Augustus (Latin: Imperator Caesar Divi filius Augustus;[nb 1] 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) was a Roman statesman and military leader who was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, controlling Imperial Rome from 27 BC until his death in AD 14.[nb 2] His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history. The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was largely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession.
Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian gens Octavia. His maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, and Octavius was named in Caesar's will as his adopted son and heir. Along with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at the Battle of Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves and ruled as military dictators. The Triumvirate was eventually torn apart by the competing ambitions of its members. Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, and Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Octavian in 31 BC.
After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward façade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, and the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator. By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including supreme military command, and those of tribune and censor. It took several years for Augustus to develop the framework within which a formally republican state could be led under his sole rule. He rejected monarchical titles, and instead called himself Princeps Civitatis ("First Citizen of the State"). The resulting constitutional framework became known as the Principate, the first phase of the Roman Empire.
Augustus dramatically enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, expanding possessions in Africa, and completing the conquest of Hispania, but suffered a major setback in Germania. Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, and rebuilt much of the city during his reign. Augustus died in AD 14 at the age of 75, probably from natural causes. However, there were unconfirmed rumors that his wife Livia poisoned him. He was succeeded as emperor by his adopted son (also stepson and former son-in-law) Tiberius.
Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century
|Emperor of the Roman Empire|
|Reign||16 January 27 BC –|
19 August AD 14
|Born||Gaius Octavius Thurinus|
23 September 63 BC
Rome, Roman Republic
|Died||19 August AD 14 (aged 75)|
Nola, Italia, Roman Empire
|Issue||Julia the Elder|
|Mother||Atia Balba Caesonia|
|Roman imperial dynasties|
A bust of Augustus, wearing the Civic Crown. Glyptothek, Munich.
|Augustus||27 BC – AD 14|
Julio-Claudian family tree
Year of the Four Emperors
As a consequence of Roman customs, society, and personal preference, Augustus (/ɔːˈɡʌstəs, əˈɡʌs-/; Classical Latin: [awˈɡʊstʊs]) was known by many names throughout his life:
While his paternal family was from the town of Velletri, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Rome, Augustus was born in the city of Rome on 23 September 63 BC. He was born at Ox Head, a small property on the Palatine Hill, very close to the Roman Forum. He was given the name Gaius Octavius Thurinus, his cognomen possibly commemorating his father's victory at Thurii over a rebellious band of slaves. Suetonius wrote: "There are many indications that the Octavian family was in days of old a distinguished one at Velitrae; for not only was a street in the most frequented part of town long ago called Octavian, but an altar was shown there besides, consecrated by an Octavius. This man was leader in a war with a neighbouring town ..." 
Due to the crowded nature of Rome at the time, Octavius was taken to his father's home village at Velletri to be raised. Octavius only mentions his father's equestrian family briefly in his memoirs. His paternal great-grandfather Gaius Octavius was a military tribune in Sicily during the Second Punic War. His grandfather had served in several local political offices. His father, also named Gaius Octavius, had been governor of Macedonia. His mother, Atia, was the niece of Julius Caesar.
In 59 BC, when he was four years old, his father died. His mother married a former governor of Syria, Lucius Marcius Philippus. Philippus claimed descent from Alexander the Great, and was elected consul in 56 BC. Philippus never had much of an interest in young Octavius. Because of this, Octavius was raised by his grandmother, Julia, the sister of Julius Caesar. Julia died in 52 or 51 BC, and Octavius delivered the funeral oration for his grandmother. From this point, his mother and stepfather took a more active role in raising him. He donned the toga virilis four years later, and was elected to the College of Pontiffs in 47 BC. The following year he was put in charge of the Greek games that were staged in honor of the Temple of Venus Genetrix, built by Julius Caesar. According to Nicolaus of Damascus, Octavius wished to join Caesar's staff for his campaign in Africa, but gave way when his mother protested. In 46 BC, she consented for him to join Caesar in Hispania, where he planned to fight the forces of Pompey, Caesar's late enemy, but Octavius fell ill and was unable to travel.
When he had recovered, he sailed to the front, but was shipwrecked; after coming ashore with a handful of companions, he crossed hostile territory to Caesar's camp, which impressed his great-uncle considerably. Velleius Paterculus reports that after that time, Caesar allowed the young man to share his carriage. When back in Rome, Caesar deposited a new will with the Vestal Virgins, naming Octavius as the prime beneficiary.
Octavius was studying and undergoing military training in Apollonia, Illyria, when Julius Caesar was killed on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC. He rejected the advice of some army officers to take refuge with the troops in Macedonia and sailed to Italy to ascertain whether he had any potential political fortunes or security. Caesar had no living legitimate children under Roman law,[nb 3] and so had adopted Octavius, his grand-nephew, making him his primary heir. Mark Antony later charged that Octavian had earned his adoption by Caesar through sexual favours, though Suetonius describes Antony's accusation as political slander. After landing at Lupiae near Brundisium, Octavius learned the contents of Caesar's will, and only then did he decide to become Caesar's political heir as well as heir to two-thirds of his estate.
Upon his adoption, Octavius assumed his great-uncle's name Gaius Julius Caesar. Roman citizens adopted into a new family usually retained their old nomen in cognomen form (e.g., Octavianus for one who had been an Octavius, Aemilianus for one who had been an Aemilius, etc.). However, though some of his contemporaries did, there is no evidence that Octavius ever himself officially used the name Octavianus, as it would have made his modest origins too obvious. Historians usually refer to the new Caesar as Octavian during the time between his adoption and his assumption of the name Augustus in 27 BC in order to avoid confusing the dead dictator with his heir.
Octavian could not rely on his limited funds to make a successful entry into the upper echelons of the Roman political hierarchy. After a warm welcome by Caesar's soldiers at Brundisium, Octavian demanded a portion of the funds that were allotted by Caesar for the intended war against the Parthian Empire in the Middle East. This amounted to 700 million sesterces stored at Brundisium, the staging ground in Italy for military operations in the east.
A later senatorial investigation into the disappearance of the public funds took no action against Octavian, since he subsequently used that money to raise troops against the Senate's arch enemy Mark Antony. Octavian made another bold move in 44 BC when, without official permission, he appropriated the annual tribute that had been sent from Rome's Near Eastern province to Italy.
Octavian began to bolster his personal forces with Caesar's veteran legionaries and with troops designated for the Parthian war, gathering support by emphasizing his status as heir to Caesar. On his march to Rome through Italy, Octavian's presence and newly acquired funds attracted many, winning over Caesar's former veterans stationed in Campania. By June, he had gathered an army of 3,000 loyal veterans, paying each a salary of 500 denarii.
Arriving in Rome on 6 May 44 BC, Octavian found consul Mark Antony, Caesar's former colleague, in an uneasy truce with the dictator's assassins. They had been granted a general amnesty on 17 March, yet Antony had succeeded in driving most of them out of Rome with an inflammatory eulogy at Caesar's funeral, mounting public opinion against the assassins.
Mark Antony was amassing political support, but Octavian still had opportunity to rival him as the leading member of the faction supporting Caesar. Mark Antony had lost the support of many Romans and supporters of Caesar when he initially opposed the motion to elevate Caesar to divine status. Octavian failed to persuade Antony to relinquish Caesar's money to him. During the summer, he managed to win support from Caesarian sympathizers and also made common with the Optimates, the former enemies of Caesar, who saw him as the lesser evil and hoped to manipulate him. In September, the leading Optimate orator Marcus Tullius Cicero began to attack Antony in a series of speeches portraying him as a threat to the Republican order.
With opinion in Rome turning against him and his year of consular power nearing its end, Antony attempted to pass laws that would assign him the province of Cisalpine Gaul. Octavian meanwhile built up a private army in Italy by recruiting Caesarian veterans and, on 28 November, he won over two of Antony's legions with the enticing offer of monetary gain.
In the face of Octavian's large and capable force, Antony saw the danger of staying in Rome and, to the relief of the Senate, he left Rome for Cisalpine Gaul, which was to be handed to him on 1 January. However, the province had earlier been assigned to Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, one of Caesar's assassins, who now refused to yield to Antony. Antony besieged him at Mutina and rejected the resolutions passed by the Senate to stop the fighting. The Senate had no army to enforce their resolutions. This provided an opportunity for Octavian, who already was known to have armed forces. Cicero also defended Octavian against Antony's taunts about Octavian's lack of noble lineage and aping of Julius Caesar's name, stating "we have no more brilliant example of traditional piety among our youth."
At the urging of Cicero, the Senate inducted Octavian as senator on 1 January 43 BC, yet he also was given the power to vote alongside the former consuls. In addition, Octavian was granted propraetor imperium (commanding power) which legalized his command of troops, sending him to relieve the siege along with Hirtius and Pansa (the consuls for 43 BC). In April 43 BC, Antony's forces were defeated at the battles of Forum Gallorum and Mutina, forcing Antony to retreat to Transalpine Gaul. Both consuls were killed, however, leaving Octavian in sole command of their armies.
The senate heaped many more rewards on Decimus Brutus than on Octavian for defeating Antony, then attempted to give command of the consular legions to Decimus Brutus. In response, Octavian stayed in the Po Valley and refused to aid any further offensive against Antony. In July, an embassy of centurions sent by Octavian entered Rome and demanded the consulship left vacant by Hirtius and Pansa and also that the decree should be rescinded which declared Antony a public enemy. When this was refused, he marched on the city with eight legions. He encountered no military opposition in Rome, and on 19 August 43 BC was elected consul with his relative Quintus Pedius as co-consul. Meanwhile, Antony formed an alliance with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, another leading Caesarian.
In a meeting near Bologna in October 43 BC, Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate. This explicit arrogation of special powers lasting five years was then legalised by law passed by the plebs, unlike the unofficial First Triumvirate formed by Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Licinius Crassus. The triumvirs then set in motion proscriptions, in which between 130 and 300 senators[nb 4] and 2,000 equites were branded as outlaws and deprived of their property and, for those who failed to escape, their lives. This decree issued by the triumvirate was motivated in part by a need to raise money to pay the salaries of their troops for the upcoming conflict against Caesar's assassins, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Rewards for their arrest gave incentive for Romans to capture those proscribed, while the assets and properties of those arrested were seized by the triumvirs.
Contemporary Roman historians provide conflicting reports as to which triumvir was most responsible for the proscriptions and killing. However, the sources agree that enacting the proscriptions was a means by all three factions to eliminate political enemies. Marcus Velleius Paterculus asserted that Octavian tried to avoid proscribing officials whereas Lepidus and Antony were to blame for initiating them. Cassius Dio defended Octavian as trying to spare as many as possible, whereas Antony and Lepidus, being older and involved in politics longer, had many more enemies to deal with.
This claim was rejected by Appian, who maintained that Octavian shared an equal interest with Lepidus and Antony in eradicating his enemies. Suetonius said that Octavian was reluctant to proscribe officials, but did pursue his enemies with more vigor than the other triumvirs. Plutarch described the proscriptions as a ruthless and cutthroat swapping of friends and family among Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian. For example, Octavian allowed the proscription of his ally Cicero, Antony the proscription of his maternal uncle Lucius Julius Caesar (the consul of 64 BC), and Lepidus his brother Paullus.
