5. Augustus and his Family

AugustusBust AugustusVictor Marcellus-Julia GaiusLuciusPostumus AugustusPontMax Germanicus Rome-DistrictsMAP

The guises of Augustus. Left: the classic pose of the thoughtful, caring ruler who finally brought peace to the Roman commonwealth. Above: the soldier-emperor in full military regalia; throughout his reign the princeps would always be portrayed in the full vigor of youth. Right: as Pontifex Maximus, chief priest of the Roman state religion, the office he assumed after the death of Triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in 12 BC.


Left: Gaius Claudius Marcellus, Augustus’s 19-year-old nephew, who although a Claudian by his father, had Julian blood from his mother Octavia, the emperor’s sister, was the first earmarked for the succession. He married  the emperor’s only daughter Julia (seen on a coin below)—only to suffer an early death in 23 BC. Augustus, deeply upset by his nephew’s untimely end, dedicated a large new theater on the bank of the Tiber to Marcellus, part of which can still be seen today.

Right above: Gaius and Lucius Caesar, the sons of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, whom Augustus next adopted as potential successors, but who both died young.


Their youngest brother, Agrippa Postumus (right) whom Augustus adopted after their deaths, grew up to be an adolescent lout who in AD 7 had to be banished.

Drusus (the Elder), Augustus's youngest

stepson through Livia Drusilla was, like his older

brother Tiberius, to be passed over for the succession. His eldest son, Germanicus (right), also missed out, but more by luck than planning, his youngest, Claudius would one day mount the throne as emperor.

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Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England