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Augustus, Chapter 2: The Octavii family. Cont.
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|This family, as well as several in Rome, was admitted into the senate by Tarquinius Priscus, and soon afterwards placed by Servius Tullius among the patricians; but in process of time it transferred itself to the plebeian order, and, after the lapse of a long interval, was restored by Julius Caesar to the rank of patricians. The first person of the family raised by the suffrages of the people to the magistracy, was Gaius Rufus. He obtained the quaestorship, and had two sons Gnaeus and Gaius; from whom are descended the two branches of the Octavian family, which have had very different fortunes. For Gnaeus, and his descendants in uninterrupted succession, held all the highest offices of the state; whilst Gaius and his posterity, whether from their circumstances or their choice, remained in the equestrian order until the father of Augustus. The great-grandfather of Augustus served as a military tribune in the Second Punic War in Sicily, under the command of Aemilius Papus. His grandfather contented himself with bearing the public offices of his own municipality, and tranquil enjoyment of an ample patrimony. Such is the account given by different authors. Augustus himself, however, tells us nothing more than that he was descended of an equestrian family, both ancient and rich, of which his father was the first who obtained the rank of senator. Mark Antony upbraidingly tells him that his great-grandfather was a freedman of the territory of Thurium, and a rope-maker, and his grandfather a usurer. This is all the information I have anywhere met with, respecting the ancestors of Augustus, by the father's side.||Ea gens a Tarquinio Prisco rege inter minores gentis adlecta in senatum, mox a Servio Tullio in patricias traducta, procedente tempore ad plebem se contulit, ac rursus magno intervallo per Divum Iulium in patriciatum redit. Primus ex hac magistratum populi suffragio cepti C. Rufus. Is quaestorius CN. et C. procreavit, a quibus duplex Octaviorum familia defluxit conditione diversa. Siquidem Gnaeus et deinceps ab eo reliqui omnes functi sunt honoribus summis. At Gaius eiusque posteri, seu fortuna seu voluntate, in equestri ordine constiterunt usque ad Augusti patrem. Proavus Augusti secundo Punico bello stipendia in Sicilia tribunus militum fecit Aemilio Papo imperatore. Avus municipalibus magisteriis contentus abundante patrimonio tranquillissime senuit. Sed haec alii; ipse Augustus nihil amplius quam equestri familia ortum se scribit vetere ac locuplete, et in qua primus senator pater suus fuerit. M. Antonius libertinum ei proavum exprobrat, restionem e pago Thurino, avum argentarium. Nec quicquam ultra de paternis Augusti maioribus repperi.|