Author(s): Jochen Bleicken
Born to a plebeian family in 63 BC, Octavian was a young solder 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 eliminate his opponents, end the bloody turmoil that had so long wracked Rome and, finally, take autocratic control of a state devoted to republicanism. He became Augustus - Rome's first Emperor, and the founder of the greatest empire the world had ever seen. In this monumental biography, translated into English for the first time by Anthea Bell, Jochen Bleicken tells the story of a man who found himself a demi-god in his own lifetime and paints a portrait of one of the most dramatic periods of Roman history.
Jochen Bleicken was born in 1926 on the island of Sylt in Germany. He studied History and Classical Philology at the universities of Kiel and Frankfurt from 1948 to 1954 before going on to work as a Professor of History at Hamburg and Frankfurt from 1962 and, from 1977, at Gottingen. In 1978, he was made a member of the Gottingen Academy of Sciences. He retired in 1991, but continued to give lectures for years thereafter, finally stopping in 1999. He died in 2005. Anthea Bell was born in 1936. She has translated numerous literary works, especially children's literature, from French, German and Danish into English. Her many translations include W.G. Sebald's award-winning novel Austerlitz, and, with Derek Hockridge, the Asterix series of comics. She lives and works in Cambridge.