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pg 43THE DEIFIED AUGUSTUS

[1]    That the Octavii were in ancient times the leading family in Velitrae* is affirmed by many indications. An area in the busiest part of town long ago had the name 'Octavian' and an altar was to be seen dedicated by an Octavius. This man, when serving as leader in a war with a neighbouring people, happened to be in the middle of making an offering to Mars when he heard the news that the enemy had suddenly attacked. Snatching the victim's entrails from the fire, he presented them half raw before commencing the battle from which he returned victorious. There was also a decree of the people on record, prescribing that in future, too, the entrails should be offered to Mars in the same way and that the remaining parts of the sacrificial victims should be given to the Octavii.

[2]    The family had been enrolled in the senate among the minor families* by King Tarquinius Priscus. Then, soon afterwards, they were included among the patricians by King Servius Tullius. In the course of time they transferred themselves to the plebeians, then, after a long interval, they returned, through the agency of the Deified Julius, to the patriciate.* The first of the family to be elected to a magistracy by the vote of the people was Gaius Rufus. As an ex-quaestor, he fathered two sons, Gnaeus and Gaius, who in turn produced the two branches of the Octavian family. These two branches were very different in their fortunes: Gnaeus and his descendants all held the highest magistracies, while Gaius and his progeny, whether by chance or through their own wishes, remained in the equestrian order down to the time of Augustus' father.

    An ancestor of Augustus served as a military tribune in Sicily under the command of Aemilius Papus during the Second Punic War.* Augustus' grandfather, a man of considerable wealth, lived in great tranquillity to a ripe old age, having satisfied his ambitions with service as a municipal magistrate. That story is, however, told by others; Augustus himself writes no more than that he was born into an old-established and prosperous equestrian family, his father being the first in the family to attain senatorial rank. Mark Antony taunts Augustus with having as his great-grandfather an ex-slave who had earned his living as a rope-maker in the neighbourhood of Thurii, pg 44while his grandfather was a financial agent. I have not been able to find out anything more about Augustus' ancestors on his father's side.

[3]    His father, Gaius Octavius, was from his earliest years a man of great wealth and reputation, so I at least am surprised that some claim that he too was a financial agent and even that he was employed to distribute bribes and perform other services relating to elections in the Campus Martius.* For he grew up sustained by an ample fortune and had no trouble in securing offices which he fulfilled with distinction. After his praetorship he acquired by lot the province of Macedonia. On his way to the province he carried out an extraordinary commission from the senate, wiping out the gang of runaway slaves (remnants of the armies of Spartacus and Catiline) who were occupying the countryside around Thurii.* In governing his province he displayed justice and bravery in equal measures. Not only did he defeat the Bessi* and the Thracians in a great battle but his treatment of our allies was such that Cicero, in letters which are in existence, urged and advised his brother Quintus (at that time serving as proconsul of Asia with too little success) that he should imitate his neighbour Octavius in securing the favour of our allies.* [4]Returning from Macedonia, he met a sudden death before he could declare himself a candidate for the consulship. Three children survived him: the elder Octavia, whose mother was Ancharia, and the two he had by Atia, the younger Octavia and Augustus.

    Atia was the daughter of Marcus Atius Balbus and Julia, who was the sister of Julius Caesar. Balbus' father's family came from Aricia and displayed many senatorial portraits,* while on his mother's side he was very closely related to Pompey the Great. He himself served as praetor before going on to take part in the twenty-man commission responsible for dividing the Campanian territory among the Roman people, as prescribed by the Julian law.* Here again Mark Antony has disparaged Augustus' ancestry, casting aspersions on his mother's family also. He alleges that Augustus' maternal great-grandfather came of African stock and earned his living first by keeping an oil-shop and later a bakery in Aricia. Cassius of Parma, for his part, taunts Augustus in a letter with being the grandson not only of a baker but also of a money-changer, alleging: 'Your mother's dough came from the crudest bakery in Aricia; a money-changer from Nerulum shaped the loaf with his filthy hands.'

pg 45[5]    Augustus was born a little before sunrise eight days before the Kalends of October* in the consulship of Marcus Tullius Cicero and Gaius Antonius, at the Ox Heads in the Palatine district, on the spot where he now has a shrine, established shortly after he died. For, according to senate records, one Gaius Laetorius, a young man of patrician family, in an attempt to mitigate a penalty for adultery, which he claimed was too severe for one of his age and family, also drew to the attention of the senators the fact that he was the possessor and, as it were, guardian of the spot which the Deified Augustus first touched at his birth, and sought pardon for the sake of what he termed his own particular god. It was then decreed that this part of the house should be consecrated. [6]To this day his nursery is displayed in what was his grandfather's country home near Velitrae. The room is very modest, like a pantry. People in those parts believe he was actually born here. No one goes into this room unless it is essential and even then they undergo ritual purification first, for there is a long-established belief that those who enter incautiously are seized with trembling and fear. Indeed, this was later confirmed. The new owner of the villa, either by chance or because he wanted to test the story, went to sleep in that room and it happened that before the night was far advanced he was suddenly thrust out by an unknown force and they found him lying with his bed-clothes outside the door, in a semiconscious state.

[7]    When he was a baby Augustus was given the name Thurinus, either to commemorate the place of his ancestors' origin, or because it was in the area around Thurii that his father Octavius, soon after his birth, had successfully waged war on the runaway slaves. That he was surnamed Thurinus I can relate on reliable authority for I myself obtained a little bust of him when he was a child, an old one of bronze with this name inscribed on it in letters of iron, now almost worn away. I made a present of this bust to the emperor,* who worships it among the Lares of his private apartment. But Mark Antony in his letters regularly calls Augustus Thurinus by way of an insult. Augustus responded to this merely with an expression of surprise that his old name should be thrown at him as if it were a term of abuse. Later on he took the surnames of Gaius Caesar and then of Augustus, the first in accordance with the will of his great-uncle, the second on the proposal of Munatius Plancus. Responding to the suggestion of others that Augustus ought to be called Romulus pg 46on the grounds he too was, as it were, a founder of the city, Munatius argued successfully that he should rather take the name Augustus, a name not only new but also grander. For holy places, also, and places where something has been consecrated by augural rites are termed 'august' [augusta], either from the term for an increase in dignity [auctus] or from the phrase denoting the movements or feeding of birds [avium gestus gustusve], as Ennius* too tells us when he writes:

  •               After renowned Rome was founded with august augury …

[8]    He lost his father when he was four years old. In his twelfth year, he gave a funeral oration in honour of his grandmother Julia in front of an assembly of the people. Four years after he had taken on the toga of manhood he received military gifts in Caesar's African triumph, although he had taken no part in the war on account of his age. Soon afterwards, when his great-uncle had set out for Spain to make war on the sons of Pompey, Octavian went out after him, although he had only just recovered from a serious illness.* Moreover, despite suffering a shipwreck and travelling with only a handful of companions along roads beset by the enemy, he won the good opinion of Caesar who soon came to appreciate not only his endeavour in making the journey but also the strength of his character.

    After he had retaken the Iberian provinces Caesar was planning an expedition against the Dacians and then the Parthians; Octavian, who had been sent on ahead to Apollonia, devoted himself in the mean time to study. When he first learned that Caesar had been killed and that he himself was his heir, he hesitated for some time as to whether he should call on the neighbouring legions for assistance, eventually dismissing the idea as premature and hasty. Instead, he returned to Rome to claim his inheritance, despite his mother's unease and the insistent attempts of his stepfather, the ex-consul Marcius Philippus, to dissuade him. Then he levied armies and held control of the state, first with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, then just with Antony for nearly twelve years, and lastly for forty-four years on his own.

[9]    Having stated the main themes, as it were, of his life, I shall set out the individual details, not according to the order of events but by topic so that they may be more clearly perceived and assessed.

    He was five times involved in civil war, with campaigns at Mutina, Philippi, Perusia, in Sicily, and at Actium. In the first and last, he pg 47fought against Mark Antony, the second against Brutus and Cassius, the third against Lucius Antonius, brother of the triumvir, and the fourth against Sextus Pompeius, son of Gnaeus Pompey. [10]In all cases his reason and motive for embarking on civil war was the following: he held that his foremost duty was to avenge the death of his great-uncle and protect his achievements. As soon as he returned from Apollonia, he decided to attack Brutus and Cassius first by force, hoping to catch them unawares, then, when they foresaw the danger and escaped, through the courts where they were declared guilty of murder in their absence. Moreover, he himself provided games to celebrate Caesar's victories, since those who had been given responsiblity for this had not dared to do it. And, in order that he might have more authority in carrying out this and other plans, when one of the tribunes of the plebs happened to die, he offered himself as a candidate, even though he came from a patrician family and was not a senator.* However, the consul Mark Antony, whom he had counted on as his prime supporter, opposed all his undertakings, demanding a heavy bribe without which he refused even common and ordinary justice in any matter. So he transferred his support to the optimates, though he knew they regarded him with hostility, particularly because he was fighting a campaign to expel Decimus Brutus (who was at that time besieged in Mutina) from the province conferred on him by Caesar and ratified by the senate. With the encouragement of some, Octavian contracted hired assassins against him. Then, when the plot was discovered and he feared retaliation, he engaged the services of veterans to protect himself and the republic, offering them as large a reward as he was able. Placed in command of the army he had raised, with the rank of pro-praetor, he was instructed to give support to Hirtius and Pansa (who had become consuls) in the war against Decimus Brutus. Within three months he had brought to an end in two battles the war which had been entrusted to him. In the first, Mark Antony writes that he had run away, finally reappearing two days later with neither military dress nor horse. In the second it was commonly agreed that he had fulfilled his role not only as leader but even as a soldier in the midst of the fighting, taking the standards on his own shoulders, when the standard bearer of his legion was seriously wounded, and carrying them for some time.

