by Wayne Blank
"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David [see also The Chosen People and Ruth], to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (Luke 2:1-7 RSV)
Octavian's Rise To Power
Octavian, the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar, was born on September 23, 63 B.C. in Rome. After Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C., the 19 year old Octavian learned from his great uncle's will that he had both been adopted and made heir.
Octavian then took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, and a year later began to rule as part of the Second Triumvirate, along with the two Roman generals Marc Antony and Marcus Lepidus.
Marc Antony married Octavia, Octavian's sister in 40 B.C, but the marriage ended when he left her for Cleopatra of Egypt (see The Ptolemies). Territorial disputes resulted in war between the two former brothers-in-law, which ended when the naval forces of Antony and Cleopatra were defeated at Actium on September 2, 31 B.C. The start of the Roman empire is sometimes reckoned from that date, with Octavian, as Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor (see New Testament Roman Emperors).
Caesar Augustus died of an illness at Nola in Campania in 14 A.D. at age 76. His ashes were placed in the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome.
Fact Finder: Two Roman emperors reigned during the lifetime of Jesus Christ. Caesar Augustus was the emperor at the time of The Lord's birth. Who was the emperor at the time of the His crucifixion?