Augustus (Roman Emperor)

Antony defeated the army of the republic under and Brutus at Philippi in 42.

The victors the Roman dominion among then divided the Roman territories among themselves, the west falling to Augustus, the east to Antony, and Africa to Lepidus. However Augustus and Antony soon secured absolute sway over the entire Roman world. The contest was now between Augustus, with his capital in Rome, and Antony, who ruled from the Egyptian capital where he had established himself after making an alliance with the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, with whom he also had a sexual relationship.

Antony, while in Africa, gave himself up to luxury and dissipation, and estranged himself from the Romans on account of having made an alliance with Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. Antony adopted eastern customs and the habits of an asiatic monarch.

Augustus declared war against Cleopatra's Egypt largely with the intention of defeating her and Antony, and thus to secure complete control of Rome. In the celebrated naval battle at Actium in 31 b.c., Augustus gained a brilliant victory, and returned to Rome two years later to celebrate his triumph with much pomp and splendor.

Though first named Octavius, his name had been changed to Octavianus upon his adoption by Caesar, and now the senate bestowed on him the name Augustus, meaning the venerated or sanctified. Once master of Rome, Augustus carried on successful wars in Gaul, Spain, Asia, and Africa, and the Roman territories expanded to what would very nearly be their greatest expanse. But later his general, Varus, was defeated by the Germans under Armenius with great loss, and Augustus appears to have abandoned plans for any further significant expansion.

A period of peace now followed, and Augustus turned his attention to the improvement of internal affairs, particularly those of the capital, beautifying the city and constructing many highways to facilitate its commerce. It is said of him, "He found Rome of brick, and left it of marble," so extensive were his adornments and improvements. The period included in the reign of Augustus is one of the most important in Roman history, and is spoken of as the Augustan Age of Literature, being associated with such eminent patrons of learning as Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Horace, and Catullus. The Roman people erected altars to his honor and changed the name of the month Sextilis to Augustus, now our August. Though his early life is marked by crafty traits of character, he displayed much generosity and liberality in the latter period of his reign. Leaving no direct heir, he was succeeded by his stepson, Tiberius, the son of Livia, whom he had married after she was divorced by her husband.

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