[11]    Since, in the course of this war, Hirtius died in the line of pg 48battle and Pansa not long afterwards from a wound, a rumour developed that both had been killed through his agency so that, with Antony routed and the state bereft of both consuls, he would be left with sole command over the victorious forces. Indeed, the death of Pansa aroused such suspicion that the doctor Glyco was imprisoned on the grounds that he had applied poison to the wound. Aquilius Niger adds to this that Octavian himself actually killed one of the consuls, Hirtius, in the heat of the battle. [12]However, when he learned that Antony, having fled from Rome, was welcomed by Marcus Lepidus and that other leaders and armies were seeking to come to terms in support of their party, he renounced the optimates' cause without delay, alleging as the pretext for his change of side the words and acts of certain men, some of whom called him a boy, while others pronounced that he should be honoured then disposed of,* so that neither he nor the veterans would need to receive their due. And, to display more clearly how much he regretted his former association, he imposed an enormous fine on the citizens of Nursia and, when they could not pay it, banished them from their city, because they had at public expense erected a monument to those of their fellow citizens who had fallen at Mutina, inscribing on it that they had given their lives for liberty.

[13]    Having embarked on an alliance with Antony and Lepidus, although he was weak and unwell, he brought the war at Philippi to a close also, in two battles, in the first of which he was driven from his camp and scarcely managed to escape to Antony's wing.* He was not restrained in victory but sent the head of Brutus to Rome to be thrown at the foot of Caesar's statue, and was savage in his treatment of the most prominent of the captives, not even sparing them insulting language. When one begged him piteously for burial he is said to have replied that the birds would decide. When two others, a father and son, begged for their lives, they say he ordered them to draw lots or play mora,* to determine which of them should have his own life spared, and watched them both die, for, when the father, who had offered to be the one to die, was killed, he then made the son take his own life too. For this reason the others, amongst whom was Marcus Favonius (that emulator of Cato), when they were led past in chains, respectfully acknowledged Antony as victorious general but openly reviled Octavian with the most insulting abuse.

    After victory, responsibilities were divided between them, with pg 49Antony taking control of the east and Octavian assuming the task of returning the veterans to Italy and securing land for them in the municipalities. However, he could satisfy neither the veterans nor the landowners, for the latter complained that they were being pushed off their land and the former that they were not being given the treatment their good service had deserved.

[14]    At that time he forced Lucius Antonius (who, trusting in the consulship, which he held at the time, and in his brother's power, was plotting to seize control) to take refuge in Perusia* and starved him into surrender, not without enduring great risks himself both before the war and during it.* For, when, during some games, he gave orders that the official should remove a common soldier who was sitting in the fourteen rows reserved for the orders,* a rumour was spread by his detractors that he had later had this same man tortured and killed, and he only just escaped death himself, as an angry crowd of soldiers gathered. What saved him was the sudden appearance of the missing man, safe and sound. Then, when he was offering a sacrifice near the walls of Perusia, he almost fell into the hands of a group of gladiators who had burst out of the town.

[15]    After the capture of Perusia,* he inflicted punishment on a large number of people, responding to all those who begged for mercy or sought pardon with the same words: 'You must die.' Some people record that three hundred senators and equestrians were selected from those who had surrendered to be slaughtered like sacrificial victims on the Ides of March at the altar dedicated to the Divine Julius. There are some who relate that he engineered the war with the specific purpose that those who were secretly opposed to him and supported him through fear rather than choice would be tempted to follow Lucius Antonius' lead, and that when he had defeated them and confiscated their property he would be able to give the veterans the rewards they had been promised.

[16]    The Sicilian war* he began early on but it was long drawn out with frequent interruptions, sometimes for the ships to be repaired which he had lost as a result of two wrecks caused by storms, even though it was summer, and sometimes when peace was made in response to the demands of the people (for supplies were cut off and there was a famine of increasing severity). Eventually, once the ships were repaired and twenty thousand slaves were given their freedom so that they could serve as oarsmen, he created the Julian harbour at pg 50Baiae by letting the sea into lakes Lucrinus and Avernus. And, having trained his forces here the whole winter long, he defeated Sextus Pompeius between Mylae and Naulochus, though on the brink of battle he had been so deeply asleep all of a sudden that his friends had to wake him so that he could give the signal. This was, I should think, the source of Mark Antony's criticisms: that he could not even give his line of battle a proper inspection but lay on his back in a stupor, his gaze heavenward, and did not get up and appear before his men until Marcus Agrippa had already routed the enemy ships. Others criticize his words and actions, claiming that when the ships were lost in the storm he had cried out that he would conquer even against the will of Neptune and that the next time the circus games were held, he had Neptune's image removed from the festival procession.* And scarcely did he endure any more or greater dangers in any of his other wars. When his army had crossed over to Sicily and he had returned to the mainland to collect the remaining part of his forces, he was ambushed by Sextus Pompeius' commanders, Demochares and Apollophanes, and in the end only just managed to escape with one boat. Again, when he was going on foot via Locri to Regium, he caught sight of some of Pompeius' biremes coasting along the shore and, thinking they were his, went down to the water, where he was almost captured. Morever, as he was escaping along remote footpaths, a slave of his one-time friend Aemilius Paulus, still grieving at the proscription of Paulus' father* for which Augustus had been responsible, saw this as an opportunity for revenge and tried to kill him. After the flight of Pompeius, his other colleague Marcus Lepidus, whom he had summoned from Africa to his aid, ambitious and confident with his twenty legions, laid claim to sole power with dire threats. Augustus wrested his army from him and, allowing him his life in response to his entreaties, banished him to Circeii* for the rest of his life.

[17]    He finally broke off his alliance with Antony, which had always been shaky and unreliable, though patched up at various times with reconciliations, and, in order to demonstrate more clearly how Antony had abandoned the ways of a Roman citizen, he made sure that the will (which Antony had left in Rome) naming even his children by Cleopatra among his heirs, was opened and read out before an assembly of the people. Once Antony was declared an enemy, however, he did send out to him all his relatives and friends, pg 51including Gaius Sosius and Gnaeus* Domitius, who were still at that time consuls. He publicly gave leave, also, to the people of Bononia* not to join all of the rest of Italy in swearing to uphold his own cause, on the grounds that they had been among the clients of Antony's family from days of old. Not long afterwards he was victorious in the naval battle at Actium,* though the battle continued until such a late hour that even the victor was obliged to spend the night on board ship. Leaving Actium, he moved on to winter quarters on Samos, where he received the disturbing news that the troops whom, after the victory, he had selected from all the army divisions and sent on ahead to Brundisium, were mutinying, demanding booty and their discharge. Octavian set out for Italy, his crossing twice disrupted by storms, first as he passed between the headlands of the Peloponnese and Aetolia and then again off the Ceraunian mountains.* He lost a number of his galleys on each occasion, while the one he was travelling in had its rigging torn away and its rudder broken. After remaining in Brundisium a mere twenty-seven days, during which time he satisfied all the demands of his soldiers, he travelled around via Asia and Syria to Egypt. He laid siege to Alexandria, where Antony and Cleopatra had taken refuge, and soon gained possession of the city. Antony, indeed, who made a belated attempt to come to terms, he forced to kill himself (Octavian viewed his dead body). Cleopatra he greatly desired to lead as a captive in his triumphal procession and even had Psylli* brought to her who were to suck out the venomous liquid—it was believed that her death was caused by the bite of an asp. He honoured them both with a joint burial, giving orders that the tomb which they themselves had started to build should be completed. The younger Antony (the elder of his two sons by Fulvia) Octavian dragged away from a statue of the Deified Julius where he had taken refuge when his repeated entreaties were having no effect, and killed. Caesarion too, whom Cleopatra claimed was fathered by Julius Caesar, he had captured as he tried to flee, tortured, and put to death. The other children of Antony and Cleopatra he spared and, afterwards, as if they were bound to him by family ties, he provided for them and looked after them in a manner appropriate to their rank.

[18]    At that time also he paid homage to the sarcophagus containing the remains of Alexander the Great, laying a golden crown on it and scattering it with flowers when it was brought out from its inner pg 52chamber for him to see.* When he was asked if he would also like to view the tomb of the Ptolemies, he replied that he wanted to see a king, not dead bodies. He reduced Egypt to the status of a province and, so as to make it a readier and more fruitful source for Rome's grain supply, he made use of his soldiers to clear out all the channels into which the Nile overflows, as they had silted up over the years. So that the victory at Actium would be even more celebrated in the memory of future generations, he founded the city of Nicopolis nearby and established games there to take place every five years. He enlarged the ancient temple of Apollo and, having adorned the place where his camp had been with spoils from the enemy ships, he dedicated it to Neptune and Mars.

