Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Augustus, first known as Caius Octavius, and afterwards as Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, with the honorary title of Augustus, was the first emperor of Rome. His father was the senator Octavius; his mother, Atia, the niece of Julius Caesar, who adopted his grand-nephew and left him the greater part of his wealth. At the time of Caesar's murder the young Octavius was studying in Greece. He returned to Rome and at the age of 20 was made consul in 43 B.C., having first taken up arms against Antony and then been reconciled with him. The two avengers of Caesar, forming with Lepidus a triumvirate, defeated Brutus and Cassius at Philippi, and then divided the empire between them, Octavius taking the west. In the proscriptions that ensued, the future Augustus, though praised afterwards for his kindliness of heart, seems to have been no more scrupulous than his colleagues. He next had to quell the rising of Sex. Pompeius in Sicily, and whilst this was going on he contrived to force Lepidus into private life. Antony was now his only rival, and at the instigation, it was thought, of Fulvia Octavius began hostilities, but the quarrel was patched up for a time, and on Fulvia's death Antony married Octavia, his colleague's sister. Cleopatra's influence over Antony, however, soon afforded a pretext for renewing strife, and at the Battle of Actium (31 B.C.) Octavius crushed his opponent and stood alone at the head of the Roman world. Three years later he received the title of Augustus. He professed a desire to retire from public life owing to weak health, but Maecenas and Agrippa dissuaded him. Whatever faults of licentiousness or ambition may have stained his early career, he was certainly an active, painstaking, and wise ruler. He visited most parts of the empire, legislated solely for the public good, and preserved the peace of his vast dominions for nearly half a century. His patronage of art and letters caused great lustre to be reflected on his reign and his private character. It is, indeed, probably true that, when his position was assured, he displayed clemency, affection, and fidelity. The praise of poets and courtiers turned his head in later years, and he assumed divine honours. Though four times married he had but one daughter, Julia, a disgrace to his house. He adopted Tiberius, the son of his wife Livia by her former husband, and on his death (14 A.D.) bequeathed to him the purple.