Monday, October 11, 2010

What Is In a Name

Augustus understood the power names held. Throughout his life he changed his names several times and added many titles. Born Gaius Octavius Thurinus, he belonged to an equestrian family, his father was a minor Senator- Gaius Octavius. To avoid confusion, the Young Gaius was often called Octavian. When his great uncle, Gaius Julius Caesar was murdered, Octavian was surprised to learn he had been adopted by Julius in the latter’s will. To honor his new father, and remind everyone of his new lineage, Octavian took the new name Gaius Julius Caesar as his official title.

After defeating Cleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius, Octavian took many new titles that proclaimed his power in the Roman World. These included:

Princeps' - First Citizen of Rome
Pater Patriae - Father of his country
Caesar 'divi filius' - 'son of the divine' after Julius was proclaimed a god
Augustus – Revered One
Imperium Proconsulare Maius - Consul for life
Tribunicia Potestas - Tribune for life
Imperator – Commander of the Army

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