The Battle of Actium — a naval confrontation against the combined forces of
Marc Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC — was a decisive victory for Augustus
While still assuring the Senate of his Republican convictions, Augustus Caesar consolidated his control of the Empire:
“…first of all from various powers of office delegated to him by the Senate and people, secondly from his immense private fortune, and thirdly from numerous patron-client relationships he established with individuals and groups throughout the Empire. All of them taken together formed the basis of his auctoritas, which he himself emphasized as the foundation of his political actions.”1
With the successes of his battle and wars, Octavius chose for himself the name Imperator (victorious commander) Caesar (his adopted family name) Divi Filius (son of god) Augustus. (No one asked “what’s in a name?” anymore).
A denarius minted c. 18 BC with the following inscriptions —
Front: CAESAR AUGUSTUS. | Back: DIVUS IULIU(S) (Divine Julius)
Caesar Augustus’s reign brought expansion and pacification of the Empire, legal and economic reforms, general prosperity and prosperity to the Generals. His reign established in one form or another an empire that would last fifteen hundred years. His very name — Caesar — became the word for Emperor: Kaiser in Germany, Tsar in Russia, etc. He built roads across the empire, some still in use today. They enabled Christian missions to spread throughout the empire as the centuries passed. He established the gladiatorial and other games for the masses. Many of his building projects still stand. The month of August is named after him.
The extent of the Roman Empire at its zenith in AD 117
All that being said, the legacy of Augustus is a drop in the bucket of royal achievement compared to the coming of the real King at Bethlehem in about the 38th year of Caesar’s reign. After all, Augustus was but a man, and the marble busts of his head in the museums of the world but match his feet of clay. His empire went to dust, and weeds choke his flagstones. Another great king, who was brought to his senses after an unwilling diet of grass stated:
“…I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.” —From Daniel 4:34