Page 1 of 7Take me to the pictures! (19 photos in photo gallery)

Gaius Octavius, later Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and Imperator Caesar Augustus (63 BCE - 14 CE) was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first emperor. Before being accorded the title Augustus by the Senate in 27 BCE, he was normally referred to as Octavian.

Portrait of Augustus
Portrait of Augustus

Gaius Octavius was a great-nephew of Julius Caesar (grandson of Caesar's sister Julia). His father Octavius was of undistinguished birth, but reached the praetorship and married Atia, a daughter of Caesar's only daughter Julia before his premature death when Gaius Octavius was four. Octavius grew up outside Rome in a small provincial city. His first public appearance was in 51 BCE when his grandmother Julia died and he delivered the eulogy at her funeral.

Reaching maturity in 48 BCE he embarked on a normal patrician career (as normal as it could be under Caesar's dictatorship), which included political, military and religious offices. Caesar must have noticed him early and advanced his career, but their relationship is not clear. It is not known why and when Caesar decided on Octavius as his successor.

Octavius was elected to the pontifical college in 48 BCE, and he participated in the four triumphs Caesar celebrated in 46 BCE. In 45 BCE he followed Caesar to Spain and fought honourably in the battle of Munda against the last of the followers of Pompey. In 44 BCE Octavius was in Illyricum in preparation for the Parthian campaign Caesar had planned.

When Caesar was murdered in 44 BCE, Octavius decided to return to Rome, but when he heard of the way Caesar was killed and that Caesar had adopted him as principal heir, he knew that he was in danger. Yet he returned to Rome as a private citizen to obtain the recognition of his adoption and to take possession of his vast inheritance.

This article has been split into 7 separate sections. Use the menu below to jump to another section.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Civil War
  3. Showdown with Marcus Antonius
  4. The Augustan Principate
  5. The Problem of Succession
  6. Literature and Links
  7. Photographs

View article as one (large) page

Documents related to "Octavian":

Documents linking to "Octavian":

This page is linked under the names "Octavian", "Augustus", "Augustus", "Gaius Octavius", "Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus" and "Imperator Caesar Augustus".

Copyright © 2005 René Seindal, last changed 2005-11-20

Venice Kayak - guided kayak tours in Venice, Italy