On 1 January 42 BC, the Senate posthumously recognized Julius Caesar as a divinity of the Roman state, Divus Iulius. Octavian was able to further his cause by emphasizing the fact that he was Divi filius, "Son of the Divine". Antony and Octavian then sent 28 legions by sea to face the armies of Brutus and Cassius, who had built their base of power in Greece. After two battles at Philippi in Macedonia in October 42, the Caesarian army was victorious and Brutus and Cassius committed suicide. Mark Antony later used the examples of these battles as a means to belittle Octavian, as both battles were decisively won with the use of Antony's forces. In addition to claiming responsibility for both victories, Antony also branded Octavian as a coward for handing over his direct military control to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa instead.
After Philippi, a new territorial arrangement was made among the members of the Second Triumvirate. Gaul and the province of Hispania were placed in the hands of Octavian. Antony traveled east to Egypt where he allied himself with Queen Cleopatra VII, the former lover of Julius Caesar and mother of Caesar's infant son Caesarion. Lepidus was left with the province of Africa, stymied by Antony, who conceded Hispania to Octavian instead.
Octavian was left to decide where in Italy to settle the tens of thousands of veterans of the Macedonian campaign, whom the triumvirs had promised to discharge. The tens of thousands who had fought on the republican side with Brutus and Cassius could easily ally with a political opponent of Octavian if not appeased, and they also required land. There was no more government-controlled land to allot as settlements for their soldiers, so Octavian had to choose one of two options: alienating many Roman citizens by confiscating their land, or alienating many Roman soldiers who could mount a considerable opposition against him in the Roman heartland. Octavian chose the former. There were as many as eighteen Roman towns affected by the new settlements, with entire populations driven out or at least given partial evictions.
There was widespread dissatisfaction with Octavian over these settlements of his soldiers, and this encouraged many to rally at the side of Lucius Antonius, who was brother of Mark Antony and supported by a majority in the Senate. Meanwhile, Octavian asked for a divorce from Clodia Pulchra, the daughter of Fulvia (Mark Antony's wife) and her first husband Publius Clodius Pulcher. He returned Clodia to her mother, claiming that their marriage had never been consummated. Fulvia decided to take action. Together with Lucius Antonius, she raised an army in Italy to fight for Antony's rights against Octavian. Lucius and Fulvia took a political and martial gamble in opposing Octavian, however, since the Roman army still depended on the triumvirs for their salaries. Lucius and his allies ended up in a defensive siege at Perusia (modern Perugia), where Octavian forced them into surrender in early 40 BC.
Lucius and his army were spared, due to his kinship with Antony, the strongman of the East, while Fulvia was exiled to Sicyon. Octavian showed no mercy, however, for the mass of allies loyal to Lucius; on 15 March, the anniversary of Julius Caesar's assassination, he had 300 Roman senators and equestrians executed for allying with Lucius. Perusia also was pillaged and burned as a warning for others. This bloody event sullied Octavian's reputation and was criticized by many, such as Augustan poet Sextus Propertius.
Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey and still a renegade general following Julius Caesar's victory over his father, had established himself in Sicily and Sardinia as part of an agreement reached with the Second Triumvirate in 39 BC. Both Antony and Octavian were vying for an alliance with Pompeius. Octavian succeeded in a temporary alliance in 40 BC when he married Scribonia, a sister or daughter of Pompeius' father-in-law Lucius Scribonius Libo. Scribonia gave birth to Octavian's only natural child, Julia, the same day that he divorced her to marry Livia Drusilla, little more than a year after their marriage.
While in Egypt, Antony had been engaged in an affair with Cleopatra and had fathered three children with her.[nb 5] Aware of his deteriorating relationship with Octavian, Antony left Cleopatra; he sailed to Italy in 40 BC with a large force to oppose Octavian, laying siege to Brundisium. This new conflict proved untenable for both Octavian and Antony, however. Their centurions, who had become important figures politically, refused to fight due to their Caesarian cause, while the legions under their command followed suit. Meanwhile, in Sicyon, Antony's wife Fulvia died of a sudden illness while Antony was en route to meet her. Fulvia's death and the mutiny of their centurions allowed the two remaining triumvirs to effect a reconciliation.
In the autumn of 40, Octavian and Antony approved the Treaty of Brundisium, by which Lepidus would remain in Africa, Antony in the East, Octavian in the West. The Italian Peninsula was left open to all for the recruitment of soldiers, but in reality, this provision was useless for Antony in the East. To further cement relations of alliance with Mark Antony, Octavian gave his sister, Octavia Minor, in marriage to Antony in late 40 BC.
Sextus Pompeius threatened Octavian in Italy by denying shipments of grain through the Mediterranean Sea to the peninsula. Pompeius' own son was put in charge as naval commander in the effort to cause widespread famine in Italy. Pompeius' control over the sea prompted him to take on the name Neptuni filius, "son of Neptune". A temporary peace agreement was reached in 39 BC with the treaty of Misenum; the blockade on Italy was lifted once Octavian granted Pompeius Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, and the Peloponnese, and ensured him a future position as consul for 35 BC.
The territorial agreement between the triumvirate and Sextus Pompeius began to crumble once Octavian divorced Scribonia and married Livia on 17 January 38 BC. One of Pompeius' naval commanders betrayed him and handed over Corsica and Sardinia to Octavian. Octavian lacked the resources to confront Pompeius alone, however, so an agreement was reached with the Second Triumvirate's extension for another five-year period beginning in 37 BC.
In supporting Octavian, Antony expected to gain support for his own campaign against the Parthian Empire, desiring to avenge Rome's defeat at Carrhae in 53 BC. In an agreement reached at Tarentum, Antony provided 120 ships for Octavian to use against Pompeius, while Octavian was to send 20,000 legionaries to Antony for use against Parthia. Octavian sent only a tenth of those promised, however, which Antony viewed as an intentional provocation.
Octavian and Lepidus launched a joint operation against Sextus in Sicily in 36 BC. Despite setbacks for Octavian, the naval fleet of Sextus Pompeius was almost entirely destroyed on 3 September by General Agrippa at the naval Battle of Naulochus. Sextus fled to the east with his remaining forces, where he was captured and executed in Miletus by one of Antony's generals the following year. As Lepidus and Octavian accepted the surrender of Pompeius' troops, Lepidus attempted to claim Sicily for himself, ordering Octavian to leave. Lepidus' troops deserted him, however, and defected to Octavian since they were weary of fighting and were enticed by Octavian's promises of money.
Lepidus surrendered to Octavian and was permitted to retain the office of Pontifex Maximus (head of the college of priests), but was ejected from the Triumvirate, his public career at an end, and effectively was exiled to a villa at Cape Circei in Italy. The Roman dominions were now divided between Octavian in the West and Antony in the East. Octavian ensured Rome's citizens of their rights to property in order to maintain peace and stability in his portion of the Empire. This time, he settled his discharged soldiers outside of Italy, while also returning 30,000 slaves to their former Roman owners—slaves who had fled to join Pompeius' army and navy. Octavian had the Senate grant him, his wife, and his sister tribunal immunity, or sacrosanctitas, in order to ensure his own safety and that of Livia and Octavia once he returned to Rome.
Meanwhile, Antony's campaign turned disastrous against Parthia, tarnishing his image as a leader, and the mere 2,000 legionaries sent by Octavian to Antony were hardly enough to replenish his forces. On the other hand, Cleopatra could restore his army to full strength; he already was engaged in a romantic affair with her, so he decided to send Octavia back to Rome. Octavian used this to spread propaganda implying that Antony was becoming less than Roman because he rejected a legitimate Roman spouse for an "Oriental paramour". In 36 BC, Octavian used a political ploy to make himself look less autocratic and Antony more the villain by proclaiming that the civil wars were coming to an end, and that he would step down as triumvir—if only Antony would do the same. Antony refused.
Roman troops captured the Kingdom of Armenia in 34 BC, and Antony made his son Alexander Helios the ruler of Armenia. He also awarded the title "Queen of Kings" to Cleopatra, acts that Octavian used to convince the Roman Senate that Antony had ambitions to diminish the preeminence of Rome. Octavian became consul once again on 1 January 33 BC, and he opened the following session in the Senate with a vehement attack on Antony's grants of titles and territories to his relatives and to his queen.
The breach between Antony and Octavian prompted a large portion of the Senators, as well as both of that year's consuls, to leave Rome and defect to Antony. However, Octavian received two key deserters from Antony in the autumn of 32 BC: Munatius Plancus and Marcus Titius. These defectors gave Octavian the information that he needed to confirm with the Senate all the accusations that he made against Antony.
Octavian forcibly entered the temple of the Vestal Virgins and seized Antony's secret will, which he promptly publicized. The will would have given away Roman-conquered territories as kingdoms for his sons to rule, and designated Alexandria as the site for a tomb for him and his queen. In late 32 BC, the Senate officially revoked Antony's powers as consul and declared war on Cleopatra's regime in Egypt.
In early 31 BC, Antony and Cleopatra were temporarily stationed in Greece when Octavian gained a preliminary victory: the navy successfully ferried troops across the Adriatic Sea under the command of Agrippa. Agrippa cut off Antony and Cleopatra's main force from their supply routes at sea, while Octavian landed on the mainland opposite the island of Corcyra (modern Corfu) and marched south. Trapped on land and sea, deserters of Antony's army fled to Octavian's side daily while Octavian's forces were comfortable enough to make preparations.
Antony's fleet sailed through the bay of Actium on the western coast of Greece in a desperate attempt to break free of the naval blockade. It was there that Antony's fleet faced the much larger fleet of smaller, more maneuverable ships under commanders Agrippa and Gaius Sosius in the Battle of Actium on 2 September 31 BC. Antony and his remaining forces were spared only due to a last-ditch effort by Cleopatra's fleet that had been waiting nearby.
Octavian pursued them and defeated their forces in Alexandria on 1 August 30 BC—after which Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Antony fell on his own sword and was taken by his soldiers back to Alexandria where he died in Cleopatra's arms. Cleopatra died soon after, reputedly by the venomous bite of an asp or by poison. Octavian had exploited his position as Caesar's heir to further his own political career, and he was well aware of the dangers in allowing another person to do the same. He therefore followed the advice of Arius Didymus that "two Caesars are one too many", ordering Caesarion, Julius Caesar's son by Cleopatra, killed, while sparing Cleopatra's children by Antony, with the exception of Antony's older son. Octavian had previously shown little mercy to surrendered enemies and acted in ways that had proven unpopular with the Roman people, yet he was given credit for pardoning many of his opponents after the Battle of Actium.
After Actium and the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian was in a position to rule the entire Republic under an unofficial principate—but he had to achieve this through incremental power gains. He did so by courting the Senate and the people while upholding the republican traditions of Rome, appearing that he was not aspiring to dictatorship or monarchy. Marching into Rome, Octavian and Marcus Agrippa were elected as dual consuls by the Senate.
Years of civil war had left Rome in a state of near lawlessness, but the Republic was not prepared to accept the control of Octavian as a despot. At the same time, Octavian could not simply give up his authority without risking further civil wars among the Roman generals and, even if he desired no position of authority whatsoever, his position demanded that he look to the well-being of the city of Rome and the Roman provinces. Octavian's aims from this point forward were to return Rome to a state of stability, traditional legality, and civility by lifting the overt political pressure imposed on the courts of law and ensuring free elections—in name at least.
