Sculpture depicts emperor Octavian Augustus dressed as Pontifex Maximus (the highest priest). He is wearing a toga and his head is covered. His feet are shod in calcei patricii (shoes worn by the upper class of Roman society). By the leg there is a container (capsa) for official documents. The right arm of the princeps indicates that he is in the process of making an offering, holding a sacrificial chalice (patera), ready for a libation.
The office of the high priest remained an imperial prerogative until the 4th century CE, it was part of the socio-political program implemented by Octavian, which also introduced the cult of Genius Augusti.
The statue was probably built at the end of the 1st century BCE.