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Augustus

antony caesar julius marc

Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14), honorific title given in 27 B.C. to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, adopted great-nephew and heir of Julius Caesar. With Lepidus and Marc Antony he formed a triumvirate that avenged his great-uncle' s murder by defeating and destroying the main conspirators, at Philippi (42 B.C.). The deposition of Lepidus (36 B.C.) and the suicide of Antony after his defeat at Actium (31 B.C.) left Augustus sole master of the Roman world. After the ravages of 50 years of civil war, he used his power to institute religious, legal, and administrative reforms and to promote literature, the arts, and agriculture. While nominally restoring the Republic, his control of the state's finances and armed forces made him the sole ruler. He is accounted first Roman emperor (Latin, imperator, “commander”). He was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius. The month of August is named for him.

See also: Antony, Marc; Cleopatra; Caesar, (Gaius) Julius.

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