In 27 BC, Octavian made a show of returning full power to the Roman Senate and relinquishing his control of the Roman provinces and their armies. Under his consulship, however, the Senate had little power in initiating legislation by introducing bills for senatorial debate. Octavian was no longer in direct control of the provinces and their armies, but he retained the loyalty of active duty soldiers and veterans alike. The careers of many clients and adherents depended on his patronage, as his financial power was unrivaled in the Roman Republic. Historian Werner Eck states:
The sum of his power derived first of all from various powers of office delegated to him by the Senate and people, secondly from his immense private fortune, and thirdly from numerous patron-client relationships he established with individuals and groups throughout the Empire. All of them taken together formed the basis of his auctoritas, which he himself emphasized as the foundation of his political actions.
To a large extent, the public were aware of the vast financial resources that Octavian commanded. He failed to encourage enough senators to finance the building and maintenance of networks of roads in Italy in 20 BC, but he undertook direct responsibility for them. This was publicized on the Roman currency issued in 16 BC, after he donated vast amounts of money to the aerarium Saturni, the public treasury.
According to H. H. Scullard, however, Octavian's power was based on the exercise of "a predominant military power and ... the ultimate sanction of his authority was force, however much the fact was disguised." The Senate proposed to Octavian, the victor of Rome's civil wars, that he once again assume command of the provinces. The Senate's proposal was a ratification of Octavian's extra-constitutional power. Through the Senate, Octavian was able to continue the appearance of a still-functional constitution. Feigning reluctance, he accepted a ten-year responsibility of overseeing provinces that were considered chaotic.
The provinces ceded to him for that ten-year period comprised much of the conquered Roman world, including all of Hispania and Gaul, Syria, Cilicia, Cyprus, and Egypt. Moreover, command of these provinces provided Octavian with control over the majority of Rome's legions.
While Octavian acted as consul in Rome, he dispatched senators to the provinces under his command as his representatives to manage provincial affairs and ensure that his orders were carried out. The provinces not under Octavian's control were overseen by governors chosen by the Roman Senate. Octavian became the most powerful political figure in the city of Rome and in most of its provinces, but he did not have a monopoly on political and martial power.
The Senate still controlled North Africa, an important regional producer of grain, as well as Illyria and Macedonia, two strategic regions with several legions. However, the Senate had control of only five or six legions distributed among three senatorial proconsuls, compared to the twenty legions under the control of Octavian, and their control of these regions did not amount to any political or military challenge to Octavian.
The Senate's control over some of the Roman provinces helped maintain a republican façade for the autocratic Principate. Also, Octavian's control of entire provinces followed Republican-era precedents for the objective of securing peace and creating stability, in which such prominent Romans as Pompey had been granted similar military powers in times of crisis and instability.
On 16 January 27 BC the Senate gave Octavian the new titles of Augustus and Princeps. Augustus is from the Latin word Augere (meaning to increase) and can be translated as "the illustrious one". It was a title of religious authority rather than political authority. His new title of Augustus was also more favorable than Romulus, the previous one which he styled for himself in reference to the story of the legendary founder of Rome, which symbolized a second founding of Rome. The title of Romulus was associated too strongly with notions of monarchy and kingship, an image that Octavian tried to avoid. The title princeps senatus originally meant the member of the Senate with the highest precedence, but in the case of Augustus, it became an almost regnal title for a leader who was first in charge. Augustus also styled himself as Imperator Caesar divi filius, "Commander Caesar son of the deified one". With this title, he boasted his familial link to deified Julius Caesar, and the use of Imperator signified a permanent link to the Roman tradition of victory. He transformed Caesar, a cognomen for one branch of the Julian family, into a new family line that began with him.
Augustus was granted the right to hang the corona civica above his door, the "civic crown" made from oak, and to have laurels drape his doorposts. However, he renounced flaunting insignia of power such as holding a scepter, wearing a diadem, or wearing the golden crown and purple toga of his predecessor Julius Caesar. If he refused to symbolize his power by donning and bearing these items on his person, the Senate nonetheless awarded him with a golden shield displayed in the meeting hall of the Curia, bearing the inscription virtus, pietas, clementia, iustitia—"valor, piety, clemency, and justice."
By 23 BC, some of the un-Republican implications were becoming apparent concerning the settlement of 27 BC. Augustus' retention of an annual consulate drew attention to his de facto dominance over the Roman political system, and cut in half the opportunities for others to achieve what was still nominally the preeminent position in the Roman state. Further, he was causing political problems by desiring to have his nephew Marcus Claudius Marcellus follow in his footsteps and eventually assume the Principate in his turn,[nb 6] alienating his three greatest supporters – Agrippa, Maecenas, and Livia. He appointed noted Republican Calpurnius Piso as co-consul in 23 BC, after his choice Aulus Terentius Varro Murena (who had fought against Julius Caesar and supported Cassius and Brutus) was executed in consequence of his involvement in the Marcus Primus affair.
In the late spring Augustus suffered a severe illness, and on his supposed deathbed made arrangements that would ensure the continuation of the Principate in some form, while allaying senators' suspicions of his anti-republicanism. Augustus prepared to hand down his signet ring to his favored general Agrippa. However, Augustus handed over to his co-consul Piso all of his official documents, an account of public finances, and authority over listed troops in the provinces while Augustus' supposedly favored nephew Marcellus came away empty-handed. This was a surprise to many who believed Augustus would have named an heir to his position as an unofficial emperor.
Augustus bestowed only properties and possessions to his designated heirs, as an obvious system of institutionalized imperial inheritance would have provoked resistance and hostility among the republican-minded Romans fearful of monarchy. With regards to the Principate, it was obvious to Augustus that Marcellus was not ready to take on his position; nonetheless, by giving his signet ring to Agrippa, Augustus intended to signal to the legions that Agrippa was to be his successor, and that constitutional procedure notwithstanding, they should continue to obey Agrippa.
Soon after his bout of illness subsided, Augustus gave up his consulship. The only other times Augustus would serve as consul would be in the years 5 and 2 BC, both times to introduce his grandsons into public life. This was a clever ploy by Augustus; ceasing to serve as one of two annually elected consuls allowed aspiring senators a better chance to attain the consular position, while allowing Augustus to exercise wider patronage within the senatorial class. Although Augustus had resigned as consul, he desired to retain his consular imperium not just in his provinces but throughout the empire. This desire, as well as the Marcus Primus Affair, led to a second compromise between him and the Senate known as the Second Settlement.
The primary reasons for the Second Settlement were as follows. First, after Augustus relinquished the annual consulship, he was no longer in an official position to rule the state, yet his dominant position remained unchanged over his Roman, 'imperial' provinces where he was still a proconsul. When he annually held the office of consul, he had the power to intervene with the affairs of the other provincial proconsuls appointed by the Senate throughout the empire, when he deemed necessary.
A second problem later arose showing the need for the Second Settlement in what became known as the "Marcus Primus Affair". In late 24 or early 23 BC, charges were brought against Marcus Primus, the former proconsul (governor) of Macedonia, for waging a war without prior approval of the Senate on the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace, whose king was a Roman ally. He was defended by Lucius Lucinius Varro Murena, who told the trial that his client had received specific instructions from Augustus, ordering him to attack the client state. Later, Primus testified that the orders came from the recently deceased Marcellus.
Such orders, had they been given, would have been considered a breach of the Senate's prerogative under the Constitutional settlement of 27 BC and its aftermath—i.e., before Augustus was granted imperium proconsulare maius—as Macedonia was a Senatorial province under the Senate's jurisdiction, not an imperial province under the authority of Augustus. Such an action would have ripped away the veneer of Republican restoration as promoted by Augustus, and exposed his fraud of merely being the first citizen, a first among equals. Even worse, the involvement of Marcellus provided some measure of proof that Augustus' policy was to have the youth take his place as Princeps, instituting a form of monarchy – accusations that had already played out.
The situation was so serious that Augustus himself appeared at the trial, even though he had not been called as a witness. Under oath, Augustus declared that he gave no such order. Murena disbelieved Augustus' testimony and resented his attempt to subvert the trial by using his auctoritas. He rudely demanded to know why Augustus had turned up to a trial to which he had not been called; Augustus replied that he came in the public interest. Although Primus was found guilty, some jurors voted to acquit, meaning that not everybody believed Augustus' testimony, an insult to the 'August One'.
The Second Constitutional Settlement was completed in part to allay confusion and formalize Augustus' legal authority to intervene in Senatorial provinces. The Senate granted Augustus a form of general imperium proconsulare, or proconsular imperium (power) that applied throughout the empire, not solely to his provinces. Moreover, the Senate augmented Augustus' proconsular imperium into imperium proconsulare maius, or proconsular imperium applicable throughout the empire that was more (maius) or greater than that held by the other proconsuls. This in effect gave Augustus constitutional power superior to all other proconsuls in the empire. Augustus stayed in Rome during the renewal process and provided veterans with lavish donations to gain their support, thereby ensuring that his status of proconsular imperium maius was renewed in 13 BC.
During the second settlement, Augustus was also granted the power of a tribune (tribunicia potestas) for life, though not the official title of tribune. For some years, Augustus had been awarded tribunicia sacrosanctitas, the immunity given to a Tribune of the Plebs. Now he decided to assume the full powers of the magistracy, renewed annually, in perpetuity. Legally, it was closed to patricians, a status that Augustus had acquired some years earlier when adopted by Julius Caesar.
This power allowed him to convene the Senate and people at will and lay business before them, to veto the actions of either the Assembly or the Senate, to preside over elections, and to speak first at any meeting. Also included in Augustus' tribunician authority were powers usually reserved for the Roman censor; these included the right to supervise public morals and scrutinize laws to ensure that they were in the public interest, as well as the ability to hold a census and determine the membership of the Senate.
With the powers of a censor, Augustus appealed to virtues of Roman patriotism by banning all attire but the classic toga while entering the Forum. There was no precedent within the Roman system for combining the powers of the tribune and the censor into a single position, nor was Augustus ever elected to the office of censor. Julius Caesar had been granted similar powers, wherein he was charged with supervising the morals of the state. However, this position did not extend to the censor's ability to hold a census and determine the Senate's roster. The office of the tribunus plebis began to lose its prestige due to Augustus' amassing of tribunal powers, so he revived its importance by making it a mandatory appointment for any plebeian desiring the praetorship.
Augustus was granted sole imperium within the city of Rome itself, in addition to being granted proconsular imperium maius and tribunician authority for life. Traditionally, proconsuls (Roman province governors) lost their proconsular "imperium" when they crossed the Pomerium – the sacred boundary of Rome – and entered the city. In these situations, Augustus would have power as part of his tribunician authority but his constitutional imperium within the Pomerium would be less than that of a serving consul. That would mean that, when he was in the city, he might not be the constitutional magistrate with the most authority. Thanks to his prestige or auctoritas, his wishes would usually be obeyed, but there might be some difficulty. To fill this power vacuum, the Senate voted that Augustus' imperium proconsulare maius (superior proconsular power) should not lapse when he was inside the city walls. All armed forces in the city had formerly been under the control of the urban praetors and consuls, but this situation now placed them under the sole authority of Augustus.
In addition, the credit was given to Augustus for each subsequent Roman military victory after this time, because the majority of Rome's armies were stationed in imperial provinces commanded by Augustus through the legatus who were deputies of the princeps in the provinces. Moreover, if a battle was fought in a Senatorial province, Augustus' proconsular imperium maius allowed him to take command of (or credit for) any major military victory. This meant that Augustus was the only individual able to receive a triumph, a tradition that began with Romulus, Rome's first King and first triumphant general. Lucius Cornelius Balbus was the last man outside Augustus' family to receive this award, in 19 BC. Tiberius, Augustus' eldest stepson by Livia, was the only other general to receive a triumph—for victories in Germania in 7 BC.
