I have a bit of an historical fan-crush on Caesar Augustus (Octavian). I was *extremely* pleased to find a biography of him in the mail as a birthday present from Susanne! *waves*
So now you get posts as I read. For now, quotes from the preface.
"If anyone qualifies as the founding father of western civilization, it is Augustus."
"His career was a masterly study in the wielding of power. He learned how to obtain it and, more important, how to keep it."
"Augustus was a very great man, but he grew gradually into greatness. He did not possess Julius Caesar's bravura and political genius (it was that genius, of course, which killed Caesar, for it made him incapable of compromise). He was a physical coward who taught himself to be brave. He was intelligent, painstaking, and patient, but he could also be cruel and ruthless. He work extraordinarily hard. He thought in the long term, achieving his aims slowly and by trial and error."
"Augustus is one of the few historical figures who improved with the passage of time. He began as a bloodthirsty adventurer, but once he had achieved power, he made a respectable man of himself. He repealed his illegal acts and took trouble to govern fairly and efficiently."
"We are right to call Augustus Rome's first emperor, yet the title is anachronistic. At the time he was simply regarded as the chief man in the state. The Roman Republic had, apparently, been restored, not abolished. Augustus developed a personality cult, but he did not hold permanent authority and had to have his powers regularly renewed. Only with the accession of Tiberius did people finally realize that they were no longer citizens of a free commonwealth, but subjects living under a permanent monarchy."