(B.C. 63 A.D. 14)






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Augustus has been much less attractive to biographers than Iulius ; perhaps because the soldier is more interesting than the statesman ; perhaps because the note of genius conspicuous in the Uncle was wanting in the Nephew. Yet Augustus was the most successful ruler known to us. He found his world, as it seemed, on the verge of complete collapse. He evoked order out of chaos ; got rid one after the other of every element of opposition ; established what was practically a new form of government without too violent a breach with the past ; breathed fresh meaning into old names and institutions, and could stand forth as a reformer rather than an innovator, while even those who lost most by the change were soothed into submission without glaring loss of self-respect. He worked ceaselessly to maintain the order thus established, and nearly every part of his great empire had reason to be grateful for increased security, expanding prosperity, and added amenity of life. Nor can it be said that he reaped the credit due in truth to ministers. He had excellent ministers and agents, with abilities in this or that direction superior to his own ; but none who could take his place as a whole. He was the centre from which their activities radiated : he was the inspirer, the careful organiser, the unwearied manipulator of details, to whom all looked, and seldom in vain, for support and guidance. We may add this to a dignity never forgotten,



enhanced by a physical beauty and grace which helped to secure reverence for his person and office, and established a sentiment which the unworthiness of some of his successors could not wholly destroy. He and not Iulius was the founder of the Empire, and it was to him that succeeding emperors looked back as the origin of their power.

Yet his achievements have interested men less than the conquest of Gaul and the victories in the civil war won by the marvellous rapidity and splendid boldness of Iulius. Con¬ sequently modern estimates of the character and aims of Augustus have been comparatively few. An exhaustive treatise is now appearing in Germany by V. Gardthausen, which will be a most complete storehouse of facts. Without any pretence to such elaboration of detail, I have tried in these pages to do something to correct the balance, and to give a picture of the man as I have formed it in my own mind. The only modest merit which I would claim for my book is that it is founded on a study as complete as I could make it of the ancient authorities and sources of information without conscious imitation of any modern writer. These authorities are better for the earlier period to about b.c. 24, while they had the Emperor’s own Memoirs on which to rely. The multiform activities of his later life are chiefly to be gathered from inscrip¬ tions and monuments, which record the care which neglected no part however remote of the Empire. In these later years such histories as we have are more concerned with wars and military movements than with administration. Suetonius is full of good things, but is without chronological or systematic order, and is wanting in the critical spirit to discriminate between irresponsible rumours and historical facts. Dio Cassius, plain and honest always, grows less and less full as the reign o-oes on. Velleius, who might at least have given us full details of the later German wars, is seldom definite or precise, and is tiresome from devotion to a single hero in Tiberius, and by an irritating style.



It has been my object to illustrate the policy of Augustus by constant reference to the Court view as represented by the poets. But in his later years Ovid is a poor substitute for Horace in this point of view. The Emperor’s own catalogue of his achievements, preserved on the walls of the temple at Ancyra, is the best possible summary ; but a summary it is after all, and requires to be made to live by careful study and comparison.

The constitutional history of the reign is that which has generally engaged most attention. I have striven to state the facts clearly. Of their exact significance opinions will differ. I have given my own for what it is worth, and can only say that it has been formed independently by study of our autho¬ rities.

I have not tried to represent my hero as faultless or to make black white. Nothing can clear Augustus of the charge of cruelty up to b.c. 31. But in judging him regard must be had to his age and circumstances. We must not, at any rate, allow our judgment of his later statesmanship to be controlled by the memory of his conduct in a time of civil war and con¬ fusion. He succeeded in re-constituting a society shaken to its centre. We must acknowledge that and accept the bad with the good. But it is false criticism to deny or blink the one from admiration of the other.

I have to thank the authorities of the British Museum for casts of coins reproduced in this book : also the Syndics of the Pitt Press, Cambridge, for the loan of certain other casts.







Childhood and Youth, b.c. 63—44


The Roman Empire at the Death of Iulius Caesar


The Inheritance.


The Consulship and Triumvirate .

Philippi .



Perusia and Sicily .

Actium .









The New Constitution, b.c. 30-23





The First Principatus, b.c. 27-23


The Imperial and Military Policy of Augustus


Augustus and his Worshippers .