Many of the political subtleties of the Second Settlement seem to have evaded the comprehension of the Plebeian class, who were Augustus' greatest supporters and clientele. This caused them to insist upon Augustus' participation in imperial affairs from time to time. Augustus failed to stand for election as consul in 22 BC, and fears arose once again that he was being forced from power by the aristocratic Senate. In 22, 21, and 19 BC, the people rioted in response, and only allowed a single consul to be elected for each of those years, ostensibly to leave the other position open for Augustus.
Likewise, there was a food shortage in Rome in 22 BC which sparked panic, while many urban plebs called for Augustus to take on dictatorial powers to personally oversee the crisis. After a theatrical display of refusal before the Senate, Augustus finally accepted authority over Rome's grain supply "by virtue of his proconsular imperium", and ended the crisis almost immediately. It was not until AD 8 that a food crisis of this sort prompted Augustus to establish a praefectus annonae, a permanent prefect who was in charge of procuring food supplies for Rome.
There were some who were concerned by the expansion of powers granted to Augustus by the Second Settlement, and this came to a head with the apparent conspiracy of Fannius Caepio. Some time prior to 1 September 22 BC, a certain Castricius provided Augustus with information about a conspiracy led by Fannius Caepio. Murena was named among the conspirators, the outspoken Consul who defended Primus in the Marcus Primus Affair. The conspirators were tried in absentia with Tiberius acting as prosecutor; the jury found them guilty, but it was not a unanimous verdict. All the accused were sentenced to death for treason and executed as soon as they were captured—without ever giving testimony in their defence. Augustus ensured that the facade of Republican government continued with an effective cover-up of the events.
In 19 BC, the Senate granted Augustus a form of 'general consular imperium', which was probably 'imperium consulare maius', like the proconsular powers that he received in 23 BC. Like his tribune authority, the consular powers were another instance of gaining power from offices that he did not actually hold. In addition, Augustus was allowed to wear the consul's insignia in public and before the Senate, as well as to sit in the symbolic chair between the two consuls and hold the fasces, an emblem of consular authority. This seems to have assuaged the populace; regardless of whether or not Augustus was a consul, the importance was that he both appeared as one before the people and could exercise consular power if necessary. On 6 March 12 BC, after the death of Lepidus, he additionally took up the position of pontifex maximus, the high priest of the college of the Pontiffs, the most important position in Roman religion. On 5 February 2 BC, Augustus was also given the title pater patriae, or "father of the country".
A final reason for the Second Settlement was to give the Principate constitutional stability and staying power in case something happened to Princeps Augustus. His illness of early 23 BC and the Caepio conspiracy showed that the regime's existence hung by the thin thread of the life of one man, Augustus himself, who suffered from several severe and dangerous illnesses throughout his life. If he were to die from natural causes or fall victim to assassination, Rome could be subjected to another round of civil war. The memories of Pharsalus, the Ides of March, the proscriptions, Philippi, and Actium, barely twenty-five years distant, were still vivid in the minds of many citizens. Proconsular imperium was conferred upon Agrippa for five years, similar to Augustus' power, in order to accomplish this constitutional stability. The exact nature of the grant is uncertain but it probably covered Augustus' imperial provinces, east and west, perhaps lacking authority over the provinces of the Senate. That came later, as did the jealously guarded tribunicia potestas. Augustus' accumulation of powers were now complete. In fact, he dated his 'reign' from the completion of the Second Settlement, 1 July 23 BC.
Augustus chose Imperator ("victorious commander") to be his first name, since he wanted to make an emphatically clear connection between himself and the notion of victory, and consequently became known as Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus. By the year 13, Augustus boasted 21 occasions where his troops proclaimed "imperator" as his title after a successful battle. Almost the entire fourth chapter in his publicly released memoirs of achievements known as the Res Gestae was devoted to his military victories and honors.
Augustus also promoted the ideal of a superior Roman civilization with a task of ruling the world (to the extent to which the Romans knew it), a sentiment embodied in words that the contemporary poet Virgil attributes to a legendary ancestor of Augustus: tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento—"Roman, remember by your strength to rule the Earth's peoples!" The impulse for expansionism was apparently prominent among all classes at Rome, and it is accorded divine sanction by Virgil's Jupiter in Book 1 of the Aeneid, where Jupiter promises Rome imperium sine fine, "sovereignty without end".
By the end of his reign, the armies of Augustus had conquered northern Hispania (modern Spain and Portugal) and the Alpine regions of Raetia and Noricum (modern Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria, Slovenia), Illyricum and Pannonia (modern Albania, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, etc.), and had extended the borders of the Africa Province to the east and south. Judea was added to the province of Syria when Augustus deposed Herod Archelaus, successor to client king Herod the Great (73–4 BC). Syria (like Egypt after Antony) was governed by a high prefect of the equestrian class rather than by a proconsul or legate of Augustus.
Again, no military effort was needed in 25 BC when Galatia (modern Turkey) was converted to a Roman province shortly after Amyntas of Galatia was killed by an avenging widow of a slain prince from Homonada. The rebellious tribes of Asturias and Cantabria in modern-day Spain were finally quelled in 19 BC, and the territory fell under the provinces of Hispania and Lusitania. This region proved to be a major asset in funding Augustus' future military campaigns, as it was rich in mineral deposits that could be fostered in Roman mining projects, especially the very rich gold deposits at Las Medulas.
Conquering the peoples of the Alps in 16 BC was another important victory for Rome, since it provided a large territorial buffer between the Roman citizens of Italy and Rome's enemies in Germania to the north. Horace dedicated an ode to the victory, while the monument Trophy of Augustus near Monaco was built to honor the occasion. The capture of the Alpine region also served the next offensive in 12 BC, when Tiberius began the offensive against the Pannonian tribes of Illyricum, and his brother Nero Claudius Drusus moved against the Germanic tribes of the eastern Rhineland. Both campaigns were successful, as Drusus' forces reached the Elbe River by 9 BC—though he died shortly after by falling off his horse. It was recorded that the pious Tiberius walked in front of his brother's body all the way back to Rome.
To protect Rome's eastern territories from the Parthian Empire, Augustus relied on the client states of the east to act as territorial buffers and areas that could raise their own troops for defense. To ensure security of the Empire's eastern flank, Augustus stationed a Roman army in Syria, while his skilled stepson Tiberius negotiated with the Parthians as Rome's diplomat to the East. Tiberius was responsible for restoring Tigranes V to the throne of the Kingdom of Armenia.
Yet arguably his greatest diplomatic achievement was negotiating with Phraates IV of Parthia (37–2 BC) in 20 BC for the return of the battle standards lost by Crassus in the Battle of Carrhae, a symbolic victory and great boost of morale for Rome. Werner Eck claims that this was a great disappointment for Romans seeking to avenge Crassus' defeat by military means. However, Maria Brosius explains that Augustus used the return of the standards as propaganda symbolizing the submission of Parthia to Rome. The event was celebrated in art such as the breastplate design on the statue Augustus of Prima Porta and in monuments such as the Temple of Mars Ultor ('Mars the Avenger') built to house the standards.
Parthia had always posed a threat to Rome in the east, but the real battlefront was along the Rhine and Danube rivers. Before the final fight with Antony, Octavian's campaigns against the tribes in Dalmatia were the first step in expanding Roman dominions to the Danube. Victory in battle was not always a permanent success, as newly conquered territories were constantly retaken by Rome's enemies in Germania.
A prime example of Roman loss in battle was the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, where three entire legions led by Publius Quinctilius Varus were destroyed by Arminius, leader of the Cherusci, an apparent Roman ally. Augustus retaliated by dispatching Tiberius and Drusus to the Rhineland to pacify it, which had some success although the battle of AD 9 brought the end to Roman expansion into Germany. Roman general Germanicus took advantage of a Cherusci civil war between Arminius and Segestes; they defeated Arminius, who fled that Battle of Idistaviso in AD 16 but was killed later in 21 due to treachery.
The illness of Augustus in 23 BC brought the problem of succession to the forefront of political issues and the public. To ensure stability, he needed to designate an heir to his unique position in Roman society and government. This was to be achieved in small, undramatic, and incremental ways that did not stir senatorial fears of monarchy. If someone was to succeed Augustus' unofficial position of power, he would have to earn it through his own publicly proven merits.
Some Augustan historians argue that indications pointed toward his sister's son Marcellus, who had been quickly married to Augustus' daughter Julia the Elder. Other historians dispute this due to Augustus' will being read aloud to the Senate while he was seriously ill in 23 BC, instead indicating a preference for Marcus Agrippa, who was Augustus' second in charge and arguably the only one of his associates who could have controlled the legions and held the Empire together.
After the death of Marcellus in 23 BC, Augustus married his daughter to Agrippa. This union produced five children, three sons and two daughters: Gaius Caesar, Lucius Caesar, Vipsania Julia, Agrippina the Elder, and Postumus Agrippa, so named because he was born after Marcus Agrippa died. Shortly after the Second Settlement, Agrippa was granted a five-year term of administering the eastern half of the Empire with the imperium of a proconsul and the same tribunicia potestas granted to Augustus (although not trumping Augustus' authority), his seat of governance stationed at Samos in the eastern Aegean. This granting of power showed Augustus' favor for Agrippa, but it was also a measure to please members of his Caesarian party by allowing one of their members to share a considerable amount of power with him.
Augustus' intent became apparent to make Gaius and Lucius Caesar his heirs when he adopted them as his own children. He took the consulship in 5 and 2 BC so that he could personally usher them into their political careers, and they were nominated for the consulships of AD 1 and 4. Augustus also showed favor to his stepsons, Livia's children from her first marriage Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (henceforth referred to as Drusus) and Tiberius Claudius (henceforth Tiberius), granting them military commands and public office, though seeming to favor Drusus. After Agrippa died in 12 BC, Tiberius was ordered to divorce his own wife Vipsania Agrippina and marry Agrippa's widow, Augustus' daughter Julia—as soon as a period of mourning for Agrippa had ended. Drusus' marriage to Augustus' niece Antonia was considered an unbreakable affair, whereas Vipsania was "only" the daughter of the late Agrippa from his first marriage.
Tiberius shared in Augustus' tribune powers as of 6 BC, but shortly thereafter went into retirement, reportedly wanting no further role in politics while he exiled himself to Rhodes. No specific reason is known for his departure, though it could have been a combination of reasons, including a failing marriage with Julia, as well as a sense of envy and exclusion over Augustus' apparent favouring of his young grandchildren-turned-sons Gaius and Lucius. (Gaius and Lucius joined the college of priests at an early age, were presented to spectators in a more favorable light, and were introduced to the army in Gaul.)
After the early deaths of both Lucius and Gaius in AD 2 and 4 respectively, and the earlier death of his brother Drusus (9 BC), Tiberius was recalled to Rome in June AD 4, where he was adopted by Augustus on the condition that he, in turn, adopt his nephew Germanicus. This continued the tradition of presenting at least two generations of heirs. In that year, Tiberius was also granted the powers of a tribune and proconsul, emissaries from foreign kings had to pay their respects to him, and by AD 13 was awarded with his second triumph and equal level of imperium with that of Augustus.
