He was born Gaius Octavius into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian Octavii family, but adopted posthumously in 44 BC by his maternal great-uncle Gaius Julius Caesar following Caesar's assassination.
Together with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Eventually, the Triumvirate began to battle each other for power.
With Marc Antony dead, he was the most powerful man in Rome.
After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward facade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, and the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator.
Augustus rejected monarchical titles, and instead called himself Princeps Civitatis ("First Citizen"). The resulting constitutional framework became known as the Principate, the first phase of the Roman Empire.
Augustus rebuilt much of the city of Rome. He said on his deathbed that "I found a Rome of bricks; I leave to you one of marble".
He established a permanent fire-fighting and police force for the city of Rome.
The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace). Despite continuous wars on the Empire's frontiers and one year-long civil war over the imperial succession, the Roman world was largely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries.
The month of August is named after Augustus. Prior to this, the month was called Sextilis.
He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established the Praetorian Guard, established a standing army, and rebuilt much of the city during his reign.
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Augustus was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, ruling from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.
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