by Greg Mayer
We don’t often note events of general (as opposed to scientific) history here at WEIT, but today, August 19, 2767 AUC, is the 2000th anniversary of the death of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, better known as Augustus, arguably the most significant individual in Western and, indeed, world history. The grand nephew and adopted son of Gaius Julius Caesar, through political acumen and military victories he brutally won the civil wars that followed Caesar’s murder, and then set about settling the affairs of the Roman world under the appealing fiction that he was restoring the Republic, while in fact he was founding the Empire.
Ezra Klein’s Vox has a wonderful series of maps and figures depicting the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to commemorate the anniversary.
The first Roman Emperor, Augustus boasted marmoream se relinquere, quam latericiam accepisset: “I found Rome built of bricks; I leave her clothed in marble.” His last successor, Constantine XI, died fighting on the walls of Constantinople, the “New Rome”, in 1453 AD, only 561 years ago, and 1439 years after the death of Augustus. Much of the language, culture, laws, and governance of our world today grew out of the empire he established.
h/t Paul Krugman