Interesting and Fun Facts about Emperor Augustus
Emperor Caesar Augustus, who is also known as Octavian, was the first Emperor of Rome and one of the most important figures in the history of ancient Rome. Some have hailed Augustus as a great visionary with great leadership; whereas critics have denounced him as a dictator or on the level of Adolf Hitler. Do you know that the month of August was named after Emperor Augustus? Read further to uncover more interesting and fascinating facts about this great Roman emperor.
1. He was Julius Caesar’s grand-nephew and his adopted son too.
2. Emperor Caesar Augustus was born into an old and wealthy family, the Octavia family.
3. He was the longest-ruling Emperor of Rome. He ruled for 41 years.
4. His birth name was Gaius Octavius Thurinus. He later changed it to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, in honor of his uncle and benefactor.
5. Emperor Caesar Augustus bore the same name as his birth father.
6. His father who died when he was 4 years old was the first of their family members to become a Roman Senator.
7. The name ‘Augustus’ which means “exalted”, was granted to him by the Roman Senate after his victory over Mark Anthony and Cleopatra.
8. Emperor Caesar Augustus had a very notable sarcastic sense of humor.
9. According to his biographer Suetonius, Augustus was 5’7 ft tall, although he wore high-soled shoes that made him look taller.
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10. He was famously known to be a sober man who only drank 3 cups of wine per meal.
11. He lived a life too simple for a Roman emperor, unlike the sophisticated lifestyle other Roman emperors had.
12. He was quite a weakling, chronic illnesses preventing him from exercising too much.
13. Unlike every other Roman, he was not a faithful husband, especially to his third wife, Livia.
14. He was the Emperor in charge during the time Jesus Christ was born.
15. Emperor Caesar Augustus was the first-ever Emperor of Rome.
16. He was 18 years old when he took up his inheritance to rule over Rome.
17. Just as July was named after his uncle, Julius Caesar, the month of August was named after Emperor Augustus.
18. Until he was 12 years old, he was raised by Julius Caesar’s sister Julia Minor, who happened to be his grandmother.
19. At 12, he read the funeral oration of his grandmother when she died in 52 BC.
20. His mother Atia, was the daughter of Julius Caesar’s sister, Julia.
21. He was studying in Greece when his uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated.
22. Augustus was officially named as heir to the throne in Caesar’s will.
23. At 15, he was specially nominated by Caesar to a position with the College of Pontiffs (an order of priests in pre-Christian Roman society.)
24. He established a lot of historical building projects, some of which include: The Temple of Caesar, the Baths of Agrippa, the Forum of Augustus, and the Mausoleum of Augustus, which was built to carry the remains of his family.
25. He had only one biological child by the name of Julia the Elder; the rest of his children were adopted.
26. Just like his adoptive father, Augustus had no son of his own and thus had big problems choosing an heir.
27. In search of an heir, he had married his daughter off to his friend Agrippa who was 22 years older than she was. They had 3 sons, (out of which two of them later died), and 2 daughters.
28. Agrippa was a major contributing factor to the building of Rome and a backbone for Augustus’ big achievements in his empire.
29. The previous civil wars before Augustus started to reign had left Rome fragile and so it needed the stability that Augustus was offering at the time.
30. He used the help of Agrippa and his stepson, Tiberius, to expand Roman frontiers, especially as he was not much of a military commander.
31. After Agrippa died, he made his daughter Julia marry his stepson Tiberius. For this to happen, he forced Tiberius to divorce his previous wife whom he truly loved.
32. He cared less about his physical appearance, as his teeth were unkempt.
33. He was married three times. His first two marriages ended in divorce after two years, while the last one lasted until he died in 14 AD.
34. He was the most famous member of the Second Triumvirate, a trio of powerful men whose major aim was to defeat the forces of Brutus and Cassius, who were the killers of Julius Caesar. The other two members were Mark Anthony and Marcus Lepidus.
35. After the defeat of Julius Caesar’s assassins, Augustus and Mark Anthony divided up the Roman territory between them and left Lepidus out of the spoils.
36. He had entered into a costly power struggle with Mark Anthony (who was Julius Caesar’s chief lieutenant), for the ruling of Rome.
37. He destroyed the Second Triumvirate by using the Roman Senate against Mark Anthony and his wife Cleopatra, which led to their suicide; and used the public to rob Lepidus of his offices, after which he was exiled.
38. The destruction of the Second Triumvirate thus left Augustus solely in charge of Rome.
39. The destruction of the second triumvirate heralded the beginning of the Roman Empire.
40. He was able to retain control over Egypt when he had also executed Cleopatra’s son, Ptolemy XV Caesar, whom she claimed was fathered by Julius Caesar.
41. He was known to be very ruthless with his enemies and was a man of little mercy.
42. He sent his daughter into exile for committing adultery and even banned her body from being buried in the family’s monument after she dies.
43. Roman historians say that his third wife, Livia Drusilla, could have poisoned him to death.
44. He was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius Claudius Nero after the death of his grandchildren Lucius and Gaius Caesar, whom his daughter Julia bore with Agrippa.
45. He rejected Kingship titles but instead preferred to be addressed as ‘Princeps Civitatis’, meaning First Citizen.
46. During his reign as Emperor, the Roman world was entirely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries. This era of peace was known as the Pax Romana.
47. The peace and order established by Augustus helped in the spread of Christianity as it helped make the missionary work of Apostle Paul easier.
48. He formed the influential Praetorian Guard who were the sole permanent bodyguards of the emperor.
49. The regime of Emperor Augustus in Rome was autocratic, although cloaked in traditionalist forms.
50. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed an official courier system, developed networks of roads, and established permanent police and fire-fighting service in Rome.
51. He changed the way governors were appointed in the provinces, which reduced greed and extortion.
52. He encouraged art, literature, and philosophy in Rome.
53. . He died in AD 14, at the age of 75, in Italy, Rome.
54. His famous last words were, “Acta est Fabula, plaudit” (“Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit”)
55. On the day of his burial, all public and private businesses in Rome closed for the day.
56. At his death, the Roman Senate officially declared him to be a god.
57. He was a daring leader who knew how to influence his people. He was in fact, a benevolent dictator.
58. He was an unbeliever who worshipped the Roman pagan gods.
59. Unlike Julius Caesar, Augustus turned down the royal privilege of carrying a scepter of clothing himself in glorious apparel.
60. Augustus rebuilt much of the city of Rome. On his deathbed, he had said, “I found a Rome of bricks: I leave to you one of marble”.
61. His subjects awarded him the title “Pater Patriae” (Father of his country).
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