Augustus Caesar, Roman emperor (31 BC - AD 14): the image of empire

After the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Octavian became undisputed master of Rome and its territories and, as Augustus, the first true emperor. Augustus's boast that he found Roman a city of brick and left it a city of marble is borne out by the enormous list of his building projects in Rome itself, and many more were undertaken abroad. In Rome most public buildings were embellished or rebuilt from scratch. In the provinces, either through personal involvement or imperial pressure, civic buildings of all types were erected. It was very important to impress on the people of the vast Roman Empire that there was now a single, strong ruler.

The image of the emperor therefore became very important, from the mass imagery of coinage to metal and stone sculptures, and luxury pieces such as gems, seal-stones and cameos.

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