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When he had recovered, he sailed to the front, but was shipwrecked; after coming ashore with a handful of companions, he crossed hostile territory to Caesar's camp, which impressed his great-uncle considerably. On 15 March 44 BC, Octavius's adoptive father Julius Caesar was assassinated by a conspiracy led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. Octavius was studying and undergoing military training in Apollonia, Illyria, when Julius Caesar was killed on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC.He rejected the advice of some army officers to take refuge with the troops in Macedonia and sailed to Italy to ascertain whether he had any potential political fortunes or security.He was born Gaius Octavius into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian gens Octavia.His maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, and Octavius was named in Caesar's will as his adopted son and heir, then known as Octavianus (Anglicized as Octavian).

Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy.

He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, and rebuilt much of the city during his reign. He probably died from natural causes, although there were unconfirmed rumors that his wife Livia poisoned him.

He was succeeded as Emperor by his adopted son (also stepson and former son-in-law) Tiberius.

The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace).

The Roman world was largely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession.