Roman concrete called opus caementicium, was a material used in construction during the late Roman Republic until the fading of the Roman Empire. Roman concrete was based on a hydraulic-setting cement, it has been found that it materially differs in several ways from modern concrete, based on Portland cement. Roman concrete is durable due to its incorporation of volcanic ash, which prevents cracks from spreading. By the middle of the 1st century, the material was used often brick-faced, although variations in aggregate allowed different arrangements of materials. Further innovative developments in the material, called the Concrete Revolution, contributed to structurally complicated forms, such as the Pantheon dome, the world's largest and oldest unreinforced concrete dome. Roman concrete was faced with stone or brick, interiors might be further decorated by stucco, fresco paintings, or thin slabs of fancy colored marbles. Made up of aggregate and cement, like modern concrete, it differed in that the aggregate pieces were far larger than in modern concrete amounting to rubble, as a result it was laid rather than poured.
Some Roman concretes were able to be set underwater, useful for bridges and other waterside construction. It is uncertain when Roman concrete was developed, but it was in widespread and customary use from about 150 BC. Vitruvius, writing around 25 BC in his Ten Books on Architecture, distinguished types of aggregate appropriate for the preparation of lime mortars. For structural mortars, he recommended pozzolana, the volcanic sand from the beds of Pozzuoli, which are brownish-yellow-gray in color in that area around Naples, reddish-brown near Rome. Vitruvius specifies a ratio of 1 part lime to 3 parts pozzolana for cement used in buildings and a 1:2 ratio of lime to pozzolana for underwater work the same ratio mixed today for concrete used in marine locations. By the middle of the first century, the principles of underwater construction in concrete were well known to Roman builders; the city of Caesarea was the earliest known example to have made use of underwater Roman concrete technology on such a large scale.
For rebuilding Rome after the fire in 64 AD, which destroyed large portions of the city, Nero's new building code called for brick-faced concrete. This appears to have encouraged the development of concrete industries. Roman concrete, like any concrete, consists of an aggregate and hydraulic mortar – a binder mixed with water that hardens over time; the aggregate varied, included pieces of rock, ceramic tile, brick rubble from the remains of demolished buildings. Gypsum and quicklime were used as binders. Volcanic dusts, called pozzolana or "pit sand", were favored. Pozzolana makes the concrete more resistant to salt water than modern-day concrete; the pozzolanic mortar used had a high content of silica. Tuff was used as an aggregate. Concrete, in particular, the hydraulic mortar responsible for its cohesion, was a type of structural ceramic whose utility derived from its rheological plasticity in the paste state; the setting and hardening of hydraulic cements derived from hydration of materials and the subsequent chemical and physical interaction of these hydration products.
This differed from the setting of slaked lime mortars, the most common cements of the pre-Roman world. Once set, Roman concrete exhibited little plasticity, although it retained some resistance to tensile stresses; the setting of pozzolanic cements has much in common with setting of their modern counterpart, Portland cement. The high silica composition of Roman pozzolana cements is close to that of modern cement to which blast furnace slag, fly ash, or silica fume have been added; the strength and longevity of Roman marine concrete is understood to benefit from a reaction of seawater with a mixture of volcanic ash and quicklime to create a rare crystal called tobermorite, which may resist fracturing. As seawater percolated within the tiny cracks in the Roman concrete, it reacted with phillipsite found in the volcanic rock and created aluminous tobermorite crystals; the result is a candidate for "the most durable building material in human history". In contrast, modern concrete exposed to saltwater deteriorates within decades.
Compressive strengths for modern Portland cements are at the 50 megapascals level and have improved ten-fold since 1860. There are no comparable mechanical data for ancient mortars, although some information about tensile strength may be inferred from the cracking of Roman concrete domes; these tensile strengths vary from the water/cement ratio used in the initial mix. At present, there is no way of ascertaining what water/cement ratios the Romans used, nor are there extensive data for the effects of this ratio on the strengths of pozzolanic cements. For an environment as prone to earthquakes as the Italian peninsula and internal constructions within walls and domes created discontinuities in the concrete mass. Portions of the building could shift when there was movement of the earth to accommodate such stresses, enhancing the overall strength of the structure, it was in this sense. It may have been for this reason that, although many buildings sustained serious cracking from a variety of causes, they continue to stand to this day.
