Roman Empire Augustus Denarius 27 BC- 14 AD

Rev: Caius and Lucius Caesars standing facing shields and spears between them; above between the spears simpulum and lituus turned inwards "C L CAESARES AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT"

. Metal: Silver 2.97 grams, 19 mm diameter. Condition: Abt VF pitted and cleaned

<Roman Forum Ruins>
History of Augustus (born Gaius Octavius "Octavian")

Born in 63 BC, his mother "Julia" was the sister of Julius Caesar and it was through this connection that Augustus started his rise to prominence. Augustus was a senior military commander for Caesar and was only 18 years old when word came to him, in Albania, of Caesar's assassination. He returned to Rome wanting to avenge Caesar's death. When he arrived he found that Mark Antony and Aemilius Lepidus had assumed power and were urging compromise and amnesty for Caesar's killers. Augustus did not agree with this position, which won him support from Caesar's supporters including several legions. In 43 BC, Augustus marched on Rome and forced the Senate to accept him as consul. Three months later Antony, Lepidus and Augustus reached an agreement to form a Triumvirate that excluded the senate. Late the next year, the triumvirate defeated the senatorial party led by Brutus and Cassius at Philippi and in October 40 BC they devided the Roman empire between themselves.

Augustus strengthened his position, while his main political opponent "Mark Antony" angered the Roman people by living openly with Cleopatra in the manner of a Hellenistic monarch. Augustus illegally acquired a copy of Mark Antony's will, which favored Cleopatra and Egypt and with this, he got a declaration of war. Antony was defeated at the battle of Actium, in 31 BC, and he and Cleopatra committed suicide the next year; leaving Augustus as the undisputed master of the Roman empire.

In 27 BC, Augustus went through the pretense of giving power back to the senate and restoring the republic, however he had the senate return all the powers back to himself.. In 24 BC, he had the senate award him "Tribune" for life and was formally made superior "maius" of the provinces. In 19 BC, he was given consular powers without actually being a consul. His final power came in 2 BC when he became Pater Patriae (Father of his Country). Augustus now had all the powers: Emperor (head of the army), maius (head of the provinces), Tribune (veto power), consul (head of the senate) and Pater Patriae (head of the nation). These powers combined would in the future be the position of "Augustus".

Augustus was a successful leader and during his entire reign there was only one conspiracy against him. He was tolerate of criticism and won genuine popular support by hosting games, by rebuilding Rome including new buildings and by other measures for the general good. He saw that his personal standing and security was best served by governing in the public interest, but he also established the praetorian guard, nine elite cohorts, based in Rome and its vicinity, whose sole function was to protect the emperor.

During his final years Augustus withdrew from public life on the grounds of old age. He died of old age on 19 August 14 AD just one month short of his 76th birthday. On his death bed he joked about play-acting and asked his friends to applaud as he departed the comedy of life; he had played his role well.