Augustus, the first Roman Emperor (who ruled from 27 BCE to 14 CE), wanted to restore ancient Roman religion to improve the moral behavior of the Romans. To this end, he gave himself the title pontifex maximus, or religious head of the empire, and brought back the priesthood. He also restored religious holidays such as Lustrum and started the Imperial Cult to worship the emperor as a god. This cult gained immense popularity. In addition, he restored public monuments, such as the Temple of the Gods, and built monuments that featured traditional Roman scenes, such as the Roman family, and that featured Roman gods such as Apollo and Mars.
To restore what he considered proper moral behavior and to curtail the practice of having children out of marriage and through adulterous liaisons, he gave financial and political rewards to people who had three children, particularly sons. Men over 38 who were not married were heavily taxed, and they were not allowed to attend public games. Finally, laws required Romans to marry (a law called the ex Julia de maritandis ordinibus) and outlawed celibacy and marriage without having children. Adultery became a crime punishable by the state in the lex Julia de adultenis.
Politically, Augustus placated the Roman senators by revoking the emergency powers that the Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony had exercised and returned these powers to the Senate and the people. However, he agreed to retain his emergency powers over rebellious provinces. After he returned power to the Senate, he took the title Augustus in 27 BCE. By taking the title Augustus, he became the first in a line of Roman emperors.
To reform the military, Augustus created the Praetorian Guard, an elite unit meant to protect the emperor. He also used the wealth collected from Egypt to pay off the troops and reduced the number of legions while sending military veterans to the provinces. He gave the veterans lands in these provinces and ensured that the provinces remained peaceful.
He also instituted economic reforms, including creating a treasury department and standard denominations in the currency. Bronze currency, the issuing of which had been disturbed in the civil wars, was begun again, and he personally oversaw the coinage of gold and silver. Gold became part of the monetary system for the first time in Rome's history.