Augustus Caesar

Augustus Caesar - Octavian

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Augustus Caesar
LUKE CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

Luke 2:1 Augustus Caesar

LUKE 2:1  1 Now it came to pass in those days that an official order went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

Who is “Caesar Augustus” (Luke 2:1)?
Caesar Augustus was the first Roman Emperor. Rome was still a republic when its dictator Julius Caesar, whose will named his great-nephew Octavian as his heir, was assassinated in 44 BC. Octavian won the ensuing long power struggle and in 27 BC turned the republic into an empire, became its first emperor, and was renamed “Augustus,” which means “Revered One,” by the Roman Senate. Augustus Caesar expanded and ruled the Roman Empire, which doubled in size during his 40 year reign, until his death in 14 AD at 76 years of age. The month of August is named after Augustus.

Why did Caesar Augustus order people to be “registered” (Luke 2:1)?
Collecting taxes across the expanding Roman world had been a problem. To create a more consistent and efficient way of taxation, Caesar Augustus decided to tax each province based on their population, which would be determined through “census” (Luke 2:2). According to Res Gestae ... Augusti (The Deeds of ... Augustus), which Augustus Caesar wrote, he ordered three empire-wide censuses during his reign, in 28 BC (just before he turned the Roman Republic officially into the Roman Empire), in 8 BC, and in 14 AD. There were also many provincial censuses, as well as censuses for the purpose of having (newly-conquered) people declare their allegiance to Caesar Augustus. The census mentioned above was the empire-wide one he ordered in 8 BC.

The census of 8 BC covered just the Roman Empire, so why does Luke 2:1 say that Caesar Augustus ordered “all the world” to be registered?
To Romans, the Roman Empire was the world that mattered. Today, what do Americans call USA’s professional baseball championship game series?

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