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(born Sept. 23, 63 BCdied Aug. 19, AD 14, Nola, near Naples) First Roman emperor. Born to a wealthy family, at age 18 he was named adoptive son and heir of his great-uncle Julius Caesar. After Caesar's assassination (44 BC) a power struggle ensued, and several battles later Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate with his chief rivals, Lepidus and Mark Antony. Octavian disposed of Lepidus in 32 and Antony (then allied with Cleopatra) at the Battle of Actium in 31 to become sole ruler. He was anointed princeps; the Roman Empire is said to begin with his accession. At first he ruled as consul, maintaining republican administration, but in 27 he accepted the title Augustus and in 23 he received imperial power. His rule (31 BC–AD 14) brought changes to every aspect of Roman life and lasting peace and prosperity to the Greco-Roman world. He secured outlying imperial provinces, built roads and public works, established the Pax Romana, and fostered the arts. He took steps to rectify Roman morality, even exiling his daughter Julia for adultery. When he died, the empire stretched from Iberia to Cappadocia and from Gaul to Egypt. He was deified after his death.
Variants of AUGUSTUS, CAESAR
Augustus, Caesar or Octavian orig. Gaius Octavius later Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus
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