RUINS

Augustus of Primaporta

Marble statue of Augustus
Augustus's claim to fame was his conquest of Egypt, well, and the fact that he wasn't Julius Caesar. Formerly known as Octavian, he inherited Caesar's wealth following his assassination. Marc Antony, another one of Caesar's mentees, felt hurt that his father figure didn't leave him the inheritance. So, the two struck a little deal. Antony would marry Octavian's sister and rule the eastern portion of the Roman Empire. However, Antony eventually had an affair with Cleopatra of Egypt, so Octavian marched into Egypt and conquered them in retaliation. He was given the title Augustus (wise one), and avoided calling himself emperor out of fear of being viewed as power hungry like Caesar. But, he was basically Rome's first true emperor. The period of peace coinciding with his reign, known as "Pax Romana," warmed Romans to the idea of a central emperor. Like many kings of past empires, he used propaganda to control his image. His figure is idealized and flawless in this marble copy of an original bronze. The Cupid clinging to his side is an allusion to Venus, Cupid's mother, as he claimed to be a descendant of Venus.
Photo credit / Unknown Wikimedia Commons