Augustus, 1st Roman Emperor - Parents of Augustus

Started by Andreas Keller on Saturday, February 11, 2017
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2/11/2017 at 2:28 PM

I think it is wrong to put Gaius Julius Caesar as Augustus' father. Cesar was Octavian's maternal great-uncle, not his father, see I would like to see here Octavian's real parents.

2/11/2017 at 2:53 PM


Private User
2/11/2017 at 3:36 PM

In fact he was adopted by Gaius Julius Caesar, that's why Octavius has as surname Caesar. So he was the grand nephew and the adopted son.

2/12/2017 at 2:48 PM

I would like to know if there is a Geni protocol for profile entries of "natural" birth parents and "adoptive" parents? There are times when, for good reason, the birth parents are not documented. I am not talking about historic profiles here.

Many thanks and looking forward to replies.

2/12/2017 at 3:06 PM

Geni allows for both biological and adoptive parents to be added however someone chopped of Caesars biological parents

2/12/2017 at 11:40 PM

Don't know if it will matter to anyone but Augustus was "adopted" by Julius Caesar in Caesar's will. That is, the adoption took place after Caesar's death not during Caesar's lifetime.

2/13/2017 at 5:13 AM

Shouldn't we add somewhere on Augustus's profile that he was the adopted son of Augustus?

Private User
2/13/2017 at 12:02 PM

It is needed somebody with rights to modify the profiles, but essentially, what it is needed is to declare Augustus as son of Caesar and later on in relationships, modify that relationship instead of biological as adopted.

2/13/2017 at 12:15 PM

We could do that very easily, but I'm not sure it would be a good idea.

His adoption was legally sufficient in Roman law to make him the son of Caesar, but is that what we mean now by adoption? I don't have an opinion but it's easy to see that not everyone would agree.

There is also another problem. Under the Roman law of adoption, it is only the father -- never the mother -- who is the adoptive parent.

The decision we make here would set the way we handle all of the Roman adoptions in antiquity, so it's worth taking time to discuss it and get it right.

Private User
2/13/2017 at 3:50 PM

Currently geni is allowing to record the biological, adoption and host parent-child relationship. It is true that adoption in Roman times was not the same concept as nowadays but it is still an stronger relationship than host parent and Geni is currently tracking it. So it is not consistent to keep tracking in Geni host parents relationship towards their child but avoid tracking the Roman adoption.

Morevoer, the relationship was so strong than Octavius changed his name family name from Gaius Octavius to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. If our objective is to describe accurately the life of an historical character this adoption changed dramatically his life (and history). Legally, Octavius was the heir of Caesar thanks to this adoption.

So, based in both arguments: Geni tracks "lighter" relationships and the historical relevance my proposal is to track adoption in Rome.

2/13/2017 at 4:46 PM

A small correction -- there is no evidence Augustus himself ever used the name Octavianus,

Under Roman custom his new name after the adoption would have been Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Father's name plus his previous nomen in cognomen form. There was no choice about that.

It is not evidence "the relationship was so strong". Instead, by calling himself Caesar rather than Octavianus he was downplaying his humble origin.

2/13/2017 at 5:24 PM

For the sake of consistency, we should also look at other cases.

For example French Field Marshall Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was adopted by King Carl XIII of Sweden, then became Carl XIV of Sweden. Like Augustus, the adoption was a legal fiction to ensure succession. Should he also be shown on Geni as an adoptive son?

Alexander the Great was already king of Macedonia when he was adopted by a woman, Ada of Caria. Should he also be shown on Geni as an adoptive son?

Another famous case: Hans Georg Robert Lichtenberg became Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt after he paid a German princess to adopt him as an adult. He later married Zsa Zsa Gabor. Does that mean he also purchased a line of Geni ancestors going back to the Middle Ages?

Many U.S. states allow adult adoptions, including mine. Normally the adoption is for inheritance purposes only and the person does not change their name. Are those also adoptions for Geni purposes?

I think you can see this question could be more complicated than it seems at first.

2/14/2017 at 1:56 AM

Maybe I'm being over simplistic, but an adoption is an adoption, so why "wouldn't" we show it?

2/14/2017 at 9:11 AM

PRO: All fictive relationships are genealogically significant. Adoption is adoption. It doesn't matter what purpose it served.

CON: The idea of using adoption to create a family is a modern idea that originated in the United States under specific social and economic pressures. Older forms of adoption served other, different purposes.

If you aren't already familiar with the history of adoption, a good start is Wikipedia:

Private User
2/14/2017 at 11:06 PM

The fact that adoption is a recent modern term is actually supporting the PRO of dealing with old adoption. In the period covered by Geni adoption was more commonly understood as Roman concept.

When I was referring to "relationship so strong" I was comparing to the "host parents" relationship which is currently tracked in Geni and is a lighter relationship (depending on the local laws, the children are not changing the surnames) than Roman adoption. My arguement was never implying that the relationship between Julius and Augustus was close.

Moreover, Geni is currently tracking as well some relationship not targeting to create a family ("host parents" and "partners").

Private User
2/14/2017 at 11:06 PM

I do agree that this discussion shall be extended as a Geni wise discussion as affecting more cases (all of them presented here I see similar to this one)

2/15/2017 at 7:58 AM

>> In the period covered by Geni adoption was more commonly understood as Roman concept.

I don't know if that makes sense.

We have a few dozen documented cases in the ancient world where aristocrats adopted other adult men and adolescent boys who had survived the rigors of childhood.

In the ancient world most unwanted, abandoned, and orphaned children were made into slaves. Then in the medieval world they were placed in fosterage or put into monasteries and convents.

There were no legal provisions for adoption in medieval and pre-modern Europe or colonial America. The Anglo-American Common Law did not allow adoption because it was "against the natural order".

So, this argument would be that Geni added adoption support because so many users desperately wanted to show a few dozen ancient Roman relationships, not because thousands of users have modern adoptions in their extended family.

2/17/2017 at 1:34 AM

"Under the Roman law of adoption, it is only the father -- never the mother -- who is the adoptive parent."
Important - but probably possible to show by labelling the female profile: "No Adoptive Mother" or something like that.

"The decision we make here would set the way we handle all of the Roman adoptions in antiquity, so it's worth taking time to discuss it and get it right."
True - And so far it seems to me to be logically applicabl, and probably useful to apply the geni adoption option to the Roman scenarios.

2/17/2017 at 2:58 AM

I've been able to do single parent adoptions on Geni. I'm not sure I can describe how to do it well but it's not hard when you get the hang of it. So I think the "single parent" can be reinforced with an overview and / or curator note, and a placeholder profile unnecessary.

2/17/2017 at 3:31 AM

Oh that's interesting to know - I just presumed it wasn't possible.

2/17/2017 at 2:29 PM

Okay, I'm going to go with it. We've had several days and no objections whatsoever. I think it's safe to assume everyone on Geni is on board ;)

2/18/2017 at 7:45 AM


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