Augustus. The life and times of the founder of the Roman Empire (B.C. 63-A.D. 14)/Childhood and Youth, B.C. 63-44

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Chapter I

Childhood and Youth, B.C. 63-44

Iam nova progenies
cælo demittitur alto.
- Vergil, Eclogue IV 7.




Birth of Augustus, Sept. 23, B.C. 63.

In a house at the eastern corner of the Palatine, called "At the Oxheads," [1] on the 23rd of September, B.C. 63 some nine weeks before the execution of the Catilinarian Augustus, sept conspirators by Cicero's order a child was born destined to close the era of civil wars thus inaugurated, to organise the Roman Empire, and to be its master for forty-four years.

The father of the child was Gaius Octavius, of the plebeian gens Octavia and of a family that had long occupied a high position in the old Volscian town of Velitrae. Two branches of the Octavii were descended from C. Octavius Rufus, quaestor in B.C. 230. The elder branch had produced five consuls and other Roman magistrates, but of the younger branch Gaius Octavius, the father of Augustus, was the first to hold curule office. According to the inscription, afterwards placed by his son in the sacrarium of the palace, [2] he had twice served as military tribune, had been quæstor, plebeian ædile, iudex quæstionum, and prætor. After the prætorship (B.C. 61) he governed Macedonia with conspicuous ability and justice. He is quoted by Cicero as a model administrator of a province ; and he was sufficiently successful against the Bessi and other Thracian tribes constant scourges of Macedonia to be hailed as "imperator" by his soldiers. He returned to Italy late in B.C. 59, intending next year to be a candidate for the consulship, but early in B.C. 58 he died suddenly in his villa at Nola, in the same chamber as that in which his son, seventy-two years later, breathed his last. [3]

The mother of Augustus.

The mother of the young Gaius Octavius was Atia, daughter of M. Atius Balbus,[4] of Velitras, and Iulia, sister of Gaius Iulius Cæsar. This connection with Cæsar—already rising in political importance—may have made his birth of some social interest, but the ominous circumstances said to have accompanied it are doubtless due to the curiosity or credulity of the next generation. The people of Velitræ, it is reported, had been told by an oracle that a master of the Empire was to be born there. Rumours, it is said, were current in Rome shortly before his birth that a "king of the Roman people" was about to be born. His mother dreamed strange dreams, and the learned Publius Nigidius prophesied the birth of a lord of the world ; while Catulus and Cicero had visions.[5] But there was, in fact, nothing mysterious or unusual in his infancy, which was passed with his foster-nurse at Velitræ. When he was two years old his father, on his way to his province, carried out successfully an order of the Senate to destroy a band of brigands near Thurii, survivors, it is said, of the followers of Spartacus and Catiline. In memory of this success his parents gave the boy the cognomen Thurinus. He never seems to have used the name, though Suetonius says that he once possessed a bust of the child with this name inscribed on it in letters that had become almost illegible. He presented it to Hadrian, who placed it in his private sacrarium.[6]

The stepfather of Augustus.

About B.C. 57 or 56[7] his mother Atia re-married. Her husband was L. Marcius Philippus (prætor B.C. 60, governor of Syria B.C. 59-7, Consul B.C. 56) ; and when in his ninth year Octavius lost his foster-mother he became a regular member of his stepfather's household. Philippus was not a man of much force, but he belonged to the highest society, and though opposed to Cæsar in politics, appears to have managed to keep on good terms with him.[8]

The great-uncle of Augustus.

But during his great-nephew's boyhood Cæsar was little at Rome. Prætor in B.C. 62, he had gone the following year to Spain. He returned in B.C. 60 to stand for the consulship, and soon after the consulship, early in B.C. 58, he started for Gaul, from which he did not return to Rome till he came in arms in B.C. 49. But though occupied during the summers in his famous campaigns beyond the Alps, he spent most of his winters in Northern Italy—at Ravenna or Lucca—where he received his partisans and was kept in touch with home politics, and was probably visited by his relatives.

The first Triumvirate and its results.

