Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus (born Gaius Octavius Thurinus) was an ancient Roman politician and founder of the Roman Empire.
Dates of life: 63 BC – 14 AD.
Dates of his reign: 27 BC – 14 AD Although Octavian defeated all his enemies in 30 BC, it took him another three years to restore order to the country and Rome.
Therefore, the dates of his reign, many scholars believe from his victory, that is, from 30 BC, and others from restoring order in the state and Rome, that is, from 27 BC.
Nickname: Augustus (sacred); "Father of the Fatherland" (Latin: Pater Patriae).
Octavian's ancestors were originally from the city of Velitre (now the city of Velletria, Italy), near Rome, and were engaged in banking operations. Octavian Augustus ' father, Gaius Octavius, came from a wealthy Plebeian family that belonged to the equestrian class. He was the first of his kind to achieve the rank of senator. Octavian Augustus ' mother, Atia (Atia Balba Caesonia), was descended from the Julii family, and was the niece, on her mother's side, of Gaius Julius Caesar, whose heir a little later would become Octavian. Octavian had a younger sister, Octavia the Younger (she would later become the wife of Mark Antony and he would divorce her because of Cleopatra).
The date and place of Octavian's birth are disputed among historians. Since even since antiquity, it was not clearly clear when and where Octavian was born. According to the place of birth, it is disputed that it was either Rome itself, or the city of Velitr. About the date of birth argue that it was in September (23 or 24) 63 BC, or in the middle of December 63 BC, and the German scientist Johannes Kepler believed that Octavian was born on July 02, 63 BC. Octavian's father, like many non-noble Romans, did not have a cognomen (the 3rd part in the name), but Gaius did. His cognomen was given to him at birth - “Furin " (Lat. Thurinus – "Furian"), in honor of his father's victory over the rebellious slaves of Spartacus at the city of the same name. Octavian himself ascribed his cognomen to one of the epithets of the god Apollo, as guardian of the doors (other Greek: "θυραῖος (thuraios)“ – "located outside the door”).
Octavian's father was governor of the province of Macedonia from the end of 61 to 59 BC, but it is not known whether his wife and children were with him at that time. In 59 BC, on the way back to Rome, Octavian's father suddenly dies, having failed to become consul. His mother soon remarries in 57 or 56 BC, to the consul of 56 BC, Lucius Marcia Philippa, and Gaius himself, who spent the first years of his life, most likely in Velitras, is given to be raised by his maternal grandmother, Julia, Caesar's sister, who died in 51 BC. BCE At her funeral, Octavian delivered a funeral oration. Most likely, his famous uncle, Octavian first met with the beginning of the Civil War.
But his mother and grandmother were able to give Octavian a good education, by the standards of the capital. Octavian himself, due to health problems, could not serve in the army, so he diligently studied his education. At the same time, he met many of his peers who would later help him manage the empire, such as Mark Agripa.
Octavian's initiation into adulthood (48 BC) coincided with the outbreak of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey (49-45 BC). In 47 BC, with Caesar's help, Octavian became a member of the College of pontiffs, replacing the deceased Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and city prefect. In 46 BC, without personally participating in Caesar's African campaign, he participates in his triumph for this campaign and receives a reward from his hands. From this point on, Octavian increasingly began to appear in public next to Caesar. He wanted to take part in Caesar's 2nd Spanish campaign, but was too late for its decisive battle-the Battle of Munda (March 45 BC). In 45 BC, according to the law of the tribune Lucius Cassius, who was performing Caesar's errand, to replenish the patricians, part of the families of rich Plebeians was transferred to the rank of among the Plebeian families that became patricians was the family of Octavian. In September 45 BC, Caesar draws up a will in which he appoints Octavian as his main heir, provided that he agrees to go through the adoption process. But not until the assassination of Caesar in March 44 BC. Roman society did not know about the contents of his will and the name of the main heir.
