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Roman emperor (63 BC-14 AD). Under his rule, Rome established itself as a powerful empire and had tremendous cultural and commercial growth.
Julius Caesar had pushed the boundaries of what was a "de facto Roman Empire" and had become the first absolute ruler of Rome. However, the Roman Empire had not been officially declared until his nephew Octavian took power in 27 BC. He was the son of Gaius Octavius and Acha, whose mother was Julia, sister of Julius Caesar. Octavian was thirty years old when his uncle was murdered.
Although Caesar had named Octavian as his successor, the young man encountered opposition from both his uncle's allies and his rivals. Octavian agreed to rule as part of a triumvirate (three-man ruling council) with Marco Lépido (? 13 BC) and Marco Antony (83-30 BC), one of Caesar's trusted lieutenants. This triumvirate, in turn, faced a civil war by Caio Cassius (? 42 BC) and Marcus Junius Brute (85-42 BC), two of the conspirators of Caesar's assassination, who intended to reestablish the Republic. After defeating the rebels, the triumvirate divided power geographically: Europe came under Octavian's command, Africa in the hands of Lepidus and Egypt to Mark Antony.
In Egypt, where the local monarchy was subject to Roman rule, Mark Antony established his power in the city of Alexandria, where he fell in love with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra (69-30 BC), who was his mistress. Often Mark Antony gave Cleopatra generous gifts, prompting a series of rumors that he intended to give Rome himself as a gift. When these rumors reached Octavian's ears, he was enraged and immediately declared war on Mark Antony. The two sides clashed at the Battle of Acius in 31 BC, and the armies of Mark Antony and Cleopatra led the worst. With this they decided to flee to Egypt with what was left of their troops and with Octavian in pursuit. Feeling that defeat was imminent, Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC.
Octavian returned to Rome in 29 BC and declared himself Roman emperor, taking the name of Caesar Augustus. Under his rule, the Roman Empire became an austere and centrally controlled monarchy. With it, also the Latin language and the Roman alphabet became standard for all of Europe. Although Rome was already an empire before Octavian became Caesar Augustus, it was up to him to proclaim "the" Roman Empire. It was also he who ruled during the period when the Pax Romana (the peace of Rome) reigned over the whole "known world."
United under a single strong leader, the Roman Empire had a prosperous development, both cultural and commercial. Art and literature became important habits in the life of Roman cities, and major projects were developed for the construction of roads, bridges, aqueducts, coliseums, residences, and public buildings, not only in Rome but in other cities throughout the empire. So it is often said that Octavian inherited a brick Rome and left it made of marble.