Just before entering on his consulship he had formed with Pompey and Crassus the agreement for mutual support known as the first Triumvirate. The series of events which broke up this combination and made civil war inevitable must have been well known to the boy. He must have been aware that the laurelled despatches of his great-uncle announcing victory after victory were viewed with secret alarm by many of the nobles who visited Philippus ; and that these men were seeking to secure in Pompey a leader capable of outshining Cæsar in the popular imagination by victories and triumphs of his own. He was old enough to understand the meaning of the riots of the rival law-breakers, Milo and Clodius, which drenched Rome in blood. Election after election was interrupted, and, finally, after the murder of Clodius (January, B.C. 52), all eyes were fixed on Pompey as the sole hope of peace and order. There was much talk of naming him dictator, but finally he was created sole consul (apparently by a decree of the Senate) and remained sole consul till August, when he held an election and returned his father-in-law, Metellus Scipio, as his colleague.

Pompey's position after B.C. 52.

The upshot of these disorders, therefore, was to give Pompey a very strong position. He was, in fact, dictator (seditionis sedandæ causa) under another name ; and the Optimates hastened to secure him as their champion. A law had been passed in B.C. 56, by agreement with Cæsar, giving Pompey the whole of Spain as a province for five years after his consulship of B.C. 55. As Cæsar's government of Gaul terminated at the end of B.C. 49, Pompey would have imperium and an army when Caesar left his province. He would naturally indeed be in Spain ; but the Senate now passed a resolution that it was for the good of the State that Pompey should remain near Rome. He accordingly governed Spain by three legati, and remained outside the walls of the city with imperium. The great object of the Optimates was that Cæsar should return to Rome a privatus while Pompey was still there in this unprecedented position. Cæsar wished to be consul for B.C. 48. The Optimates did not openly oppose that wish, but contended that he should lay down his provincial government and military command first, and come to Rome to make his professio or formal announcement of his being a candidate, in the usual way.[9]

But Cæsar declined to walk into this trap. He knew that if he came home as a privatus there were many ready to prosecute him for his actions in Gaul, and with Pompey there in command of legions he felt certain that a verdict inflicting political ruin on him could be obtained. He therefore stood by the right secured by a law of B.C. 55, and reinforced by Pompey's own law in B.C. 52 of standing for the consulship without coming to Rome, and without giving up his province and army before the time originally fixed by the law. He would thus not be without imperium for a single day, but would come to Rome as consul.

Here was a direct issue. Pompey professed to believe that it could be settled by a decree of the Senate, either forbidding the holder of the election to receive votes for Caesar in his absence, or appointing a successor in his province. Cæsar, he argued, would of course obey a Senatus-consultum. But Cæsar was on firm ground in refusing to admit a successor till the term fixed by the law had expired, and also in claiming that his candidature should be admitted in his absence for that too had been granted by a law. If neither side would yield the only possible solution was war.[10]

Provocation to Cæsar.

Cæsar hesitated for some time. He saw no hope of mollifying his enemies or separating Pompey from them. His daughter Iulia's death in B.C. 54 after a few years' marriage to Pompey had severed a strong tie between them. The death of Crassus in B.C 53 had removed, not indeed a man of much strength of character, but one whose enormous wealth had given him such a hold on the senators that any strong act on their part, against his wishes, was difficult. After his death the actual provocations to Cæsar had certainly increased. The depriving him, under the pretext of an impending Parthian war, of two legions which were being kept under arms in Italy ; the insult inflicted upon him by Marcellus (Consul B.C. 51) in flogging a magistrate of his new colony at Comum, who if the colony were regarded as legally established would be exempt from such punishment ; these and similar things shewed Cæsar what he had to expect if he gave up office and army. He elected therefore to stand on his legal rights.

Civil war.

Legality was on his side, but long prescription was in favour of the Senate's claim to the obedience of a magistrate, especially of the governor of a province. There was therefore a deadlock. Cæsar made one attempt not perhaps a very sincere one to remove it. He had won over Gaius Curio, tribune in B.C. 50, by helping him to discharge his immense debts. Curio therefore, instead of opposing Cæsar, as had been expected, vetoed every proposal for his recall. His tribuneship ended on the 9th of December, B.C. 50, and he immediately started to visit Cæsar at Ravenna. He told him of the inveteracy of his opponents, and urged him to march at once upon Rome. But Cæsar determined to justify himself by offering a peaceful solution—"he was willing to hand over his province and army to a successor, if Pompey would also give up Spain and dismiss his armies." Curio returned to Rome in time for the meeting of the Senate on the 1st of January, B.C. 49, bringing this despatch from Cæsar.

