Augustus (Octavian) (Biographical details)

Augustus (Octavian) (ruler; royal/imperial; Roman; Male; 63BC - 14)

Also known as

Augustus; Augustus Caesar; Octavian; Octavianus; Caesar, C


Born Gaiuis Octavius, adopted by Julius Caesar (q.v.) as C. Julius Caesar in 44 BC, then Imperator Caesar Divi Filius (known as Octavian). Took new name of Augustus in 27 BC. Became first Roman emperor. Died 19 August AD 14. Deified 17 September AD 14.

In the years immediately after Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, Augustus and Mark Antony (q.v., Caesar's closest friend and ally) set out to avenge his murder. Within a decade, however, relations between the two had broken down and the Roman World was plunged into civil war. By 31 BC Augustus had emerged as the undisputed victor: Rome's first emperor.

Rome had been a republic for centuries since the fall of its kings and was ruled by the Senate (its supreme political body) and the Roman people. Augustus was anxious that his political position was acceptable to everyone. He based his powers on traditional political offices and presented himself as the 'first man' of the Senate rather than as a king. In this way he cleverly preserved the ideals of the Roman Republic.

In about 23 BC, Augustus reformed the coinage. He continued to produce the gold aureus and the silver denarius, but introduced a series of new copper-alloy denominations. The new coinage system was more advanced than anything the ancient world had seen.