The only other possible claimant as heir was Postumus Agrippa, who had been exiled by Augustus in AD 7, his banishment made permanent by senatorial decree, and Augustus officially disowned him. He certainly fell out of Augustus' favor as an heir; the historian Erich S. Gruen notes various contemporary sources that state Postumus Agrippa was a "vulgar young man, brutal and brutish, and of depraved character".
On 19 August AD 14, Augustus died while visiting Nola where his father had died. Both Tacitus and Cassius Dio wrote that Livia was rumored to have brought about Augustus' death by poisoning fresh figs. This element features in many modern works of historical fiction pertaining to Augustus' life, but some historians view it as likely to have been a salacious fabrication made by those who had favoured Postumus as heir, or other of Tiberius' political enemies. Livia had long been the target of similar rumors of poisoning on the behalf of her son, most or all of which are unlikely to have been true.
Alternatively, it is possible that Livia did supply a poisoned fig (she did cultivate a variety of fig named for her that Augustus is said to have enjoyed), but did so as a means of assisted suicide rather than murder. Augustus' health had been in decline in the months immediately before his death, and he had made significant preparations for a smooth transition in power, having at last reluctantly settled on Tiberius as his choice of heir. It is likely that Augustus was not expected to return alive from Nola, but it seems that his health improved once there; it has therefore been speculated that Augustus and Livia conspired to end his life at the anticipated time, having committed all political process to accepting Tiberius, in order to not endanger that transition.
Augustus' famous last words were, "Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit"—referring to the play-acting and regal authority that he had put on as emperor. Publicly, though, his last words were, "Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble." An enormous funerary procession of mourners traveled with Augustus' body from Nola to Rome, and on the day of his burial all public and private businesses closed for the day. Tiberius and his son Drusus delivered the eulogy while standing atop two rostra. Augustus' body was coffin-bound and cremated on a pyre close to his mausoleum. It was proclaimed that Augustus joined the company of the gods as a member of the Roman pantheon.
Historian D. C. A. Shotter states that Augustus' policy of favoring the Julian family line over the Claudian might have afforded Tiberius sufficient cause to show open disdain for Augustus after the latter's death; instead, Tiberius was always quick to rebuke those who criticized Augustus. Shotter suggests that Augustus' deification obliged Tiberius to suppress any open resentment that he might have harbored, coupled with Tiberius' "extremely conservative" attitude towards religion. Also, historian R. Shaw-Smith points to letters of Augustus to Tiberius which display affection towards Tiberius and high regard for his military merits. Shotter states that Tiberius focused his anger and criticism on Gaius Asinius Gallus (for marrying Vipsania after Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce her), as well as toward the two young Caesars, Gaius and Lucius—instead of Augustus, the real architect of his divorce and imperial demotion.
Augustus' reign laid the foundations of a regime that lasted, in one form or another, for nearly fifteen hundred years through the ultimate decline of the Western Roman Empire and until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Both his adoptive surname, Caesar, and his title Augustus became the permanent titles of the rulers of the Roman Empire for fourteen centuries after his death, in use both at Old Rome and at New Rome. In many languages, Caesar became the word for Emperor, as in the German Kaiser and in the Bulgarian and subsequently Russian Tsar (sometimes Csar or Czar). The cult of Divus Augustus continued until the state religion of the Empire was changed to Christianity in 391 by Theodosius I. Consequently, there are many excellent statues and busts of the first emperor. He had composed an account of his achievements, the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, to be inscribed in bronze in front of his mausoleum. Copies of the text were inscribed throughout the Empire upon his death. The inscriptions in Latin featured translations in Greek beside it, and were inscribed on many public edifices, such as the temple in Ankara dubbed the Monumentum Ancyranum, called the "queen of inscriptions" by historian Theodor Mommsen.
There are a few known written works by Augustus that have survived such as his poems Sicily, Epiphanus, and Ajax, an autobiography of 13 books, a philosophical treatise, and his written rebuttal to Brutus' Eulogy of Cato. Historians are able to analyze existing letters penned by Augustus to others for additional facts or clues about his personal life.
Many consider Augustus to be Rome's greatest emperor; his policies certainly extended the Empire's life span and initiated the celebrated Pax Romana or Pax Augusta. The Roman Senate wished subsequent emperors to "be more fortunate than Augustus and better than Trajan". Augustus was intelligent, decisive, and a shrewd politician, but he was not perhaps as charismatic as Julius Caesar and was influenced on occasion by Livia (sometimes for the worse). Nevertheless, his legacy proved more enduring. The city of Rome was utterly transformed under Augustus, with Rome's first institutionalized police force, fire fighting force, and the establishment of the municipal prefect as a permanent office. The police force was divided into cohorts of 500 men each, while the units of firemen ranged from 500 to 1,000 men each, with 7 units assigned to 14 divided city sectors.
A praefectus vigilum, or "Prefect of the Watch" was put in charge of the vigiles, Rome's fire brigade and police. With Rome's civil wars at an end, Augustus was also able to create a standing army for the Roman Empire, fixed at a size of 28 legions of about 170,000 soldiers. This was supported by numerous auxiliary units of 500 non-citizen soldiers each, often recruited from recently conquered areas.
With his finances securing the maintenance of roads throughout Italy, Augustus also installed an official courier system of relay stations overseen by a military officer known as the praefectus vehiculorum. Besides the advent of swifter communication among Italian polities, his extensive building of roads throughout Italy also allowed Rome's armies to march swiftly and at an unprecedented pace across the country. In the year 6 Augustus established the aerarium militare, donating 170 million sesterces to the new military treasury that provided for both active and retired soldiers.
One of the most enduring institutions of Augustus was the establishment of the Praetorian Guard in 27 BC, originally a personal bodyguard unit on the battlefield that evolved into an imperial guard as well as an important political force in Rome. They had the power to intimidate the Senate, install new emperors, and depose ones they disliked; the last emperor they served was Maxentius, as it was Constantine I who disbanded them in the early 4th century and destroyed their barracks, the Castra Praetoria.
Although the most powerful individual in the Roman Empire, Augustus wished to embody the spirit of Republican virtue and norms. He also wanted to relate to and connect with the concerns of the plebs and lay people. He achieved this through various means of generosity and a cutting back of lavish excess. In the year 29 BC, Augustus gave 400 sesterces (equal to 1/10 of a Roman pound of gold) each to 250,000 citizens, 1,000 sesterces each to 120,000 veterans in the colonies, and spent 700 million sesterces in purchasing land for his soldiers to settle upon. He also restored 82 different temples to display his care for the Roman pantheon of deities. In 28 BC, he melted down 80 silver statues erected in his likeness and in honor of him, an attempt of his to appear frugal and modest.
The longevity of Augustus' reign and its legacy to the Roman world should not be overlooked as a key factor in its success. As Tacitus wrote, the younger generations alive in AD 14 had never known any form of government other than the Principate. Had Augustus died earlier (in 23 BC, for instance), matters might have turned out differently. The attrition of the civil wars on the old Republican oligarchy and the longevity of Augustus, therefore, must be seen as major contributing factors in the transformation of the Roman state into a de facto monarchy in these years. Augustus' own experience, his patience, his tact, and his political acumen also played their parts. He directed the future of the Empire down many lasting paths, from the existence of a standing professional army stationed at or near the frontiers, to the dynastic principle so often employed in the imperial succession, to the embellishment of the capital at the emperor's expense. Augustus' ultimate legacy was the peace and prosperity the Empire enjoyed for the next two centuries under the system he initiated. His memory was enshrined in the political ethos of the Imperial age as a paradigm of the good emperor. Every Emperor of Rome adopted his name, Caesar Augustus, which gradually lost its character as a name and eventually became a title. The Augustan era poets Virgil and Horace praised Augustus as a defender of Rome, an upholder of moral justice, and an individual who bore the brunt of responsibility in maintaining the empire.
However, for his rule of Rome and establishing the principate, Augustus has also been subjected to criticism throughout the ages. The contemporary Roman jurist Marcus Antistius Labeo (d. AD 10/11), fond of the days of pre-Augustan republican liberty in which he had been born, openly criticized the Augustan regime. In the beginning of his Annals, the Roman historian Tacitus (c. 56–c.117) wrote that Augustus had cunningly subverted Republican Rome into a position of slavery. He continued to say that, with Augustus' death and swearing of loyalty to Tiberius, the people of Rome simply traded one slaveholder for another. Tacitus, however, records two contradictory but common views of Augustus:
Intelligent people praised or criticized him in varying ways. One opinion was as follows. Filial duty and a national emergency, in which there was no place for law-abiding conduct, had driven him to civil war—and this can neither be initiated nor maintained by decent methods. He had made many concessions to Anthony and to Lepidus for the sake of vengeance on his father's murderers. When Lepidus grew old and lazy, and Anthony's self-indulgence got the better of him, the only possible cure for the distracted country had been government by one man. However, Augustus had put the state in order not by making himself king or dictator, but by creating the Principate. The Empire's frontiers were on the ocean, or distant rivers. Armies, provinces, fleets, the whole system was interrelated. Roman citizens were protected by the law. Provincials were decently treated. Rome itself had been lavishly beautified. Force had been sparingly used—merely to preserve peace for the majority.
According to the second opposing opinion:
filial duty and national crisis had been merely pretexts. In actual fact, the motive of Octavian, the future Augustus, was lust for power ... There had certainly been peace, but it was a blood-stained peace of disasters and assassinations.
In a 2006 biography on Augustus, Anthony Everitt asserts that through the centuries, judgments on Augustus' reign have oscillated between these two extremes but stresses that:
Opposites do not have to be mutually exclusive, and we are not obliged to choose one or the other. The story of his career shows that Augustus was indeed ruthless, cruel, and ambitious for himself. This was only in part a personal trait, for upper-class Romans were educated to compete with one another and to excel. However, he combined an overriding concern for his personal interests with a deep-seated patriotism, based on a nostalgia of Rome's antique virtues. In his capacity as princeps, selfishness and selflessness coexisted in his mind. While fighting for dominance, he paid little attention to legality or to the normal civilities of political life. He was devious, untrustworthy, and bloodthirsty. But once he had established his authority, he governed efficiently and justly, generally allowed freedom of speech, and promoted the rule of law. He was immensely hardworking and tried as hard as any democratic parliamentarian to treat his senatorial colleagues with respect and sensitivity. He suffered from no delusions of grandeur.
Tacitus was of the belief that Nerva (r. 96–98) successfully "mingled two formerly alien ideas, principate and liberty". The 3rd-century historian Cassius Dio acknowledged Augustus as a benign, moderate ruler, yet like most other historians after the death of Augustus, Dio viewed Augustus as an autocrat. The poet Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (AD 39–65) was of the opinion that Caesar's victory over Pompey and the fall of Cato the Younger (95 BC–46 BC) marked the end of traditional liberty in Rome; historian Chester G. Starr, Jr. writes of his avoidance of criticizing Augustus, "perhaps Augustus was too sacred a figure to accuse directly."
The Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), in his Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome, criticized Augustus for installing tyranny over Rome, and likened what he believed Great Britain's virtuous constitutional monarchy to Rome's moral Republic of the 2nd century BC. In his criticism of Augustus, the admiral and historian Thomas Gordon (1658–1741) compared Augustus to the puritanical tyrant Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658). Thomas Gordon and the French political philosopher Montesquieu (1689–1755) both remarked that Augustus was a coward in battle. In his Memoirs of the Court of Augustus, the Scottish scholar Thomas Blackwell (1701–1757) deemed Augustus a Machiavellian ruler, "a bloodthirsty vindicative usurper", "wicked and worthless", "a mean spirit", and a "tyrant".
Augustus' public revenue reforms had a great impact on the subsequent success of the Empire. Augustus brought a far greater portion of the Empire's expanded land base under consistent, direct taxation from Rome, instead of exacting varying, intermittent, and somewhat arbitrary tributes from each local province as Augustus' predecessors had done. This reform greatly increased Rome's net revenue from its territorial acquisitions, stabilized its flow, and regularized the financial relationship between Rome and the provinces, rather than provoking fresh resentments with each new arbitrary exaction of tribute.
The measures of taxation in the reign of Augustus were determined by population census, with fixed quotas for each province. Citizens of Rome and Italy paid indirect taxes, while direct taxes were exacted from the provinces. Indirect taxes included a 4% tax on the price of slaves, a 1% tax on goods sold at auction, and a 5% tax on the inheritance of estates valued at over 100,000 sesterces by persons other than the next of kin.
An equally important reform was the abolition of private tax farming, which was replaced by salaried civil service tax collectors. Private contractors who collected taxes for the State were the norm in the Republican era. Some of them were powerful enough to influence the number of votes for men running for offices in Rome. These tax farmers called publicans were infamous for their depredations, great private wealth, and the right to tax local areas.
The use of Egypt's immense land rents to finance the Empire's operations resulted from Augustus' conquest of Egypt and the shift to a Roman form of government. As it was effectively considered Augustus' private property rather than a province of the Empire, it became part of each succeeding emperor's patrimonium. Instead of a legate or proconsul, Augustus installed a prefect from the equestrian class to administer Egypt and maintain its lucrative seaports; this position became the highest political achievement for any equestrian besides becoming Prefect of the Praetorian Guard. The highly productive agricultural land of Egypt yielded enormous revenues that were available to Augustus and his successors to pay for public works and military expeditions. During his reign the circus games resulted in the killing of 3,500 elephants.
The month of August (Latin: Augustus) is named after Augustus; until his time it was called Sextilis (named so because it had been the sixth month of the original Roman calendar and the Latin word for six is sex). Commonly repeated lore has it that August has 31 days because Augustus wanted his month to match the length of Julius Caesar's July, but this is an invention of the 13th century scholar Johannes de Sacrobosco. Sextilis in fact had 31 days before it was renamed, and it was not chosen for its length (see Julian calendar). According to a senatus consultum quoted by Macrobius, Sextilis was renamed to honor Augustus because several of the most significant events in his rise to power, culminating in the fall of Alexandria, fell in that month.
On his deathbed, Augustus boasted "I found a Rome of bricks; I leave to you one of marble." Although there is some truth in the literal meaning of this, Cassius Dio asserts that it was a metaphor for the Empire's strength. Marble could be found in buildings of Rome before Augustus, but it was not extensively used as a building material until the reign of Augustus.
Although this did not apply to the Subura slums, which were still as rickety and fire-prone as ever, he did leave a mark on the monumental topography of the centre and of the Campus Martius, with the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) and monumental sundial, whose central gnomon was an obelisk taken from Egypt. The relief sculptures decorating the Ara Pacis visually augmented the written record of Augustus' triumphs in the Res Gestae. Its reliefs depicted the imperial pageants of the praetorians, the Vestals, and the citizenry of Rome.
He also built the Temple of Caesar, the Baths of Agrippa, and the Forum of Augustus with its Temple of Mars Ultor. Other projects were either encouraged by him, such as the Theatre of Balbus, and Agrippa's construction of the Pantheon, or funded by him in the name of others, often relations (e.g. Portico of Octavia, Theatre of Marcellus). Even his Mausoleum of Augustus was built before his death to house members of his family. To celebrate his victory at the Battle of Actium, the Arch of Augustus was built in 29 BC near the entrance of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and widened in 19 BC to include a triple-arch design.
After the death of Agrippa in 12 BC, a solution had to be found in maintaining Rome's water supply system. This came about because it was overseen by Agrippa when he served as aedile, and was even funded by him afterwards when he was a private citizen paying at his own expense. In that year, Augustus arranged a system where the Senate designated three of its members as prime commissioners in charge of the water supply and to ensure that Rome's aqueducts did not fall into disrepair.
In the late Augustan era, the commission of five senators called the curatores locorum publicorum iudicandorum (translated as "Supervisors of Public Property") was put in charge of maintaining public buildings and temples of the state cult. Augustus created the senatorial group of the curatores viarum (translated as "Supervisors for Roads") for the upkeep of roads; this senatorial commission worked with local officials and contractors to organize regular repairs.
The Corinthian order of architectural style originating from ancient Greece was the dominant architectural style in the age of Augustus and the imperial phase of Rome. Suetonius once commented that Rome was unworthy of its status as an imperial capital, yet Augustus and Agrippa set out to dismantle this sentiment by transforming the appearance of Rome upon the classical Greek model.
His biographer Suetonius, writing about a century after Augustus' death, described his appearance as: "... unusually handsome and exceedingly graceful at all periods of his life, though he cared nothing for personal adornment. He was so far from being particular about the dressing of his hair, that he would have several barbers working in a hurry at the same time, and as for his beard he now had it clipped and now shaved, while at the very same time he would either be reading or writing something ... He had clear, bright eyes ... His teeth were wide apart, small, and ill-kept; his hair was slightly curly and inclined to golden; his eyebrows met. His ears were of moderate size, and his nose projected a little at the top and then bent ever so slightly inward. His complexion was between dark and fair. He was short of stature, although Julius Marathus, his freedman and keeper of his records, says that he was five feet and nine inches (just under 5 ft. 7 in., or 1.70 meters, in modern height measurements), but this was concealed by the fine proportion and symmetry of his figure, and was noticeable only by comparison with some taller person standing beside him...", adding that "his shoes [were] somewhat high-soled, to make him look taller than he really was". Scientific analysis of traces of paint found in his official statues show that he most likely had light brown hair and eyes (his hair and eyes were depicted as the same color).
His official images were very tightly controlled and idealized, drawing from a tradition of Hellenistic royal portraiture rather than the tradition of realism in Roman portraiture. He first appeared on coins at the age of 19, and from about 29 BC "the explosion in the number of Augustan portraits attests a concerted propaganda campaign aimed at dominating all aspects of civil, religious, economic and military life with Augustus' person." The early images did indeed depict a young man, but although there were gradual changes his images remained youthful until he died in his seventies, by which time they had "a distanced air of ageless majesty". Among the best known of many surviving portraits are the Augustus of Prima Porta, the image on the Ara Pacis, and the Via Labicana Augustus, which shows him as a priest. Several cameo portraits include the Blacas Cameo and Gemma Augustea.
|Ancestors of Augustus|
Augustus' only biological (non-adopted) child was his daughter.
Secondary source material
AugustusBorn: 23 September 63 BC Died: 19 August AD 14
|New office|| Emperor of the Roman Empire
27 BC – AD 14
Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus
| Consul (Suffect.) of the Roman Republic
With: Quintus Pedius
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
Lucius Munatius Plancus
Lucius Scribonius Libo
Aemilius Lepidus Paullus
| Consul of the Roman Republic
With: Lucius Volcatius Tullus
Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
| Consul of the Roman Empire
31 BC – 23 BC
With: Marcus Antonius
M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus
M. Licinius Crassus
Sextus Appuleius (II)
M. Vipsanius Agrippa
T. Statilius Taurus (I)
M. Iunius Silanus
C. Norbanus Flaccus
Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso
Marcus Claudius Marcellus Aeserninus
Decius Laelius Balbus
Gnaeus Antistius Vetus
| Consul of the Roman Empire
With: L. Cornelius Sulla
Gaius Calvisius Sabinus
Lucius Passienus Rufus
Lucius Cornelius Lentulus
Marcus Valerius Messalla Messallinus
| Consul of the Roman Empire
With: Marcus Plautius Silvanus
Cossus Cornelius Lentulus
Lucius Calpurnius Piso
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
| Pontifex Maximus
12 BC – AD 14
| Head of Julio-Claudian Family
44 BC – AD 14
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria.
He was born in the Saxon duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, to a family connected to many of Europe's ruling monarchs. At the age of 20, he married his first cousin, Queen Victoria; they had nine children. Initially he felt constrained by his role of prince consort, which did not afford him power or responsibilities. He gradually developed a reputation for supporting public causes, such as educational reform and the abolition of slavery worldwide, and was entrusted with running the Queen's household, office and estates. He was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was a resounding success.
Victoria came to depend more and more on his support and guidance. He aided the development of Britain's constitutional monarchy by persuading his wife to be less partisan in her dealings with Parliament—although he actively disagreed with the interventionist foreign policy pursued during Lord Palmerston's tenure as Foreign Secretary.
Albert died at the relatively young age of 42. Victoria was so devastated at the loss of her husband that she entered into a deep state of mourning and wore black for the rest of her life. On her death in 1901, their eldest son succeeded as Edward VII, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, named after the ducal house to which Albert belonged.Augustus (title)
Augustus (plural augusti; ; Classical Latin: [awˈɡʊstʊs], Latin for "majestic", "the increaser" or "venerable") was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius (often referred to simply as Augustus), Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, and was so used by Roman emperors thereafter. The feminine form Augusta was used for Roman empresses and other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion. Their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, and may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult.
In Rome's Greek-speaking provinces, "Augustus" was translated as sebastos (σεβαστός, "venerable"), or Hellenised as Augoustos (αὔγουστος). After the fall of the Roman Empire, Augustus was sometimes used as a name for men of aristocratic birth, especially in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire. It remains a given name for males.Augustus III of Poland
Augustus III (Polish: August III Sas, Lithuanian: Augustas III; 17 October 1696 – 5 October 1763) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1734 until 1763, as well as Elector of Saxony in the Holy Roman Empire from 1733 until 1763 where he was known as Frederick Augustus II (German: Friedrich August II).
The only legitimate son of Augustus II of Poland, he followed his father's example by joining the Roman Catholic Church in 1712. In 1719 he married Maria Josepha, daughter of the Holy Roman emperor Joseph I and became elector of Saxony on his father's death in 1733. As a candidate for the Polish crown, he secured the support of the emperor Charles VI by assenting to the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, designed to preserve the integrity of the Habsburg inheritance, and that of the Russian empress Anna by supporting Russia's claim to Courland. Chosen king by a small minority of electors on 5 October 1733, he drove his rival, the former Polish king Stanisław I, into exile. He was crowned in Kraków on 17 January 1734, and was generally recognised as king in Warsaw in June 1736.Augustus gave Saxon support to Austria against Prussia in the War of the Austrian Succession (1742) and again in the Seven Years’ War (1756), both of which resulted in Saxony being occupied by Prussia. His last years were marked by the increasing influence of the Czartoryski and Poniatowski families, and by the intervention of Catherine the Great in Polish affairs. His rule deepened the anarchy in Poland and increased the country's dependence on its neighbours. The Russian Empire, which had assisted him in his bid to succeed his father, prevented him from installing his family on the Polish throne, supporting instead the aristocrat Stanisław August Poniatowski. During his reign, Augustus spent little time in Poland and more interested in ease and pleasure than in affairs of state, this notable patron of the arts left the administration of Saxony and Poland to his chief adviser, Heinrich von Brühl, who in turn left Polish administration chiefly to the powerful Czartoryski family.The reign of Augustus witnessed one of the greatest periods of disorder in Polish history.Augustus II the Strong
Augustus II the Strong (Polish: August II Mocny; German: August II. der Starke; Lithuanian: Augustas II; 12 May 1670 – 1 February 1733) of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin was Elector of Saxony (as Frederick Augustus I), Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.