It is still debated among historians whether Octavian himself knew about the text of Caesar's will and whether he was Caesar's final heir or was only a temporary figure. Octavian himself was in Apollonia (Fieri, Albania) in the winter of 45-44 BC, finishing his education there and preparing this time to take a personal part in Caesar's new military campaign, which did not take place due to his (Caesar's) murder.
Octavian learned the news of Caesar's death in Apollonia, and from there he went to Rome, where by that time all of Rome and all of Italy had already learned who was Caesar's main heir. By May 44 BC. Octavian arrived in Rome, where he began to strengthen his authority and seek the right to enter into the inheritance of Caesar. Having received the support of Caesar's veterans, Octavian declared that he was Caesar's legitimate heir according to his will and adopted the name "Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian", that is, having completed the adoption procedure. He, because of Antony's refusal to give money from Caesar's treasury, sold part of his property, distributed 300 sesterces to each Roman, which Caesar promised them, and organized games in honor of Caesar's victories. All this led to an increase in his influence, while Mark Antony only lost his authority by his actions, and as a result, by the autumn of 44 BC, he quarreled with some of the senators. He left Rome. Octavian also left for Southern Italy to gather troops. He was able to recruit 10 thousand soldiers and occupy Rome, but he could not convince the people and the Senate to go to war with Antony and retired from Rome to Arretium (modern Arezzo). Antony re-entered Rome in November 44 BC and, after restoring order there, departed for Cisalpine Gaul and laid siege to Brutus ' location, Mutina (modern Modena).
As a result, the Senate, with the support of Cicero, who had his own personal scores with Antony, declared war on him and sent troops to Mutina. And Octavian, with the help of Cicero, was given the powers of a propraetor, became a senator ahead of schedule (a seat in the Senate was usually guaranteed by the execution of the magistracy of the Quaestor) and was able to be elected to all positions ten years earlier than the prescribed term. As a result, Octavian, along with the army and two consuls Gaius Vibius Panza and Aulus Hyrtius, moved to Mutina. In April 43 BC. in a series of battles near Mutina, which were “drawn " because Antony and the consuls were able to win one battle each, but in both of these battles both consuls were killed in 43 BC, and Antony fled to Norbonian Gaul. The Senate ordered Gaius to hand over the command of the army to Decimus Brutus, but Gaius did not comply and suggested that until a new election of consuls was held, he and Cicero should serve as suffect consuls. But the Senate denied him this claim and did not allow him to celebrate the triumph for Mutina. As a result, Octavin managed to find out that there was a conspiracy in the Senate against him and Mark Antony. Supporters of the republic wanted to get rid of candidates for the government of Rome, using their mutual hostility.
Upon discovering this, Octavian and Antony immediately made peace. Including the military commander Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in their alliance, they created the so-called 2nd Triumvirate in October 43 BC. After that, they entered Rome with their troops in November of the same year, where they arranged, like Sulla once, proscriptions, during which many high-ranking Roman aristocrats died and died. the senators, in particular, one of the victims of proscriptions was Cicero. Then, after restoring order and leaving part of the forces with Lepidus in Italy, Antony and Octavian set out to defeat the conspirators who had settled with the troops-Caesar's murderers – Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus. Here in Macedonia, near the town of Philippa, two battles took place within a few days of each other at Philippi in October 42 BC.e. The Triumvirs won and carried out a new redistribution of power, excluding Lepidus from their membership. Then, according to the treaty, Octavian left for the West, including Rome itself, and Mark Antony for the east. Antony in the east began to prepare for war with Parthia, and Octavian in the west, returning to Rome, began to distribute land to soldiers, including former soldiers of Brutus and Cassius, so that they would not rebel because there were still supporters of the republic who were ready to use these forces. The free land in Italy was already scarce, and the land that was intended to be distributed to veterans was not enough, and Octavian began confiscating land from cities that were opponents of the triumvirs. All these actions caused discontent among the Italians, in addition to this, the food issue became even more acute – the supply of grain from Egypt to Italy and Rome. This supply was disrupted by the naval blockade of the Appennine Peninsula by the fleet based in Sicily, the eldest son of Pompey the Great, Sextus Pompey.