Another technology used to improve the strength and stability of concrete was its gradation in domes. One example is the Pantheon, where the aggregate of the upper dome region consists of alternating layers of light tuff
The equites constituted the second of the property-based classes of ancient Rome, ranking below the senatorial class. A member of the equestrian order was known as an eques. During the Roman kingdom and the 1st century of the Roman Republic, legionary cavalry was recruited from the ranks of the patricians, who were expected to provide six centuriae of cavalry. Around 400 BC, 12 more centuriae of cavalry were established and these included non-patricians. Around 300 BC the Samnite Wars obliged Rome to double the normal annual military levy from two to four legions, doubling the cavalry levy from 600 to 1,200 horses. Legionary cavalry started to recruit wealthier citizens from outside the 18 centuriae; these new recruits came from the first class of commoners in the centuriate organisation and were not granted the same privileges. By the time of the Second Punic War, all the members of the first class of commoners were required to serve as cavalrymen; the presence of equites in the Roman cavalry diminished in the period 200–88 BC as only equites could serve as the army's senior officers.
After c. 88 BC, equites were no longer drafted into the legionary cavalry, although they remained technically liable to such service throughout the principate era. They continued to supply the senior officers of the army throughout the principate. With the exception of the purely hereditary patricians, the equites were defined by a property threshold; the rank was passed from father to son, although members of the order who at the regular quinquennial census no longer met the property requirement were removed from the order's rolls by the Roman censors. In the late republic, the property threshold stood at 50,000 denarii and was doubled to 100,000 by the emperor Augustus – the equivalent to the annual salaries of 450 contemporary legionaries. In the republican period, Roman senators and their offspring became an unofficial elite within the equestrian order; as senators' abilities to engage in commerce was limited by law, the bulk of non-agricultural activities were in the hands of non-senatorial equites.
As well as holding large landed estates, equites came to dominate mining and manufacturing industry. In particular, tax farming companies were all in the hands of equites. Under Augustus, the senatorial elite was given formal status with a higher wealth threshold and superior rank and privileges to ordinary equites. During the principate, equites filled the senior administrative and military posts of the imperial government. There was a clear division between jobs reserved for senators and those reserved for non-senatorial equites, but the career structure of both groups was broadly similar: a period of junior administrative posts in Rome or Italy, followed by a period of military service as a senior army officer, followed by senior administrative or military posts in the provinces. Senators and equites formed a tiny elite of under 10,000 members who monopolised political and economic power in an empire of about 60 million inhabitants. During the 3rd century AD, power shifted from the Italian aristocracy to a class of equites who had earned their membership by distinguished military service rising from the ranks: career military officers from the provinces who displaced the Italian aristocrats in the top military posts, under Diocletian from the top civilian positions also.
This reduced the Italian aristocracy to an idle, but immensely wealthy, group of landowners. During the 4th century, the status of equites was debased to insignificance by excessive grants of the rank. At the same time the ranks of senators were swollen to over 4,000 by the establishment of a second senate in Constantinople and the tripling of the membership of both senates; the senatorial order of the 4th century was thus the equivalent of the equestrian order of the principate. According to Roman legend, Rome was founded by its first king, Romulus, in 753 BC. However, archaeological evidence suggests that Rome did not acquire the character of a unified city-state until ca. 625 BC. Roman tradition relates that the Order of Knights was founded by Romulus, who established a cavalry regiment of 300 men called the Celeres to act as his personal escort, with each of the three Roman "tribes" supplying 100 horse; this cavalry regiment was doubled in size to 600 men by King Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.
