In the year 44 BC, when
Julius Caesar was killed, Augustus was a mere teenager who had been adopted
into Caesar’s household. His reaction to Caesar’s death was to step forward and
proclaim himself Caesar’s rightful successor. The Senate did not take him
seriously, but over the following months he raised his own army and, after
defeating Mark Antony in battle, became one of the three most powerful men in
Rome. He was not yet twenty years old. Over the next ten years he consolidated
his power in Rome and finally overthrew the last of his rivals in 31 BC. From
that moment on, Rome became an empire and Augustus its first emperor.
This is the story of how one
man rose to become the most powerful man in the world and stabilized an empire
that had been racked by decades of civil war. Augustus’ achievements, and his
legacy, are almost unparalleled. Like Julius Caesar, he presided over a huge
expansion in wealth and territory. Like Caesar, he was honored by having a
month of the year named after him. But unlike Caesar, he was able to keep hold
of power for over forty years and bequeath the empire, whole, to his successors. Download and start listening now!