Mark Antony's younger brother, Lucius Antony, and Mark Antony's wife, Fulvia, took advantage of the situation. They blamed what was happening (the Italian uprising and the naval blockade of Italy) They promised that Mark Antony would restore the republic after his return from the East. Their agitation was successful not only with Italians, but also with some senators. As a result, the so-called Peruzino (Perusian) war broke out (autumn 41-spring 40 BC). In the summer of 41 BC. Lucius and his loyal troops occupied Rome and marched north from there, hoping to join forces with the regular troops of Asinius Pollio and Ventidius Bassus. But Octavian managed to quickly lower the formations of the two armies of the conspirators and block Lucius Antonius in Perusia (modern Perugia). After a long siege, the city was taken by storm. Lucius and a number of participants in the conspiracy (Fulvia, Ventidius Bassus, and Asinius Pollio) were pardoned by Octavian, and the city of Perugia was given to his troops to plunder, while executing some of the local nobility of this city for their support of Lucius.
A number of survivors of the uprising fled to Mark Antony in the East. Despite his affair with Cleopatra and his preoccupation with preparing for war with Parthia, Mark crossed to Italy and laid siege to the most important port of Brundisium (modern Brindisi). Antony was joined by Sextus Pompey. Everything was heading for a new war between the triumvirs, but their soldiers forced them to try on and extend the treaty of the 2nd triumvirate. Antony had all the eastern provinces, Octavian all the western provinces, and Lepidus had only the province of Africa. All triumvirs received the right to recruit new soldiers in Italy. The agreement was sealed by the widowed Antony's marriage to Octavia, Octavian's sister, who had recently lost her husband. The triumvirs ignored the interests of Sextus Pompey, and he resumed the blockade, since Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia were in his hands. Antony, after settling his differences with Octavian, left for the east to prepare for war with Parthia. Octavian and Lepidus set about finalizing the problem with Sextus Pompey's naval blockade. The war with Sextus Pompeius (the revolt of Sextus Pompeius) lasted from 43 to 36 BC. As a result, the triumvirs were able at first to buy time at the price of a truce, in particular, Octavian even married a relative of Sextus Pompey, Scribonia, but then the war resumed again. Sextus lost Sardinia and Corsica because of the betrayal of his supporter. There was a series of naval battles, in which Sextus won the upper hand, and Octavian's fleet was severely damaged, including due to a strong storm at sea.
During the fight against Sextus, Octavian and Mark Antony, from whom Octavian had asked for several ships to help in the fight against Sextus, met in the spring of 37 BC in the city of Tarentum, and extended their term of office as triumvirs for another 5 years. Also, Antony was to lend 120 warships to Octavian for his fight against Sextus, and in return was to receive 20 thousand legionaries for the war with Parthia. Antony fulfilled the condition of the treaty, and Octavian handed over only 10 soldiers out of the agreed number of soldiers needed by Antony for the war with Parthia. Octavian, immediately after the renewal of the triumvirate's powers, began to build a new fleet. As a result, Octavian and Lepidus landed with troops in Sicily. As a result, by September 36 BC, Sextus was defeated by sea and land and fled to the east. Lepidus, without waiting for Octavian's arrival, made peace with the Pompeian forces. With a large army in Sicily, Lepidus decided to strengthen his position in the triumvirate and turned against the former ally, declaring the island his territory. Octavian, having a lot of money, was able to win over the army of Lepidus to his side, and the troops of Lepidus left him. Octavian pardoned Lepidus for this betrayal, but removed him from politics. After that, power over Rome and the republic remained in the hands of Octavian and Mark Antony.