[19]    After this there were quite a few disturbances, plans for rebellion, and conspiracies, which he took action against, having got wind of them on a number of different occasions before they came to fruition. They included that of the young Lepidus,* later that of Varro Murena and Fannius Caepio, shortly afterwards that of Marcus Egnatius, then Plautius Rufus and Lucius Paulus, husband of the emperor's granddaughter.* Besides these, there was Lucius Audasius, who had been charged with forgery and was both aged and infirm, and Asinius Epicadus, a half-breed of Parthian blood, and finally Telephus, a woman's slave and usher. For among those who conspired against him and endangered his life were numbered even men of the lowest sort. Audasius and Epicadus planned to bring his daughter Julia and grandson Agrippa from the islands where they were confined, to the armies, while Telephus planned to attack both the emperor and the senate, in the belief that he himself was destined by fate to rule. Indeed, on one occasion a servant attached to the Illyrian army was arrested one night just by his sleeping quarters, armed with a hunting knife, having slipped past the door-keepers. It was unclear whether he had lost his mind or was feigning insanity, for he could not be made to say anything even under torture.

[20]    He himself conducted a total of two foreign wars, that against Dalmatia when he was still a young man and that against the Cantabrians, after the defeat of Antony.* He was even wounded in the course of the Dalmatian war, when in one battle his right knee was hit by a stone, and on another occasion he suffered wounds to a leg and both arms when a bridge collapsed. His other wars were conducted through legates, though he did intervene or come near to it during pg 53the campaigns against the Pannonians and Germans, advancing from Rome as far as Ravenna, Milan, and Aquileia. [21]Nevertheless, he conquered Cantabria, Aquitaine, Pannonia, Dalmatia together with the whole of Illyria, also Raetia and the Vindelicii and Salassi, peoples of the Alpine regions, in some cases leading the troops himself, in some with others acting under his auspices. He also put a stop to the incursions of the Dacian forces, slaughtering three of their leaders as well as a large number of men. He forced the Germans back beyond the River Albis,* with the exception of the Suebi and the Sigambri who submitted to him. These he transported to Gaul where they were settled in a region on the banks of the Rhine. Other peoples who gave trouble he also reduced to submission. Nor did he make war on any people without just and pressing cause. So far was he from being motivated by the desire for additions to his territories or to his martial glory that he forced certain German chieftains to take an oath in the Temple of Mars the Avenger that they would faithfully observe the peace that they themselves requested, and from some, indeed, he tried to exact hostages of a new kind—women—because he felt they did not care enough about men who were left as pledges. Yet he allowed everyone the opportunity to take back their hostages whenever they wished. Nor, in the case of those engaging in more protracted or perfidious rebellion, did he ever exact any more severe penalty than the sale into slavery, in accordance with the law, of captives who were not to be employed in a nearby region nor to be set free within a thirty-year period. Through his reputation for virtue and moderation, he induced even the Indians and Scythians, peoples known to us only by report, to send agents, unprompted, in order to obtain the friendship of himself and the Roman people. The Parthians, too, readily conceded to him, even when he laid claim to Armenia, and, offering hostages as well, returned the military standards, when he asked for them, which they had taken from Marcus Crassus and Mark Antony.* Morever, when a number of men were competing to be their king, they would not approve a candidate until one was chosen by Augustus.

[22]    Since the foundation of the city, Janus Quirinus had been closed before Augustus' time on only two occasions.* Having obtained peace by land and by sea, he closed it on three occasions in the space of a much briefer period. Twice he entered the city celebrating an ovation, after the battle of Philippi and, again, after the pg 54Sicilian war. He held three regular triumphs, for Dalmatia, Actium, and Alexandria, all in the same continuous three-day period.

[23]    He suffered only two humiliating disasters, both, indeed, in Germany, that of Lollius and that of Varus.* The Lollian disaster was more a matter of loss of face than of real damage, but in the Varian he sustained the almost catastrophic loss of three legions, slaughtered together with their commander, their legates, and all their auxiliary forces. When it was first reported he set up watches throughout Rome in case there should be any disturbance and he extended the periods of office for the provincial governors so that the allies would be kept in check by men of experience who were known to them. He vowed major games to Jupiter Best and Greatest, in the hope that the state might return to a better condition (which had come about in the course of the war against the Cimbri and the Marsi). Indeed, it is said that he was so disturbed that for months at a time he let his beard and hair grow and would hit his head against the door, shouting: 'Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!' And for years he marked the anniversary of the disaster as a day of mourning and sadness.

[24]    In military matters he brought changes and innovations in many areas and also reinstated some practices from the old days. He enforced discipline most strictly, not allowing even his legates to visit their wives, except most grudgingly and in the wintertime. A Roman knight, who had cut off the thumbs of his young sons so that they might be unfit for military service, he had sold at auction, together with his property. However, when he saw that some tax-gatherers were about to buy him, he made him over to a freedman of his own so that he would be allowed to live as a free man, though kept away from the city. When the tenth legion were insolent in obeying orders he gave them all a dishonourable discharge and, when other legions insistently demanded release, he let them go but without the rewards they were due for their length of service. If any of his cohorts yielded ground in battle, he had every tenth man killed and fed the rest on barley.* If any centurion left his post he punished him with death, as he did the ordinary soldiers. In the case of other offences, he applied various humiliating penalties; for instance, men might be ordered to stand for the whole day in front of the commander's quarters, sometimes wearing unbelted tunics or else carrying ten-foot measuring poles or even a lump of turf.*

pg 55[25]    After the civil wars neither in the assembly nor in his edicts did he address any soldiers as his 'comrades' but as 'soldiers', nor did he allow his sons* or stepsons, when they held military commands, to use any other term of address, for he thought the term 'comrades' too ingratiating to be consistent with military order, or the current state of peace, or the dignity of his own family.* Except in the case of fire in Rome or if disturbance was feared when there were difficulties with the corn supply, he used freedmen as soldiers on only two occasions, once to protect those colonies adjoining Illyria and once to safeguard the bank of the River Rhine. These men he levied from men and women of some wealth and immediately set them free, placing them under the same standard so that they were not mixed with the men of free birth, nor equipped with the same arms. As military prizes he was more ready to confer trappings or collars (prized for their gold and silver) rather than he was crowns for scaling ramparts or walls, which brought greater honour. The latter he distributed very sparingly but without favour and often even to private soldiers. He presented Marcus Agrippa with a blue banner in Sicily after his naval victory.* It was only those who had celebrated triumphs, although they had accompanied him on military expeditions and taken part in his victories, that he did not consider should share in such honours, on the grounds that they themselves also had the right to award them to whomever they chose. His view was that nothing so little became a great leader as haste and rashness. Often he would proclaim the following: 'Make haste slowly!'; 'A safe commander's better than a bold one',* and 'Whatever is done well is done with speed enough.' He said that one should never embark on a battle or a war unless the hope of profit was shown to be greater than the fear of loss. For he used to compare those who sought a minimal gain at no small risk to someone going fishing with a golden hook, when no catch could bring a profit equal to the loss if the hook were gone.

[26]    He received magistracies and honours before the prescribed age, some of which were newly devised and in perpetuity. The consulship he appropriated in his twentieth year, having positioned his legions near the city ready to attack and sent men to demand it for him in the name of the army.* However, when the senate hesitated, the centurion Cornelius, who led the delegation, threw back his cloak, pointed to the hilt of his sword and did not shrink from pg 56saying in the senate house: 'This will do it if you don't.' His second consulship he held nine years later and the third after a further year; after that he was consul for successive years until he held the office for the eleventh time.* Subsequently he turned it down on the many occasions it was offered, until after a great interval of seventeen years, he accepted it for the twelfth time and then two years later he sought it of his own accord for the thirteenth time,* so that it was as holder of the highest magistracy that he led each of his two sons, Gaius and Lucius, into the Forum to embark upon their public careers. The five consulships from the sixth to the tenth he held for the full year, the others for nine, or for six, or four, or three months, though the second he held just for a few hours. For, on the morning of the first day of January, after he had sat for a short time in his curule seat in front of the temple of Capitoline Jupiter, he gave up the honour and appointed another to his place as substitute. He did not begin them all in Rome,* though, taking up his fourth in Asia, his fifth on the island of Samos, and his eighth and ninth in Tarraco.

[27]    For ten years he ruled as part of the triumvirate for reconstituting the state. Although he resisted somewhat longer than his colleagues the option of proscriptions, once they were embarked upon he was more severe than either of the others. For while they were swayed in many cases by personal considerations and entreaties in favour of particular individuals, he alone argued strongly that no one should be spared. He proscribed even Gaius Toranius, his own guardian, who had been his father Octavius' colleague as aedile. Julius Saturninus records this, too, that when the proscriptions were finished and Marcus Lepidus, speaking in the senate, defended what had happened but offered hope of clemency for the future, on the grounds that sufficient punishment had been exacted, Octavian by contrast declared that he had only consented to the proscriptions on condition that all possibilities would remain open to him in future. However, as a sign that he regretted this intransigence, he later raised Titus Vinius Philopoemon to the status of knight because he was said to have concealed his patron when the latter was proscribed.* As triumvir, too, he provoked unpopularity in many ways. For once, when he was addressing the soldiers and a crowd of civilians had been allowed to listen, he noticed that Pinarius, a Roman knight, was writing something down and, thinking that he was an informer and a pg 57spy, gave orders that he be run through on the spot. As for the consul designate, Tedius Afer, who had been complaining spitefully about some deed of his, he terrified him with such dire threats that he hurled himself to his death. And when the praetor Quintus Gallius came to pay his respects with some folded tablets covered by his cloak, Octavian, suspecting him of concealing a sword, did not dare to have him searched at once, in case it should turn out to be something else, but soon afterwards had him seized from the tribunal by centurions and their men and subjected to torture as if he were a slave. And, when he admitted nothing, he gave orders that he should be killed, first gouging out the man's eyes with his own hand. He wrote, however, that the man had asked for an audience then treacherously attacked him and that, after he had been thrown into custody and then sent into exile, he had met his end in a shipwreck or an attack by thieves.

