On 13th January, 27 B.C. Octavian completed his first attempt to find a constitutional basis for his extraordinary position, and on 16th January he received from the senate the cognomen Augustus, which henceforward remained the personal appellation of the reigning Roman emperors, and, substantially, of them alone. It has been generally recognised that the name was well chosen, but no writer, so far as I know, has offered any positive reason why it in particular should have been chosen. Yet some reason is surely needed. Before 27 B.C. the name, though not altogether unknown, does not seem to have served as a Roman proper name. It had not been borne as a cognomen by any republican statesman, or indeed by any historical character or legendary hero. It was an adjective adapted by Octavian. We can, indeed, see how much it had to recommend it to the genius in adaptation. It possessed no political associations of any sort; it had belonged to nobody before Octavian and recalled no one's peculiar policy or aims. It had been merely an adjective used occasionally, yet not very often, in earlier literature (since Ennius), and, so far as it implied anything at all, implied simply a semi-religious sanctity—‘sancta vocant augusta patres,’ as Ovid says. Thus it fitted singularly well with the half-divinity of the DIVI FILIVS. Just as Augustus, early in his career (40 B.C.), had dropped the name Julius and had adapted an appellation (Imp. Caesar, etc.) which marked him off from the ordinary citizens, thereby indicating by the subtle change his great aims and his ambitions, so by the name Augustus he again set himself apart. Still, the name did not lie ready-made to his hand; we need some reason, beyond its fitness, to explain why his peculiar choice tell on it; such a reason can, I think, be learnt from coins.