(1) Men gave him this name in view of his claim to honor; and, scattered over islands and continents, through city and tribe, they revere him by building temples and by sacrificing to him, thus requiting him for his great virtue and acts of kindness toward themselves. For this man, having attained preeminent power and discretion, ruled over the greatest number of people within the memory of man, established the farthest boundaries for the Roman Empire, and settled securely not only the tribes of Greeks and barbarians, but also their dispositions; at first with arms but afterward even without arms, by attracting them of their own free will. By making himself known through kindness he persuaded them to obey him. The names of some of them he had never heard before, nor had they been subject within the memory of anyone, but he subdued them: all those that live as far as the Rhine and beyond the Ionian Sea and the Illyrian peoples. These are called Pannonians and Dacians (See the work: 'Concerning Brave Honest Deeds')
(2) To set forth the full power of this man's intelligence and virtue, both in the administration which he exercised at Rome and in the conduct of great wars both domestic and foreign, is a subject for competition in speech and essay, that men may win renown by treating it well. I myself shall relate his achievements, so that all can know the truth. First I shall speak of his birth and breeding, his parents his nurture and education from infancy, by means of which he came to such an estate.
His father was Gaius Octavius, a man of senatorial rank. His forbears, renowned for both wealth and justice, left their estates to him, an orphan, at their death. His guardians spent his money, but he remitting his just claims was satisfied with the remainder.
(3) Octavius, at the age of about nine [twelve?] years, was an object of no little admiration to the Romans, exhibiting as he did great excellence of nature, young though he was; for he gave an oration before a large crowd and received much applause from grown men. After his grandmother's death he was brought up by his mother Atia and her husband Lucius Philippus, who was a descendant of the conquerors Philip of Macedonia. At Philippus' house, as if at his father's, Octavius was reared and showed great promise, already seeming to be treated with respect by his comrades, the children of highest birth. Many of them associated with him, and even not a few of the youths who had hopes to undertake affairs of state. Daily many lads, men, and boys of his own age attended him whether he rode on horseback outside of the town or went to the house of his relations or any other person; for he exercised his mind with the finest practices and his body with both genteel and warlike pursuits; and more quickly than his teachers he himself applied his lesson to the facts in hand, so that for this reason also much praise redounded to him in the city. Both his mother and her husband Philippus took care of him, inquiring each day from the instructors and curators whom they had placed in charge of the boy what he had accomplished, how far he had advanced, or how he had spent the day and with whom he associated.
(4) At the time when the Civil War had laid hold on the city, his mother Atia and Philippus quietly sent Octavius off to one of his father's country places.
He entered the Forum, aged about fourteen, to put off the toga praetextata and assume the toga virilis, this being a token of his becoming registered as a man. Then while all the citizens looked upon him, because of his comeliness and very evidently noble descent, he sacrificed to the gods and was registered in the sacred college in place of Lucius Domitius, who had died. The people indeed had very eagerly elected him to this position. Accordingly, he performed the sacrifice, adorned with the toga virilis and at the same time the honors of a very high priestly office.
Nevertheless, though he was registered as of age according to law, his mother would not let him leave the house other than as he did before, when he was a child, and she made him keep to the same mode of life and sleep in the same apartment as before. FOr he was of age only by law, and in other respects was taken care of as a child. He did not change the fashion of his clothes, but continued to use the Roman garb.
(5) He went to the temples on the regular days, but after dark on account of his youthful charm, seeing that he attracted many women by his comeliness and high lineage; though often tempted by them he seems never to have been enticed. Not only did the watchful care of his mother, who guarded him and forbade his wandering, protect him, but he too was prudent now that he was advancing in age. During the Latin festival when the consuls had to ascend the Alban Mount to perform the customary sacrifices, the priests meanwhile succeeding to the jurisdiction of the consuls, Octavius sat on the Tribunal in the center of the forum. And there came many people on legal business and many on no business at all except for a sight of the boy; for he was well worth beholding, especially when he assumed the dignity and honorable aspect of office.
(6) Caesar had by this time completed the wars in Europe, had conquered Pompey in Macedonia, had taken Egypt, had returned from Syria and the Euxine Sea, and was intending to advance in to Libya in order to put down what was left of war over there; and Octavius wanted to take the field with him in order that he night gain experience in the practice of war. But when he found that his mother Atia was opposed he said nothing by way of argument but remained at home. It was plain that Caesar, out of solicitude for them, did not wish him to take the field yet, lest he might bring on illness to a weak body through changing his mode of life and thus permanently injure his health. For this cause he took no part in the expedition.
(7) After finishing that war also, Caesar returned to Rome, having granted pardon to a very few of the captives who fell to him because they had not learned wisdom in the earlier wars. Then the following incident occurred: there was a particular associate and friend of Octavius, Agrippa, who had been educated at the same place and who was a very special friend of his. His brother was with Cato and treated with much respect; he had participated in the Libyan War, but was at this time taken captive. Although Octavius had never yet asked anything of Caesar he wanted to beg the prisoner off, but he hesitated because of modesty and at the same time because he saw how Caesar was disposed toward those who had been captured in that war. However, he made bold to ask it, and had his request granted. Thereupon he was very glad at having rescued a brother for his friend and he was praised by others for employing his zeal and right of intercession first of all for a friend's safety.
(8) After this Caesar celebrated his triumphs for the Libyan War and the others which he had fought; and he ordered the young Caesar, whom he had now adopted, and who was in a way a son even by nature, on account of the closeness of their relationship, to follow his chariot, having bestowed upon him military decorations, as if he had been his aide (syskenon) the war. Likewise, at the sacrifices and when entering the temples he stationed him at his side and he ordered the others to yield precedence to him. Caesar already bore the rank of Imperator, which was the highest according to the Roman usage, and he was highly esteemed in the state. The boy, being his companion both at the theater and at the banquets, and seeing that he conversed kindly with him, as if with his own son, and having by this time become somewhat more courageous, when many of his friends and citizens asked him to intercede for them with Caesar, in matters in which they were in need of aid, looking out for the opportune moment he respectfully asked and was successful; and he became of great value to many of his kinsfolk, for he took care never to ask a favor at an inopportune time, nor when it was annoying to Caesar. And he displayed not a few sparks of kindness and natural intelligence.
(9) Caesar wished Octavius to have the experience of directing the exhibition of theatrical productions (for there were two theaters, the one Roman, over which he himself had charge, and the other Greek). This he turned over to the care of Octavius. The latter, wishing to exhibit interest and benevolence in the matter, even on the hottest and longest days, never left his post before the end of the play; with the result that he fell ill, for he was young and unaccustomed to toil. Being very ill, every one felt considerable apprehension regarding him, lest a constitution such as his might suffer some mishap, and Caesar most of all. Accordingly, every day he either called himself and encouraged him or else sent friends to do so, and he kept physicians in continuous attendance. On one occasion word was brought to him while he was dining that Octavius was in a state of collapse and dangerously ill. He sprang up and ran barefooted to the place where the patient was, and in great anxiety and with great emotion questioned the physicians, and he sat down by the bedside himself. When Octavius' full recovery was brought about, he showed much joy.