Before he died, Julius Caesar adopted his great-nephew Octavian, in his will. Octavian would become the first Roman emperor. We know of him as "Augustus".
Early in its history, Rome had deposed its kings and instituted the Republican form of government with two annually elected officials known as consuls. Starting with Augustus, a single leader again rose to the top. This time, the head of Rome was called emperor or princeps, rather than king.
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Learn more about Augustus Caesar.