He accepted tribunician power in perpetuity and on one occasion and then another chose a colleague,* each for periods of five years. He also accepted the supervision of morals and of laws in perpetuity and it was through this authority, even though he was not censor, that he three times conducted a census of the people, the first and third times with a colleague,* the second on his own.

[28]    On two occasions he considered yielding up the state, first just after the fall of Antony, mindful that Antony had often criticized him for standing in the way of its restoration, and then as a result of exhaustion after a long illness, even going so far as to summon the magistrates and senate to his house and giving them an account of the state of the empire. However, taking the view that he himself would be in some danger as a private citizen and that it was rash to entrust the state to the judgement of the many, he continued to hold power. It is hard to say whether his intentions were outdone by his achievements. These intentions he would emphasize from time to time, even committing himself to them in an edict with the following words: 'May I maintain the state safe and sound, in its rightful condition and may I reap the fruits of this result which I seek so that I am spoken of as the man responsible for this best of regimes and that when I die I shall carry with me the hope that the foundations which I have laid for the state will remain in place.' And he brought about his own wish, doing his utmost to ensure that no one regretted the new form of government. As for the city itself, which was not pg 58decked out in a manner fitting such a great empire and which was also subject to fires and floods, he so improved it that it was with justification that he boasted he had found it a city of brick and left it a city of marble.

[29]    He undertook much public building. Foremost among his projects were: his Forum with the Temple of Mars the Avenger; the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine; the Temple of Jupiter the Thunderer on the Capitol. His reason for constructing the new Forum was the large number of people and the amount of judicial activity which seemed to render the existing two forums insufficient, thus requiring a third in addition. So, even before the Temple of Mars was completed, the Forum was quickly put into public use and it was provided that public trials, separate from other trials, as well as the selection by lot of jurors, would take place there. He had vowed the Temple of Mars when he undertook the war at Philippi to avenge his father. Accordingly he decreed that it was here that the senate would conduct its debates as to whether wars should be waged or triumphs awarded, from here that those about to undertake provincial commands should set out, to here that victorious leaders should bring the insignia of their triumph on their return. The Temple to Apollo he had erected on the site of that part of his Palatine residence which the haruspices had announced was desired by the god when it was struck by lightning. To this he added a portico with Latin and Greek libraries. And it was here that, in his later years, he would often conduct meetings of the senate and revise the lists of jurors. The Temple of Jupiter the Thunderer he consecrated after he had an escape from danger. For once when he was travelling by night on campaign in Spain, a flash of lightning struck his litter and killed the slave who was lighting the way. Some works, also, he undertook in the name of others, that is, his grandsons, his nephew, his wife, and his sister, such as the Portico and Basilica of Gaius and Lucius, similarly the Porticos of Livia and of Octavia and the Theatre of Marcellus. As for other prominent men, he often exhorted them, so far as the resources of each permitted, to beautify the city with monuments, whether new or restored and improved. At that time, many men undertook many projects; for instance, Marcius Philippus the Temple of Hercules of the Muses, Lucius Cornificius the Temple of Diana, Asinius Pollio the Atrium of Liberty, Munatius Plancus the Temple of Saturn, Cornelius Balbus a theatre, and pg 59Statilius Taurus an amphitheatre, while Marcus Agrippa undertook many outstanding enterprises.

[30]    The area of the city he divided into regions and districts and made provisions so that the former were watched over by magistrates, selected by lot each year, and the latter by 'masters' who were chosen from the common people of each district. To protect against fires, he instituted night-watches and guards. In order to prevent floods, he widened and cleared the channel of the Tiber, which had become congested with rubble and projecting buildings. So that the city was more easily accessible from all quarters, he himself took responsibility for repairing the Flaminian Way as far as Ariminum,* and assigned the rest to men who had celebrated triumphs, who were to use their spoils to pave them. He rebuilt temples which had collapsed from old age or been destroyed in fires, and these and others he decked out with the most spendid gifts, depositing as a single gift in the chamber of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter sixteen thousand pounds of gold, as well as pearls and other precious stones valued at fifty million sesterces.

[31]    When, after the death of Marcus Lepidus, he at last accepted the office of Pontifex Maximus* (which he had never ventured to take from him while he was still living), he had collected from all over and burned whatever works in Greek or Latin were popularly supposed, on the basis of no or unreliable authority, to be prophetic (there were more than two thousand of them). He kept only the Sibylline books, even from these making a selection, and deposited them in two golden cases under the pedestal of the Palatine Apollo. Since the calendar which had been brought to order by the Divine Julius* was subsequently confused and muddled through neglect, he restored it to its previous order. In the course of this process, he gave his own name to the sixth month rather than September, the month of his birth,* on the grounds that both his first consulship and also his most splendid victories had fallen in the former. He increased not only the number and dignity of the priesthoods but also their privileges, especially in the case of the Vestal Virgins. And when the death of one required that another be chosen to fill her place and many people engaged in intrigue to prevent their daughters being included among those in the lottery, Augustus swore that if any of his granddaughters had been of the right age he would have put her name forward. He reinstituted many ancient rituals, too, which had gradually fallen pg 60into disuse, such as the augury of Safety,* the office of the Flamen Dialis, the Lupercalia, the Secular Games, and the Compitalician Games. He forbade beardless young men to participate in the Lupercalia and also with regard to the Secular Games banned young people of either sex from being present at any spectacle which took place by night, unless they were accompanied by an older relative. He laid down that the lares Compitales should be decked with flowers twice a year, in spring and summer.

    After the immortal gods he honoured the memory of leaders who had found the empire of the Roman people small and left it great. For this reason he restored the public works each had undertaken, leaving the inscriptions in place, and dedicated statues of all of them with their triumphal ornaments in the two colonnades of his Forum, also proclaiming too in an edict that he had done this so that he himself, while he lived, and the rulers of later ages would be required by the Roman people to take the lives of these men as their model. The statue of Pompey he moved from the meeting-hall in which Gaius Caesar was killed and installed on a marble arch opposite the main entrance of Pompey's Theatre.

[32]    Many reprehensible practices had remained from the lawlessness customary in times of civil war or had even arisen in peacetime to the detriment of public order. For a large number of robbers went about openly, armed with swords, ostensibly for their own protection. In the countryside, travellers were seized and committed to the slave prisons of landowners, with no distinction drawn between slave and free. Numerous gangs were formed, on the pretext of being new work associations, but with exclusively criminal intentions. Augustus therefore brought the robberies under control by stationing watchmen in suitable locations, inspected the slave-prisons, and abolished any work associations which were not established and legitimate. He had burned the records of old debts to the treasury, which were the most frequent excuse for false accusations. Property in the city to which the state had a disputed claim he judged to belong to the current holders. The names of those who had been under accusation for a long time or those against whom the accusation served no other purpose than to give pleasure to their enemies he removed from the lists, stipulating that if anyone wished to renew the case, he would risk incurring himself the penalty prescribed for the crime.* However, lest a crime should slip away unpunished or a business suit pg 61collapse from delay, he appointed an additional thirty days, on which honorary games had been taking place, for the prosecution of legal business. To the three divisions of jurors he added a fourth, composed of men of a lower census class, to be called the ducenarii* and to give judgement in cases involving lesser amounts. He enrolled as jurors men aged at least twenty-five* (that is five years younger than was previously the rule). However, when many men sought to evade court duties, he grudgingly conceded that each division should take it in turns to have a year's exemption and that the usual practice of holding court business during the months of November and December should be abandoned.

[33]    He himself pronounced judgement with great thoroughness and often up to nightfall, with his litter positioned near the tribunal if his body was ailing, or even from his bed at home. However, he administered justice not only with great diligence but also with particular mercy and if anyone were plainly guilty of parricide, he is said to have posed his questions thus: 'surely you did not kill your father?' so that the accused would avoid the punishment of being sewn into the sack,* which is only imposed if he confesses. And when the case concerned the forgery of a will and all the witnesses were liable under the Cornelian law,* he would pass to those who considered the case with him, not only the two tablets, indicating guilt or acquittal, but also a third which could excuse those who were shown to have been induced to sign by trickery or misunderstanding. Every year he referred appeals in cases involving litigants at Rome to the urban praetor, and those involving inhabitants of the provinces to men of consular rank, placing one of them in charge of the business for each province.

[34]    He revised the laws and in some cases enacted new ones such as those relating to excessive expenditure, to adultery, to chastity, to electoral improprieties, and to the regulation of marriages. With this last he was introducing measures rather more severe than with the others and was prevented by the clamour of protesters from making them law until he had omitted or modified some of the penalties, allowing an exception of three years* and increasing the rewards.* And when, during the public shows, a knight insistently called for the law's abolition, Augustus drew attention to the children of Germanicus whom he had summoned and seated, some beside him and some in their father's lap, indicating with his gestures and pg 62expression that they should not balk at following the young man's example.* When he learned, too, that the force of the law was being evaded through betrothals to young girls and through frequent remarriages, he shortened the duration of betrothals and imposed a limit on divorces.

