Divi filius

Divi filius is a Latin phrase meaning "divine son" ("son of a god"), and was a title much used by the Emperor Augustus, the grand-nephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar.


On 1 January 42 BC, nearly two years after the assassination of Julius Caesar on 15 March 44 BC, but before the final victory of the Second Triumvirate over the conspirators who had taken his life, the Roman Senate recognised Caesar as a divinity. He was therefore referred to as Divus Iulius ("the divine Julius"), and his adopted son Octavian styled himself Divi filius[1][2] ("son of the deified one, son of the god"). The fuller form, divi Iuli filius ("son of the divine Julians"), was also used.[3]

Octavian used the title divi filius to advance his political position, finally overcoming all rivals for power within the Roman state.[4] The title was for him "a useful propaganda tool", and was displayed on the coins that he issued.[5]

Other emperorsEdit

Since Augustus himself (the title "Augustus" was officially conferred on Octavian by the Senate in 27 BC) and some other Roman Emperors were deified after death, the title Divi Filius was also applied to some of Augustus' successors, notably Tiberius, Nero, and Domitian.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Syme, Ronald (2002) [1939]. The Roman Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 202. ISBN 0-19-280320-4.
  2. ^ "'Augustus' Gaius Julius Octavius". Archived from the original on 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
  3. ^ Inscription on Porta Tiburtina in Rome
  4. ^ "Ostentatiously rejecting divinity on his own account, he rose to power via Caesar's divine image instead" (Augustus, by Pat Southern, p. 63).
  5. ^ Coins of the Emperor Augustus Archived May 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine; examples are a coin of 38 B.C. inscribed "Divi Iuli filius", and another of 31 B.C. bearing the inscription "Divi filius" (Auguste vu par lui-même et par les autres by Juliette Reid Archived March 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine).
  6. ^ Kim, Tae Hun. "The Anarthrous υἱὸς θεοῦ in Mark 15,39 and the Roman Imperial Cult»". Biblical Studies on the Web. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008.