Today in 63 BC: Gaius Octavius Thurinus Was Born

He was adopted by Julius Caesar in his will and became Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus in 44 BC, although we tend to know him better as Augustus, a titular name he received much later. His various names are discussed by Adrian Goldsworthy in his brilliant new biography of Augustus, who refer to him for part of the text as Caesar, as he would have been called by the Romans until 27 BC -  yes it is slightly disconcerting at first, but it is more 'authentic' and this is what makes Goldsworthy's book so interesting.

Because the month of Sextilius was renamed Augustus or August in honour of Augustus, just as Quintilis had been renamed Julius or July in honour of his father Julius Caesar, people sometimes assume that that was when he was born. In fact, the month was chosen according to Macrobius, (Saturnalia 1.12.35) because that was the month in which many of his victories too place.

Adrian Goldsworthy on the birth of Augustus:
Birthdays were important in Roman culture, and were celebrated throughout an individual’s life. September was the seventh of the ten named months in Rome’s lunar calendar, for in archaic times the year began in March, the month of the war god Mars, when the legions used to set out on campaign. September 23 was for the Romans the ninth day before the Kalends of October, for they used a system based on days before or after three monthly festivals, the Kalends on the 1st, the Nones on the 7th, and the Ides on either the 13th or the 15th depending on the month. Lacking the number zero, the Kalends itself counted as one, and 23 September itself was included, hence the total of nine days. For the Romans the year was the six-hundred-and-ninety-first year since the foundation of the City (ab urbe condita) by Romulus.
The consuls took precedence on alternate months, and so it was Cicero who presided over a meeting of the Senate on 23 September. Suetonius claims that Caius Octavius arrived late because of the birth of his son, although since this provides the setting for another story where the birth of the ‘ruler of the globe’ is predicted, we need to be cautious. Perhaps the incident is wholly invented, although there is nothing inherently improbable in Caius Octavius’ late arrival [...]
In the meantime normal life continued, and on the night of 30 September Caius Octavius and Atia held a night-time vigil in their house. Rituals were performed, culminating in sacrifi ces and a formal purification ceremony or lustratio on the next day, the Kalends of October and nine days after their son’s birth. The purpose was to rid the baby of any malign spirits or other supernatural influences that might have entered him during the birth process. He was given a charm or bulla, usually of gold and worn around the neck, until he formally became a man. Afterwards, the flight of birds was observed by one of the priestly college known as augurs to gain some sense of the child’s future. Probably the parents were told that the signs were good. 
Only now was the boy formally named, and in due course registered in the list of citizens.
Hatchards in London has signed copies.
Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor - hardcover at Amazon UK
Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor - Kindle at Amazon UK
Yale hardcover at Amazon US - Augustus: First Emperor of Rome

The catalogue of the recent exhibition at the Grand Palais by Eugenio delle Rocca is also worth picking up; not only is it well written and illustrated, but French catalogues tend to be printed in short runs that sell out and soon become exorbitantly priced.

French Amazon still has 14 copies as I type: Auguste

Augustus' Palatine house recently reopened to the public after lengthy restoration: Emperor's frescoed rooms unveiled for first time in Rome - Channel NewsAsia

If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

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