27 B.c. Gaius Octavius (100-59 e.c.) was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar and his adopted son and personal heir. Claiming his inheritance was a 13-year ordeal involving civil wars and sticky alliances,but in2B.C.,the Roman Senate bestowed Octavius the nameAugustus, meaning "revered personage."
Known as Caesar Augustus, he spent the next four decades sculpting the role of the Roman emperor, adding powers and reforming the constitution until he became, in effect, a dictator.Augustus was the first in a long line of Roman emperors. During 45 years of unopposed rule he overhauled the workings of Roman government, reorganized the military, installed a fire brigade and a police force in the city of Rome, and expanded the boundaries of the Roman Empire to include much of Europe, North Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean. Augustus ushered in the Pax Romana, or "Roman Peace," an era characterized by increased law, trade, communication, and relative prosperity, which he used to commission monuments, public buildings, temples, and roads throughout the empire.The Roman Empire was the first superpower, stretching from Europe and Africa to Asia and 1 he Middle East. The empire's ability to assimilate so many cultures into its own was an essential part of its success—and its legacy is part of cultures the world over, including our own.The Colosseum hosted both gladiator games and religious ceremonies during the height of the Roman Empire.