Even though the alliance still formally existed, both sides were preparing for war. In the West, Octavian successfully solved his affairs, while in the east, Mark Antony was doing poorly – he lost the war with Parthia and divorced Antony's sister Octavia, marrying the queen of Egypt, Cleopatra. As a result, a decisive war took place (in the summer of 32 BC - 30 BC) between Octavian and Mark Antony. Antony, with Cleopatra on one side and Octavian on the other, gathered forces and a fleet. On behalf of Octavian, the fighting in this war was conducted by his general Marcus Agrippa. Augustus ' legions easily defeated Antony's army, and some time later, at the decisive battle of Cape Actium (31 BC), Agrippa's flotilla also won. The result of this military campaign was the subordination of all the territories of Mark Antony. The sole ruler of the empire consolidated his power in the east for another 2 years, after which he returned to Rome, where he organized a three-day festive triumph for Illyria, victory in the battle of Actium, and the conquest of Egypt by Rome.
The rule of Octavian Augustus by the Roman Empire, received in history, the name "Principate". Principate-a term in historical literature that denotes the form of government of the early Roman Empire in the period from the first century BC to the third century AD (27 BC-284 AD). The power of the ruler in this era combined the features of a monarchy and a republic. The head of state was called princeps, i.e. first among equals. Thus, the democratic nature of his power was emphasized. He was also considered a tribune of the people, thus combining several functions and powers in his person.
The foundations of the principate were laid by the reforms of 27-23 BC. e. Under Octavian, the Senate ceased to be a legislative body, having received legislative powers. The right of legislative initiative, however, was reserved to the magistrates. The Senate also received judicial powers. However, the real power was concentrated in the hands of Octavian, who tried to pursue a cautious policy towards the Senate. The emperor carried out several reforms that regulated various aspects of the Senate's activities. Octavian paid much attention to the quantitative reduction of the overgrown senate. At first, Augustus planned to reduce the Senate from 1,000 to 300, as was the case before Sulla's time, but due to the active resistance of the senators, he reduced their number to only 600 people. Octavian placed himself first on the list of senators, thus becoming the princeps of the Senate. As a result of Octavian's reforms, the Senate's influence on foreign policy, provincial administration, and finances diminished. He carried out a military reform: finally established the order of formation of the Roman army, as a professional army.
Many legions were disbanded, approximately 60%, leaving only about 25 legions, which significantly reduced the tax burden and saved and replenished the imperial treasury. Emperor Octavian set the term of military service at 20 years. Legions have become more permanent, and their combat effectiveness has increased. In addition to the permanent land army, a permanent navy was created.
Administrative reform: the provinces were divided into senatorial and imperial. During his reign, he visited almost all the provinces of the empire. He began minting gold coins, because earlier coins were minted far irregularly. Rome had previously faced problems in the production of coins, having conquered Spain and Egypt, Rome gained access to mines and Octavian Augustus established coinage. The minting of silver and gold coins was under the personal supervision of the emperor. In addition to the state treasury, the imperial treasury was created, it was replenished with income from the imperial provinces and from it were spent on the maintenance of the army and payments to soldiers and veterans. Tax collections have now become regular, reducing the likelihood of a crisis. Coins have become more widely used in all spheres of life. After the conquest of Egypt, Rome established trade with India. Rome's maritime trade began to flourish. He established his own personal guard-the Praetorian Guard (Praetorians), taking into account the sad experience of Caesar's death.
Octavian was engaged in the improvement of Rome: night guards, road construction, widening of the Tiber riverbed, construction of temples; bread distributions, gladiator fights. Octavian attached great importance to the restoration of public morality according to the old Roman models – he regulated the order of marriage, marital life, etc. In 12 BC, after the death of Lepidus, Octavian became Supreme Pontiff and actively participated in religious ceremonies. He restored a number of holidays and religious colleges. He restored or built many new temples in honor of the Roman gods. In 8 BC. in honor of August, the month of sextiles was renamed. On February 5, 2 BC, Octavian received the honorary title of “Father of the Fatherland”from the Senate.