The Reformer and Legislator


Later Life and Family Troubles


The Last Days


The Emperor Augustus, His Character and Aims, His Work and Friends

Augustus’s Account of His Reign

(From the Inscription in the Temple of Rome and Augustus at Angora)












List of Illustrations

Augustus with Corona Civica. (From the Bust in

the Vatican Museum) . . . Frontispiece

The Young Octavius. (From the Bust in the

Vatican Museum) .... Facing p. io

Coin. Obv. M. Brutus. Rev. Two Daggers and Cap of Liberty ....

Obv. Head of Augustus bearded as sign of Mourning. Rev. Divus Iulius .

Obv. Head of Agrippa. Cos. III. i.e. b.c. 27. Rev. Emblematical Figure

Obv. Head of Augustus with Official Titles. Rev. Head of same with Radiated Crown and the Iulian Star

Obv. Head of Sext. Pompeius. Rev. The same with titles, Preefectus Chassis et orae Maritimae ....

Augustus addressing Troops. (From the Statue in the Vatican) ....

Coin. Obv. Head of Augustus. Rev. The Sphinx .....










Coin. Obv. Heads of Augustus and Agrippa.

Rev. Crocodile and Palm Colonia

Nemausi (Nismes) . . . Facing p. 130

Obv. Head of Augustus. Rev. Triumphal Arch celebrating the Reconstruction of the Roads ....

Obv. Head of Drusus. Rev. Trophy of Arms taken from the Germans .

Obv. Head of Livia. Rev. Head of Iulia .

Altar dedicated to Lares of Augustus in b.c. 2 by a magister vici. (Uffizi Gallery, Florence)

Augustus as Senator. (From the Statue in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence) . .

Iulia, Daughter of Augustus. (From the Bust in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence)

Livia, Wife of Augustus. (From the Bust in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence) (Page 274) .

Maecenas. (From the Head in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome) ....

P. Vergilius Maro. (From the Bust in the Capi- toline Museum, Rome) (Page 284)












lam nova progenies ccelo demittitur alto.

In a house at the eastern corner of the Palatine, called “At the Oxheads,” 1 on the 23rd of September, b.c. 63 some nine weeks before the execution of the Catilinarian Augustus, sept, conspirators by Cicero’s order a child was born

23 B C 63

destined to close the era of civil wars thus inaugurated, to organise the Roman Empire, and to be its master for forty-four years.

The father of the child was Gaius Octavius, of the plebeian gens Octavia , and of a family that had long occupied a high position in the old Volscian town of Velitrae. Two branches of the Octavii were descended from C. Octavius Rufus, quaestor in B.c. 230. The elder branch had produced five consuls and other Roman magistrates, but of the younger branch Gaius Octavius, the father of Augustus, was the first to hold curule office. According to the inscription, after-

1 A d capita bubula. Lanciani (Remains of Ancient Rome, p. 139) says that this was the name of a lane at the eastern corner of the Palatine. Others have thought it to be the name of the house, as the ad malum Punicum in which Domitian was born (Suet., Dom. 1). So later we hear of a house at Rome qua est ad Palmam ( Codex Theod., p. 3). The house may have had its name from a frieze with ox-heads on it, like the tomb of Metella, which came to be called Capo-di-bovc. It seems less easy to account for a lane being so called. See also p. 205.





wards placed by his son in the sacrarium of the palace,1 he had twice served as military tribune, had been quaestor, plebeian aedile, iudex quaestionum, and praetor. After the praetor- ship (b.c. 6i) he governed Macedonia with conspicuous ability and justice. He is quoted by Cicero as a model administrator of a province ; and he was sufficiently successful against the Bessi and other Thracian tribes constant scourges of Mace¬ donia to be hailed as imperator by his soldiers. He returned to Italy late in b.c. 59, intending next year to be a candidate for the consulship, but early in B.c. 58 he died suddenly in his villa at Nola, in the same chamber as that in which his son, seventy-two years later, breathed his last.2 3 4

The mother of the young Gaius Octavius was Atia, daughter of M. Atius Balbus,3 of Velitrae, and Iulia, sister of Gaius Iulius Caesar. This connection with Caesar ThAugustus°£ already rising in political importance may have made his birth of some social interest, but the omi¬ nous circumstances said to have accompanied it are doubtless due to the curiosity or credulity of the next generation. The people of Velitrae, it is reported, had been told by an oracle that a master of the Empire was to be born there. Rumours, it is said, were current in Rome shortly before his birth that a king of the Roman people was about to be born. His mother dreamed strange dreams, and the learned Publius Nigidius prophesied the birth of a lord of the world ; while Catulus and Cicero had visions.4 But there was, in fact, nothing mysterious or unusual in his infancy, which was passed with his foster-nurse at Velitras. When he was two years

