Octavia (gens)

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The gens Octavia was a plebeian family at Rome, which was raised to patrician status by Caesar during the 1st century BC The first member of the gens to achieve prominence was Gnaeus Octavius Rufus, quaestor circa 230 BC. Over the following two centuries, the Octavii held many of the highest offices of the state; but the most celebrated of the family was Gaius Octavius, the grand nephew of Caesar and adopted son, who was proclaimed Augustus by the senate in 27 BC.Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, William Smith, Editor.

Origin of the gens

The Octavii originally came from the Volscian town of Velitrae, in the Alban Hills. The historian Suetonius writes,

<blockquote>There are many indications that the Octavian family was in days of old a distinguished one at Velitrae; for not only was a street in the most frequented part of town long ago called Octavian, but an altar was shown there besides, consecrated by an Octavius. This man was leader in a war with a neighbouring town, and when news of a sudden onset of the enemy was brought to him just as he chanced to be sacrificing to Mars, he snatched the entrails of the victim from the fire and offered them up half raw; and thus he went forth to battle, and returned victorious. There was, besides, a decree of the people on record, providing that for the future too the entrails should be offered to Mars in the same way, and the rest of the victims be......
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