Octavian, The Greatest Roman Leader Essay

2098 words - 8 pages

Octavian enabled the long, nonviolent time of the Pax Romana, (Latin for Roman peace) by changing Rome from a frail, collapsing republican government to a powerful empire. He is known as the first, and one of the greatest, Roman Emperors ever. Octavian was born on September 23, 63 BC, and died in 14 AD. Born with the name Gaius Octavius Thurinus, he was adopted posthumously by his great-uncle Gaius Julius Caesar via his will, and then was named Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. This happened in 44 BC when his great uncle, Julius Caesar, was assassinated by a group of conspirators. Additionally, he received the name “Augustus” a term meaning “the revered one” from the Roman Senate in 27 BC. Because of the various names he had, it is common to call him Octavius while referring to the events that between 63 and 44 BC, Octavian when referring to events between 44 and 27 BC, and Augustus when referring to events after 27 BC. Octavian is arguably the single most important figure in Roman history. Ever since he was a young boy, he was destined to become the next great leader. For example, Octavian along with his friend Marcus Agrippa went to visit the Sibyl of Cumae (oracle). When the Sibyl saw him, she bowed at his feet and said that he would be the next great leader. He did not believe her at the time, but just a few years later Julius Caesar would be dead and he would have power. Over the course of his long and spectacular career as “Principate,” he put an end to the collapse of the Republic, and established a system that would stand in the Roman government for three centuries.
Octavian was the great nephew of Julius Caesar, and because of this relationship he had strong political connections in Rome. Caesar favored Octavian from a very young age. At just 15 years old, Caesar enrolled him in the priestly college of the Pontifaces and the hereditary Patrician class in Rome. After this, Octavian joined Caesar in the Spanish expedition in 46 BC despite of his delicate health. He earned the admiration of Caesar during this daring journey. Then Octavian was sent by Caesar to Apollonia, Greece to finish his education. Octavian was only eighteen years old and living in Apollonia, when he heard the news of Caesar’s assassination. He found out that he was Caesar’s adopted heir, and faced an array of advice from family, friends, and army officers. In 44 BC he took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, after the murder of Julius Caesar.
Octavian’s family begged him to stay where he was and renounce his inheritance because they thought the assassins of Caesar were very strong. Octavian did not take his families advice, and in a tremendously daring act he announced that he was going to Rome to claim what was his and avenge Caesar’s death. Instead he went directly to Brundisium and gathered the large amount of troops located there. To make sure that people knew who he was, he called himself “Caesar.” This identified him fully...

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