1 C. I. L., vol. i. p. 279.

2 Cicero, ad Q. Fr. 1, 1, 21 ; 1, 2, 7. Velleius Pat., 2, 59 ; Sueton., Aug. 3.

3 The plebeian Atii Balbi do not seem to have been important. M. Atius Balbus was praetor in b.c. 62 (with Caesar), governor of Sardinia B.c. 61-60, and in B.c. 59 was one of the xx viri under the Julian land law (Cic., ad Att. ii. 4).

4 These and other stories will be found in Sueton., Aug. 94, and Dio, 45, 2. Vergil makes skilful use of them in Ain., vi. 797, sqq.



old his father, on his way to his province, carried out success¬ fully an order of the Senate to destroy a band of brigands near Thurii, survivors, it is said, of the followers of Spartacus and Catiline. In memory of this success his parents gave the boy the cognomen Thurinus. He never seems to have used the name, though Suetonius says that he once possessed a bust of the child with this name inscribed on it in letters that had become almost illegible. He presented it to Hadrian, who placed it in his private sacrariumJ-

About b.c. 57 or 561 2 3 * * his mother Atia re-married. Her husband was L. Marcius Philippus (praetor b.c. 60, governor of Syria b.c. 59-7, Consul B.c. 56) ; and when "^Augustus61 'n his ninth year Octavius lost his foster-mother he became a regular member of his stepfather’s household. Philippus was not a man of much force, but he belonged to the highest society, and though opposed to Caesar in politics, appears to have managed to keep on good terms with him. 3 But during his great-nephew’s boy- Tl of August^6 hood Caesar was little at Rome. Praetor in b.c.

62, he had gone the following year to Spain. He returned in b.c. 60 to stand for the consulship, and soon

1 Antony, when he wished to depreciate Augustus, asserted that his great-grandfather had a rope- walk at Thurii ; and some such connection of his ancestors with that place may account for the cognomen, which would naturally be dropped afterwards (Suet., Aug. 7).

2 The marriage could not have taken place earlier than the middle of B.c. 57, for when Atia’s first husband died Philippus was in Syria. He was succeeded by Gabinius in b.c. 57, and reached Italy in time to stand for the consulship, the elections that year being at the ordinary time, i.e., July (Cic., ad Att. 4, 2).

3 L. Marcius Philippus was the son of the famous orator, and was a warm supporter of Cicero. With his colleague as consul-designate he proposed

the prosecution of Clodius (Cic., ad Q. Fr. ii. 1). When the civil war was

beginning he was allowed by Caesar to remain neutral (Cic., ad Att. ix. 15 ; x. 4). But Cicero found him tiresome company, for he was garrulous and

prosy {ad Att. xii. 9, 16, 18) ; and in the troublous times following the assassination of Caesar he set little store by his opinion {ad Att. xvi. 14 ; ad Brut. i. 17).



after the consulship, early in b.c. 58, he started for Gaul, from which he did not return to Rome till he came in arms in b.c. 49. But though occupied during the summers in his famous campaigns beyond the Alps, he spent most of his winters in Northern Italy at Ravenna or Lucca where he received his partisans and was kept in touch with home politics, and was probably visited by his relatives. Just before entering on his consulship he had formed with Pompey and

The first . r , ,

Triumvirate Crassus the agreement for mutual support known

as the First Triumvirate. The series of events which broke up this combination and made civil war inevitable must have been well known to the boy. He must have been aware that the laurelled despatches of his great-uncle announc¬ ing victory after victory were viewed with secret alarm by many of the nobles who visited Philippus ; and that these men were seeking to secure in Pompey a leader capable of out¬ shining Caesar in the popular imagination by victories and triumphs of his own. He was old enough to understand the meaning of the riots of the rival law-breakers, Milo and Clodius, which drenched Rome in blood. Election after election was interrupted, and, finally, after the murder of Clodius (January, B.c. 52), all eyes were fixed on Pompey as the sole hope of peace and order. There was much talk of naming him dictator, but finally he was created sole consul (apparently by a decree of the Senate) and remained sole consul till August, when he held an election and returned his father-in-law, Metellus Scipio, as his colleague.

