The Roman Empire - In The First Century
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Age of Augustus
Age of Augustus
After winning the war against Marc Antony, Augustus had a far harder task - winning the peace and securing his throne. It is a reflection of his consummate political skills that he not only achieved this, but also became known as one of Rome's greatest leaders.

Suspicious minds

After his victory at the battle of Actium, Augustus was a hero to the Roman people. But he knew that the Senate still viewed him with suspicion.

Augustus was very aware of the bloody fate of his uncle, Julius Caesar, when senators suspected him of trying to create a dynasty of rulers.

To avoid the same end, Augustus offered to give up the throne. When the people demanded that he be appointed absolute ruler, he accepted gracefully, but refused to be called dictator.

Talking the talk

By acting as if he was ruling in the best traditions of the republic, Augustus managed to rule as emperor. He made the most of a rare appearance by Halley's Comet to claim that Caesar was sitting among the gods. As Caesar's heir, this made Augustus the son of a god - a fact he was not shy of reminding his people.

In truth, Augustus did believe in restoring Rome to its former glories. He was a conservative, both politically and morally. This caused some problems. His pronouncements in favor of marriage and against adultery clashed with the very public promiscuity of his daughter, Julia. Determined to maintain his control, he banished her.

Solid achievement

It was not all political plotting and spin. Augustus was a highly successful ruler. Abroad, he expanded the empire, adding Egypt, northern Spain and much of central Europe. By his death, the empire was an enormous marketplace in which millions could trade and travel under Rome's protection.

At home, he ruled over 40 years of peace and prosperity - no mean feat for a man who had seized power by force. At his death, he was declared a god: just rewards for a man who transformed Rome from a wounded republic into a global power.

Where to next:
Religion in Ancient Rome - Augustus
Writers - Ovid

Related Links:

Augustan Family Tree   Augustan Family Tree
Quiz: Who are you?   Quiz: Who are you?
The Roman Empire

Republic to Empire

Age of Augustus

Years of Trial

Empire Reborn


Social Order

Life in Roman Times


Enemies and Rebels


The Roman Empire - In The First Century