The Rule of Augustus
Last Updated 11/18/2007 11/11/2007 11/10/2007
"He subjected the whole wide earth to the rule
of the Roman people." Rome achieved great glory under Octavian/Augustus. The
empire expanded under Augustus. After his death people worshiped him like a god.
Born Gaius Octavius on 23 September 63 BC.
His father died when he was four.
His mother was the daughter of Julia, sister to Julius Caesar.
His great uncle, Julius Caesar, was assisanated.
He later learned Caesar had adopted him and made him his heir.
In 44 BC, he took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian) after the murder of his great uncle Julius Caesar.
44 BC, the senate's leader, Cicero, delivered a series of infamous speeches against Marc Antony.
43 BC, Marc Antony was defeated by Octavian at Mutina and forced to retreat into Gaul.
27 Novemeber 43 BC, there is an agreement between Rome's three most powerful men.
Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus form triumvirate.
This triumvirate completely cut off the senate from power (27 November 43 BC).
Cicero was killed.
Brutus and Cassius, Caesar's chief assassins, were defeated at Philippi in northern Greece.
Brutus and Cassius commit suicide.
The triumvirate triumvirate divides up the empire.
Antony the East, Octavian the West, and Lepidus northwern africa.
Antony and Cleopatra
Antony goes to Egypt and becomes involved with Cleopatra.
40 BC, Antony returns briefly to Italy and marries Octavian's sister, Octavia.
Antony returns to Cleopatra even though he was married to Octavia.
Octavian reads Antony's will to Rome.
Antony's will promised large inheritances to his children by Cleopatra.
It also demanded that, should he die in Italy, his body should be returned to Cleopatra in Egypt.
Antony's will was the final straw.
In Rome's eyes, this could never be the will of a true Roman.
The senate declared war.
Battle at Actium
Antony had 220 ships and Cleopatra had 60.
Antony's larger ships were equipped with catapults.
Octavian had 260 ships.
Octavian's ships were smaller and mor manuverable.
Cleopatra took her ships and left.
At this time there was doubt as to which side would win.
Antony's ships lost heart.
On 2 September 31 BC, At Actium Octavian's army defeated Antony.
Octavian Arrives in Egypt
From Greece, Octavian moved along the coast.
His route took him through Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine.
In 30 BC, Octavian arrived in Egypt.
Here he defeated Antonius' troops almost without a fight, as most soldiers defected.
Both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide.
The vast treasures of Egypt fell to Octavian.
Egypt itself became a new Roman province.
Octavian's next act was to put to death Cleopatra's 17-year old son Caesarion.
Caesarion was the child of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.
Antony and Cleopatra have 3 children.
They are twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, and a later child named Ptolemy Philadelphus.
He allows the two sons of Antony and Cleopatra to live.
Another source states that Octavian killed one of Antony's sons.
On August 29 30 BC, Octavian enters Rome in triumph, the undisputed master of both east and west.
He was of short stature, handsome and well proportioned.
He possessed that commodity so rare in rulers - grace.
He suffered from bad teeth and was generally of feeble health.
His body was covered in spots.
He had many birthmarks scattered over his chest and belly.
He held the offices of consul, tribune, high priest, and senator at the same time.
He would not be crowned emperor.
He kept the assemblies and government officials.
He made senators feel honored.
He had every soldier swear allegiance to him personally.
His imperial household took charge of the daily business of government.
He chose people o talent rather than birth.
This gave enslaved people and freedmen a chance to be part of the government.
He set up boundaries that would be easy to defend.
The Rhine and Danube rivers in the north.
His attempts at making the river Elbe instead of the Rhine the northwestern border ended in the Varian disaster.
In AD 9 Arminius, a German chieftain of great military skill, destroys three Roman legions in the Teutoburg Forest.
The Atlantic Ocean in the west.
The Sahara in the south.
He stationed soldiers at these location.
Augustus was not interested in conquering new territory.
He gave governors long terms in office.
They gained experience in their jobs.
He paid them large saleries.
There would be no need to overtax the people or keep money for themselves.
Ordered a census to be taken from time to time.
Achievements of Augustus
Made Rome more beautiful.
Wrote strict laws to govern the way people behaved in public.
He set up a fire brigade and a police force.
there were 35000 firmen and a fire chief.
He encouraged learning by building Rome's first library.
Augustus ruled for 41 years.
He brought peace to Rome.
He made Roman citizenship available to people in the provinces.
He reorganized the government so it ran well for 200 more years.
Death of Augustus
Augustus left Rome for the last time in AD 14.
He fell ill on the way to Capri.
He rested four days on Capri.
When they crossed back to the mainland Augustus passed away.
On 19 August AD 14, Augustus died at Nola , only one month away of his 76th birthday.
The body was taken to Rome and given a stately funeral.
His ashes were then placed in his Mausoleum.
Tiberius becomes emperor.
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Augustus. The Deeds of the Divine Augustus. Translated by Thomas Bushnell. 1998. 16 Nov 2007 http://classics.mit.edu/Augustus/deeds.html.
"Augustus Gaius Julius Ovctavius." 17
Nov. 2007. http://www.roman-empire.net/emperors/augustus.html.
Chew, Robin. "Augustus Caesar: First Roman Emperor." Sept. 1995. 16 Nov. 2007 http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/95sep/augustus.html.
"History of Augustus Caesar." History World. 18 Nov. 2007 http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=aa09.