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Reconstruction of Roman Emperor Augustus. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Royalty Now Studios.

Reconstruction of Roman Emperor Augustus Reveals Him as a Handsome Young Man

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Born Gaius Octavius and ascending to become the inaugural Roman Emperor, Augustus left an indelible mark on history. Roman sculpture of his era, marked by its devotion to realism, conveyed not only his likeness but also the attributes of austerity, dignity, and power. This represented a departure from the idealism of Greek art. Numerous sculptures of Augustus, some surviving as copies, offer insights into his facial features. While artistic idealization may have softened his appearance, it's essential to remain faithful to these representations. Adjusting for common anatomical exaggerations, particularly in the eyes, is necessary.

The coloring of Augustus remains a matter of interpretation. Suetonius, the historian who documented him, described bluish-gray eyes, light brown or reddish hair, and an overall pleasing visage. The nuances of Latin descriptions, like "subflavoum," challenge our modern translations. Here, we offer one interpretation, presenting Augustus with light brown hair, staying true to the possibility of a lighter shade. His diverse appearances throughout history are captivating, allowing us to explore different facets of this enigmatic emperor. This exploration of Caesar Augustus's appearance offers a glimpse into the world of historical reconstruction, where art and history intersect.

Top image: Reconstruction of Roman Emperor Augustus. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Royalty Now Studios.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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