Caesar Augustus was the first emperor of Rome; he ruled from 31 BC-14 AD. When Augustus gained power following Julius Caesar's death, Rome was in dire straits. His first major action was to consolidate power. He defeated Marc Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, protecting his rule from external threats.
However, Augustus still had to prove to the Romans that he was a rule they could trust. He engaged in a "charm offensive," flattering the people to gain their support. One strategy he used was to pretend to give up power; however, once a few crises threatened Rome, the people became scared and pressured the Senate to vote him absolute ruler. Augustus seized this opportunity to establish himself as the head of Rome's first imperial dynasty.
Despite his ambition (or perhaps because of it), Augustus had many positive accomplishments. He expanded Roman territory as far as Germany and northern Spain, and he sought to restore Roman morals (so much so that he banished his daughter for her public immorality). Following his death, he was even declared a god.