The Augustan Age is characterized by vast territorial discovery, conquest and prosperity, much of it achieved during Augustus' lifetime. Sure, he found Rome brick and left it marble. He also found the embryonic world of Rome in bloody conflict and left it with vastly extended secure boundaries to enjoy the Pax Romana.

Augustus' public life started, age nineteen, with Julius Caesar's assassination, followed by twelve years of power struggles between the elite of Rome. Augustus then became the statesman who transformed Rome into the superpower of the ancient world. Kirk's fascinating new book, "Death of Augustus. His Conversion to Christ" tells how this was done and the subsequent ramifications.

Augustus is the outstanding figure in Ancient Roman military history, politics and the arts. He rose to power with a circle of friends that included, amongst the military and political elite of the day, poets, philosophers and historians. He used fair means and foul to become the first emperor of Rome. There are fulsome accounts available of his rise to power. Curiously though, only his early years of power are well-documented. There is nothing substantial available about the last 30 years of his life and almost nothing at all for the final decade.

Kirk sheds new light on the life and death of a curiously human, political superman. He has had to make careful study of the coinage, literary and epigraphic evidence to produce this portrait. The State records, contemporary chronicles and later histories of the years of Augustus in power were destroyed by Christian zealots at the end of the fourth century. "Death of Augustus. His Conversion to Christ" explores the reasons why.

"There's lots of information about Augustus' youth and how he gained power, some about his early years in power and then an abrupt halt. A great chunk of the record is missing. There was clearly some reason in the history of Christianity to tamper with the year of Augustus' death, which has been moved from 8 to 14 CE. Daniel had prophesied the year of Christ's birth. The year of Augustus' death was relevant. Sacred Chronologists had to prove, by the year of his birth, that Jesus was the Messiah. Why they had to destroy most of the record of Augustus' years of power too, is less obvious. Christ in majesty! Christ the Judge! Christ the Prince of Peace! are all far removed from the persona of Jesus. They had to have come from somewhere," Kirk observes.