Gaius Octavius (about 100 BC-59 BC) was the father of emperor Augustus. He descended from an old, wealthy equestrian branch of the Octavii family. Despite being from a wealthy family, his family was plebeian, rather than patrician. As a novus homo ("new man"), he was not of a senatorial family.
His great-great-grandfather Gaius Octavius fought as a military Tribune in Sicily during the Second Punic War. His father Gaius Octavius was a municipal magistrate who lived to an advanced age. Like his father, he bribed voters during elections (this was customary practice in politics during the late Roman Republic). His great-grandfather, also Gaius Octavius, was a son of Gnaeus Octavius Rufus, also the father of Gnaeus Octavius, in turn great-great-grandfather of Gnaeus Octavius.
From a young age, Octavius sought to build a political career. Since he was a plebeian, and not of a senatorial family, he sought to create some sort of advantage that would help him overcome these handicaps.
He married a woman of an unknown family. Very little is known of her, other than her name, Ancharia. However, the two did have a child (named Octavia Major). It is not known how the marriage ended, although it is possible that Ancharia died during child birth.
To help him build a name for himself, he married the niece of Julius Caesar, Atia Balba Caesonia. How they met is not known, although Atia's family (through her father, the Balbi) lived close to Velitrae, which was the home base of the Octavii. The two had two children, a girl named Octavia Minor, and a boy named Octavius (the future emperor Augustus).
At the time, it was Roman custom to lay a newborn before their father. If the baby was a boy, and the father wanted to keep the child, the father would pick the boy up and hold him. If the baby was a girl, and the father wanted to keep the child, he would signal for the mother to feed the baby. If he didn't want the child (either a boy or a girl), he would have the child thrown out into the streets. It is believed that, because of a warning from an astrologer, Octavius almost had his son Octavius thrown out into the street. Instead, he decided at the last moment to keep the child.
Octavius was elected quaestor, probably in 70 BC. After serving as quaestor, he may have been elected aedile, although it isn't known for certain if he was. In 61 BC, he was elected praetor, despite the fact that his opponents were aristocrats of senatorial families.
In 60 BC, after his praetorship had ended, he was appointed propraetor, and was to serve as governor of Macedonia. Before he left for Macedonia, the senate sent him to put down a slave rebellion at Thurii. These slaves had previously taken part in the rebellions of Spartacus and Catiline. His victory at Thurii may have resulted in his son’s receiving the agnomen Thurinus.
He then left for Macedonia. He proved a capable administrator in Macedonia, governing "courageously and justly", his deeds including victory in a battle against the Thracian Bessian tribe. Cicero had high regard for his diplomatic dealings. Because of his successful term as governor of Macedonia, he won the support necessary to be elected consul.
In 59 BC, Octavius sailed to Rome, to stand for election as consul. However, he died before arriving in Rome. He supposedly died in the same bedroom where Augustus would later pass away.