provinces he was worshipped as a god early on, in Rome, however, he tolerated the God-Emperor cult only reluctantly.

Looking ahead, Augustus ensured the preservation and safeguarding of the dynasty by raising his wife Livia to goddess and appointing her son from her first  marriage, Tiberius, as heir and successor. He married his daughter Julia to his friend Agrippa, and after his death a second time to Tiberius.

Augustus died at the age of 77 in 14 AD after a reign of about 40 years. His Reign which had been marked by the PAX Augusta (legal certainty, peace and prosperity) and which also experienced culturally significant highlights. (Virgil, Horace, Livy, Ovid, the introduction of marble as a building material, etc.).

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