That the cavalry was increased to 600 during the regal era is plausible, as in the early republic the cavalry fielded remained 600-strong. However, according to Livy, King Servius Tullius established a further 12 centuriae of equites, a further tripling of the cavalry, but this is anachronistic, as it would have resulted in a contingent of 1,800 horse, incongruously large, compared to the heavy infantry, only 6,000-strong in the late regal period. Instead, the additional 12 centuriae were created at a stage around 400 BC, but these new units were political not military, most designed to admit plebeians to the Order of Knights. Equites were provided with a sum of money by the state to purc
Strabo was a Greek geographer and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus in around 64 BC, his family had been involved in politics since at least the reign of Mithridates V. Strabo was related to Dorylaeus on his mother's side. Several other family members, including his paternal grandfather had served Mithridates VI during the Mithridatic Wars; as the war drew to a close, Strabo's grandfather had turned several Pontic fortresses over to the Romans. Strabo wrote that "great promises were made in exchange for these services", as Persian culture endured in Amasia after Mithridates and Tigranes were defeated, scholars have speculated about how the family's support for Rome might have affected their position in the local community, whether they might have been granted Roman citizenship as a reward. Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels, he journeyed to Egypt and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and the time he spent in Rome.
Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East for scholarly purposes, was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus. He moved to Rome in 44 BC, stayed there and writing, until at least 31 BC. In 29 BC, on his way to Corinth, he visited the island of Gyaros in the Aegean Sea. Around 25 BC, he sailed up the Nile until reaching Philae, after which point there is little record of his proceedings until AD 17, it is not known when Strabo's Geography was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 BC, others around AD 17 or 18; the latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II, king of Maurousia, said to have died "just recently". He worked on the Geography for many years and revised it not always consistently, it is an encyclopaedical chronicle and consists of political, social, geographic description of whole Europe: British Isles, Iberian Peninsula, Germania, The Alps, Greece.
The Geography is the only extant work providing information about both Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus. On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next, when he died, he was influenced by Homer and Aristotle. The first of Strabo's major works, Historical Sketches, written while he was in Rome, is nearly lost. Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans, Strabo quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed, although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in possession of the University of Milan. Strabo studied under several prominent teachers of various specialties throughout his early life at different stops along his Mediterranean travels, his first chapter of education took place in Nysa under the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, who had taught the sons of the same Roman general who had taken over Pontus. Aristodemus was the head of two schools of rhetoric and grammar, one in Nysa and one in Rhodes, the former of the two cities possessing a distinct intellectual curiosity of Homeric literature and the interpretation of epics.
Strabo was an admirer of Homer's poetry a consequence of his time spent in Nysa with Aristodemus. At around the age of 21, Strabo moved to Rome, where he studied philosophy with the Peripatetic Xenarchus, a respected tutor in Augustus's court. Despite Xenarchus's Aristotelian leanings, Strabo gives evidence to have formed his own Stoic inclinations. In Rome, he learned grammar under the rich and famous scholar Tyrannion of Amisus. Although Tyrannion was a Peripatetic, he was more relevantly a respected authority on geography, a fact significant, considering Strabo's future contributions to the field; the final noteworthy mentor to Strabo was Athenodorus Cananites, a philosopher who had spent his life since 44 BC in Rome forging relationships with the Roman elite. Athenodorus endowed to Strabo three important items: his philosophy, his knowledge, his contacts. Unlike the Aristotelian Xenarchus and Tyrannion who preceded him in teaching Strabo, Athenodorus was Stoic in mindset certainly the source of Strabo's diversion from the philosophy of his former mentors.
Moreover, from his own first-hand experience, Athenodorus provided Strabo with information about regions of the empire which he would not otherwise have known. Strabo is most notable for his work Geographica, which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known to his era. Although the Geographica was utilized in its contemporary antiquity, a multitude of copies survived throughout the Byzantine Empire, it first appeared in Western Europe in Rome as a Latin translation issued around 1469. The first Greek edition was published in 1516 in Venice. Isaac Casaubon, classical scholar and editor of Greek texts, provided the first critical edition in 1587. Although Strabo cited the antique Greek astronomers Eratosthenes and Hipparchus, acknowledging their astronomical and mathematical efforts towards geography, he claimed that
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists, his influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement, it was during his consulship that the second Catilinarian conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, Cicero suppressed the revolt by summarily and controversially executing five conspirators.
