History of Caesar Augustus: What does he have to do with Christmas?

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Caesar Augustus

Augustus Early Life

Augustus succeeded Julius Caesar. Octavius, as he was previously known, was about 18 when Julius died. Julius was his maternal great-uncle who was assassinated in 44 B.C. His mother was the daughter of Julia, the sister of Julius. Octavius was a senator’s son, placing him in the upper class of patricians in Roman society.

Succession of Augustus

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Temple of the Vestal Virgins, Roman Forum

Roman Palestine

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College of Pontiffs

Decline of Marriage

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Roman husband “belted and bound” to wife

Marital Reforms

Augustus followed this with legislation designed to reverse the tide by making promiscuity a crime while conferring political advantages on a father of three children. Bachelors who shirked “the duty of marriage” were penalized in their right to inherit, and they could not even secure good seats at the games! Bachelors trying to circumvent such penalties by “marrying” infant girls were quickly countered by setting the minimum age for engagement at ten for girls, with a two-year upper limit for the length of engagement.

Imperial Motivation

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Temple of Augustus in Ankara, Turkey

Census Requirement of Augustus

Some scholars have doubted that imperial Rome would require her subjects to return to their original homes for such enrollments. But this requirement has been supported by the discovery of a Roman census edict from 104 A.D in neighboring Egypt.

Historical Significance

It is very unlikely, and certainly, he never learned the significance of what happened in Bethlehem because of his decision to take the census. And at the time of Augustus’ death in 14 A.D., Jesus was about 19 years old, an apprentice carpenter in Nazareth, and the Emperor still could not possibly have heard of him.

Silicon Valley Tech Exec: Cloud, Data Storage, Automation. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, andpop culture. Blog: http://billpetro.com

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