[35]    Since the number of senators was swelled by a disorderly and undignifed rabble—for there were more than a thousand of them, some most unworthy men who had been admitted after Caesar's death through favour or bribery (these were commonly referred to as Orcini*)—Augustus returned it to its former size and glory by means of two reviews, the first conducted by the senators themselves in which each man chose one other, the second by himself and Agrippa. It was on this occasion that he is believed to have presided protected by a cuirass under his tunic and wearing a sword at his side, with ten strong men, friends from the senatorial order, standing around his seat. Cremutius Cordus writes that no member of the senate was allowed to approach him unless on his own and once his toga had been searched. Some senators he induced to resign through shame, though even to these he allowed the right to wear senatorial garb, sit in the front rows at the games, and take part in public banquets. And so that those who were selected and approved should fulfil their duties with greater seriousness and also less inconvenience, he prescribed that, before taking his seat, each man should make an offering of incense and wine at the altar of the deity in whose temple the meeting took place; that regular senate meetings should take place no more than twice in each month on the Kalends and the Ides, and that in the months of September and October the only members required to attend were those chosen by lot whose number would be sufficient for the enactment of legislation. He also established a council, whose membership was renewed by lot every six months and with whom he would discuss matters of business before referring them to a full meeting of the senate. When it came to issues of moment he would ask for senators' opinions, not in the traditional order, but in any order he pleased so that everyone was on the alert in case he had to give an opinion rather than merely agreeing with what had already been said.

[36]    He also initiated many other developments including the following: that the proceedings of the senate should not be published; that magistrates should not take up posts in the provinces immedi-pg 63ately on leaving office; that a fixed sum should be allowed the provincial governors for the mules and tents which were usually contracted for at public expense; that responsibility for the treasury should pass from the urban quaestors to the ex-praetors or praetors; that the centumviral court* which by custom had been convoked by ex-quaestors, should be convoked by the Board of Ten.* [37]So that more men could participate in state administration, he devised some new official posts: for the supervision of public works, of roads, of aqueducts, of the Tiber channel, of the distribution of grain to the people, as well as for the prefecture of the city, the Board of Three for selecting senators, and another for reviewing the companies of knights, whenever necessary. He appointed censors—an office which had long been left vacant. He increased the number of praetors.* He even demanded that whenever he himself accepted the consulship he should have two colleagues rather than one, but did not get his way, for everyone insisted that his honour was already sufficiently limited as he did not hold office alone but with a colleague.

[38]    He was no less generous in honouring military achievements,* ensuring that more than thirty generals were awarded proper triumphs, while a greater number were awarded triumphal ornaments. So that the sons of senators would more readily become accustomed to public life, he gave permission for them to wear the broad stripe from the time when they assumed the toga of manhood and to attend the senate house, and, when they served in the army for the first time, he gave them as posts not only the tribunate in a legion but also the command of a cavalry division. And so that no one should lack military service, he often put two holders of the broad stripe in charge of a single cavalry division.

    He frequently reviewed the companies of knights, reintroducing the custom of the parade after a long interval. However, he did not allow anyone to be forced to dismount by an accuser in the course of the parade, which often used to happen, and he gave permission to the elderly or anyone with a conspicuous bodily defect to send their horse forward for review and themselves come on foot, if they should be summoned. Later on he allowed those who were over thirty-five and did not wish to retain it to give up their horse. [39]With the help of the ten men he had been granted, on his request, by the senate, he required each knight to give an account of himself, imposing punishments on some of the reprobates and demotions on others and pg 64warnings of various kinds on many more. The mildest form of warning was to hand over to them in public some tablets which they were to read silently on the spot. Others were taken to task because they had borrowed money at a low rate of interest and then invested it at a higher rate.

[40]    If there were insufficient candidates of senatorial rank standing for election as tribunes, he appointed some from among the Roman knights, with the provision that when they finished their term of office they might be members of whichever of the two orders they chose. However, when a large number of knights who had lost much of their ancestral fortunes during the civil wars did not dare to sit in the first fourteen rows at the theatre, through fear of incurring the penalties of the Theatre Law, Augustus announced that none were liable if they themselves or their parents had ever possessed the equestrian census.* He held a census of the people district by district and, so that the commoners should not be called away from their work too frequently for the purpose of collecting their corn rations, he decided to distribute tickets for four months' supply three times per year; but at their request he allowed a return to the previous system whereby each person collected his own ration on a monthly basis. He also restored the older arrangements for elections,* bringing corruption under control through a variety of penalties, and distributing to his fellow members of the Fabian and Scaptian tribes a thousand sesterces each of his own money on the day of the election, to stop them from looking for any money from the candidates. He thought it a matter of great importance to preserve the people pure and untainted by any admixture of foreign or servile blood, giving grants of Roman citizenship most rarely and placing a limit on manumissions. When Tiberius wrote to him on behalf of a Greek client, he replied that he would only make the grant if the man came to him and explained why he deserved to have it. And when Livia sought citizenship for a Gaul from a tributary province, he refused it, offering instead immunity from taxation with the comment that he would rather endure some loss of revenue than that the honour of Roman citizenship be made commonplace. Not only did he put many obstacles in the way of slaves seeking freedom, and still more in the way of those seeking freedom with citizenship, by making careful provision for the number, situation, and status of those who were set free, but he also stipulated that no one who had ever been pg 65bound or tortured should ever receive citizenship, no matter what their degree of freedom.* He sought, too, to revive the ancient manner of dress and once, when he saw at a public meeting a crowd of people dressed in dark clothes, he grew angry and cried out:

  •           Behold the Romans, lords of the world, the toga'd race!*

and he made it the business of the aediles to prevent anyone being seen again in or near the Forum unless wearing a toga and without a cloak.

[41]    He often showed generosity to all classes when the opportunity arose. For when the regal treasures were brought to the city in the Alexandrian triumph he made ready money so plentiful that interest rates fell and land values greatly increased, and afterwards, whenever there was a surplus from the property of those who had been condemned, he loaned it without interest for fixed periods to those who could give security for double the sum. He increased the property qualification for senators, requiring one million, two hundred thousand sesterces rather than eight hundred thousand, making up the amount in the case of those who did not have it. He often gave presents of money to the people, of differing sums, sometimes four hundred, sometimes three hundred, occasionally two hundred or five hundred sesterces per man. Nor indeed did he overlook the young boys, although it was not customary for them to be included before their eleventh year. When the corn-supply was under threat, he often gave out grain to each man at a very low price, sometimes for nothing, and he doubled the money tokens.*

[42]    However, so that he would be recognized as a ruler who sought the public good rather than popularity, when the people complained at the scarcity and high price of wine he reproved them most severely: his son-in-law Agrippa had made sure through the provision of numerous aqueducts that no one should go thirsty. And again, when the people demanded gifts of money which had been promised, he replied that he was a man of his word. However, when they called for something which had not been promised, he criticized their shamelessness and impudence in an edict and made it clear that he would not give anything, although he had been planning to. With no less seriousness and firmness, when he discovered that many slaves had been freed and added to the list of citizens, he proclaimed that nothing would be given to those to whom nothing had been pg 66promised,* while to the rest he gave less than he had promised, so that the sum set aside was enough to go round. At one time, when there was a serious food shortage and measures to relieve it were fraught with difficulty, he expelled from the city slaves who were for sale, as well as the schools of gladiators and all foreigners, with the exception of doctors, teachers, and some household slaves. Then, when the corn supply was restored, he wrote that he was moved to abolish the distribution of grain permanently, since people's reliance on it had led to the neglect of agriculture. However, he would not carry out his plan, he wrote, since it was bound to be restored at some point as a measure to secure popular favour. And subsequently he regulated the business to take as much account of the farmers and merchants as of the people.

[43]    In the frequency, variety, and magnificence of the games he provided he outdid all who had gone before. He says that on four occasions he gave games in his own name and on twenty-three in the name of other magistrates who were either away from Rome or lacked sufficient resources. Sometimes he even provided games in the individual districts of the city on many stages with actors speaking all sorts of languages. He provided gladiatorial games not only in the Forum and amphitheatre but also in the Circus and the voting enclosures, though these were sometimes nothing more than wild beast fights. He provided a show of athletes in the Campus Martius, for which wooden seating was constructed, and also a naval battle, having excavated ground near the Tiber in the area which is now the Caesars' grove. On the days when games took place, he stationed watchmen around the city so that it would not be at the mercy of thieves when there were so few people who stayed at home. In the Circus he gave entertainments consisting of chariots, runners, and animal fighters, some of them young people of the highest families. In addition to this he gave very frequent performances of the game of Troy with older and younger boys, taking the view that it was a noble and ancient custom for the pick of the nobility to acquire fame in this manner. When Nonius Asprenas was disabled through falling during the game Augustus honoured him with a golden collar and permitted him and his descendants to call themselves 'Torquati'.* Soon afterwards, however, he called an end to these games when the orator Asinius Pollio complained earnestly and bitterly in the senate about the fall sustained by his grandson Aeserninus, who had also pg 67broken his leg. Sometimes Augustus would even employ Roman knights in his plays and gladiatorial shows, until a senatorial decree forbade the practice.* After that he put on show no one of decent family other than a young man, Lycius, and only then as a sight, for he was less than two feet tall, and weighed only seventeen pounds but had a booming voice. On one day during the gladiatorial games he exhibited in the arena the first Parthian hostages ever brought to Rome and then seated them in the second row above his box. He was also in the habit of providing additional sights, if there was something available which was unusual and worth seeing. These displays would take place on days when there were no games, in whatever location was suitable. Thus, a rhinoceros was shown in the voting enclosures, a tiger in the theatre, and a serpent of fifty cubits in front of the Comitium. When he was giving votive games in the Circus he happened to fall ill and led the procession of sacred chariots reclining in his litter. On another occasion, at the inauguration of the games with which he dedicated the Theatre of Marcellus, he chanced to fall flat on his back as the joints of his curule chair had come loose. And at the games given for his grandsons, when the populace were afraid the seating was going to collapse and could not by any means be calmed or reassured, he went over from his own place and sat in the area which had given most cause for concern.

