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Emperor Augustus Essay

1587 words - 6 pages

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Emperor AugustusWhen examining men in ancient Western civilization, it would be hard to disregard the profound impact that Augustus Caesar left. Often regarded as the father of the Roman Empire, Augustus was responsible for transforming the unruly republic into one of the most well-known empires in the world. (Everitt)The man who would come to be known as Augustus and one of Rome's greatest and first emperors was born as Gaius Octavius on 23 September, 63 BC. He was raised in the small town of Velitrae, about twenty-five miles southeast of Rome. (Southern, 1) Octavius was born to a wealthy equestrian, or knight family which was considered to fall in the middle class. However, his family was far above the equestrian minimum in property ownership. Octavius was not close with his biological father, as he died when he was only four years old. His mother Atia, was the niece of Gaius Julius Caesar, a rich and powerful Roman politician and general. Octavius didn't meet his great uncle until he was a teenager and took a great liking for the boy, arranging for him to receive various decorations and become an honorary member of the Julian clan. (Everitt, 35)On March 15th 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated. Upon hearing the news, Octavius was grief-stricken. He further learned that Caesar had written a will leaving him with three-quarters of his wealth, and had posthumously adopted him as his son. His mother and stepfather warned him not to accept his new dangerous inheritance as the son of Caesar; however, Octavius rejected their position and accepted the legacy, stating that he would succeed to his power and avenge his father's murder. (Everitt, 57) He then changed his name to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. He didn't use the name of Octavianus, instead he preferred to be addressed as 'Caesar'. Historians however, refer to him as Octavian until he later was donned the new name of 'Augustus' in 27 BC.Octavian began his rise to power when he formally accepted his adoption as the heir of Caesar. Mark Antony, Caesar's close associate and unofficial second in command, was the executer of Caesar's will. When Octavian demanded that Antony relinquish the funds to pay out every Roman citizen 300 sesterces, Antony refused. (Matyszak, 80) As a result, Octavian raised the funds himself, which greatly increased his standing and popularity with the Roman people.Cicero, a long time enemy of Antony, attacked him in a series of speeches known as the Phillippics. When Antony left Rome to take command in Gaul, Cicero managed to persuade the senate into declaring him an enemy of the state. Thus in 43 BC, Octavian along with Hirtius and Pansa were sent to Mutina to aid one of Caesar's assassins, Decimus Brutus, whom Antony was fighting against in Cisalpine Gaul. (Matyszak 82) After two battles, Antony was defeated and Hirtius and Pansa were killed in battle, leaving Octavian in command of two consular armies. When the senate told Octavian to give the...

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