During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches, he was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during an attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed on The Rostra. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, "the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as John Locke, David Hume and Edmund Burke was substantial.
His works rank among the most influential in European culture, today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history the last days of the Roman Republic. Cicero was born in 106 BC in a hill town 100 kilometers southeast of Rome, he belonged to the tribus Cornelia. His father possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he studied extensively to compensate. Although little is known about Cicero's mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Cicero's brother Quintus wrote in a letter. Cicero's cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas. Romans chose down-to-earth personal surnames.
The famous family names of Fabius and Piso come from the Latin names of beans and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus and Catulus. During this period in Roman history, "cultured" meant being able to speak both Greek. Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers and historians. Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience, it was his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite. Cicero's interest in philosophy figured in his career and led to him providing a comprehensive account of Greek philosophy for a Roman audience, including creating a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. In 87 BC, Philo of Larissa, the head of the Academy, founded by Plato in Athens about 300 years earlier, arrived in Rome.
Cicero, "inspired by an extraordinary zeal for philosophy", sat enthusiastically at his feet and absorbed Plato's philosophy. Cicero said of Plato's Dialogues. According to Plutarch, Cicero was an talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero's fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, Titus Pomponius; the latter two became Cicero's friends for life, Pomponius would become, in Cicero's own words, "as a second brother", with both maintaining a lifelong correspondence. In 79 BC, Cicero left for Asia Minor and Rhodes; this was to avoid the potential wrath of Sulla, as Plutarch claims, though Cicero himself says it was to hone his skills and improve his p
Nero was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He became Claudius' heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, was implicated in Claudius' death and Nero's nomination as emperor, she dominated Nero's early life and decisions. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered. During the early years of his reign, Nero was content to be guided by his mother, his tutor Lucius Annaeus Seneca and his Praetorian prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus; as time passed, he started to play a more active and independent role in government and foreign policy. During his reign, the redoubtable general Corbulo conducted a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire, his general Suetonius Paulinus crushed a major revolt in Britain, led by the Iceni Queen Boudica. The Bosporan Kingdom was annexed to the empire, the First Jewish–Roman War began. Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy and the cultural life of the empire, ordering theatres built and promoting athletic games.
He made public appearances as an actor, poet and charioteer. In the eyes of traditionalists, this undermined the dignity and authority of his person and office, his extravagant, empire-wide program of public and private works was funded by a rise in taxes, much resented by the middle and upper classes. Various plots against his life were revealed. In 68 AD Vindex, governor of the Gaulish territory Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled, he was supported by the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. Vindex's revolt failed in its immediate aim, but Nero fled Rome when Rome's discontented civil and military authorities chose Galba as emperor, he committed suicide on June 9, 68 AD, when he learned that he had been tried in absentia and condemned to death as a public enemy, making him the first Roman Emperor to commit suicide. His death ended the Julio-Claudian dynasty, sparking a brief period of civil wars known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Nero's rule is associated with tyranny and extravagance. Most Roman sources, such as Suetonius and Cassius Dio, offer overwhelmingly negative assessments of his personality and reign.
Suetonius tells that many Romans believed that the Great Fire of Rome was instigated by Nero to clear the way for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea. According to Tacitus he was said to have seized Christians as scapegoats for the fire and burned them alive motivated not by public justice but by personal cruelty; some modern historians question the reliability of the ancient sources on Nero's tyrannical acts. A few sources paint Nero in a more favorable light. There is evidence of his popularity among the Roman commoners in the eastern provinces of the Empire, where a popular legend arose that Nero had not died and would return. At least three leaders of short-lived, failed rebellions presented themselves as "Nero reborn" to enlist popular support. Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus on 15 December 37 AD in Antium, he was the only son of Agrippina the Younger. His maternal grandparents were Agrippina the Elder, he was Augustus' great-great grandson, descended from the first Emperor's only daughter, Julia.
