Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is obsessed with the Roman Emperor Augustus. This is expressed even in his hairstyle. Mark Zuckerberg wants to be like the Roman emperor.
Back in 2018, Zuckerberg told The New Yorker that he began studying Latin in high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. It was then that Ancient Rome became his Roman Empire—a topic that continues to interest him.
“I think Augustus is one of the most interesting figures in history,” Zuckerberg told The New Yorker. “Essentially, through a very tough approach, he established two hundred years of peace throughout the world.”
If you're not up to date on Roman history, Augustus made many conquests: Egypt, northern Spain, and much of central Europe. He killed people. He banished his supposedly slutty daughter. His heirs died mysteriously.
“On the one hand, world peace is a long-term goal that people talk about today. Two hundred years seems unattainable. On the other hand, it wasn't free, and he had to do certain things,” noted Zuckerberg, who named his second daughter Augusta.
He spent his honeymoon in Rome, and wife Priscilla Chan said three people were present: he, she, and Augustus. “In all the photographs there were different sculptures of Augustus,” the Facebook founder himself said.
It's obvious that Zuckerberg is emulating the Roman ruler. But how similar are they? The portal Mashsable assessed their similarity in five categories: zodiac sign, period of youth, rise to power, general atmosphere and popularity, as well as their lasting impact on the world. Each category is worth one point.
Augustus was born on September 23, 63 BC, which makes him a Libra. Mark is a Taurus, he was born on May 14, 1984. Their signs are not particularly compatible. The only thing they have in common is the common ruler Venus, which makes them lovers of art, luxury, and romance. Augustus was famously born in Rome, while Zuckerberg was born in the much less glamorous White Plains, New York, making them worlds apart both astrologically and geographically.
Both August and Zuckerberg learned their craft at an early age. Zuckerberg's father hired a private tutor to teach him how to code, and in high school he created "ZuckNet," a program that connected all the computers between his family's home and his father's dental office. He also created a music player called Synapse Media Player, similar to the earlier version of Spotify.
When Augustus was 15 years old, he performed a ceremony that made him a man in the eyes of the law, and was elected to the College of Pontiffs, a government body responsible for public and private sacrifices, among other duties. The following year he took charge of the Roman Games.
Rise to power
Both Zuckerberg and Caesar gained their power while studying. The former launched Facebook while attending Harvard, and the latter took his place as heir to the throne while studying and undergoing military training in Illyria. They both faced some resistance early on—Zuckerberg from the co-founders and August from Marc Antony. The difference here is that everyone knew August would be the responsible "big boss," while Zuckerberg was seen as a nerd who wanted to remake MySpace.
General atmosphere and popularity
People respected Augustus. When he died, he was declared a god. He did not have the swagger and charisma of his great uncle Julius Caesar, but his reforms made him much loved by the Roman people. He transformed Rome from a republic into an empire, brought peace to Rome, and introduced constitutional and financial reforms that brought him considerable popularity.
People don't like Mark Zuckerberg. Only 23 percent of Gen Z respondents found Zuckerberg trustworthy. And according to a Pew Research Center study, 77 percent of all Americans have “little or no trust in social media leaders.” People don't trust him, don't think he's charismatic, his hobbies annoy us, and his activities make us wonder if they're ruining all the good things we've come to love.
Impact on the world as we know it today
Both August and Zuckerberg have had a lasting impact on the world as we know it. Of course, this is easier to say about August than about Zuckerberg. Caesar ruled for over half a century, created institutions and a model that would last for 200 years, transformed Rome from a republic into an empire, restoring peace and prosperity to the Roman state and changing almost every aspect of Roman life.
Zuckerberg has also changed almost every aspect of modern life. While it is debatable whether this has made a difference, we cannot ignore the fact that we communicate, work, vote, participate, love, and live in a different world thanks to the social media ecosystem, created by Zuckerberg.
After all, they are somewhat similar. They are both leaders who started early and wield terrifying power. And both seem to have come to terms with the trade-offs associated with these decisions. According to the portal's calculations, Mark Zuckerberg is 60 percent Emperor Augustus. But there is still room for improvement.
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