[44]    The most disorderly and unruly behaviour of audiences at the games he regulated and brought under control, prompted by the insulting treatment of a senator who, when he went to some well-attended games at Puteoli, was not offered a seat by anyone. Thus, a decree of the senate was passed prescribing that whenever any kind of public spectacles were given anywhere, the first row of seats was to be reserved for senators; and Augustus banned the ambassadors of free and allied peoples from sitting in the orchestra in games at Rome, since he had discovered that sometimes even freedman came on embassies. He separated the soldiers from the civilians. To married men of the common people he assigned their own rows, while youths had a special section next to that of their tutors, and he decreed that no one dressed in dark clothing should sit in the central rows.* Nor did he allow women to watch gladiatorial fights except from the highest seats (though it had been the custom for men and women to watch such shows together).* To the Vestal Virgins alone he gave a separate place in the theatre, opposite the praetor's pg 68tribunal.* As for shows involving athletes, he was so strict in excluding women from them that, when a boxing match was arranged for the games given in honour of his appointment as Pontifex Maximus,* he put it off until the morning of the following day and proclaimed that he did not wish to see women in the theatre before the fifth hour.

[45]    He himself was in the habit of watching the circus games from the upper-storey apartments* of his friends and freedmen, but sometimes he would sit in the imperial box and in the company of his wife and children. He would stay away from the games sometimes for several hours or occasionally whole days, but he excused himself and sent others who were to take his place presiding. However, whenever he was present, he would not occupy himself with any other business. This was either to avoid the criticisms which he was aware had been made by the people of his father Julius Caesar, since the latter used to spend time at the games reading and replying to letters and reports, or else because of his own enthusiasm for and pleasure in watching the games, which he made no attempt to cover up but often frankly admitted. For this reason, even at other people's games and gladiatorial fights he would offer from his own funds rewards and prizes, numerous and splendid, and whenever he was present at a contest of the Greek kind* he rewarded all the participants according to their merits. He was keenest on watching boxers, particularly those of Latin birth, and not only the recognized and regular performers, whom he would even pit against Greeks, but also the urban rabble who, though untrained, would fight boldly in the narrow streets. Indeed, he honoured with his concern all the different sorts of people involved in providing different varieties of games for the public. He maintained and reinforced the privileges of the athletes. He forbade people from providing gladiatorial games without allowing contestants to appeal for their lives if conquered. He limited the right of magistrates, sanctioned by an old law, to punish actors at any time and in any place, restricting this to the duration of the games and within the theatre. Nevertheless, it was always with great severity that he regulated the wrestling matches and gladiatorial contests. And the misbehaviour of the actors he curtailed to such a degree that when he found out that Stephanio, an actor in Roman plays, was attended by a Roman matron with her hair cropped to look like a boy, he gave orders that the actor should be whipped with rods in the three theatres.* As for Hylas, the pg 69pantomime actor,* when the praetor made a complaint, Augustus had him scourged in the atrium of his own house, with everyone watching; while Pylades was banned from Rome and from Italy because, when a member of the audience hissed him, he gestured with his finger* to make an exhibition of him.

[46]    Once the city and its affairs were thus put in order, he added to Italy's population by himself establishing twenty-eight colonies* and endowed many places with public works and sources of revenue. In some respects and to some degree he even gave Italy the same status and dignity as Rome, devising a new manner of election in which the colony decurions cast votes in each of the colonies for the city magistracies, then sent them under seal to Rome in time for the election day.* To sustain the supply of men of good family and keep up numbers among the common people, he appointed to equestrian military positions even those who were recommended by one of the towns, while to those common people who, when he visited the regions of Italy, could prove that they had sons or daughters, he would give out a thousand sesterces for each child.

[47]    The more important provinces, and those which could not easily or safely be ruled by magistrates with an annual term of command, he himself took charge of, while the others he left to the proconsuls to be distributed by lot. However, he changed the arrangements for a number of provinces over the years and frequently made visits to many provinces in both categories. Some of the allied cities* whose ungoverned behaviour threatened disaster he deprived of their freedom, while to others he offered relief from their burden of debt and rebuilt others which had been destroyed in earthquakes. Some he rewarded for the services they had rendered the Roman people with a grant of Latin or Roman citizenship.* Indeed, it is my belief that there was not a province which he did not visit, with the exception of Africa and Sardinia; when he meant to cross over to these from Sicily, in pursuit of the defeated Sextus Pompeius, he was held back by continuous and severe storms and never thereafter had the opportunity or reason to make the journey.

[48]    Those kingdoms which he had gained control of through conquest with a few exceptions he either restored to those from whom he had taken them or else joined them to other foreign nations. The kings to whom he was allied he also joined to one another with mutual ties and was always very quick to promote and pg 70encourage marriages and friendships among them. He would always treat all of them with consideration as integral parts of the empire and when a ruler was too young or was failing in his powers he would appoint a regent until he had grown up or recovered his strength. Many of their children he brought up and educated together with his own.

[49]    From his military forces, he stationed legions and auxiliaries in the different provinces. He posted one fleet to Misenum and the other to Ravenna to protect the upper and lower seas. The remaining forces he assigned to protect either the city or his own person, having dismissed the band of Calagurritani* whom he had kept about him as part of his bodyguard until the defeat of Antony, and then the band of Germans whom he kept until the defeat of Varus. However, he never allowed more than three cohorts in the city and these were not to have a permanent base. The others he would station in winter and summer quarters in the surrounding towns. For all soldiers, wherever they were he applied a fixed system of salaries and bonuses, stipulated in accordance with each man's rank, the length of his military service, and the rewards he would receive on his retirement, so they would not be tempted to revolt afterwards in protest over their age or lack of means. So that he would always have ready funds available to maintain them and give them their benefits, he established a military treasury to be supplied by new taxes. And so that events in all the provinces could be more speedily and promptly reported and known, he first stationed young men and later vehicles at short intervals along the military roads. The latter arrangement seems more convenient as it means that the men who have brought the letters from a particular place can themselves be questioned, if this is necessary.

[50]    In sealing official documents, reports and letters, he first used a sphinx, then an image of Alexander the Great* and finally one of himself, sculpted by the hand of Dioscurides, which later emperors also continued to use as a seal, following his example. To all his letters he would add the exact time, not only of day but also of night, to indicate when they had been sent.

[51]    There are many great instances of his clemency* and his lack of pretention. I shall refrain from recording each and every example of those of the opposite faction to whom he gave immunity and even allowed to hold office in the state. He was content to punish two men pg 71of the common people, Junius Novatus and Cassius Patavinus, one with a fine and the other with a mild form of exile, although the former had publicly circulated the most bitter letter concerning Augustus under the name of the young Agrippa,* while the latter had proclaimed at a large dinner party that he lacked neither the strong desire to run the emperor through nor the spirit to do it. And at a trial, when chief among the charges made against Aemilius Aelianus of Corduba was that he was in the habit of expressing his bad opinion of Caesar, the emperor turned to the accuser and, feigning anger, said: 'I wish you would give me proof of that; I shall give Aelius reason to know that I, too, have a tongue and I shall have more to say about him.' And he took the inquiry no further either at that time or later. Moreover, when Tiberius complained rather forcefully about the same thing in a letter, he replied: 'My Tiberius, do not give way to your youthful impulses or get too angry at anyone who speaks ill of me. We should be satisfied if we have the means to prevent anyone from doing us ill.'

[52]    Although he knew it was the custom to dedicate temples even to proconsuls, he would not allow them to be dedicated to himself in any province unless they were dedicated to Rome also. Within the city of Rome itself, indeed, he most obstinately refused this honour. Even the silver statues which had earlier been set up to honour him he had melted down, every one, and, with the money raised, he dedicated golden tripods to Palatine Apollo. When the people strongly pressed him to accept the dictatorship,* he went down on one knee, threw back his toga, and bared his breast, beseeching them to refrain.

