The first person of the family raised by the suffrages of the people to the magistracy, was Gaius Rufus.
After his praetorship, he obtained by lot the province of Macedonia; in his way to which he cut off some banditti, the relics of the armies of Spartacus and Catiline, who had possessed themselves of the territory of Thurium; having received from the senate an extraordinary commission for that purpose.
In his government of the province, he conducted himself with equal justice and resolution; for he defeated the Bessians and Thracians in a great battle, and treated the allies of the republic in such a manner, that there are extant letters from M.
Tullius Cicero, in which he advises and exhorts his brother Quintus, who then held the proconsulship of Asia with no great reputation, to imitate the example of his neighbour Octavius, in gaining the affections of the allies of Rome. After quitting Macedonia, before he could declare himself a candidate for the consulship, he died suddenly, leaving behind him a daughter, the elder Octavia, by Ancharia; and another daughter, Octavia the younger, as well as Augustus, by Atia, who was the daughter of Marcus Atius Balbus and of Julia, sister to Gaius Julius Caesar.
His grandfather contented himself with bearing the public offices of his own municipality, and tranquil enjoyment of an ample patrimony. Augustus himself, however, tells us nothing more than that he was descended of an equestrian family, both ancient and rich, of which his father was the first who obtained the rank of senator.
Mark Antony upbraidingly tells him that his great-grandfather was a freedman of the territory of Thurium, and a rope-maker, and his grandfather a usurer.
This is all the information I have anywhere met with, respecting the ancestors of Augustus, by the father's side. His father Gaius Octavius was, from his earliest years, a person both of opulence and distinction: for which reason I am surprised at those who say that he was a money-dealer, and was employed in scattering bribes, and canvassing for the candidates at elections, in the Campus Martius.For being bred up in all the affluence of a great estate, he attained with ease to honourable posts, and discharged the duties of them with much distinction.Home | Ancient History Sourcebook | Medieval Sourcebook | Modern History Sourcebook | Byzantine Studies Page Other History Sourcebooks: African | East Asian | Global | Indian | Islamic | Jewish | Lesbian and Gay | Science | Women's 1.That the family of the Octavii was of the first distinction in Velitrae, is rendered evident by many circumstances.For in the most frequented part of the town there was, not long since, a street named the Octavian; and an altar was to be seen, consecrated to one Octavius, who being chosen general in a war with some neighbouring people, the enemy making a sudden attack, while he was sacrificing to Mars, he immediately snatched the entrails of the victim from off the fire, and offered them half raw upon the altar; after which, marching out to battle, he returned victorious.This incident gave rise to a law, by which it was enacted, that in all future times the entrails should be offered to Mars in the same manner; and the rest of the victim be carried to the Octavii. This family, as well as several in Rome, was admitted into the senate by Tarquinius Priscus, and soon afterwards placed by Servius Tullius among the patricians; but in process of time it transferred itself to the plebeian order, and, after the lapse of a long interval, was restored by Julius Caesar to the rank of patricians.