The upshot of these disorders, therefore, was to give Pompey a very strong position. He was, in fact, dictator ( seditionis sedanda causa ) under another name ; and the position after Optimates hastened to secure him as their champion. A law had been passed in b.c. 56, by agreement with Caesar, giving Pompey the whole of Spain as a province for five years after his consulship of b.c. 55. As Caesar’s government of Gaul terminated at the end of B.c. 49,


Pompey would have imperium and an army when Caesar left his province. He would naturally indeed be in Spain ; but the Senate now passed a resolution that it was for the good of the State that Pompey should remain near Rome. He accordingly governed Spain by three legati, and remained outside the walls of the city with imperium. The great object of the Optimates was that Caesar should return to Rome a privatus while Pompey was still there in this unprecedented position. Caesar wished to be consul for b.c. 48. The Optimates did not openly oppose that wish, but contended that he should lay down his provincial government and military command first, and come to Rome to make his profession or formal announce¬ ment of his being a candidate, in the usual way.1

But Caesar declined to walk into this trap. He knew that if he came home as a privatus there were many ready to pro¬ secute him for his actions in Gaul, and with Pompey there in command of legions he felt certain that a verdict inflicting political ruin on him could be obtained. He therefore stood by the right secured by a law of b.c. 55, and reinforced by Pompey ’s own law in B.c. 52 of standing for the consulship without coming to Rome, and without giving up his province and army before the time originally fixed by the law. He would thus not be without imperium for a single day, but would come to Rome as consul.

Here was a direct issue. Pompey professed to believe that it could be settled by a decree of the Senate, either forbidding the holder of the election to receive votes for Caesar in his absence, or appointing a successor in his province. Caesar, he

1 The law of B.c. 52 allowed Caesar to be elected in his absence (absentis rationem liabcri), but said nothing of his being in possession of a province. By long prescription the Senate had the right of deciding when a provincial governor should be succeeded.” But then Caesar’s term of provincial government had been fixed by a lex, which was superior to a Senatus-consultum ; and he might also argue that if it was unconstitutional for a man to be elected consul while holding a province, the Senate had violated the constitution in allowing Pompey to be consul in b.c. 52.



Provocation to Czesar.

argued, would of course obey a Senatus-consultum. But Caesar was on firm ground in refusing to admit a successor till the term fixed by the law had expired, and also in claiming that his candidature should be admitted in his absence for that too had been granted by a law. If neither side would yield the only possible solution was war.1

Caesar hesitated for some time. He saw no hope of molli¬ fying his enemies or separating Pompey from them. His daughter Iulia’s death in B.c. 54 after a few years’ marriage to Pompey had severed a strong tie be¬ tween them. The death of Crassus in b.c 53 had removed, not indeed a man of much strength of character, but one whose enormous wealth had given him such a hold on the senators that any strong act on their part, against his wishes, was difficult. After his death the actual provocations to Caesar had certainly increased. The depriving him, under the pretext of an impending Parthian war, of two legions which were being kept under arms in Italy ; the insult inflicted upon him by Marcellus (Consul b.c. 51) in flogging a magistrate of his new colony at Comum, who if the colony were regarded as legally established would be exempt from such punishment ; these and similar things shewed Caesar what he had to expect if he gave up office and army. He elected therefore to stand on his legal rights.

Legality was on his side, but long prescription was in favour of the Senate’s claim to the obedience of a magistrate, especially of the governor of a province. There

Civil war. r j ° r

was therefore a deadlock. Caesar made one attempt not perhaps a very sincere one to remove it. He had won over Gaius Curio, tribune in b.c. 50, by helping him

1 The Senate did not insist on the professio , from which Cassar had been exempted by name in Pompey’s law. But its contention was that it still retained the right of naming the date at which a man was to leave his province, and of deciding in regard to an election whether a man was a legal candidate, which might depend on other things besides the making or not making a professio.



to discharge his immense debts. Curio therefore, instead of opposing Caesar, as had been expected, vetoed every proposal for his recall. His tribuneship ended on the 9th of December, B.c. 50, and he immediately started to visit Caesar at Ravenna. He told him of the inveteracy of his opponents, and urged him to march at once upon Rome. But Caesar determined to justify himself by offering a peaceful solution he was willing to hand over his province and army to a successor, if Pompey would also give up Spain and dismiss his armies.” Curio returned to Rome in time for the meeting of the Senate on the 1st of January, b.c. 49, bringing this despatch from Caesar.