The majority of the Senate affected to regard it as an act of rebellion. After a debate, lasting five days, a decree was passed on January the 7th, ordering Caesar to give up his province and army on a fixed day, on pain of being declared guilty of treason. This was vetoed by two tribunes, M. Antonius and Q. Cassius. Refusing, after the usual "remonstrance," to withdraw their veto, they were finally expelled and fled to Ariminum, on their way to join Caesar at Ravenna. The Senate then passed the Senatus-consultum ultimum ordering the magistrates and pro-magistrates "to see that the state took no harm," and a levy of soldiers—already begun by Pompey—was ordered to be held in all parts of Italy.

Cæsar crosses the Rubicon.

Cæsar, informed of this, addressed the single legion which was with him at Ravenna, urging it to support the violated tribunes. Satisfied with the response to his appeal, the final step of passing the Rubicon and marching to Ariminum, outside his province.

Both sides were now in the wrong, the Senate by forcibly interfering with the action of the tribunes, Cæsar by entering Italy. An attempt, therefore, was made to effect a compromise. Lucius Cæsar—a distant connection of Iulius—visited him at Ariminum, bringing some general professions of moderation from Pompey, though it seems without any definite suggestion, Cæsar, however, so far modified his former offer as to propose a conference, with the understanding that the levy of troops in Italy was to be stopped and Pompey was to go to his Spanish province. On receiving this communication at Capua Pompey and the consuls declined all terms until Cæsar had withdrawn from Ariminum into Gaul ; though they intimated, without mentioning any date, that Pompey would in that case go to Spain. But the levy of troops was not interrupted ; and Cæsar's answer to this was the triumphant march through Picenum and to Brundisium. Town after town surrendered, and the garrisons placed in them by Pompey generally joined the advancing army, till finally a large force, embracing many men of high rank, surrendered at Corfinium. Cæsar had entered Italy with only one legion, but others were summoned from winter quarters in Cisalpine Gaul, and by the time he reached Brundisium Pompey had given up all idea of resisting him in Italy, and within the walls of that town was preparing to cross to Epirus, whither the consuls with the main body of his troops had already gone. Cæsar had no ships with which to follow him. He was content to hasten his flight by threatening to block up the harbour. Pompey safely out of Italy, he went to Rome to arrange for his regular election into the consulship. Meeting with opposition there [11]—one of the tribunes, L. Cæcilius Metellus, vetoing all proposals in the Senate—he hastened to Spain to attack the legates of Pompey, stopping on his way to arrange the siege of Marseilles (which had admitted Ahenobarbus, named successor of Cæsar in Gaul), and sending legati to secure Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa. Of these the only failure was in Africa, where Curio was defeated and killed. This province therefore remained in the hands of the Pompeians ; but Cæsar's own successes in Spain, the fall of Marseilles, and the hold gained upon the corn supplies of Sicily and Sardinia placed him in a strong position. The constitutional difficulty was surmounted ; he was named Dictator to hold the elections, returned himself as consul, and, after eleven days in Rome for the Latin games, embarked at Brundisium on January 3, B.C. 48, to attack Pompey in Epirus.

Iulius Cæsar master of the Roman world, B.C. 47.

It is not necessary to follow the events of the next six months. Cæsar had to struggle with great difficulties, for Pompey as master of the sea had a secure base of supplies ; and therefore, though Cæsar drew vast lines round his camp, he could not starve him out. Pompey, in fact, actually pierced Cæsar's lines and defeated him in more than one engagement. Eventually, however, Cæsar drew him into Thessaly ; and the great victory of Pharsalia (August 9th) made up for everything. Pompey fled to Egypt, to meet his death on the beach by order of the treacherous young king ; and though Caesar still had weary work to do before Egypt was reduced to obedience, and then had to traverse Asia Minor to crush Pharnaces of Pontus at Zela, when he set foot once more in Italy in September, B.C. 47, he had already been created Dictator, and was practically master of the Roman world.

