"Young men, pay heed to an old man, whom old men harkened when he was still young" - Augustus
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' Legends of the Ancient World series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of antiquity's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
The importance of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (or as he was known from birth, Gaius Octavius "Octavian" Thurinus) to the course of Western history is hard to overstate. His life, his rise to power, his political, social and military achievements, all laid the foundations for the creation of an Empire which would endure for almost five centuries, and whose traditions, laws, architecture and art continue to influence much of Europe and the world today. Octavian was the first true Roman Emperor, and the first man since the Etruscan Tarquins, five centuries earlier, to establish a successful hereditary ruling dynasty in what had been a proud Republic for over half a millennium. He was a canny strategist, an excellent orator, a fine writer, a generous patron of the arts and enthusiastic promoter of public works, but above all he was a master politician. Octavian's great-uncle (and adoptive father) Julius Caesar was a great general, his rival Mark Antony was a great soldier, but as a politician Octavian outmatched them all.