Octavian was a young soldier training abroad when he heard news of Julius Caesar’s brutal assassination—and discovered that he was the dictator’s sole political heir. With the opportunism and instinct for propaganda that were to characterize his rule, Octavian rallied huge financial, military and political backing to take autocratic control of a state devoted to Republicanism. He became Augustus, Rome’s first Emperor and founder of the greatest empire the world had ever seen. In this monumental biography, translated into English by Anthea Bell, Jochen Bleicken tells the story of the man who found himself a demi-god in his own lifetime. This sweeping history starts with the traumatic assassination of Julius Caesar, and goes on to depict the civil wars that tore the Roman world and the final fall of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, before exploring the ambivalent glory of Augustus’s reign.