Octavius takes the toga virilis and is made a pontifex, B.C. 46.

In these momentous events the young Octavius had taken no part. At the beginning of B.C. 49 he had been sent away to one of his ancestral estates in the country. But we cannot suppose him incapable of understanding their importance or being an uninterested spectator. His stepfather Philippus was Pompeian in sympathy, but his close connection with Cæsar kept him from taking an active part in the war, and he was allowed to remain in Italy, probably for the most part in his Campanian villa. From time to time, however, he came to Rome ; and Octavius, who now lived entirely with him, began to be treated with a distinction natural to the near relative of the victorious dictator. Soon after the news of Pharsalia he took the toga virilis at and about the same time was elected into the college of pontifices in the place of L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who had fallen in the battle. This was an office desired by the highest in the land, and the election of so young a boy, just entering upon his sixteenth year, put him in a position something like that of a prince of the blood ; just as afterwards Augustus caused his two grandsons to be designated to the consulship, and declared capable of official employment as soon as they had taken the toga virilis.[12]

Octavius's relation with his parents and his great-uncle.

The boy, who three years before had made a great impression by his delivery of the laudatio at his grandmother Iulia's funeral, again attracted much attention by his good looks and modesty. He became the fashion ; and when (as was customary for the pontifices) he presided in a prætorian court during the feriæ Latinæ it was observed to be more crowded by suitors and their friends than any of the others. It seems that the rarity of his appearance at Rome added to the interest roused by his great-uncle's successes. For his mother did not relax her watchfulness. Though legally a man he was still carefully guarded. He was required to sleep in the same simple chamber, to visit the same houses, and to follow the same way of life as before. Even his religious duties were performed before daylight, to escape the languishing looks of intriguing beauties. These precautions were seconded by his own cool and cautious temperament, and the result seems to have been that he passed through the dangerous stage of adolescence doubly

Photograph by Maxwell Wolf.
The young Octavius.[13].

dangerous to one now practically a prince uncontaminated by the grosser vices of Rome. Stories to the contrary, afterwards spread abroad by his enemies, are of the most unsubstantial and untrustworthy kind.

Wishes to go to Africa with Cæsar.

But though he seems to have quietly submitted to this tutelage, he soon conceived an ardent desire to share in the activities of his great-uncle. Cæsar had been very little at Rome since the beginning of the civil war. A few days in March, B.C. 49, thirteen days in December of the same year, were all that he had spent in the city. He was absent during the whole of his consulship (B.C. 48) till September, B.C. 47. On his return from Alexandria in that month, he stayed barely three months at Rome. On the 19th of December he was at Lilybæum, on his way to Africa to attack the surviving Pompeians. Octavius longed to go with him, and Caesar was willing to take him. But his health was not good, and his mother set herself against it. The Dictator might no doubt have insisted, but he saw that the boy was not fit to face the fatigues of a campaign. Octavius submitted, quietly biding his time. He was rewarded by finding himself high in his great-uncle's favour when he returned in B.C. 46 after the victory of Thapsus. He was admitted to share his triple triumph, riding in a chariot immediately behind that of the imperator, dressed in military uniform as though he had actually been engaged. He found, moreover, that he had sufficient interest with Cæsar to obtain pardon for the brother of his friend Agrippa, taken prisoner in the Pompeian army in Africa. This first use of his influence made a good impression, without weakening his great-uncle's affection for him. Though Cæsar did not formally adopt him,[14] he treated him openly as his nearest relation and heir. Octavius rode near him in his triumph, stood by his side at the sacrifice, took precedence of all the staff or court that surrounded him, and accompanied him to theatres and banquets. He was soon besieged by petitions to be laid before Cæsar, and shewed both tact and good nature in dealing with them. This close connection with the wise and magnanimous Dictator, inspired him with warm admiration and affection, which help to explain and excuse the severity with which he afterwards pursued his murderers.

Octavius employed in civil duties, B.C. 46.

