Augustus (Octavius) was a grand-nephew of Julius Caesar, the dictator of roman empire. After the assassination of maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar, Augustus inherited Caesar’s name, estate, and the loyalty of his legions.

Heir to Caesar

Julius Caesar ruled the Roman Empire as a dictator from 49 BC until his assassination in 44 BC.

As per the Roman law, Julius Caesar had no living legitimate children, so had adopted Augustus as his primary heir.

On 15 March 44 BC, a day when Julius Caesar was assassinated, he was studying and undergoing military training in Illyria.

He immediately sails for Italy to ascertain his potential political fortunes, rejecting the advice of some army officers to take refuge with the troops in Macedonia.

While he was marching through Italy to reach Rome, many Caesar’s veteran legionaries and troops training for Parthian war started supporting Augustus after he started promoting himself as legal heir to Julius Caesar.

By June, he had gathered an army of 3,000 loyal veterans of Julius Caesar.

After the Julius Caesar funeral, Mark Antony enters into uneasy truce with the rival faction but fearing for his life Brutus went into exile.

Mark Anthony became most powerful person in Rome, much to the dismay of Rome’s Senate.

On 6th May 44 BC, Augustus reached Rome along with his large army.

In Rome, Augustus had three main rivals, Mark Antony (General of Julius Caesar and now leader of Caesar faction in Rome), Brutus (Leader of rival faction responsible for assassination of Julius Caesars) and Rome’s Senate.

Augustus destroy power of Senate

Mark Anthony feared Augustus’s large and capable force and he left Rome for Cisalpine Gaul.

Rome’s Senate was delighted with the flight of Mark Anthony.

Soon, Augustus and Senate joined hand and together raised large force to defeat Mark Anthony. This army was led by two Roman Consuls and Augustus.

One year later in April 43 BC, Combined army defeated Mark Anthoy’s army in Forum Gallorum and Mutina. After his defeat, Mark Anthony retreat with his army to Transalpine Gaul.

In these battles, both the roman consuls were killed, leaving Augustus sole command of combined army.

Next, Augustus demanded sole consulship, but senate refused.

So, Augustus decided to betray Senate and join hands with weakened Mark Anthony.

In October 43 BC, they met near Bologna. They were joined by Julius Caesar’s another powerful general Lepidus.

Together Augustus, Antony, and Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate.

They soon reached Rome and with the help of sympathetic roman senator enacted law which legalized Second Triumvirate and sanction murder and confiscated of the properties of 300 rival roman senators.

This completely destroyed the power of Senate.

How did Augustus became emperor
How did Augustus became emperor

Augustus destroy power of Brutus (Rival faction)

Brutus and his faction had built their power base in Greece. They also had built a large army to attack Augustus and his legions.

Antony and Octavian then sent 28 legions by sea to face the armies of Brutus.

On October 42 BC, two armies met at the battles at Philippi. Augustus and Mark Anthony emerged victorious and Brutus committed suicide.

This destroyed the power of rival factions.

Rule of Second Triumvirate

After the battle of Philippi, the Roman Empire was divided among the members of the Second Triumvirate.

Mark Anthony got the Egypt and eastern provinces, Augustus got Italy, Hispania and Gaul, whereas Lepidus was given few province of Africa.

Antony traveled east to Egypt where he married Queen Cleopatra.

Second Triumvirate Map
Second Triumvirate Map

Augustus Destroy power of Lepidus

Soon, Lepidus and Augustus went to war against sea pirate led by Sextus Pompeius who ruled Sicily.

After their victory, Lepidus attempted to claim Sicily for himself, ordering Augustus to leave.

However soldier loyal to Lepidus switch sides due to bribe and defected to Augustus side.

This completely destroyed the power of Lepidus. He spent the rest of his life in obscurity.

The Roman Empire was now divided between Augustus in the West and Antony in the East.

Augustus Destroy power of Mark Anthony

In 32 BC, Augustus convinced the Roman Senate to declare war on the Mark Anthony and Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

Augustus army led by Marcus Agrippa and he defeated army of Mark Anthony in a decisive Battle of Actium.

Antony withdrew to Egypt, where army loyal to Augustus besieged the city until both Antony and Cleopatra were forced to commit suicide.

Augustus the First Roman Emperor 

Following the end of the war, Augustus brought peace to the Roman state that had been plagued by a century of civil wars.

Augustus would be the first Roman Emperor and would transform the Republic into the Roman Empire.

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