AUGUSTUS

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AUGUSTUS (Caius Julius Caesar Octavius) ; originally called Caius Octavius; son of Caius Octavius and Accia, a daughter of Julia, the sister of Julius Caesar. The Octavian family originated at Velletri, in the country of the Volscians. The branch to which Octavius belonged was rich and distinguished. His father had risen to the rank of senator, and had gone to Macedonia, after being chosen praetor, where he was very distinguished as a civil and military officer. Octavius was born during the consulate of Cicero, 65 B. C. He lost his father when young, but was veiy carefully brought up at Rome by his mother, and L. M. Philippus, the second husband of Accia. His talents gained him the regard of his great uncle, Julius Caesar, who declared himself willing to adopt him for his son, in case he himself should remain without children. Octavius was at Apollonia, in Epirus, where he was studying eloquence, under the renowned orator Apollodorus, when he received the news of the tragical death of his uncle, and of his having adopted him as his son. Notwithstanding the anxiety of his friends, he went over to Italy, in order, if circumstances should favor him, to satisfy the hopes which he had entertained from being adopted by Julius Caesar. When he landed at Brundusium, deputies from the veterans collected there came to him. Conducted in triumph to the city, and saluted as the heir and avenger of Caesar, he made his adoption publicly known, and took the name of his uncle, adding to it that of Octavianus. He placed himself, then only 19 years old, at the head of the veterans, possessed himself of all the public money in Brundusium, and advanced through Campania to Rome. Here there were two parties, mat 01 tne repuoncans, wno had killed Caesar, and that of Antony and Lepidus, who, under the pretence of avenging him, strove to establish their own authority. The latter party became victorious, and the consul, Antony, exercised almost unlimited power. Octavius addressed himself first to Cicero who had retired to his villa at Cumae, being desirous to gain this great orator, always beloved by the people, and whom Antony hated and feared. From thence he went to Rome, where the greatest part of the magistrates, soldiers and citizens came to meet him, Antony, alone, paying no attention to his return. After Octavius had caused his adoption to be confirmed in the most solemn manner, he went to Antony, begged his friendship, and demanded of him the inheritance left him by Caesar, in order to pay the legacies mentioned in his will. Antony, at first, haughtily refused to acknowledge his claims, but afterwards changed his demeanor, when he found the influence of Octavius continually increasing, and his own proportionably diminishing. There could be no lasting union between two equally ambitious rivals. Their hearts cherished reciprocal hatred and jealousy; and their enmity was so little a secret, that Octavius was accused of having wished to get Antony murdered. How the latter went to Cisalpine Gaul, besieged Mutina, and was declared an enemy to his country while absent from Rome; how Octavius, who had obtained the most powerful party in the senate, accompanied the consul sent against Antony, and, after the death of the consul, took the chief command; how he, afterwards, when Antony, together with Lepidus, entered Italy at the head of a powerful army, united with him; how a triumvirate was formed by the three generals; and how, after dreadful scenes of blood, in Rome and the rest of Italy, they defeated the republican army under Brutus and Cassius, in Macedonia ;all this is contained in the article on Antony. Antony honored the memory of Brutus, but Octavius insulted his corpse. After his return to Rome, he satisfied the avarice of his soldiers by the division of the conquered lands. This division caused great disturbances. In the midst of the stormy scenes which convulsed Italy, he was obliged to contend with Fulvia, whose daughter, Clodia, he had rejected, and with Lucius, the brotherinlaw of Antony. After several battles, Lucius threw himself into the city of Perusia, where he was soon after obligedto surrender. The city was given up to be plundered, and 300 senators were condemned to death, as a propitiatory sacrifice to the manes of the deified Caesar. After the return of Antony, an end was put to the proscriptions. Octavius allowed such of the proscribed persons as had escaped death by flight, and whom he no longer feared, to return. There were still some disturbances in Gaul, and the naval war with Sextus Pompeius continued for several years. After his return from Gaul, Octavius married the famious Livia, the wife of Claudius Nero, whom he compelled to resign her, after he himself had divorced his third wife, Scriponia. Lepidus, who had hitherto retained an appearance of power, was now deprived of his authority, and died, as a private man, 13 B. C. Antony and Octavius now divided the empire. But, while the former, in the East, gave himself up to a life of luxury, the young Octavius pursued his plan of making himself sole master of the world. He especially strove to obtain the love of the people. He showed mildness and magnanimity, without the appearance of striving after the highest power, and declared himself ready to lay down bis power when Antony should return from the war against the Parthians. He appeared rather to permit than to wish himself to be appointed perpetual tribune an office which gave him supreme power. The more he advanced in the affections of the people, the more openly did he declare himself against Antony. By making public a will, wherein his rival appointed his sons by Cleopatra his heirs, he stirred up the illwill of the Romans against him. Availing himself of this feeling, Octavius declared war against the queen of Egypt, and led a considerable force, both by sea and land, to the Ambracian gulf, where Agrippa (q. v.) gained the naval victory of Actium (q. v.), which made Octavius master of the world, B. C. 31. He pursued his rival to Egypt, and ended the war, after he had rejected the proposal of Antony to decide their differences by a personal combat. Cleopatra and Antony killed themselves. Octavius caused them to be splendidly buried. A son of Antony and Fluvia was sacrificed, to ensure his safety. Caesarion, a son of Caesar and Cleopatra, shared the same fate. All the other relations of Antony remained uninjured, and Octavius, on the whole, used his power with