Roman Emperor Augustus is remembered for an immense legacy that catapulted the Roman Empire into decades of continued progress. Here are some highlights from the life and times of the first Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus.
The Life and Legacy of Emperor Augustus. Part One
He had many name changes. His Latin name at birth Gaius Octavius later became Gaius Octavius Thurinus; an additional surname given to him as a boy. After receiving Julius Caesar’s name he became, Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus . He then dropped all the names and remained with Imperator Caesar. Upon his insistence, the Roman Senate conferred Imperator Caesar Augustus to celebrate his defeat of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium with his 400 ships and 80,000 experienced infantry.
The month of August is so named in his honour. As the first Roman Emperor he entered power after the calendar that we still use today, had just been altered and renamed as the Julian calendar – during the reign of his adopted father, Commander Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar had previously changed the latin name of the seventh month from “Quintilis” to “Iulius”. Caesar Augustus then added another day to the 8th month, taking it to 31 and renamed it “Augustus” from “Sextilis”.
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He is responsible for the Italian public holiday, Ferragosto. Then referred to as feriae augustales, Roman Emperor Augustus declared the 1st of August as the first day of the rest period after harvesting and much agricultural work honouring the God of grains, Conso. This celebration was eventually converted to August 15th by the Catholic church and also commemorated as the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary. Click here for more on Ferragosto
He was groomed by Julius Caesar – one of the greatest military commanders in history. After the death of his father, the first from their family with a wealthy, equestrian lineage to become a Roman senator, he was eventually prepared for military service and strategy by Julius Caesar. It was this great uncle that named him as chief personal heir and willed him his name, power : the loyalty of his very large military troops, in general what was considered to be 2/3 of his legacy. To further specify, Emperor Augustus’ mother, was Julius Caesar’s niece.
He transitioned the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.
He reigned for 41 years. Roman emperors were often subject to violent deaths and short lives. Caesar Augustus instead died of natural causes at the age of 75 years.
August is the official vacation month in Italy. School is out, the days and sea boast warm temperatures, coastlines are lined with full parking, queued gelato lines dot the roadways and as you make videos up and down the hiking trails, here in Le Marche region, you pass families who could be from Milan, The Netherlands or the lovely lady from Pesaro who was delighted to meet her ‘town cousins’ all the way up in the hills at the spectacular ‘Shiva’s Waterfall’. Could there be a reason for August fêted and fluffed as the moment to descend on the beaches, breathe fresh mountain air after riveting hikes or just be outside before the tell-tale signs of autumn arrive?
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