The ancient biographer Suetonius, critical of Nero's ancestors, wrote that Augustus had reproached Nero's grandfather for his unseemly enjoyment of violent gladiator games. According to Jürgen Malitz, Suetonius tells that Nero's father was known to be "irascible and brutal", that both "enjoyed chariot races and theater performances to a degree not befitting their position."Nero's father, died in 40. A few years before his death, Domitius had been involved in a political scandal that, according to Malitz, "could have cost him his life if Tiberius had not died in the year 37." In the previous year, Nero's mother Agrippina had been caught up in a scandal of her own. Caligula's beloved sister Drusilla had died and Caligula began to feel threatened by his brother-in-law Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Agrippina, suspected of adultery with her brother-in-law, was forced to carry the funerary urn after Lepidus' execution. Caligula banished his two surviving sisters and Julia Livilla, to a remote island in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, Agrippina was exiled for plotting to overthrow Caligula. Nero's inheritance was taken from him and he was sent to live with his paternal aunt Domitia Lepida, the mother of Claudius' third wife Valeria Messalina. Caligula's reign lasted from 37 until 41, he died from multiple stab wounds in January of 41 after being ambushed by his own Praetorian Guard on the Palatine Hill. Claudius succeeded Caligula as Emperor. Agrippina became his fourth wife. By February 49, she had persuaded Claudius to adopt her son Nero. After Nero's adoption, "Claudius" became part of his name: Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. Claudius had gold coins issued to mark the adoption. Classics professor Josiah Osgood has written that "the coins, through their distribution and imagery alike, showed that a new Leader was in the making." David Shotter noted that, despite events in Rome, Nero's step-brother Britannicus was more prominent in provincial coinages during the early 50s.
Nero formally entered public life as an adult in 51 AD—he was around 14 years old. When he turned 16, Nero married Claudius' daughter (
A taberna was a single room shop covered by a barrel vault within great indoor markets of ancient Rome. Each taberna had a window above it to let light into a wooden attic for storage and had a wide doorway. A famous example of such an indoor market is the Markets of Trajan in Rome, built in the early 1st century by Apollodorus of Damascus. According to the Cambridge Ancient History, a taberna was a "retail unit" within the Roman Empire and was where many economic activities and many service industries were provided, including the sale of cooked food and bread; the plural form tabernae was use to denote a way-station or hotel on roads between towns where genteel travellers needed to stay in something better than cauponae, when the official mansio was not open to them. As the Roman empire grew, so did its tabernae, becoming more luxurious and acquiring good or bad reputations. Tabernae first appeared in Greece in locations that were important for economic activities around the end of the fifth and fourth centuries B.
C. Upon the Roman Empire’s expansion into the Mediterranean, the numbers of tabernae increased, in addition to the centrality of the taberna to the urban economy of Roman cities like Pompeii, Corinth, New Carthage, Narbo. Many of these cities were major port areas where imported luxury and exotic goods were sold to the public. Tabernae functioned as the structural buildings. Livy writes about an encounter that Marcus Furius Camillus, a Roman general present during the expansion of the Roman Republic in the 5th and 4th centuries B. C. had with tabernae of Tusculum, a city in the Latium region of Italy: Camillus having pitched his camp before the gates, wishing to know whether the same appearance of peace, displayed in the country, prevailed within the walls, entered the city, where he beheld the gates lying open, everything exposed to sale in the open shops, the workmen engaged each on their respective employments... The streets filled amid the different kinds of people. There were at least two forms of tabernae within the Roman empire, those found in domestic and public settings.
Domestic houses had shops fronting their premises. Tabernae were established in residential multi-storey apartment blocks called insulae, which were occupied by freedmen; as the development of urban centers in Roman cities increased, the Roman elite continued to develop residential and commercial buildings to accommodate the large masses of people coming in and out of these market centers. Insulae were constructed, with tabernae located on the lower levels of them; the class of people who ran the tabernae are called tabernari, who were urban freedman who worked under a patron who owned the actual property. The second form of tabernae were similar to domestic tabernae found in insulae because they were in a fixed location within a complex of buildings, however they were instead located within public markets and forums, areas that received high amounts of traffic. Ardyle Mac Mahon writes about tabernae in the Roman empire in Britain: Tabernae were located so that they fulfilled the purpose of providing goods and services to customers.