Under Augustus, the cult of the emperor began to form-expressed in the prayers of the people to the emperor as a God, the establishment in Rome and the Empire in all temples of the statue of the emperor, placing his image on coins, etc.one of the manifestations of the cult of the emperor was the renaming of the month of Sextilius in the month of August. During his reign, Jesus Christ was born in Judea. He ruled in the changing eras from B.C. to our era. He patronized poets. The "Golden Age" of Roman poetry.
The reign of Octavian Augustus is considered a golden age for Rome. He is called an experienced politician who managed to expand the borders of Rome and strengthen the country from the inside. Restoring order in the internal affairs of Rome and implementing a series of reforms helped restore the economy, economy and life in the Roman Republic, which became an empire, which led to an active foreign policy. Octavian's foreign policy was largely successful.
The first Roman emperor, Octavian Augustus, was not a successful military figure. He himself fought only once, and in the rest of the campaigns during his reign, his troops were led by his generals. Under his rule, the Roman Republic expanded and became an empire. Under him, Spain was conquered, with its tribes and rich silver mines. After Spain, he turned his gaze to the North. He conquered the Alps, which contributed to the advance of Roman troops along the roads to Gaul and Germany. This direction of conquest was due to frequent German incursions across the river. The Rhine to the Roman domain.
In parallel with the conquest of Germany, there was a further expansion of the Roman presence in the Balkans – here the Illyrian War was ended, which annexed to Rome the territories along the right bank of the Danube River (the future Roman province of Pannonia). Several uprisings were put down in the provinces of Africa and New Africa as they responded. By 6 AD, the Romans had established a foothold in the new province of Germania. But in 9 AD, the inhabitants of this province and their neighbors, the Germanic tribes, rebelled and were able to destroy three Roman legions and the governor of the province, Quintilius Varus, in the battle of the Teutoburg Forest. As a result, the Roman troops withdrew for a long time beyond the River Rhine, which became the border between Rome and the barbarian tribes of Germany. The emperor Octavian, according to ancient authors, was so shocked and saddened by the defeat of his troops in Germany that for several months he did not cut his hair or shave, often repeating "Quintilius Varus, bring back the legions!" (Suet. Aug. 23) Suetonius. Divine August, 23.).
The eastern part of Thrace was incorporated into the Roman province of Moesia. Despite its successes and failures in the west, in the east Rome tried to act more through diplomacy and trade, rather than military force. The expansion of borders in the East was mostly peaceful. In 25 BC, after the death of the last king of Galatia, this kingdom became a new Roman province. In 6 AD, the Kingdom of Judah was incorporated into the province of Syria, with the rights of autonomy, and was ruled by a prefect (procurator) of horsemen, just like Egypt. In many of the small states of Asia Minor, Octavian left power to the former rulers, even if they had previously supported Antony. Also, since the time of Augustus, Rome begins to exert a special influence on politics in the Bosporan kingdom.
The main enemy of Rome in the east was the Parthian kingdom, which was not inferior to the power of the Roman Empire. Through diplomacy and a series of minor military skirmishes, Octavian was able to make a lasting peace with them and include Armenia in Rome's zone of influence. In 20 BC, ambassadors from India came to the emperor, probably hoping to organize an alliance against Parthia. Octavian even concluded a treaty with the ambassadors, beginning Roman-Indian relations and trade. The Parthians even returned banners and prisoners from the unsuccessful campaign of Crassus (56 BC). One of the reliefs of the carapace of Augustus from Prima Porta depicts the transfer of captured Roman banners back to the Romans by the Parthians. A huge success of Octavian Augustus ' policy in the East is considered to be the establishment of direct ties between Rome and China (then ruled by the Hwang dynasty).
The Emperor Octavian died in 14 AD. After his death, he was deified, according to the cult of the emperor, which developed during his reign.
