•Charles River Editors’ original biography of Augustus
•Suetonius’ biography of Augustus from The Twelve Caesars
•Augustus’ The Deeds of the Divine Augustus, the funerary inscription of Augustus he authored himself
•Nicolaus of Damascus’ Life of Augustus
“The whole of Italy swore allegiance to me.” – Augustus (from The Deeds of the Divine Augustus)
The importance of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (or as he was known from birth, Gaius Octavius “Octavian” Thurinus) to the course of Western history is hard to overstate. His life, his rise to power, his political, social and military achievements, all laid the foundations for the creation of an Empire which would endure for almost five centuries, and whose traditions, laws, architecture and art continue to influence much of Europe and the world today. Octavian was the first true Roman Emperor, and the first man since the Etruscan Tarquins, five centuries earlier, to establish a successful hereditary ruling dynasty in what had been a proud Republic for over half a millennium. He was a canny strategist, an excellent orator, a fine writer, a generous patron of the arts and enthusiastic promoter of public works, but above all he was a master politician. Octavian’s great-uncle (and adoptive father) Julius Caesar was a great general, his rival Mark Antony was a great soldier, but as a politician Octavian outmatched them all.
Certainly, like all men, Octavian had his defects. Like many of the most successful politicians, he could connive, plot and prevaricate with the best of them, and he made full use of the emotional pull that his late beloved great-uncle had over the legions during the course of his rise to power. His justice was also famously heavy-handed, and he was not known for his mercy towards those he defeated in battle or marginalised political opponents. Yet despite all this, he still stands in bronze on Rome’s Via dei Fori Imperiali to this day, along with the likes of Caesar, Hadrian, Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, and he is forever immortalised in all western calendars as the patron of the month of August, which was dedicated to him when he was deified, following his death, as Divus Augustus.
Like his adoptive father before him, Octavian is one of those figures whom it is difficult to know exactly what to make of, because he appears, even at a distance, to be larger than life. Yet the amount of personal correspondence and contemporary writings penned by Octavian himself, as well as his friends and associates (and rivals) is such that, when we analyse it all together, a clear picture of the man behind the bronze statue begins to emerge – the man who found Rome a city of bricks, but left her behind a city of marble.
The Ultimate Caesar Augustus Collection chronicles the the life and legacy of Rome’s first emperor with an original biography and historical writings about Augustus by Nicolaus of Damascus, Suetonius, and Augustus’own funerary inscription which chronicled his deeds. It also includes pictures and a Table of Contents.