In order to give him experience of civic duties, one of the theatres was now put under his charge. But his assiduous attention to this duty in the hot season brought Octavius employed in civil on a dangerous illness, one of the many which he encountered during his long life. There was a general feeling of regret at the prospect of a career of such promise being cut short. Caesar visited him daily or sent friends to him, insisted on the physicians remaining constantly at his side, and being informed while at dinner that the boy had fainted and was in imminent danger, he sprang up from his couch, and without waiting to change his dining slippers, hurried to his chamber, besought the physicians in moving terms to do their utmost, and sitting down by the bed shewed the liveliest joy when the patient recovered from his swoon.

Octavius follows Cæsar to Spain, B.C. 45.

Octavius was too weak to accompany the Dictator when starting for Spain against Pompey's sons in December B.C. 46. But as soon as he was sufficiently recovered he determined to follow him. He refused all company except that of a few select friends and the most active of his slaves. He would not admit his mother's wish to go with him. He had yielded to her before, but he was now resolved to take part in a man's work alone. His voyage, early in B.C. 45, proved long and dangerous ; and when at length he landed at Tarraco he found his uncle already at the extreme south of Spain, somewhere between Cadiz and Gibraltar. The roads were rendered dangerous by scattered parties of hostile natives, or outposts of the enemy, and his escort was small. Still, he pushed on with energy and reached Cæsar's quarters near Calpe, to which he had advanced after the victory at Munda (March 17th). Gnæus Pompeius had fled on board a ship, but was killed when landing for water on the nth of April, and it was apparently just about that time that Octavius reached the camp. Warmly received and highly praised for his energy by the Dictator, he was at once admitted to his table and close intimacy, during which Cæsar learned still more to appreciate the quickness of his intelligence and the careful control which he kept over his tongue.

Octavius accompanies his great-uncle to Carthage.

Affairs in Southern Spain having been apparently settled (though as it proved the danger was by no means over), Octavius accompanied Cæsar to Carthage, to settle questions which had arisen as to the assignment of land in his new colony. The Dictator was visited there by deputations from various Greek states, alleging grievances or asking favours. Octavius was applied to by more than one of them to plead their cause, and had therefore again an opportunity of acquiring practical experience in the business of imperial government, and in the very best school.

He preceded Cæsar on his return to Rome, and on his arrival had once more occasion to shew his caution and prudence. Among those who met him in the usual complimentary procession was a young man who had somehow managed to make himself a popular hero by pretending to be a grandson of the great Marius. His real name was Amatius or Herophilus, a veterinary surgeon according to some, but certainly of humble origin. As Marius had married Cæsar's aunt Iulia, this man was anxious to be recognised as a cousin by the Dictator. He had in vain applied to Cicero to undertake his cause, and to Atia and her half-sister to recognise him. The difficulty for Octavius was that the man was a favourite of the populace, of whose cause Cæsar was the professed champion ; yet his recognition would be offensive to the nobles and a mere concession to clamour. Octavius avoided the snare by referring the case to Cæsar as head of the state and family, and refusing to receive the would-be Marius till he had decided.[15]

Octavius at Apollonia, B.C. 45-44.

He did not remain long at Rome however. Cæsar returned in September, and was assassinated in the following March. And during that interval, though he found time Apollonia, for many schemes of legislation, and of restoration or improvement in the city, he was much employed in preparing for two expeditions calculated to last three years first against the Daci or Getae on the Danube, and secondly against the Parthians in Mesopotamia. These were the two points of active danger in the Empire, and Cæsar desired to crown his public services by securing their peace and safety. For this purpose six legions were quartered in Macedonia for the winter, in readiness to march along the Via Egnatia to the eastern coast of Greece. Returning from Spain Dictator for life, Caesar was to have two "Masters of the Horse." One was to be Octavius, who had meanwhile been created a patrician by the Senate.[16] But for the present he was sent to pass the winter at Apollonia, the Greek colony at the beginning of the Via Egnatia, where he might continue his studies in quiet with the rhetors and other teachers whom he took with him or found there,[17] and at the same time might get some military training with the legions that were not for off. He was accompanied by some of the young men with whom he habitually associated. Among them were Agrippa and Mæcenas, who remained his friends and ministers to the end of their lives, and Salvidienus Rufus, who almost alone of his early friends proved unfaithful.[18]

New of Cæsar's assassination brought to Apollonia.