Octavian was engaged to Servilia, the daughter of Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus, twice consul in the 40s BC, but soon broke off the engagement and married Clodia Pulchora (a relative of Mark Antony) in 43 BC for political gain. In 41 BC, he divorced Clodia and married Scribonia (a relative of Sextus Pompey), but Octavian's marriage soon ended, in part because of his acquaintance with Livia, the wife of Tiberius Claudius Nero. Livia divorced Tiberius Claudius Nero, and married Augustus, who adopted her children from her first marriage, Tiberius and Drusus (whose father was rumored to be Augustus himself).
From his marriage to Scribonia, Augustus had a daughter, Julia the Elder, whom Augustus later exiled to the island of Pandataria in 2 BC (today it is one of the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the coast of Italy) because of her debauchery. Apart from his daughter, Octavian had no other children, especially sons, to whom the power could be transferred. As a result, this led to problems with the succession of power after him. At different times, Augustus assigned different relatives to his receiver. But in the end, the heir and successor of Augustus as Emperor of the Roman Empire, was adopted by him, the eldest son of Livia, Tiberius.
Since Octavian became the first emperor of Rome, many of his statues and portraits on coins have come down to us. This was also possible because Octavian began to inculcate the cult of the emperor in Rome and throughout the empire. But Octavian demanded to portray himself only as a young man, even in old age, which is why it is very difficult to install statues and portraits on coins that convey to us what Octavian looked like in old age. Even the history of Russia in the XVI century was associated with the name of Octavian Augustus, since in the " Tales of the Princes of Vladimir "(a literary monument of the XVI century), the royal origin of the Russian Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible was justified by the kinship of Rurik (the first prince in Russia) with the first Roman emperor - Octavian Augustus, through his brother Prus, whose existence is not known confirmed.
In the 17th and 19th centuries, the image of Augustus was interpreted differently in different countries, where he was admired (for example, in England), where he was initially hated for his rule, but when Napoleon came to power, they began to idolize (France). In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the main attention was focused on the problem of the nature of Augustus ' power. T. Mommsen fixed in the literature the use of the term “Principate”, which characterized the entire policy of Octavian Augustus. But the essence of the principate was controversial in scientific circles. In the historiography of the first half of the XX century, the emperor's policy towards the army as a pillar of his power was particularly highlighted, which led to his comparison first with European absolute monarchies, and then with totalitarian regimes.
In the 20th century, in Italy in the 20-30s, the image of Octavian and his biography were popular, and Benito Mussolini often addressed them in his speeches. In Rome itself and throughout Italy, he financed excavations, rebuilt and restored some of the buildings of the time of Augustus in Rome, and restored, as best he could, the partially preserved Altar of the Peace of Augustus. Among other things, many books and literary works have been written about Octavian, here are some of them: Alan Massey's novel” August "(1986); J. R. R. Tolkien's novel "Augustus" (1986). Edward Williams ' novel Augustus (1973); William Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra (16th century) and others.
Often in historical films and TV series devoted to the history of Ancient Rome, you can also find actors playing Octavian Augustus. Here are some films that mention Augustus or talk about him and his reign: the film “Antony and Cleopatra "(1908, 1912); the film "Cleopatra" Peplum (1963); the mini-series "I, Claudius"(1976); a series of mini-films about the Roman Empire, the first film in the series "The Roman Empire: Augustus" (2003); the TV series “ Rome”(2005), etc. Also, the first emperor of Rome is the hero of several computer games, here are some of them: Civilization IV and the extended version of Civilization IV: Warlords; Civilization V; the game Total War: Rome II: Emperor Augustus.
1) The Acts of the Divine Augustus. Translated by I. Sh. Shifman, I. Sh. Caesar August, L., 1990, pp. 189-199.
2) Appian. Civil wars.
3) Plutarch. Comparative biographies. Mark Antony.
4) Dion Cassius. Roman history.
5) Nicholas of Damascus. About the life of Caesar Augustus and his upbringing.
6) Suetonius. "The Life of the Twelve Caesars". August.
7) Tacitus. Annals. Often there is a reference to Octavian, although the work itself begins with his death.
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