[53]    He always shrank from the title 'Master'* as an insult and a reproach. On one occasion at the games when he was watching a farce, the line was spoken: 'O good and just master!' and the whole audience indicated their enthusiastic agreement, as if the words were addressed to the emperor. He immediately called a halt to their unbecoming adulation with his gesture and expression and, on the next day, reproached them most severely in an edict. Thereafter he would not even allow his children and grandchildren to call him 'master', whether jokingly or in earnest, and forbade them to use such obsequious titles even among themselves. Almost always his arrival at or departure from Rome or any other town was in the evening or at night so that people would not be troubled by the need pg 72to pay him respect.* When consul, he went about in public places on foot and at other times in a sedan chair. All and sundry were permitted to attend his receptions, including the common people,* and he acknowledged the wishes of his petitioners with such good humour that once he teased a man that he was as nervous of handing over his petition as if he were giving a present to an elephant. On days when the senate met, he always greeted the senators in the senate house,* addressing each by name with no one prompting him, while they remained in their seats. Even as he left, he would pay his respects in the same manner, while they stayed seated. In the case of many, he discharged the mutual obligations of friendship, and did not fail to attend all their feast days until he was advanced in years and had once been made uncomfortable by the crowd at a betrothal ceremony. When the senator Gallus Cerrinius had suddenly lost his sight and decided to end his life by starvation, Augustus went in person to console him, though he was not a close friend, and persuaded him to live.

[54]    When he spoke in the senate, someone might say to him: 'I do not understand' or another: 'I would argue against you, if I had the chance.' From time to time when he stormed out of the senate in anger at the unbridled exchanges between the speakers, people would remind him that senators should be allowed to speak their minds on matters of state. When, during a senate review, each man was selecting his own candidate,* Antistius Labeo chose Marcus Lepidus who had been the emperor's enemy and was now in exile. Asked if there were not other men more worthy, Labeo replied that each man made his own judgement. Yet no one suffered for his outspokenness or rudeness.

[55]    Even when pamphlets insulting him were circulating in the senate, he was not alarmed but took great care to refute them. Without enquiring about the authors, he merely prescribed that in future anyone who under a false name produced pamphlets or poems defaming someone should be brought to trial. [56]When he was attacked by people's spiteful or malicious jokes, he protested in an edict. However, he vetoed attempts to legislate against freedom of speech in wills.* Whenever he took part in elections for public office, he went the round of the tribes with the candidates he was recommending and entreated their support in the traditional manner. He himself would cast his own vote with his tribe, just like one of the pg 73people. When he was a witness in court proceedings he allowed himself to be questioned and contradicted with an even temper. His Forum he made rather narrow, not daring to expropriate the owners of the adjacent houses. He never recommended his sons to the people for election without adding the words: 'If they deserve it.' When they were still boys and everyone stood to greet them in the theatre and remained standing to applaud them, he complained in the strongest terms. He wished his friends to be prominent and influential in the state, yet to have the same legal status as other men and to be governed just the same by the laws and the courts. When his close friend Nonius Asprenas was brought to trial, accused of poisoning by Cassius Severus, Augustus asked the senate to advise him where his duty lay, for he was unsure whether, if he stood by him, he might be thought to be protecting a guilty man from justice, while if he kept away, he might be thought to be betraying his friend and condemning him in advance of the verdict. And with their general agreement he sat in the court for some hours, but in silence and without even speaking to praise the defendant's character. He did appear on behalf of his clients, for instance, one Scutarius, one of his former special officers, who was accused of slander. In the case of only one man from among all those brought to trial did he bring about an acquittal and even then only after he was begged to, making a successful appeal to the accuser in the presence of the jury. The defendant was Castricius who had brought the conspiracy of Murena* to his attention.

[57]    One may easily imagine how much he was loved for these virtues. The decrees of the senate I pass over as they could seem motivated by necessity or reverence. The Roman knights on their own initiative and by common consent celebrated his birthday over two days every year. People of every rank, fulfilling a vow made for his good health, would throw a coin into the lacus Curtius* every year and on the Kalends of January, too, on the Capitoline they would give a new year's gift, even when he was away from Rome. With these funds he purchased the most precious images of the gods which he dedicated in each district of the city, such as an Apollo in the Street of the Sandal Makers, a Jupiter in the Street of the Tragedian and so on. When his house on the Palatine was destroyed by fire,* veterans, guilds,* the tribes, and even individuals from other walks of life with great willingness brought funds for its rebuilding, each in pg 74accordance with his own means, though the emperor would take only a little from each of the heaps, keeping no more than a penny from anyone. And when he returned from a provincial command, they attended him not only with congratulations but also with songs. It was the custom, too, that whenever he entered the city no one suffered punishment.

[58]    All joined together with alacrity and unanimity in conferring upon him the title 'Father of the Fatherland'.* First of all the common people made the attempt, sending messengers to him at Antium. When he would not accept it they greeted him in throngs, crowned with laurel, as he arrived at the games in Rome. Soon afterwards the senators made the attempt in the senate house, issuing no decree or proclamation, but making the offer through Valerius Messala. Expressing the views of all, he said: 'May good fortune attend you and your house, Caesar Augustus! For with these words, in our view, we are praying for the perpetual happiness of the state and the felicity of this city. With one voice, the senate, together with the people of Rome, salutes you as Father of the Fatherland.' Moved to tears, Augustus replied to him with these words (which I quote directly as I did those of Messala): 'My highest hopes realized, O senators, what else can I ask of the gods, but that they permit me to retain your general good will to the very end of my days?' [59]In honour of the doctor Antonius Musa, through whose skill the emperor recovered from a dangerous illness,* they raised money to set up a statue, next to the image of Aesculapius.* Some heads of families stipulated in their wills that sacrificial victims should be driven to the Capitoline by their heirs and that a thank-offering should be made on their behalf, because Augustus had survived them, and that they should carry before them a placard to proclaim their purpose. A number of Italian cities made the anniversary of his first visit to them the first day of their year. And many of the provinces, besides setting up temples and altars, established five-yearly games in nearly all their towns.

[60]    The friendly and allied kings, each in his own kingdom, founded cities named Caesarea and they resolved jointly, with all of them contributing to the cost, to complete the Temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens, on which work had begun long ago,* and to dedicate it to his Genius. And often they would leave their kingdoms and pay their respects to him, as clients, dressed in togas and without their pg 75regal insignia,* not only when he was in Rome but even when he travelled in the provinces.

[61]    Since I have now described him as a commander and magistrate and shown how he governed the state throughout the entire world in war and in peace, I shall now discuss his personal and domestic life, giving an account of his character and fortune at home and with his family, from his youth until his dying day.

    His mother he lost during his first consulship and his sister Octavia* in his fifty-fourth year.* To both he paid particular respect when they lived and the greatest honours when they died.

[62]When he was a young man he had been betrothed to the daughter of Publius Servilius Isauricus but when, after their first dispute, he was reconciled to Antony and both their armies entreated them to cement the alliance with a family tie, Augustus married Antony's stepdaughter Claudia, who was Fulvia's daughter from her marriage to Publius Clodius and only just of marriageable age. However, when relations soured with his mother-in-law, Fulvia, he divorced her before he had consummated the marriage. Soon afterwards he took as wife Scribonia, who had previously been married to two men of consular rank and had already produced children for one of them. He divorced her, too, 'unable to tolerate her bad character any longer', as he wrote and at once broke up Livia Drusilla's marriage to Tiberius Nero, although she was pregnant at the time. Her he loved dearly, favouring her all his life beyond all others.

[63]    From Scribonia he had a daughter, Julia, but from Livia no children, despite his dearest wish. Though a child was conceived, it was born prematurely. He married Julia first to Marcellus, son of his sister Octavia, although he had only just reached adulthood; then, when he died, to Marcus Agrippa, having persuaded his sister to give up her son-in-law to him (for at that time Agrippa was married to one of the two Marcellas and had children by her). When he too had died, Augustus considered possible matches, even with members of the equestrian order, over a long period of time, before chosing his own stepson Tiberius, forcing him to divorce his pregnant wife by whom he was already a father. Mark Antony writes that Augustus first betrothed Julia to his own son Antony, and later to Cotiso, king of the Getae, at the same time requesting in turn the hand of the king's daughter for himself.*

[64]    From Agrippa and Julia he had three grandsons, Gaius, pg 76Lucius, and Agrippa, and two granddaughters, Julia and Agrippina. The younger Julia he married to the son of Lucius Paulus the censor and Agrippina to Germanicus, his sister's grandson. Gaius and Lucius he adopted into his own household, having made a ritual purchase of them with penny and scales* from their father Agrippa, and, from a tender age, brought them up to serve the state, having them designated consuls* and sending them off to tour the provinces and armies. He so educated his daughter and granddaughters that they even acquired the habit of working wool,* and forbade them to say or do anything underhand or which might not be reported in the daily chronicles.* So strictly did he prohibit them from associating with anyone outside the family that he wrote to Lucius Vinicius, a distinguished and honourable young man, to reprove him for his immodest action in once coming to pay his respects to his daughter at Baiae. He himself taught his grandsons to read, to take notes, and many other skills,* particularly insisting that they take his handwriting as their model. Whenever he dined with them he would always sit them with him on the lowest couch,* and whenever he made a journey they would always precede his carriage or ride beside him on horseback.