In the sixth month of his residence at Apollonia, in the afternoon of a March day, a freedman of his mother arrived with every sign of rapid travel and agitation. He delivered a letter from Atia, dated the 15th of March. It briefly stated that the Dictator had just been assassinated in the Senate House. She added that she "did not know what would happen next ; but it was time now for him to play the man, and to think and act for the best at this terrible crisis."[19] The bearer of the letter could tell him nothing else, for he had been despatched immediately after the murder, and had loitered nowhere on the way ; only he felt sure that as the conspirators were numerous and powerful, all the kinsfolk of the Dictator would be in danger.

This was the last day of Octavius's youth. From that hour he had to play a dangerous game with desperate players. He did not yet know that by the Dictator's will he had been adopted as his son, and was heir to the greater part of his vast wealth ; but a passionate desire to avenge him sprang up in his breast, a desire strengthened with increasing knowledge, and of which he never lost sight in all the political complications of the next ten years.

Obv. : M. Brutus. Rev. : Two daggers and cap of liberty.

  1. Ad capita bubula. Lanciani (Remains of Ancient Rome, p. 139) says that this was the name of a lane at the eastern corner of the Palatine. Others have thought it to be the name of the house, as the ad malum Punicum in which Domitian was born (Suet., Dom. 1). So later we hear of a house at Rome quæ est ad Palmam (Codex Theod., p. 3). The house may have had its name from a frieze with ox-heads on it, like the tomb of Metella, which came to be called Capo-di-bove. It seems less easy to account for a lane being so called. See also p. 205.
  2. C.I.L., vol. i. p. 279.
  3. Cicero, ad Q. Fr. I, 1, 21 ; I, 2, 7. Velleius Pat., 2, 59 ; Sueton., Aug. 3.
  4. The plebeian Atii Balbi do not seem to have been important. M. Atius Balbus was prætor in B.C. 62 (with Cæsar), governor of Sardinia B.C. 61-60, and in B.C. 59 was one of the xx viri under the Julian land law (Cic., ad Att. ii. 4).
  5. These and other stories will be found in Sueton., Aug. 94, and Dio, 45, 2. Vergil makes skilful use of them in Æn., vi. 797, sqq.
  6. Antony, when he wished to depreciate Augustus, asserted that his great-grandfather had a rope-walk at Thurii ; and some such connection of his ancestors with that place may account for the cognomen, which would naturally be dropped afterwards (Suet., Aug. 7).
  7. The marriage could not have taken place earlier than the middle of B.C. 57, for when Atia's first husband died Philippus was in Syria. He was succeeded by Gabinius in B.C. 57, and reached Italy in time to stand for the consulship, the elections that year being at the ordinary time, i.e., July (Cic., ad Att. 4, 2).
  8. L. Marcius Philippus was the son of the famous orator, and was a warm supporter of Cicero. With his colleague as consul-designate he proposed he prosecution of Clodius (Cic., ad Q. Fr. ii. 1). When the civil war was beginning he was allowed by Cæsar to remain neutral (Cic., ad Att. ix. 15 ; x. 4). But Cicero found him tiresome company, for he was garrulous and prosy (ad Att. xii. 9, 16, 18) ; and in the troublous times following the assassination of Cæsar he set little store by his opinion (ad Att. xvi. 14; ad Brut. i. 17).
  9. The law of B.C. 52 allowed Cæsar to be "elected in his absence" (absentis rationem haberi), but said nothing of his being in possession of a province. By long prescription the Senate had the right of deciding when a provincial governor should be " succeeded." But then Caesar's term of provincial government had been fixed by a lex, which was superior to a Senatus-consultum ; and he might also argue that if it was unconstitutional for a man to be elected consul while holding a province, the Senate had violated the constitution in allowing Pompey to be consul in B.C. 52.
