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Caesar Augustus, also known as Gaius Octavius, Octavian, or Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, was born on September 23, 63 BC, in Rome, Italy. He was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD. Julius Caesar, his great-uncle adopted him in 44 BC. After Julius Caesar’s assassination, Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate with Mark Antony and Lepidus. Following conflicts and political maneuvering, Octavian emerged as the sole ruler after defeating Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

When 40 Roman senators, through a conspiracy, assassinated Julius Caesar in 43 BC, he had selected to name his sister’s son Gaius Octavius as his successor. He later got the name Caesar Augustus. Caesar defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC and afterwards gained control over Rome and its extensive territories. He became emperor in 27 BC and the senate gave him the honorary title, Augustus. Augustus means ‘majestic.’ During his reign, he brought peace and prosperity to the empire.

Augustus reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads, established a standing army and the Praetorian Guard, and rebuilt much of the city of Rome. He initiated the Pax Romana, which facilitated economic prosperity, cultural flourishing, and expansion of the empire. Augustus was granted the title “Augustus” by the Roman Senate in 27 BC, marking the beginning of his reign as the first emperor.

During those days, there was no common religion. People considered the emperor as god or as a son of god. Greek inscriptions reveal that the people accepted Augustus as “saviour” and “god” in the empire. After becoming emperor, Caesar Augustus maintained peace in the empire called “pax Augusta”.

Augustus ruled for 45 years, making him one of the most successful Roman emperors. His death was on August 19, 14 AD, in Nola, Italy. He was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius. He left a legacy as a stabilizer of the Roman state, transforming it from a republic riddled with civil wars into a well-ordered empire.


Jesus was born during the reign of Caesar Augustus (Lk 2:1). He ordered a census of the entire Roman world. This census likely served tax purposes. As a result, Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ, and his pregnant wife Mary traveled to Bethlehem to register. Joseph and Mary went up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea because he was of the house and family of David (Lk 1:4). Consequently, Caesar Augustus unknowingly contributed to the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy regarding the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem.


Emperor Caesar Augustus took power and extended his empire through war and later established peace in the kingdom. That peace was external and temporary. In contrast to this political ruler, Jesus came as the prince of peace in a humble and life-threatening situation. The peace he brought forth is everlasting and internal. Let us enjoy the spiritual peace that Jesus gives and accept the hardships of life with Jesus and his church to attain eternal salvation.

Augustus’ decree for a census, intended for administrative purposes, fulfilled the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2). This shows how God can utilize worldly leaders and circumstances to fulfill His divine plans.


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