AP World History
Augustus Caesar of Rome was born with the name Gaius Octavius on September 23, 63 B.C. He took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian in 44 B.C. after the murder of his great uncle, Julius Caesar. In his will Caesar had adopted Octavian and made him his heir.
Octavian was a brilliant and astute politician. Through cold, hard political calculation he was able to achieve ultimate power in Rome. At the time of Caesar’s assassination, Octavian held no official position. Only after he marched on Rome and forced the senate to name him consul, was he established as a power to be reckoned with.
In 43 B.C., Octavian, Marcus Antonius and another Roman General, Marcus Lepidus, formed the second Triumvirate to rule Rome. After taking power, the Triumvirate proscribed and slaughtered thousands of political enemies, firmly establishing their control of the Roman government.
In 40 B.C., Antony married Octavia, Octavian’s sister, and later deserted her for Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. When Antony gave Roman provinces to his children by Cleopatra, Octavian declared war on Antony. In 31 B.C. the Roman Navy under Agrippa defeated the combined fleets of Antony and Cleopatra, and within a year both had committed suicide.
In 27 B.C., the Roman Senate granted Octavian the name Augustus, meaning “the exalted.” They also gave him the legal power to rule Rome’s religious, civil and military affairs, with the Senate as an advisory body, effectively making him Emperor.
Rome achieved great glory under Octavian/Augustus. He restored peace after 100 years of civil war; maintained an honest government and a sound currency system; extended the highway system connecting Rome with its far-flung empire; developed an efficient postal service; fostered free trade among the provinces; and built many bridges, aqueducts and buildings...
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