Sex in the times of the Roman Empire was much less taboo than it is in today's society. If you could go back in time and walk around the streets of Rome you would find sex everywhere. From graffiti on walls, to brothels in the middle of town, sex just did not have the stigma and guilt that we associate with it today. No men took advantage of this more than the men with the most power, the emperors. Although many of the Roman Emperors were perverse you only have to look at the first three to find how the morals for the Roman Empire were set. There is no better place to start talking about sex in the Roman empire than with the first emperor, Augustus. Born Gaius Octavius in 63 BC, he was destined for greatness from the very beginning. When he was born the astrologer Publus Nigidius Figulus said "The ruler of the world is now born (Everitt 36)." Octavius caught the attention of his uncle Julius Caesar while speaking at a funeral. Caesar took to Octavian immediadtly and at age seventeen Octavian accompanied Caesar to Spain. When Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Octavian found that he had been adopted as his heir. Immediately this sparked controversy and many, including Caesar's close friend Mark Antony, accused Octavian of having sex with Caesar to encourage his adoption (Cawthorne 48). When Octavian defeated Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium, he renamed himself Augustus and became the first emperor in the new Roman Empire. While emperor, Augustus put in the books several laws to create a more moral Rome. Augustus did all he could to encourage marriage and fidelity in his laws even going as far as trying to pass laws that imposed fines for failing to marry. Also added to the books were laws discouraging adultery, pediphellia, and divorce (Everitt 154). Though in his life as Emperor Augustus was a champion of virtue, in his private life he was anything but that. By this time Augustus had divorced his first wife, Scribonia, and married Livia....
Cited: Cawthorne, Nigel. Sex Lives of the Roman Emperors. US: Barnes and Noble, 2006.
Everitt, Anthony. Augustus: The Life of Rome 's First Emperor. Random House, 2006.
Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars. US: Barnes and Noble, 2004.
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