The majority of the Senate affected to regard it as an act of rebellion. After a debate, lasting five days, a decree was passed on January the 7th, ordering Caesar to give up his province and army on a fixed day, on pain of being declared guilty of treason. This was vetoed by two tribunes, M. Antonius and Q. Cassius. Refusing, after the usual “remonstrance,” to withdraw their veto, they were finally expelled and fled to Ariminum, on their way to join Caesar at Ravenna. The Senate then passed the Senatus-consultum ultimum , ordering the magistrates and pro-magistrates to see that the state took no harm,” and a levy of soldiers already begun by Pompey was ordered to be held in all parts of Italy.

Caesar, informed of this, addressed the single legion which was with him at Ravenna, urging it to support the violated tribunes. Satisfied with the response to his appeal, ‘theRubi’coif he t°°k the final step of passing the Rubicon and marching to Ariminum, outside his province.

Both sides were now in the wrong, the Senate by forcibly interfering with the action of the tribunes, Caesar by entering Italy. An attempt, therefore, was made to effect a compromise. Lucius Caesar a distant connection of Iulius visited him at Ariminum, bringing some general professions of moderation from Pompey, though it seems without any definite suggestion.



Caesar, however, so far modified his former offer as to propose a conference, with the understanding that the levy of troops in Italy was to be stopped and Pompey was to go to his Spanish province. On receiving this communication at Capua Pompey and the consuls declined all terms until Caesar had withdrawn from Ariminum into Gaul ; though they intimated, without mentioning any date, that Pompey would in that case go to Spain. But the levy of troops was not interrupted ; and Caesar’s answer to this was the triumphant march through Picenum and to Brundisium. Town after town surrendered, and the garrisons placed in them by Pompey generally joined the advancing army, till finally a large force, embracing many men of high rank, surrendered at Corfinium. Caesar had entered Italy with only one legion, but others were summoned from winter quarters in Cisalpine Gaul, and by the time he reached Brundisium Pompey had given up all idea of resisting him in Italy, and within the walls of that town was preparing to cross to Epirus, whither the consuls with the main body of his troops had already gone. Caesar had no ships with which to follow him. He was content to hasten his flight by threatening to block up the harbour. Pompey safely out of Italy, he went to Rome to arrange for his regular election into the consulship. Meeting with opposition there 1 one of the tribunes, L. Caecilius Metellus, vetoing all proposals in the Senate he hastened to Spain to attack the legates of Pompey, stopping on his way to arrange the siege of Marseilles (which had admitted Ahenobarbus, named successor of Caesar in Gaul),

1 The difficulty was that both consuls were absent. There was no one therefore capable of holding a consular election. But as the other curule magistrates still existed, the auspicia had not returned to the Fathers,” who could not therefore name an interrex. The Praetor Lepidus though willing could not create a mains imperium. The only way out of it was to name a Dictator (com. liab. causa) ; but one of the consuls, according to tradition, could alone do that. Eventually Lepidus, by a special vote of the people was authorised to name Caesar as Dictator which had pre¬ cedents in the cases of Fabius Maximus and Sulla and Caesar, as Dictator, held the consular elections. Caes., b. c. ii, 21 ; Dio, 41, 36.



and sending legati to secure Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa. Of these the only failure was in Africa, where Curio was defeated and killed. This province therefore remained in the hands of the Pompeians ; but Caesar’s own successes in Spain, the fall of Marseilles, and the hold gained upon the corn supplies of Sicily and Sardinia placed him in a strong position. The constitu¬ tional difficulty was surmounted ; he was named Dictator to hold the elections, returned himself as consul, and, after eleven days in Rome for the Latin games, embarked at Brundisium on January 3, B.c. 48, to attack Pompey in Epirus.

It is not necessary to follow the events of the next six months. Caesar had to struggle with great difficulties, for luiius czesar Pompey as master of the sea had a secure base Roman worid, of supplies ; and therefore, though Caesar drew BC'47' vast lines round his camp, he could not starve him out. Pompey, in fact, actually pierced Caesar’s lines and defeated him in more than one engagement. Eventually, however, Caesar drew him into Thessaly ; and the great victory of Pharsalia (August 9th) made up for everything. Pompey fled to Egypt, to meet his death on the beach by order of the treacherous young king ; and though Caesar still had weary work to do before Egypt was reduced to obedience, and then had to traverse Asia Minor to crush Pharnaces of Pontus at Zela, when he set foot once more in Italy in September, b.c. 47, he had already been created Dictator, and was practically master of the Roman world.