Many social and other factors may have had an influence on this, but, in general, it must be assumed that retailers in Roman Britain wished to sell their products. A good site will have helped to maximize a retailer’s net selling potential and for this reason, tabernae will be located within reach of their markets. Tabernae revolutionized the Roman economy because they were the first permanent retail structures within cities, which signified persistent growth and expansion within the economy. Tabernae provided places for a variety of agricultural and industrial products to be sold, like wheat, wine and other items, it is that tabernae were the structures where free grain would be distributed to the public. Moreover, tabernae were used as lucrative measures to gain upward social mobility for the freedmen class. Although the occupation of a merchant was not regarded in Roman culture, it still pervaded the freedman class as means to establish financial stability and some influence within local governments.
In Italy, they still survive in a number of place names. Mahon article doi:10.1111/j.1468-0092.2006.00262.x Tabernae on Penelope Image from Perseus Project Image of actual Roman shops Image of Reconstructive model of a taberna
Augustus was a Roman statesman and military leader, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history; the reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession. Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian gens Octavia, his maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Octavius was named in Caesar's will as his adopted son and heir. Along with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at the Battle of Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves and ruled as military dictators.
The Triumvirate was torn apart by the competing ambitions of its members. Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Octavian in 31 BC. After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward façade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator. By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including supreme military command, those of tribune and censor, it took several years for Augustus to develop the framework within which a formally republican state could be led under his sole rule. He rejected monarchical titles, instead called himself Princeps Civitatis; the resulting constitutional framework became known as the Principate, the first phase of the Roman Empire. Augustus enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Pannonia and Raetia, expanding possessions in Africa, completing the conquest of Hispania, but suffered a major setback in Germania.
Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, rebuilt much of the city during his reign. Augustus died in AD 14 at the age of 75 from natural causes. However, there were unconfirmed rumors, he was succeeded as emperor by his adopted son Tiberius. As a consequence of Roman customs and personal preference, Augustus was known by many names throughout his life: Gaius Octavius Thurinus: He received his birth name, after his biological father, in 63 BC. "Gaius" was his praenomen, "Octavius" was his nomen, "Thurinus" was his cognomen. His rival Mark Antony used the name "Thurinus" as an insult, to which Augustus replied, surprised that "using his old name was thought to be an insult".
Gaius Julius Caesar: After he was adopted by Julius Caesar, he adopted Caesar's name in accordance with Roman naming conventions. While he dropped all references to the gens Octavia, people colloquially added the epithet Octavianus to his legal name, either to differentiate him from his adoptive father or to highlight his more modest origins. Modern historians refer to him using the anglicized form "Octavian" between 44 BC and 27 BC. Gaius Julius Caesar Divi Filius: Two years after his adoption, he founded the Temple of Caesar additionally adding the title Divi Filius to his name in attempt to strengthen his political ties to Caesar's former soldiers, following the deification of Caesar. Imperator Caesar Divi Filius: From 38 BC, Octavian opted to use Imperator, the title by which troops hailed their leader after military success, his name is translated as "Commander Caesar, Son of the Divine". Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus: Following his 31 BC defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra on his own insistence, the Roman Senate granted him the additional name, "Augustus", which he added to his previous names thereafter.
Historians use this name to refer to him from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. While his paternal family was from the town of Velletri 40 kilometres from Rome, Augustus was born in the city of Rome on 23 September 63 BC, he was born at Ox Head, a small property on the Palatine Hill close to the Roman Forum. He was given the name Gaius Octavius Thurinus, his cognomen commemorating his father's victory at Thurii over a rebellious band of slaves. Suetonius wrote: "There are many indications that the Octavian family was in days of old a distinguished one at Velitrae; this man was leader in a war with a neighbouring town..." Due to the crowded nature of Rome at the time, Octavius was taken to his father's home village at Velletri to be raised. Octavius mentions his father's equestrian family only in his memoirs, his paternal great-grandfather Gaius Octavius was a military tribune in Sicily during the Second Punic War. His grandfather had served in several lo