Augustus' great physical strength earned him the nicknames "the Strong", "the Saxon Hercules" and "Iron-Hand". He liked to show that he lived up to his name by breaking horseshoes with his bare hands and engaging in fox tossing by holding the end of his sling with just one finger while two of the strongest men in his court held the other end.In order to be elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Augustus converted to Roman Catholicism. As a Catholic, he received the Order of the Golden Fleece from the Holy Roman Emperor.
As Elector of Saxony, he is perhaps best remembered as a patron of the arts and architecture. He established the Saxon capital of Dresden as a major cultural centre, attracting artists from across Europe to his court. Augustus also amassed an impressive art collection and built lavish baroque palaces in Dresden and Warsaw.
His reigns brought Poland some troubled times. He led the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Great Northern War, which led to the Russian Empire strengthening its influence in Europe, especially within Poland. His main pursuit was bolstering royal power in the Commonwealth, characterized by broad decentralization in comparison with other European monarchies. He tried to accomplish this goal using foreign powers and thus destabilized the state.Caligula
Caligula (; Latin: Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD) was Roman emperor from AD 37 to AD 41. The son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and Augustus' granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Germanicus' uncle and adoptive father, Tiberius, succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome in AD 14.
Although he was born Gaius Caesar, after Julius Caesar, he acquired the nickname "Caligula" (meaning "little soldier's boot", the diminutive form of caliga) from his father's soldiers during their campaign in Germania. When Germanicus died at Antioch in AD 19, Agrippina returned with her six children to Rome, where she became entangled in a bitter feud with Tiberius. The conflict eventually led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Untouched by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted an invitation in AD 31 to join the emperor on the island of Capri, where Tiberius had withdrawn five years earlier. Following the death of Tiberius, Caligula succeeded his adoptive grandfather as emperor in AD 37.
There are few surviving sources about the reign of Caligula, although he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and luxurious dwellings for himself, and initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the client kingdom of Mauretania as a province.
In early AD 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers. The conspirators' attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, however. On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula's uncle, Claudius, the next Roman emperor. Although the Julio-Claudian dynasty continued to rule the empire until the fall of his nephew Nero in AD 68, Caligula's death marked the official end of the Julii Caesares in the male line.Claudius
Claudius (; Latin: Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54 ) was Roman emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul, the first (and until Trajan, only) Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy. Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37.
Claudius' infirmity probably saved him from the fate of many other nobles during the purges of Tiberius's and Caligula's reigns; potential enemies did not see him as a serious threat. His survival led to his being declared Emperor by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula's assassination, at which point he was the last man of his family. Despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an able and efficient administrator. He was also an ambitious builder, constructing many new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the Empire. During his reign the Empire began the conquest of Britain (if the earlier invasions of Britain by Caesar and Caligula's aborted attempts are not counted).
Having a personal interest in law, he presided at public trials, and issued up to twenty edicts a day. He was seen as vulnerable throughout his reign, particularly by elements of the nobility. Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position; this resulted in the deaths of many senators. These events damaged his reputation among the ancient writers, though more recent historians have revised this opinion. Many authors contend that he was murdered by his own wife. After his death in 54 AD (at the age of 63), his grand-nephew, step-son, and adopted son Nero succeeded him as Emperor. His 13-year reign (slightly longer than Nero's) would not be surpassed by any successors until that of Domitian, who reigned for 15 years.
He was a descendant of the Octavii Rufi (through Gaius Octavius), Julii Caesares (through Julia Minor and Julia Antonia), and the Claudii Nerones (through Nero Claudius Drusus). He was a step-grandson (through his father Drusus) and great-nephew (through his mother Antonia Minor) of Augustus. He was a nephew of Tiberius through his father, Tiberius' brother. Through his brother Germanicus, Claudius was an uncle of Caligula and a great-uncle of Nero.Commodus
Commodus (; 31 August 161 – 31 December 192), born Lucius Aurelius Commodus and died Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, was Roman emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 to his father's death in 180, and solely until 192.
During his father's reign, he accompanied Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars in 172 and on a tour of the Eastern provinces in 176. He was made the youngest consul in Roman history in 177 and later that year elevated to co-emperor with his father. His accession was the first time a son had succeeded his biological father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79. He was also the first emperor to have both a father and grandfather (who had adopted his father) as the two preceding emperors. Commodus was the first (and until 337, the only) emperor "born in the purple", i.e. during his father's reign.
During his solo reign, the Empire enjoyed a period of reduced military conflict compared with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, but intrigues and conspiracies abounded, leading Commodus to an increasingly dictatorial style of leadership that culminated in a God-like personality cult. His assassination in 192 marked the end of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty. He was succeeded by Pertinax, the first emperor in the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors.Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Μέγας; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD), also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born on the territory now known as Niš (Serbian Cyrillic: Ниш, located in Serbia), he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer. His mother was Empress Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father's death in 306 AD. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.
As emperor, Constantine enacted administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. He restructured the government, separating civil and military authorities. To combat inflation he introduced the solidus, a new gold coin that became the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians—even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century.
Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the forged Donation of Constantine. He has historically been referred to as the "First Christian Emperor", and he did heavily promote the Christian Church. Some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the Christian faith itself.The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople (now Istanbul) after himself (the laudatory epithet of "New Rome" came later, and was never an official title). It became the capital of the Empire for more than a thousand years, with the later eastern Roman Empire now being referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians. His more immediate political legacy was that he replaced Diocletian's tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession by leaving the empire to his sons. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign, due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Trends in modern and recent scholarship have attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.Dick Clark
Richard Wagstaff Clark (November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012) was an American radio and television personality, television producer and film actor, as well as a cultural icon who remains best known for hosting American Bandstand from 1957 to 1988. He also hosted the game show Pyramid and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, which transmitted Times Square's New Year's Eve celebrations. Clark was well known for his trademark sign-off, "For now, Dick Clark — so long!", accompanied by a facsimile of a military salute.
As host of American Bandstand, Clark introduced rock & roll to many Americans. The show gave many new music artists their first exposure to national audiences, including Iggy Pop, Ike & Tina Turner, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Talking Heads, Simon & Garfunkel and Madonna. Episodes he hosted were among the first in which blacks and whites performed on the same stage, and likewise among the first in which the live studio audience sat without racial segregation. Singer Paul Anka claimed that Bandstand was responsible for creating a "youth culture". Due to his perennial youthful appearance and his largely teenaged audience of American Bandstand, Clark was often referred to as "America's oldest teenager" or "the world's oldest teenager".In his off-stage roles, Clark served as Chief Executive Officer of Dick Clark Productions (a financial interest in which he sold off in his later years). He also founded the American Bandstand Diner, a restaurant chain modeled after the Hard Rock Cafe. In 1973, he created and produced the annual American Music Awards show, similar to the Grammy Awards.Clark suffered a stroke in December 2004. With speech ability impaired, Clark returned to his New Year's Rockin' Eve show a year later on December 31, 2005. Subsequently, he appeared at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006, and every New Year's Rockin' Eve show through the 2011–12 show. He died on April 18, 2012, of a heart attack, at the age of 82, following prostate surgery.Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover
Ernest Augustus (German: Ernst August; 5 June 1771 – 18 November 1851) was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. He was the fifth son and eighth child of King George III of the United Kingdom and Hanover. As a fifth son, Ernest seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but none of his four elder brothers had a legitimate son who survived infancy. The Salic Law, which barred succession to or through a female, prevailed in Hanover; therefore, when his elder brother King William IV died in 1837, Ernest succeeded him as King of Hanover. In the United Kingdom the succession to the monarchy was determined by male-preference primogeniture, a different system, and his niece Victoria became queen, thus ending the personal union between the British and Hanoverian crowns that had existed since 1714.
Ernest was born in England but was sent to Hanover in his adolescence for his education and military training. While serving with Hanoverian forces near Tournai against Revolutionary France, he received a disfiguring facial wound. In 1799, he was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale. Although his marriage in 1815 to his twice-widowed cousin Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz met with the disapproval of his mother, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, it proved a happy one. By 1817, King George III had only one legitimate grandchild, Princess Charlotte of Wales, and when she died in childbirth, Ernest was the senior son to be both married and not estranged from his wife. This gave him some prospect of succeeding to the British throne. However, both of his unmarried elder brothers quickly married and King George III's fourth son, Edward, Duke of Kent, fathered the eventual British monarch, Victoria.
Ernest was an active member of the House of Lords, where he maintained an extremely conservative voting record. There were persistent allegations (reportedly spread by his political foes) that he had murdered his valet and had fathered a son by his sister, Princess Sophia. Before Victoria succeeded to the British throne, it was rumoured that Ernest intended to murder her and take the throne himself. When King William IV died on 20 June 1837, Ernest acceded to the Hanoverian throne. Becoming Hanover's first resident ruler since George I, he had a generally successful fourteen-year reign but excited controversy when he dismissed the Göttingen Seven (including the two Brothers Grimm) from their professorial positions for agitating against his policies.House of Hanover
The House of Hanover (German: Haus Hannover), whose members are known as Hanoverians (), is a German royal house that ruled Hanover, Great Britain, and Ireland at various times during the 17th through 20th centuries. The house originated in 1635 as a cadet branch of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, growing in prestige until Hanover became an Electorate in 1692. George I became the first Hanoverian monarch of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714. At Victoria's death in 1901, the throne of the United Kingdom passed to her eldest son Edward VII, a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The last reigning members of the House lost the Duchy of Brunswick in 1918 when Germany became a republic.
The formal name of the house was the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Hanover line. The senior line of Brunswick-Lüneburg, which ruled Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, became extinct in 1884. The House of Hanover is now the only surviving branch of the House of Welf, which is the senior branch of the House of Este. The current head of the House of Hanover is Ernst August, Prince of Hanover.List of Roman consuls
This is a list of consuls known to have held office, from the beginning of the Roman Republic to the latest use of the title in Imperial times, together with those magistrates of the Republic who were appointed in place of consuls, or who superseded consular authority for a limited period.List of Roman emperors
The Roman emperors were the rulers of the Roman Empire dating from the granting of the title of Augustus to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus by the Roman Senate in 27 BC. Augustus maintained a façade of republican rule, rejecting monarchical titles but calling himself princeps senatus (first man of the senate) and princeps civitatis (first citizen of the state). The title of Augustus was conferred on his successors to the imperial position. The style of government instituted by Augustus is called the Principate and continued until reforms by Diocletian. The modern word 'emperor' derives from the title imperator, which was granted by an army to a successful general; during the initial phase of the empire, it still had to be earned by the princeps.