In these momentous events the young Octavius had taken no part. At the beginning of b.c. 49 he had been sent away to one of his ancestral estates in the Uietoialirffe country. But we cannot suppose him incapable anpontiiex,e a of understanding their importance or being an BC'48' uninterested spectator. His stepfather Philippus was Pompeian in sympathy, but his close connection with Caesar kept him from taking an active part in the war, and he was allowed to remain in Italy, probably for the most part



in his Campanian villa. From time to time, however, he came to Rome ; and Octavius, who now lived entirely with him, began to be treated with a distinction natural to the near relative of the victorious dictator. Soon after the news of Pharsalia he took the toga virilis, and about the same time was elected into the college of pontifices in the place of L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who had fallen in the battle. This was an office desired by the highest in the land, and the election of so young a boy, just entering upon his sixteenth year, put him in a position something like that of a prince of the blood ; just as afterwards Augustus caused his two grand¬ sons to be designated to the consulship, and declared capable of official employment as soon as they had taken the toga virilis.'1

The boy, who three years before had made a great impres¬ sion by his delivery of the taudatio at his grandmother Iulia’s Octavius’s reia- funeral, again attracted much attention by his parents and his good looks and modesty. He became the fashion ;

gieat unciu an(j when (as was customary for the pontifices)

he presided in a praetorian court during the feria Latina , it was observed to be more crowded by suitors and their friends than any of the others. It seems that the rarity of his appearance at Rome added to the interest roused by his great- uncle’s successes. For his mother did not relax her watch¬ fulness. Though legally a man he was still carefully guarded. He was required to sleep in the same simple chamber, to visit the same houses, and to follow the same way of life as before. Even his religious duties were performed before daylight, to escape the languishing looks of intriguing beauties. These precautions were seconded by his own cool and cautious temperament, and the result seems to have been that he passed through the dangerous stage of adolescence doubly

1 Nicolas (ch. 4) says that he took the toga virilis about fourteen (mpi mj paXarra ytyoi/wg TearcrapaKcuSeKa). But Suetonius (Aug. 8) says that he spoke the laudatio of his grandmother in his twelfth year, and four years afterwards took the toga virilis.

The young Octavius.

Photographed from the Bust in the Vatican by Edne. Alinari.

To face page 10. .




1 1

dangerous to one now practically a prince uncontaminated by the grosser vices of Rome. Stories to the contrary, afterwards spread abroad by his enemies, are of the most unsubstantial and untrustworthy kind.

But though he seems to have quietly submitted to this tutelage, he soon conceived an ardent desire to share in the activities of his great-uncle. Caesar had been very

Africa with little at Rome since the beginning of the civil war. A few days in March, b.c. 49, thirteen days in December of the same year, were all that he had spent in the city. He was absent during the whole of his consulship (b.c. 48) till September, b.c. 47. On his return from Alexandria in that month, he stayed barely three months at Rome. On the 19th of December he was at Lilybaeum, on his way to Africa to attack the surviving Pompeians. Octavius longed to go with him, and Caesar was willing to take him. But his health was not good, and his mother set herself against it. The Dictator might no doubt have insisted, but he saw that the boy was not fit to face the fatigues of a campaign. Octavius submitted, quietly biding his time. He was rewarded by find¬ ing himself high in his great-uncle’s favour when he returned in B.c. 46 after the victory of Thapsus. He was admitted to share his triple triumph, riding in a chariot immediately behind that of the imperator, dressed in military uniform as though he had actually been engaged. He found, moreover, that he had sufficient interest with Caesar to obtain pardon for the brother of his friend Agrippa, taken prisoner in the Pompeian army in Africa. This first use of his influence made a good impression, without weakening his great-uncle’s affection for him. Though Caesar did not formally adopt him,1 he treated him openly as

1 Octavius was sui turis , his father being dead ; his adoption therefore required the formal passing of a lex curiata. Now the opposition, sup¬ ported by Antony, against this formality being carried out was one of the grounds of Octavian’s quarrel with him in b.c. 44-3, an<3 the completion of it was one of the first things secured by Octavian on his entrance into Rome in August, B.c. 43 [Appian, b. c. iii. 94 ; Dio, 45, 5]- This seems



his nearest relation and heir. Octavius rode near him in his triumph, stood by his side at the sacrifice, took precedence of all the staff or court that surrounded him, and accompanied him to theatres and banquets. He was soon besieged by petitions to be laid before Caesar, and shewed both tact and good nature in dealing with them. This close connection with the wise and magnanimous Dictator, inspired him with warm admiration and affection, which help to explain and excuse the severity with which he afterwards pursued his murderers.

