Caesar’s death cast Rome into a state of turmoil, but his keen Patrician mind had already considered the legacy he would leave. In his will, he named his great-nephew Gaius Octavian as his adopted son, and thus sole heir to Caesar’s assets.
In Octavian he had divined the soul of a shrewd statesman, and had he lived to see the aftermath of his own death, Caesar would not have been disappointed with his choice of successor. Octavian moved quickly to secure political stability by forming the Second Triumvirate with Marc Antony and Lepidus. The three-way dictatorship’s first act was to pursue Caesar’s principle assassins, Brutus and Cassius, and it was the combined forces of Marc Antony and Octavian who crushed the tyrannicides’ army at Philippi.
With the lands of Rome divided uneasily between them, it wasn’t long before the Triumvirate came to blows. Octavian dealt with both in turn, proving himself a master tactician in both statecraft and war. After Lepidus was driven into exile and Marc Antony took his own life in the court of Cleopatra after his disastrous defeat at Actium, Octavian was free to take control of the senate. From here, he built the framework that would transform Rome from a Republic into an Empire, and he its first Emperor.