moderation. He spent two years in the East, in order to arrange the affairs of Egypt, Greece, Syria, Asia Minor and the islands. On his return to Rome, he celebrated a triumph for three days in succession. Freed from his rivals and enemies, and master of the world, he was undecided concerning the way in which he should exercise his power in future. Agrippa, whose victory had given him universal dominion, counselled him to renounce his authority. Maecenas opposed this; and Octavius followed his advice, or rather his own inclinations. In order to make the people willing to look upon him as an unlimited monarch, he abolished the laws of the triumvirate, beautified the city, and exerted himself in correcting the abuses which had prevailed during the civil war. At the end of his seventh consulship, he entered the senatehouse, and declared his resolution to lay down his power. The senate, astonished at his moderation, besought him to retain it. He yielded to their pressing entreaties, and continued to govern through them. He now obtained the surname of Augustus, which marked the dignity of his person and rank, and united, by degrees, in himself, the offices of imperator, or commanderinchief by sea and land, with power to make war and peace; of proconsul over all the provinces, of perpetual tribune of the people, which rendered his person inviolable, and gave him the power of interrupting public proceedings ; and, in fine, of censor, and pontifex maximus, or controller of all religious matters. The laws themselves were subject to him, and the observance of them depended upon his will. To these dignities we must add the title of father of his countiij. Great as was the power given to him, he exercised it with wise moderation. It was the spirit of his policy to retain old names and forms, and he steadfastly refused to assume the title of dictator, which Sylla and Caesar had made odious.A. conducted many wars in Africa, Asia, and particularly in Gaul and Spain, where he triumphed over the Cantabrians after a severe strupole. His arms subjected Aquitania, Pannonia, Dalmatia and lllyria, and held the Dacians, Numidians and Ethiopians in check. He concluded a treaty with the Parthians, by which they gave up Armenia, and restored the eagles taken from Crassus and Antony. At the foot of the Alps he erected monuments of his triumphs over the mountaineers, the proud remains of which are yet to be seen at Susa and Aosta. After he had established peace throughout the empire, he closed (for the wiira lime since tne rounaaiion 01 xtomej the temple of Janus, B. C. 10. But this peace was interrupted, A. D. 9, by the defeat of Varus, who lost three legions in an engagement with the Germans, under Arminius, and killed himself in despair. The information of this misfortune greatly agitated A. He let his beard and hair grow, and often cried out, in the deepest grief, " O Varus, restore me my legions!" Meanwhile the Germans were held in check by Tiberius. During the peace, A. had issued many useful decrees, and abolished abuses in the government. He gave a new form to the senate, employed himself in improving the maimers of the people, particularly by promoting marriage, enacted laws for the suppression of luxury, introduced discipline into the armies, and order into the games of the circus. He adorned Rome in such a manner, that it was truly said, " He found it of brick, and left it of marble." He also made journeys, as Velleius says, every where, to increase the blessings of peace: he went to Sicily and Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Gaul, &c.: in several places he founded cities and colonies. The people erected altars to him, and, by a decree of the senate, the month Sextilis was called August. Two conspiracies, which threatened his life, miscarried. Csepio, Murena and Egnatius were punished with death : Cinna was more fortunate, receiving pardon from the emperor. This magnanimity increased the love of the Romans, and diminished the number of the disaffected; so that the master of Rome would have had nothing to wish for, if his family had been as obedient as the world. The debauchery of his daughter Julia gave him great pain ; and he showed himself more severe against those who destroyed the honor of his family, than against those who threatened his life. History says, that, in his old age, he was ruled by Livia, the only person, perhaps, whom he truly loved. He had no sons, and lost by death his sister's son, Marcellus, and his daughter's sons, Caius and Lucius, whom he had appointed his successors. Also, Drusus, his soninlaw, whom he loved, died early; and Tiberius, the brother of the latter, whom he hated, on account of his bad qualities, alone survived. These numerous calamities, together with his continuallyincreasing infirmities, gave him a strong desire of repose. He undertook a journey to Campania, from whose purer air he'hoped for relief; but disease fixed upon him, and he died, at Nola (August 19, A. D. 14), in the 76th year of his age, ana 4Dtn ot ms reign, wnen ne felt his death approaching, he is said to have called for a mirror, arranged his hair, and demanded of the bystanders, "Have I played my part well ?" and, an answer being returned in the affirmative, " Then," added he, using the form of the players, " farewell, and applaud" (valete, etplaudite). If this last passage in the life of A. is true, it is certainly indicative of his character, his policy, and even of his fortune. It is certain, that his conduct was always measured and determined beforehand, and that he had a great power of remaining cool and unmoved amid the cares and agitations of government. Studiously concealing his own plans, he made use of the passions, as well as the talents, of others, to further them. He conquered Brutus by means of Antony, and Antony by means of Agrippa. He several times changed his party, but never his purposes, and knew how to cause power to be offered, and pressed upon him, while it was, in fact, the obj ect of all his exertions. It cannot be denied that he used his power with wisdom, and became the benefactor of his country, which he had previously plunged into the horrors of civil war. His taste and active mind led him to favor and protect the learned ; and he even exercised the art of the poet himself; so that he was not unworthy of giving his name to an age distinguished for intellectual creations. His death plunged the empire into the greatest grief. He wras numbered among the gods, and temples and altars were erected to him.