The chronology offered here is not a replacement for a narrative biography of Augustus.
It is intended to aid the reader trying to see the big picture and keep track of Augustan dates while
studying the first emperor's life. For that reason, and because I sought to preserve visual simplicity,
I have streamlined the data in the entries and extensively pipelinked to detailed explanations.
As an example of what can be seen in such a chronological outline, consider Augustus' strategies for holding power.
He begins with triumviral power (effectively dictatorial, though shared) for 10 years (43-33). He gets through 32 by whipping the people up into a war-posture against Antony and Cleopatra and driving out Antony's friends, including both consuls.
In 31 he begins an unbroken series of 9 consulships, granting his consular colleague equal status only in 28--when
his colleague was his right-hand man Agrippa.
Though Augustus did not hold the consulship for the entirety of every year, he was effectively
monopolizing 50% of the chief perks of his "restored" republican government, and historians have pointed to the
coincidence of a series of conspiracies (as the Augustan press called them) and a lightening of his grip in the so-called "second settlement" of 23. In that year, he ceased holding the consulship (except for ceremonial purposes) and contented himself with more subtle (but in reality much stronger) powers.
63. 23 September. Born Gaius Octavius.
59. Father dies. Taken into household
of L. Marcius Philippus, cos. 56.
51. Gives funeral oration for his maternal
grandmother, Caesar's sister.
47. Made pontifex under Caesar.
45. In Spain with Caesar;
13 September Caesar makes
his will adopting Octavius.
44. Octavius becomes Caesar's principal
heir after the Ides. Adopts name C. Iulius Caesar Octavianus.
43. 7 January. Octavian given praetorian
Elected consul after marching on Rome. Soon thereafter his adoption formalized.
27 November. Lex
Titia establishes triumvirate. Proscriptions get underway.
7 December. Cicero killed.
42. 1 January. Caesar
deified. Octavian becomes C. Iulius divi f. Caesar Octavianus, 'son of the
Battles at Philippi. Cassius, then Brutus kill themselves.
40. Late winter. Perusia falls ending
resistance of Lucius Antonius and Fulvia. Octavian siezes Gaul.
returns to Italy. Peace of Brundisium. Antony marries Octavia.
39. Peace with Sextus
Pompey. Return of exiles.
Octavian divorces Scribonia,
Julia, daughter of
Octavian and Scribonia, born.
38. War with Sextus Pompey. By now,
Octavian unofficially using name 'Imperator'.
31 December. Triumviral
powers nominally lapse.
37. Antony returns again.
Peace of Tarentum.
Triumvirate renewed for
5 years, until 31 December 33.
Agrippa consul I.
36. Sextus Pompey and Lepidus eliminated.
Octavian possibly receives
Temple of Apollo
on Palatine begun.
33. Octavian consul II.
Agrippa aedile: building
projects, refurbishing aqueducts of Rome, builds Aqua Julia.
End of triumvirate.
32. Antony's friends (including both
consuls) driven from Rome.
Antony's will published.
'All Italy' (tota
Italia) swears an oath of allegiance to Octavian.
31. Octavian consul III.
2 September. Battle
of Actium. Antony loses balance of fleet, flees with Cleopatra to Egypt.
30. Octavian consul IV.
August. Egypt falls.
Antony, Cleopatra commit suicide. C. Cornelius Gallus
29. Octavian consul V.
April. C. Cornelius
Gallus erects his tablet commemorating his achievements in Egypt.
triple triumph over Illyricum, Actium, Egypt.
arch of Octavian built. Construction of mausoleum begun this or next year.
28. Octavian consul VI, Agrippa consul
Nominal equality given
to Octavian's consular colleague.
All illegal orders given during triumvirate rescinded.
9 October. Temple
of Palatine Apollo dedicated.
M. Licinius Crassus
claims spolia opima for defeating an enemy king in single combat. Claim disallowed.
27. Octavian consul VII, Agrippa consul
13 January. First
settlement. Octavian gains huge province for 10 years, "restores republic".
16 January. Given
title AUGUSTUS. Shield of the virtues, laurel wreaths, civic
Pantheon of Agrippa
begun this year or next.
26. Augustus consul VIII.
Augustus departs for
western provinces. Tour of Gaul, then wars in Spain, down to 24.
Agrippa dedicates refurbished
25. Augustus consul IX.
of Augustus, married to M. Claudius Marcellus.
24. Augustus consul X.
Aug. returns to
23. Augustus consul XI.
Augustus receives tribunician
power (tribunicia potestas), which will be renewed at yearly
intervals until his death.
Given imperium maius
(supreme command) over all provinces, though the division between senatorial
and imperial provinces remains intact.
consulship, 1 July. Becomes seriously ill.
Conspiracy of Fannius
Caepio and Varro Murena.
Late in year: Marcellus
22. Problems with the food supply.
Augustus offered a dictatorship. Settles for cura annonae,
"oversight of the grain supply".
for the east.
21. Augustus in east. People elect
only one consul, leaving a place for Augustus. Agrippa persuades them to elect
20. Augustus in east: carries out negotiations
son of Agrippa and Julia born.
19. People again leave the consulship
open for Augustus: he refuses.
from east with lost standards and prisoners from Crassus'
and Antony's expeditions.
arch built. Standards deposited in Forum of Augustus.
consular insignia and right to sit between consuls as though
a third colleague.
Conspiracy of Egnatius
Aqua Virgo and his baths.
The poet Vergil
dies, asking that his Aeneid, 99 % complete at his death, be burned:
it is not, at Augustus' orders.
18. Augustus’ provincial imperium
renewed for five years.
Agrippa made Augustus'
colleague in imperium and tribunician power for five years.
Probable date of:
Iulia de maritandis ordinibus (Augustan marriage ordinances);
Iulia de adulteriis coercendis (anti-adultery legislation);
17. Secular games
celebrating new age.
son of Agrippa and Julia born.
Gaius and Lucius
Caesar adopted by Augustus.
16. Augustus departs for another tour
of the provinces.
13. Agrippa made colleague in imperium
and tribunician power for another 5 years.
4 July: Ara
Pacis Augustae vowed.
12. Agrippa dies. Lepidus the triumvir
dies, and Augustus becomes pontifex maximus.
11. Tiberius marries Julia.
9. 30 January: Ara Pacis
6. Tiberius made colleague
in tribunician power and imperium for 5 years.
Tiberius goes into
voluntary exile in Rhodes because Gaius and Lucius are preferred by Augustus.
5. Augustus consul XII
to introduce Gaius Caesar to public life.
2. Augustus consul XIII
to introduce Lucius Caesar to public life.
Augustus named Pater
Patriae ("father of the fatherland", or "father of his country").
his Forum with the temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger).
in a far-reaching adultery scandal. Banished to the island
2. Tiberius returns from
Lucius Caesar dies.
4. Gaius Caesar dies.
Tiberius. Tiberius made colleague in tribunician power.
9. P. Quinctilius Varus
defeated in Germany with loss of
14. 19 August. Death of Augustus. Publication
of the Res Gestae.
An E2 quest could profitably be run to fill in the many gaps concerning Augustus.