Who was the first emperor of Rome?

Augustus was the very first emperor of Rome. Considered one of the greatest emperors to rule over the Roman Empire. He transformed the city from a republic to a successful empire by combining military might, renewal of construction, and innovative lawmaking.

Augustus’ Early Beginnings

Augustus’s original name was Gaius Octavius, and was born in 63 B.C. He was known as a sickly boy, as illness followed him throughout his life. He was born to the niece of Julius Caesar, a great Roman military leader in that time. Augustus was trained for the world of politics, and by sixteen was ready to join his great uncle in his military. His relationship with his great uncle grew so much that Caesar’s adopted him and made him his heir. After Caesar’s assassination, Augustus joined forces with Antony and Lepidus, claiming the name Second Triumvirate and gaining full governing power in 42 B.C.E. They split the area into three sections, the west, the east, and Africa. After many clashes between the three, Augustus was left as the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 23 B.C.

Augustus’ Reign

Although Augustus is known as the first emperor, he was emperor in all but the name. Never officially claiming that title until well after his death. After years of continuous civil war, Augustus’ rule was named the Pax Romana, translating to Roman peace, and lasted for his entire forty-year reign.

He expanded the Roman Empire a sustainable amount during his reign, adding areas in both Europe and Asia with his mighty military. Back in Rome, he reconstructed the buildings and expanded roads. Transforming the crumbling structures into long-standing marble buildings. His interest in the arts transformed the city in the beautiful paradise the Roman Empire was known for. His famous last words were in regard to this achievement, stating “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.” Augustus was also encouraged a return to of the early Rome religion, ensuring morality within the city. He passed laws to reduce promiscuity and regulate marriages and families.

Augustus’ Death

Augustus’ continuous illness amplified during the end of his days, with the emperor desperate need to find an heir becoming desperate. The emperor married three times, with only one child, Julia the Elder, and two stepsons in his last marriage. Augustus was determined to be succeeded by a male of his own blood. His first options were his nephew Marcellus as well as his beloved grandsons, Gaius and Lucius. Unfortunately, they all died before his end, making Augustus reluctantly choose Tiberius, one of his stepsons, to become his heir. Augustus’ death in 14 B.C created great grief within the city. He was seen as a great ruler and was proclaimed a god after his passing.

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