The Life of Caesar Augustus
Caesar Augustus’ story is a classic rags to riches story. He began life humbly, but through a strange twist of events became the greatest leader of the Roman Empire. The perfect outline for a classic film, the story of Augustus’ life is full of triumphs over dangers, progress for the Empire, and personal devastations.
He was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus into a world of civil wars and unrest His family had little and he was a sickly child. Bad became worse when his father died when he was four. It seemed as though the prophecies about his greatness would not come to pass.
His closest male relative was his great uncle: the great Julius Caesar. In 46 BC when Caesar won the last of the civil wars and became dictator he had no heir and adopted Augustus. Caesar would not live long and was assassinated by his enemies when Augustus was 19. Augustus was now the leader of a nation that was still struggling.
Augustus’ needed to unify the nation in order to bring peace and prosperity. In spite of his failed relationship with the great general Marc Anthony he was able to stabilize the nation and it grew into Central Europe, North Africa and throughout the Middle East. Through the strength of Augustus’ reign, Rome experienced economic stability and a central monetary system was developed. He was able to reduce the out of control senate resulting in better organization and more effective leadership. The city of Rome was divided into wards, there were several public development projects such as improved roads and equitable taxes and promotion of the arts.
While he triumphed politically, militarily, and economically; he was still a humble man who lived frugally, caring more for the empire than himself while emperor fits his life and work, he preferred the title “princeps”: first among equals. He was plagued with many enemies and personal struggles. He valued conservativism and heralded the ‘old ways’ as the best way to live. His own daughter Julia had to be banished for public promiscuity. He was married three times but all of his heirs died before him leaving only Tiberius, stepson from his third wife, Livia, as heir. It was believed that Livia poisoned Augustus fearing that he would find a new heir. All around him crazy, terrible enemies were a constant shadow over the triumphs of his reign.
He was too young to lead, yet became the greatest leader of the greatest of ancient empires. He faced dangers abroad and sadly in his own home, but had the courage to continue. He inherited an unstable, uncivilized, unorganized group of people and turned them into a strong, prosperous nation that lasted for generations. He was born from nothing, yet was declared a god after his death.