Two years after the death of Julius Caesar, the Roman Senate officially deified Caesar, appointing him the title, Divi Iulius. Augustus, adopted son of Caesar and first emperor (more accurately, princeps) of Rome, then became Divi filius (son of a god, son of a divinity). Augustus used this label for himself as a propaganda device on coinage for much of his 41-year career as emperor.
Augustus was born in 63 BC. Suetonius in his Lives of the Caesars, writes that some believed his birth to have been predicted by a portent and that the senate, responding to the portent that a king of Rome would be born (Rome didn’t want to have a king), had just decreed that all male babies born that year should be killed.
According to Julius Marathus, a few months before Augustus was born a portent was generally observed at Rome, which gave warning that nature was pregnant with a king for the Roman people; thereupon the senate in consternation decreed that no male child born that year should be reared; but those whose wives were with child saw to it that the decree was not filed in the treasury since each one appropriated the prediction to his own family.
As the story went, Augustus’s birth, during this ban on male child rearing, was a virgin birth.
When Atia had come in the middle of the night to the solemn service of Apollo, she had her litter set down in the temple and fell asleep, while the rest of the matrons also slept. On a sudden a serpent glided up to her and shortly went away. When she awoke, she purified herself, as if after the embraces of her husband, and at once there appeared on her body a mark in colours like a serpent, and she could never get rid of it; so that presently she ceased ever to go to the public baths. In the tenth month after that Augustus was born and was therefore regarded as the son of Apollo.
After becoming emperor, Augustus settled many decades of civil war and unrest in Rome. Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace), in his Odes (Bk IV, Ch. XV) To Augustus heaped praise on Augustus, crediting Augustus for bringing peace as if he were the son of a god.
You have put reins on sin and keep the people within the boundaries of right. You have wiped away our sins and revived the ancient virtues which made Rome great, and the fame and majesty of our empire is spread from the sun’s bed in the west to the east… And we, both on profane days and sacred days, amid the gifts of merry Bacchus, together with our wives and children, will first pray to the gods; and then we will sing songs, with accompaniment of Lydian flutes, to great leaders whose duty is done.
If the above translation sounds a bit too theocratic, substitute more “civil” terms, e.g., You have put reins on war and keep the people within the boundaries of right. You have driven out crime…”
Tacitus and Suetonius tell us that Augustus was ruthless, cruel and arrogant as a young man, but after establishing his power, as kind, wise and benevolent. What else would you expect from the son of a god.