In order to give him experience of civic duties, one of the theatres was now put under his charge. But his assiduous . attention to this duty in the hot season brought

Octavius em- ^ J 0

duties1 b”*!' on a dangerous illness, one of the many which he encountered during his long life. There was a general feeling of regret at the prospect of a career of such promise being cut short. Caesar visited him daily or sent friends to him, insisted on the physicians remaining constantly at his side, and being informed while at dinner that the boy had fainted and was in imminent danger, he sprang up from his couch, and without waiting to change his dining slippers, hurried to his chamber, besought the physicians in moving terms to do their utmost, and sitting down by the bed shewed the liveliest joy when the patient recovered from his swoon.

Octavius was too weak to accompany the Dictator when starting for Spain against Pompey’s sons in December b.c. 46.

But as soon as he was sufficiently recovered he

Octavius follows , . , ril . J

Cassar to Spain, determined to follow him. He refused all com-

pany except that of a few select friends and the

conclusive against the theory that Iulius adopted him in his lifetime. Moreover all authorities speak of the adoption as made by Will. Livy, Ep. 116, testamenio in nomen adoptatus est ; Velleius, ii. 59, tcstamcntum apertum est, quo C. Octavium nepotem sororis sucv lulice adoptabat. See also Appian, b. c. iii. 11 ; Dio, 45, 3 ; Plutarch, Brut. 22. It is true that Nicolas —speaking of the triumph of B.c. 46 8) says vibv ?)«/ ■kevoithjlevoq. But if he means anything more than “regarding him as a son,” he twice afterwards contradicts himself : See § 17 dirriyyeXkov to. te aXKa teal <bg tv rat q StaQiiicaig ojq v'tog dtj IC aitrapi kyyeyfia/ifievoQ. Cf. § 13.


most active of his slaves. He would not admit his mother’s wish to go with him. He had yielded to her before, but he was now resolved to take part in a man’s work alone. His voyage, early in b.c. 45, proved long and dangerous ; and when at length he landed at Tarraco he found his uncle already at the extreme south of Spain, somewhere between Cadiz and Gibraltar. The roads were rendered dangerous by scattered parties of hostile natives, or outposts of the enemy, and his escort was small. Still, he pushed on with energy and reached Caesar’s quarters near Calpe, to which he had advanced after the victory at Munda (March 1 7th). Gnaeus Pompeius had fled on board a ship, but was killed when landing for water on the nth of April, and it was apparently just about that time that Octavius reached the camp. Warmly received and highly praised for his energy by the Dictator, he was at once ad¬ mitted to his table and close intimacy, during which Cassar learned still more to appreciate the quickness of his intelligence and the careful control which he kept over his tongue.

Affairs in Southern Spain having been apparently settled (though as it proved the danger was by no means over),

Octavius Octavius accompanied Caesar to Carthage, to h?s great-uncle settle questions which had arisen as to the assign- to Carthage. ment Qf ian(j jn his new colony. The Dictator

was visited there by deputations from various Greek states, alleging grievances or asking favours. Octavius was applied to by more than one of them to plead their cause, and had there¬ fore again an opportunity of acquiring practical experience in the business of imperial government, and in the very best school.

He preceded Csesar on his return to Rome, and on his arrival had once more occasion to shew his caution and piudence. Among those who met him in the usual complimentary pro¬ cession was a young man who had somehow managed to make himself a popular hero by pretending to be a grandson of the great Marius. His real name was Amatius or Herophilus, a



veterinary surgeon according to some, but certainly of humble origin. As Marius had married Caesar’s aunt Iulia, this man was anxious to be recognised as a cousin by the Dictator. He had in vain applied to Cicero to undertake his cause, and to Atia and her half-sister to recognise him. The difficulty for Octavius was that the man was a favourite of the populace, of whose cause Csesar was the professed champion ; yet his recog¬ nition would be offensive to the nobles and a mere concession to clamour. Octavius avoided the snare by referring the case to Caesar as head of the state and family, and refusing to receive the would-be Marius till he had decided.1

He did not remain long at Rome however. Caesar returned in September, and was assassinated in the following March.

And during