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Augustus

Augustus (Latin: Imperator Caesar Divi filius Augustus; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August 14 AD) was a Roman statesman and military leader who was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, controlling Imperial Rome from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history.

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In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Augustus (there called Octavius) is a minor character and a member of the Second Triumvirate. In Anthony and Cleopatra, however, Octavius takes a main role as a dry, persuasive, and utterly self-controlled diplomat intent on gaining power in Rome and eliminating his rivals. In the made-for-TV movie Imperium: Augustus, Peter O'Toole portrays the emperor on his death bed as he recounts the events of his life. The movie portrays Augustus as an old man riddled with doubt and guilt over the methods by which he attained the Empire, seeking to be justified (or at least forgiven) in the eyes of his daughter. In Colleen McCullough's First Man in Rome series, Augustus is set forward as an enigma, both among his peers and among his enemies. The series - which chronicles the rise of Julius Caesar and his subsequent assassination - introduces Augustus (then, Octavius) as an asthmatic youth of above-average intelligence and political insight, and follows his career as he becomes contubernalis to Caesar and, later, Caesar's heir. He is the main character in the second half of October Horse, where he enters Rome's political arena following the death of Caesar and maneuvers himself into the Second Triumvirate with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, culminating in their joint victory over Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi. The final book in the series, Anthony and Cleopatra, follows Octavian's machinations against Antony and his final victory over all his political enemies, which leads to him being declared Augustus by the Senate.

Contributed by Aidan Netherwyrm Clevinger

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