Caesar Augustus.

Second of the Caesars.


Period of principate.
31 (before Christ) to 14.

Related and attributed text(s).
Res Gestae (attributed), available in Latin, Greek, and English (LacusCurtius).
Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, especially 2.59-93 (related), available in Latin and English (LacusCurtius).
Suetonius, Divine Augustus (related), available in Latin and English (LacusCurtius).
Cassius Dio, Roman History (related), available in English (LacusCurtius).

Useful links.
Augustus at Wikipedia.
Augustus at Roman Emperors.
Perseus.

Caesar Augustus was the second of the twelve Caesars for whom Suetonius wrote a biography. He was also known as Octavian. Augustus was emperor when Jesus was born (refer to Luke 2.1).

The Priene calendar inscription, circa 9 before Christ, speaks to some of the more legendary aspects of Augustus. Craig Evans reproduces part of this inscription in Mark's Incipit and the Priene Calendar Inscription: From Jewish Gospel to Greco-Roman Gospel (.pdf) as follows (my own English translation, then the translation from Evans, slightly formatted):

Εδοξεν τοις επι της Ασιας Ελλησιν, γνωμη του αρχιερεως Απολλωνιου του Μηνοφιλου Αζανιτου· Επειδη η παντα διαταξασα του βιου ημων προνοια σπουδην εισενενκαμενη και φιλοτιμιαν το τεληοτατον τω βιω διεκοσμησεν ενενκαμενη τον Σεβαστον, ον εις ευεργεσιαν ανθρωπων επληρωσεν αρετης, ωσπερ ημειν και τοις μεθ ημας σωτηρα πεμψασα τον παυσοντα μεν πολεμον, κοσμησοντα δε παντα, επιφανεις δε ο Καισαρ τας ελπιδας των προλαβοντων ευανγελια παντων υπερεθηκεν, ου μονον τους προ αυτου γεγονοτας ευεργετας υπερβαλομενος, αλλ ουδ εν τοις εσομενοις ελπιδα υπολιπων υπερβολης, ηρξεν δε τω κοσμω των δι αυτον ευανγελιων η γενεθλιος ημερα του θεου· της δε Ασιας εψηφισμενης εν Σμυρνη.

It was seeming to the Greeks in Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: Since providence, which has ordered all things of our life and is very much interested in our life, has ordered things in sending Augustus, whom she filled with virtue for the benefit of men, sending him as a savior both for us and for those after us, him who would end war and order all things, and since Caesar by his appearance surpassed the hopes of all those who received the good tidings, not only those who were benefactors before him, but even the hope among those who will be left afterward, and the birthday of the god was for the world the beginning of the good tidings through him; and Asia resolved it in Smyrna.

[Evans:] It seemed good to the Greeks of Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: Since providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance excelled even our anticipations, surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him, which Asia resolved in Smyrna.

Virgil, Aeneid, book 6, Anchises speaking to Aeneas in the underworld:

Huc geminas nunc flecte acies, hanc aspice gentem
Romanosque tuos. hic Caesar et omnis Iuli
progenies magnum caeli ventura sub axem.
hic vir, hic est, tibi quem promitti saepius audis,
Augustus Caesar, divi genus, aurea condet
saecula qui rursus Latio regnata per arva
Saturno quondam, super et Garamantas et Indos
proferet imperium.

Huc geminas nunc flecte acies, hanc aspice gentem Romanosque tuos. hic Caesar et omnis Iuli progenies magnum caeli ventura sub axem. hic vir, hic est, tibi quem promitti saepius audis, Augustus Caesar, divi genus, aurea condet saecula qui rursus Latio regnata per arva Saturno quondam, super et Garamantas et Indos proferet imperium.

Verse translation by John Dryden:

Now fix your sight, and stand intent, to see
Your Roman race, and Julian progeny.
The mighty Caesar waits his vital hour,
Impatient for the world, and grasps his promis'd pow'r.
But next behold the youth of form divine,
Ceasar himself, exalted in his line;
Augustus, promis'd oft, and long foretold,
Sent to the realm that Saturn rul'd of old;
Born to restore a better age of gold.
Africa and India shall his pow'r obey.

Prose translation by Chris Weimer:

Now bend your twin eyes here, [and] hence look at your tribe and your Romans. Here is Caesar and the whole progeny of Iulus, about to come from 'neath the mighty axis of heaven.
Here is the man, here he is, whom you heard was promised to you rather often, Augustus Caesar, son of god, who will found the golden age again in Latium throughout the fields once ruled by Saturn, and [who] will carry his empire beyond both the Garamants and the Indians.

Virgil, Eclogue 4:

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis aetas;
magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo.
iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna;
iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto.
Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum
desinet ac toto surget gens aurea mundo.
casta fave Lucina; tuus iam regnat Apollo.

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis aetas; magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo. iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna; iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto. tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum desinet ac toto surget gens aurea mundo. casta fave Lucina; tuus iam regnat Apollo.

Verse translation by James Rhoades:

Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung
Has come and gone, and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.
Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise.
Befriend him, chaste Lucina; 'tis thine own
Apollo reigns.

Suetonius, Divine Augustus 94.4 (translation slightly modified from that of the Loeb edition:

In Asclepiadis Mendetis Theologumenon libris lego, Atiam, cum ad sollemne Apollinis sacrum media nocte venisset, posita in templo lectica, dum ceterae matronae dormirent, obdormisse; draconem repente irrepsisse ad eam pauloque post egressum; illam expergefactam quasi a concubitu mariti purificasse se; et statim in corpore eius exstitisse maculam velut picti draconis nec potuisse umquam exigi, adeo ut mox publicis balineis perpetuo abstinuerit; Augustum natum mense decimo et ob hoc Apollinis filium existimatum. eadem Atia, prius quam pareret, somniavit intestina sua ferri ad sidera explicarique per omnem terrarum et caeli ambitum. somniavit et pater Octavius utero Atiae iubar solis exortum.

I have read the following story in the books of Asclepias of Mendes entitled Theologumena. When Atia had come in the middle of the night to the solemn service of Apollo, she had her litter set down in the temple and fell asleep, while the rest of the matrons also slept. On a sudden a serpent glided up to her and shortly went away. When she awoke, she purified herself, as if after the embraces of her husband, and at once there appeared on her body a mark in colors like a serpent, and she could never get rid of it, so that presently she ceased ever to go to the public baths. In the tenth month after that Augustus was born and was therefore regarded as the son of Apollo. Atia too, before she gave him birth, dreamed that her vitals were borne up to the stars and spread over the whole extent of land and sea, while Octavius dreamed that the sun rose from the womb of Atia.

Horace, Odes 3.5:

Caelo tonantem credidimus Iovem
regnare; praesens divus habebitur
Augustus adiectis Britannis
imperio gravibusque Persis.

We believe because of the thunder that Jove reigns in heaven; Augustus will be held to be a present god for adding the Britons and the dreaded Persians* to the empire.

* Id est,, the Parthians.

Here conquest of earthly enemies appears to be at least as good a proof of divinity as heavenly thunder. In his epistle 2.1 Horace lists the Greco-Roman heroes Romulus et Liber pater et cum Castore Pollux (Romulus and father Liber and Pollux with Castor), claiming that their fame peaked only after death, but he turns around and says of Augustus:

Praesenti tibi maturos largimur honores iurandasque tuum per numen ponimus aras, nil oriturum alias, nil ortum tale fatentes.

Upon you we will bestow honors already while you are still present, and put up altars to swear oaths at in your name, confessing that neither has any such ever arisen nor shall one yet arise.