The territory under command of the emperor had developed under the period of the Roman Republic as it invaded and occupied most of Europe and portions of northern Africa and western Asia. Under the republic, regions of the empire were ruled by provincial governors answerable to and authorised by the Senate and People of Rome. During the republic, the chief magistrates of Rome were two consuls elected each year; consuls continued to be elected in the imperial period, but their authority was subservient to that of the emperor, and the election was controlled by the emperor.
In the late 3rd century, after the Crisis of the Third Century, Diocletian formalised and embellished the recent manner of imperial rule, establishing the so-called Dominate period of the Roman Empire. This was characterised by the explicit increase of authority in the person of the Emperor, and the use of the style Dominus Noster ("Our Lord"). The rise of powerful Barbarian tribes along the borders of the empire and the challenge they posed to defense of far-flung borders and unstable imperial succession led Diocletian to divide the administration geographically of the Empire in 286 with a co-Augustus. In 330, Constantine the Great established a second capital in Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. For most of the period from 286 to 480, there was more than one recognised senior emperor, with the division usually based in geographic terms. This division was consistently in place after the death of Theodosius I in 395, which historians have dated as the division between the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. However, formally the Empire remained a single polity, with separate co-emperors in the separate courts. The fall of the Western Roman Empire, and so the end of a separate list of emperors below, is dated either from the de facto date of 476 when Romulus Augustulus was deposed by Odoacer who became King of Italy, or the de jure date of 480, on the death of Julius Nepos, when Eastern Emperor Zeno ended recognition of a separate Western court. In the period that followed, the Empire is usually treated by historians as the Byzantine Empire governed by the Byzantine Emperors, although this designation is not used universally, and continues to be a subject of specialist debate today.The line of emperors continued until the death of Constantine XI Palaiologos during the fall of Constantinople in 1453, when the remaining territories were captured by the Ottoman Empire.Nero
Nero (; Latin: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius' heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, was likely implicated in Claudius' death and Nero's nomination as emperor. She dominated Nero's early life and decisions until he cast her off. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered.During the early years of his reign, Nero was content to be guided by his mother, his tutor Lucius Annaeus Seneca and his Praetorian prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus. As time passed, he started to play a more active and independent role in government and foreign policy. During his reign, the redoubtable general Corbulo conducted a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire. His general Suetonius Paulinus crushed a major revolt in Britain, led by the Iceni Queen Boudica. The Bosporan Kingdom was briefly annexed to the empire, and the First Jewish–Roman War began. Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade and the cultural life of the empire, ordering theatres built and promoting athletic games. He made public appearances as an actor, poet, musician and charioteer. In the eyes of traditionalists, this undermined the dignity and authority of his person, status, and office. His extravagant, empire-wide program of public and private works was funded by a rise in taxes that was much resented by the middle and upper classes. Various plots against his life were revealed; the ringleaders, most of them Nero's own courtiers, were executed.
In 68 AD Vindex, governor of the Gaulish territory Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled. He was supported by Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. Vindex's revolt failed in its immediate aim, but Nero fled Rome when Rome's discontented civil and military authorities chose Galba as emperor. He committed suicide on June 9, 68 AD, when he learned that he had been tried in absentia and condemned to death as a public enemy, making him the first Roman Emperor to commit suicide. His death ended the Julio-Claudian dynasty, sparking a brief period of civil wars known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
Nero's rule is usually associated with tyranny and extravagance. Most Roman sources, such as Suetonius and Cassius Dio, offer overwhelmingly negative assessments of his personality and reign; Tacitus claims that the Roman people thought him compulsive and corrupt. Suetonius tells that many Romans believed that the Great Fire of Rome was instigated by Nero to clear the way for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea. According to Tacitus he was said to have seized Christians as scapegoats for the fire and burned them alive, seemingly motivated not by public justice but by personal cruelty. Some modern historians question the reliability of the ancient sources on Nero's tyrannical acts. A few sources paint Nero in a more favorable light. There is evidence of his popularity among the Roman commoners, especially in the eastern provinces of the Empire, where a popular legend arose that Nero had not died and would return. At least three leaders of short-lived, failed rebellions presented themselves as "Nero reborn" to enlist popular support.Philip II of France
Philip II (21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223), known as Philip Augustus (French: Philippe Auguste), was King of France from 1180 to 1223, the seventh from the House of Capet. His predecessors had been known as kings of the Franks, but from 1190 onward, Philip became the first French monarch to style himself "King of France". The son of King Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne, he was originally nicknamed Dieudonné (God-given) because he was a first son and born late in his father's life. Philip was given the epithet "Augustus" by the chronicler Rigord for having extended the crown lands of France so remarkably.
The only known description of Philip describes him as "a handsome, strapping fellow, bald but with a cheerful face of ruddy complexion, and a temperament much inclined towards good-living, wine, and women. He was generous to his friends, stingy towards those who displeased him, well-versed in the art of stratagem, orthodox in belief, prudent and stubborn in his resolves. He made judgements with great speed and exactitude. Fortune's favorite, fearful for his life, easily excited and easily placated, he was very tough with powerful men who resisted him, and took pleasure in provoking discord among them. Never, however, did he cause an adversary to die in prison. He liked to employ humble men, to be the subduer of the proud, the defender of the Church, and feeder of the poor".After a twelve-year struggle with the Plantagenet dynasty in the Anglo-French War of 1202–14, Philip broke up the large Angevin Empire presided over by the crown of England and defeated a coalition of his rivals (German, Flemish and English) at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214. This victory would have a lasting impact on western European politics: the authority of the French king became unchallenged, while the English King John was forced by his barons to sign Magna Carta and deal with a rebellion against him aided by Philip, the First Barons' War. The military actions surrounding the Albigensian Crusade helped prepare the expansion of France southward. Philip did not participate directly in these actions, but he allowed his vassals and knights to help carry it out.
Philip transformed France from a small feudal state into the most prosperous and powerful country in Europe. He checked the power of the nobles and helped the towns to free themselves from seigniorial authority, granting privileges and liberties to the emergent bourgeoisie. He built a great wall around Paris ("the Wall of Philip II Augustus"), re-organized the French government and brought financial stability to his country.Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, (Edward Augustus; 2 November 1767 – 23 January 1820) was the fourth son and fifth child of Britain's king, George III, and the father of Queen Victoria.
Prince Edward was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin on 23 April 1799 and, a few weeks later, appointed a General and commander-in-chief of British forces in the Maritime Provinces of North America. On 23 March 1802, he was appointed Governor of Gibraltar and nominally retained that post until his death. The Duke of Kent was appointed Field-Marshal of the Forces on 3 September 1805.He was the first member of the royal family to live in North America for more than a short visit (1791–1800) and, in 1794, the first prince to enter the United States (travelling to Boston on foot from Lower Canada) after independence.
On June 27, 1792, Edward is credited with the first use of the term "Canadian" to mean both French and English settlers in Upper and Lower Canada. The Prince used the term in an effort to quell a riot between the two groups at a polling station in Charlesbourg, Lower Canada. Recently he has been styled the "Father of the Canadian Crown" for his impact on the development of Canada.Stanisław August Poniatowski
Stanisław II Augustus (also Stanisław August Poniatowski; born Stanisław Antoni Poniatowski; 17 January 1732 – 12 February 1798), who reigned as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1764 to 1795, was the last monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He remains a controversial figure in Polish history. Recognized as a great patron of the arts and sciences and an initiator and firm supporter of progressive reforms, he is also remembered as the King of the Commonwealth whose election was marred by Russian intervention. He is criticized primarily for his failure to stand against the partitions, and thus to prevent the destruction of the Polish state.
Having arrived at the Russian imperial court in Saint Petersburg in 1755, he became romantically involved with the future empress Catherine the Great (1762–1796). With her connivance, in 1764 he was elected King of Poland. Contrary to expectations, he attempted to reform and strengthen the ailing Commonwealth. His efforts met with external opposition from Prussia, Russia and Austria, all committed to keeping the Commonwealth weak. From within he was opposed by conservative interests, which saw reforms as threatening their traditional liberties and privileges.
The defining crisis of his early reign was the War of the Bar Confederation (1768–1772) that led to the First Partition of Poland (1772). The later part of his reign saw reforms wrought by the Great Sejm (1788–1792) and the Constitution of 3 May 1791. These reforms were overthrown by the 1792 Targowica Confederation and by the War in Defence of the Constitution, leading directly to the Second Partition of Poland (1793), the Kościuszko Uprising (1794) and the final and Third Partition of Poland (1795), marking the end of the Commonwealth. Stripped of all meaningful power, Poniatowski abdicated in November 1795 and spent the last years of his life a virtual captive in Saint Petersburg.Tiberius
Tiberius (; Latin: Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti filius Augustus; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March 37 AD) was Roman emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD, succeeding the first emperor, Augustus.
Born to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla in a Claudian family, he was given the personal name Tiberius Claudius Nero. His mother divorced Nero and married Octavian—later to ascend to Emperor as Augustus—who officially became his stepfather. Tiberius would later marry Augustus' daughter (from his marriage to Scribonia), Julia the Elder, and even later be adopted by Augustus. Through the adoption, he officially became a Julian, assuming the name Tiberius Julius Caesar. The emperors after Tiberius would continue this blended dynasty of both families for the following thirty years; historians have named it the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His relationship to the other emperors of this dynasty was as follows: Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, and great-grand uncle of Nero. His 22-and-a-half-year reign would be the longest after Augustus's until Antoninus Pius, who surpassed his reign by a few months.
Tiberius was one of the greatest Roman generals; his conquest of Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and temporarily, parts of Germania, laid the foundations for the northern frontier. Even so, he came to be remembered as a dark, reclusive and sombre ruler who never really desired to be emperor; Pliny the Elder called him "the gloomiest of men." After the death of his son Drusus Julius Caesar in 23 AD, Tiberius became more reclusive and aloof. In 26 AD he removed himself from Rome and left administration largely in the hands of his unscrupulous Praetorian prefects Lucius Aelius Sejanus and Quintus Naevius Sutorius Macro. When Tiberius died, he was succeeded by his grand-nephew and adopted grandson, Caligula.Vespasian
Vespasian (; Latin: Titus Flavius Vespasianus; 17 November 9 – 24 June 79 AD) was Roman emperor from 69–79, the fourth, and last, in the Year of the Four Emperors. He founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire for 27 years.
Vespasian was the first emperor who hailed from an equestrian family and only rose into the senatorial rank as the first member of his family later in his lifetime. Vespasian's renown came from his military success; he was legate of Legio II Augusta during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 and subjugated Judaea during the Jewish rebellion of 66.While Vespasian besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion, emperor Nero committed suicide and plunged Rome into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho perished in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in April 69. The Roman legions of Roman Egypt and Judaea reacted by declaring Vespasian, their commander, emperor on 1 July 69. In his bid for imperial power, Vespasian joined forces with Mucianus, the governor of Syria, and Primus, a general in Pannonia, leaving his son Titus to command the besieging forces at Jerusalem. Primus and Mucianus led the Flavian forces against Vitellius, while Vespasian took control of Egypt. On 20 December 69, Vitellius was defeated, and the following day Vespasian was declared emperor by the Senate.Little information survives about the government during Vespasian's ten-year rule. He reformed the financial system of Rome after the campaign against Judaea ended successfully, and initiated several ambitious construction projects, including the building of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known today as the Roman Colosseum. Through his general Agricola, Vespasian increased imperial expansion in Britain. After his death in 79, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to be directly succeeded by his own natural son and establishing the Flavian dynasty.