  10. The Senate did not insist on the professio, from which Cæsar had been exempted by name in Pompey's law. But its contention was that it still retained the right of naming the date at which a man was to leave his province, and of deciding in regard to an election whether a man was a legal candidate, which might depend on other things besides the making or not making a professio.
  11. The difficulty was that both consuls were absent. There was no one therefore capable of holding a consular election. But as the other curule magistrates still existed, "the auspicia had not returned to the Fathers," who could not therefore name an interrex. The Prætor Lepidus though willing could not "create" a maius imperium. The only way out of it was to name a Dictator (com. hab. causa) ; but one of the consuls, according to tradition, could alone do that. Eventually Lepidus, by a special vote of the people was authorised to name Cæsar as Dictator—which had precedents in the cases of Fabius Maximus and Sulla—and Cæsar, as Dictator, held the consular elections. Caes., b. c. ii, 21 ; Dio, 41, 36.
  12. Nicolas (ch. 4) says that he took the toga virilis about fourteen (περὶ ἔτη μάλιπτα γιγονώς τεσσαρακαίδεκα). But Suetonius (Aug. 8) says that he spoke the laudatio of his grandmother in his twelfth year, and "four years afterwards" took the toga virilis.
  13. This is now thought to be the young Julius Caesar.
  14. Octavius was sui iuris, his father being dead ; his adoption therefore required the formal passing of a lex curiata. Now the opposition, supported by Antony, against this formality being carried out was one of the grounds of Octavian's quarrel with him in B.C. 44-3, and the completion of it was one of the first things secured by Octavian on his entrance into Rome in August, B.C. 43 [Appian, b. c. iii. 94 ; Dio, 45, 5]. This seems conclusive against the theory that Iulius adopted him in his lifetime. Moreover all authorities speak of the adoption as made by Will. Livy, Ep. 116, testamento in nomen adoptatus est; Velleius, ii. 59, testamentum apertum est, quo C. Octavium nepotem sororis suæ Iuliæ adoptabat. See also Appian, b. c. iii. II ; Dio, 45, 3 ; Plutarch, Brut. 22. It is true that Nicolas—speaking of the triumph of B.C. 46—(§ 8) says υἱὸν ἤδη πεποιημένος. But if he means anything more than "regarding him as a son," he twice afterwards contradicts himself : See § 17 ἀπήγγελλον τά τε ἀλλὰ καὶ ὡς ἐν ταῖς διαθήκαις ὡς υἱὸς εἴη Καίσαρι ἐγγεγραμμένος. Cf. § 13.
  15. Cicero, ad Att. xii. 48, 49 ; Nicholas, § 14 ; Valer. Max., 1, 15, 2. For the subsequent fate of the man see Cicero, ad Att. xiv. 6, 7, 8 ; App., b. c. iii. 2-3.
  16. The patrician gentes were dying out, and it was thought good to replenish their numbers, thus gradually forming a class of nobles distinct from these ennobled by office. In making the Octavii patricians, the initiative was taken by the Senate ; in later times, however, the power of creating patricii was conferred on the imperator. Iulius seems also to have done it on his own authority. (Dio, 43, 47 ; Suet., Aug. 2.)
  17. He took with him Apollodorus of Pergamtis, a well-known author of a system of rhetoric (Suet., Aug. 89 ; Strabo, 13, 4, 3 ; Quinct., 3, I, 17). Other teachers of his, whether at Apollonia or elsewhere, are Areius of Alexandria, Alexander of Pergamus, Athenodorus of Tarsus (Suet. l.c. ; Dio, 51, 4 ; Plutarch, Ant. II ; Nicol. Dam., § 17 ; Zonaras, 10, 38).
  18. Suet., Aug. 65 ; Vell. Paterc., 2, 59, 64 ; App., b. c. 5, 66 ; Dio, 48, 33. The other instance of a friend who fell into disfavour and ruin quoted by Suetonius is Cornelius Gallus. But he does not seem to have been at Apollonia. He was nearly three years older than Augustus, and in B.C. 44-3 was perhaps with Pollio in Baetica. See Cic., ad Fam. x. 32.
  19. Nicolas, § 16 ; App., b. c. iii. 9-10.