After winning victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Octavian became undisputed master of Rome and its territories.
He changed his name to Augustus and became Rome’s first emperor.Great uncle on his mother’s side was Julius Caesar.
Now that the vast Roman Empire was ruled by a single, strong ruler, the image of the emperor became very important. His image appeared on coins, sculptures, gems, and cameos.
The ‘Pax Romana’ achieved under Augustus led to Constantine linking his reign with the coming of Jesus, Prince of Peace.
Herod the Great backed the wrong horse of Anthony, but was granted Palestine due to his allegiance to the Roman Empire and way of life. Herod then fought to claim his territory and embarked on major building projects, including Masada, Herodium and Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Augustus was frequently outmanoeuvred by his scheming wife Livia.
Augustus boast was that he found a Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble having undertaken many building projects in Rome and abroad.
It was important to impress on the people that Rome was now a strong Empire under a single strong ruler. The image of the Emperor was now important using mass images on coins and sculptures