Augustus was the first emperor of Rome. His reign became known as the Augustan Age. The Roman world entered an era of wealth, peace, and cultural achievement. He headed the empire for 40 years.
Augustus was born on September 23, 63 BC. His original name was Gaius Octavius. His father held several political offices and had earned a fine reputation. He died when Octavius was 4 years old. His mother, Atia, was Julius Caesar’s niece. The Roman leader, Julius Caesar, before his death in 44 BC had chosen him to be the next leader. From then on he was called Octavian. Octavian’s enemy in his rise to power was Mark Antony.
In 32 Octavian declared war against Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Octavian won a decisive naval victory, which left him master of the entire Roman world. The following year Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, and Octavian annexed Egypt to Rome. According to historians, Octavian’s victory over Antony marked the beginning of the Roman Empire.