Roman Emperor. Born Gaius Octavius Thurinus, the son of Gaius Octavius, governor of Macedonia and his wife Atia, a niece of Julius Caesar. In 46 BC, he was asked to join Caesar in Hispania, but was shipwrecked en route. He came ashore with a few of other survivors and trekked across hostile territory to Caesar's camp. Apparently impressed by the boy, Caesar altered his will adopting Octavius as his son and leaving him the bulk of his fortune. When Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, his heir adopted the name Gaius Julius Caesar and moved to claim his legacy. He initially formed an uneasy alliance with Marcus Antonius and Marcus Lepidus, creating the Second Triumvirate. The Triumvirate proscribed or killed thousands of political enemies, firmly establishing their control. Eventually, the two ambitious men, Octavian and Antonius turned on one another in a play for power. Antonius allied himself with the Egyptian Queen and Octavian orchestrated a war upon his former ally. In 31 BC the Roman navy defeated the combined fleets of Antonius and Cleopatra, and within a year both had committed suicide. In 27 BC, the Roman Senate named Octavian ‘Augustus.' By 23 BC they had granted him extraordinary powers over Rome's religious, civil and military affairs effectively creating the first Roman Emperor. He married three times, but fathered only one daughter. His last wife was Livia Drusilla with whom he remained for over fifty years. The lack of a clear heir led to a great deal of political maneuvering and rumored assassinations. At one time or another, Augustus adopted his grandsons, his step-sons, and his son-in-law as heir. The Roman Empire expanded under Augustus, Spain, Gaul (present day France), Panonia and Dalmatia (present day Hungary and Croatia), Egypt, and most of southwestern Europe advancing the Roman frontier in Europe to the Danube and Rhine. No other Roman leader made such substantial additions to the Empire. Under Augustus almost one hundred years of civil war ended; he maintained a sound currency system; extended the highway system; developed an efficient postal service; fostered free trade among the provinces; and built many bridges, aqueducts, and buildings. Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Livy all lived on the emperor's patronage. Augustus fell ill in the summer of AD 14, apparently aware he would never recover, he summoned friends and family for a last goodbye. Augustus was deified soon after his death, and the cult of the Divine Augustus continued to exist until the state religion of the Empire was changed to Christianity in the 4th century. His rule was the foundation of a regime that lasted for 250 years. The name of the month of Sextilis was changed to August in his honor.
Bio by: Iola