[65]    But his happiness and confidence in the offspring of his house and their upbringing were destroyed by Fortune. The Julias, his daughter and granddaughter, he sent into exile, for they were tainted with every form of vice. He lost both Gaius and Lucius within the space of eighteen months, Gaius dying in Lycia and Lucius in Massilia. He adopted his third grandson Agrippa and, at the same time, his stepson Tiberius, by a law passed by the assembly of the curiae in the Forum.* But he disinherited Agrippa soon afterwards because of his low and violent character and sent him away to Surrentum.* Yet he bore the deaths of his dear ones more readily than their disgrace. For he was not so very cast down by the loss of Gaius and Lucius, but in the case of his daughter he sent a complaint to the senate to be reported by a quaestor, while he himself stayed away, and, for a long time, overcome with shame, he avoided people's company and even contemplated having her killed. Certainly, when at around that time one of the freedwomen, Phoebe, who had been party to her activities, hanged herself, he observed that he would rather have been the father of Phoebe. In her place of exile he banned Julia from drinking wine or enjoying any other relative pg 77luxury and would allow no man, whether slave or free, to go near her without his express permission, insisting that he should be informed in such cases of the individual's age, stature, colouring, and even whether he had any distinguishing features or scars. After five years he at last had her transferred from her island* to the mainland and a somewhat milder regime. He could by no means be persuaded that she should be recalled altogether, and when the Roman people repeatedly entreated him and pressed him insistently he called out before a public meeting that they should have such daughters and such wives. When his granddaughter Julia produced a child after her fall from grace, he insisted that it should be neither acknowledged nor brought up. When Agrippa became no more tractable but rather more unbalanced daily, he had him taken to an island* and posted a detachment of soldiers to guard him there. He even prescribed through a senatorial decree that he should be held in perpetuity in that particular place. And whenever anyone referred either to him or to one of the Julias he used to groan and even exclaim:

  •                 Oh, that I had never married and died without children!*

The only terms he used for them were his three sores or his three cancers.

[66]    While he did not readily make new friends, he cherished his existing ones most constantly, not only acknowledging fittingly the virtues and merits of each of them but even putting up with their vices and faults, provided they were not excessive. From among all his friends, scarcely any can be found who fell into disgrace, aside from Salvidienus Rufus and Cornelius Gallus. The former he had raised to the rank of consul and the latter to the prefecture of Egypt, in both cases from humble beginnings. Salvidienus he handed over to the senate for punishment when he plotted revolution, while Gallus he banned from his home and from his provinces because of his ungrateful and malicious temper. But when he, too, as a result of the condemnations and senatorial decrees of his accusers, was forced to die, Augustus praised the loyalty of those who were so indignant on his behalf, yet also shed tears and bemoaned his lot, that he alone had not the power to decide how far he wished to take his anger toward his friends. His other friends, despite occasional disagreements, flourished till the end of their days, in power and wealth the leading men of their respective orders. He sometimes found Marcus pg 78Agrippa too impatient and Maecenas too talkative, to mention no others; for the former, when he had some slight reason to suspect Augustus' feelings had cooled and that Marcellus was preferred to himself, left everyone behind and went off to Mytilene, while the latter gave away to his wife Terentia the secret that Murena's conspiracy had been discovered.*

    He required from his friends their good will in return, as much from the dead as from the living. For, although he was far from seeking to be made people's heir and would never accept anything left to him in the will of someone he did not know, the final judgements of his friends he scrutinized with the greatest of care, nor was his regret feigned if his treatment was too mean or unaccompanied by compliments, nor his joy, if he was acknowledged with gratitude and affection.* It was his custom when he received legacies or inheritances* from anyone who was a parent either to pass it on at once to their children, or, if they were not yet of age, to give it back to them with interest on the day they received their toga of manhood or married.

[67]    As patron and master he was no less exacting than he was kind and forgiving. Many of his freedmen he honoured greatly and was very close to them, such as Licinus and Celadus and others. When his slave Cosmus spoke very ill of him he merely put him in irons. When, as he was walking together with his steward Diomedes, they were suddenly attacked by a wild boar and Diomedes in fear got behind him, he chose to see this as evidence of cowardice rather than of intent to harm, and, because there had been no plot, turned a situation involving serious danger into a joke. But when he discovered that Polus, who was among the dearest of his freedmen, was having affairs with married women of rank, he forced him to kill himself. And, because his secretary Thallus had revealed the contents of a letter for five hundred denarii, he had his legs broken. As for the tutor and attendants of his son Gaius, because they had taken advantage of his ill-health and death to indulge their pride and greed in his province, he had them thrown into the river with heavy weights loaded onto their necks.

[68]    In his early youth he was accused of many kinds of vice. Sextus Pompeius attacked him for being effeminate.* Mark Antony alleged he had bought his adoption by his uncle with sexual favours, while Antony's brother Lucius asserted that after his chastity had been assailed by Caesar he had even submitted himself to Aulus pg 79Hirtius in Spain for the sum of three hundred thousand sesterces and that he was in the habit of applying hot nutshells to singe his legs,* so that the hairs would grow softer. On one occasion, however, on a day when games were being held, the entire people interpreted as an insult directed at him and with great accord showed their approval of a line proclaimed on stage by a special priest of the Mother of the Gods,* as he beat his drum:

  •                 See how an effeminate rules the globe with his finger!*

[69]    Not even his friends deny that he committed adultery, suggesting by way of excuse that his motive was not lust but policy, as he sought to find out the plans of his opponents more easily through each man's wife. Mark Antony objected not only that he had contracted his marriage to Livia in excessive haste but that he had in front of her husband led the wife of a man of consular rank from the dining-room off into his bedroom, later returning her to the party with burning ears and dishevelled hair,* also, that he divorced his wife Scribonia because she showed too openly her resentment at the influence of his mistress, and that he got his friends to procure women for him, stripping naked respectable married ladies and grown girls not yet married to inspect them, as if they were the wares of Toranius the slave-dealer. Antony even wrote to him in the following words, without any note of coolness or hostility: 'What's troubling you? That I'm having a go at the queen? Is she my wife? Have I just started this or has it been going on for nine years? So do you only have a go at your Drusilla? As you are a man in good health, I'm sure when you read this you'll have been going at Tertulla or Terentilla or Rufilla* or Salvia Titisenia or all of them. Does it matter where and with whom you get your thrills?'

[70]    There were also stories about a rather secret dinner he arranged, which was commonly referred to as the dinner of the Twelve Gods.* For this the guests reclined in the dress of one or other of the gods or goddesses, with Augustus himself attired as Apollo.* Not only do Antony's letters take him to task for this most acerbically, naming each of the guests, but there are also some notorious verses whose author is unknown:

  •             As soon as that company of villains had hired their costumes,
  •             Mallia saw six gods and six goddesses,
  • pg 80            While Caesar impiously dared to play at being Apollo
  •             And represented new adulteries of the gods at his banquet.
  •             At this time all deities removed themselves from earth
  •             And Jupiter himself abandoned his golden throne.*

Stories about the banquet were fuelled by the fact that the city was at that time suffering from hunger and food shortages and on the following day there was a protest that all the food had been eaten by the gods and that Caesar was indeed Apollo but Apollo the Tormenter (the god is worshipped under this title in one part of the city). He was also notorious for his passion for precious tableware and Corinthian bronze and for his love of gambling. Indeed, in the time of the proscriptions, the following words appeared on his statue: 'My father dealt in silver, I deal in Corinthian,'* for it was thought that the names of some men had been included among those proscribed because of their Corinthian vases. Then, during the Sicilian war, the following epigram was current:

  •                     After he was twice defeated at sea and lost his ships,
  •                     Hoping to win at something, he gambled constantly.

[71]    Of all these accusations and slanders, the allegations that he had submitted himself to men he refuted with the greatest of ease through the purity of his life both at the time and later, similarly his alleged greed for riches, since on the capture of Alexandria he took nothing for himself from the royal treasure apart from one murrine* goblet and soon afterwards he had melted down all the golden vessels, which had been in everyday use.* As regards the affairs with women, the allegations held. Indeed, later on he had a keen taste for deflowering virgins, who would even be procured for him from all over the place by his wife. He was not concerned at all at his own reputation for gambling, playing unpretentiously and openly for his own amusement, even when he was an old man, not only in the month of December* but also on other holidays and even on working days. There is no doubt about this; a letter exists in his own hand in which he says:

I dined, my dear Tiberius, with the same men. Vinicius and the elder Silius joined the party. During the meal we gambled like old men, both yesterday and today. When the dice were thrown, whoever had got a 'dog' or a six put in a denarius for each of the dice. Then whoever threw a Venus scooped the lot.*

pg 81And again in another letter he wrote:

My dear Tiberius, we enjoyed a very pleasant Quinquatria.* For we played games all day long and made the gaming board hot. Your brother made a great fuss, though in the end he didn't lose much at all, for little by little against his expectations he won back most of the large sums he had initially lost. For my part, I lost twenty thousand sesterces, since I was playing extravagantly with an open hand, as I generally do. For if I had asked everyone to return for the stakes I had let go, or had kept for myself what I gave away to others, I would have been fifty thousand up. But I prefer it like this, for my generosity will bring me celestial glory.

He wrote to his daughter: T have sent you two hundred and fifty denarii, the same amount I gave to each of my guests, in case they wanted to play dice or odds and evens during dinner.'

[72]    It is generally agreed that in other aspects of his life he was very restrained, attracting no suspicion of any other faults. He lived at first near the Roman Forum, at the top of the Ringmakers' steps, in a house which had belonged to the orator Calvus. Later he lived on the Palatine but in the no less modest house which had belonged to Hortensius. It was notable neither for its size nor for its decor, having within it small colonnades of Alban stone* and no marble decoration at all nor any suites with lavish flooring. And for more than forty years, he slept in the same bedroom winter and summer, and even though he found the city detrimental to his health in winter, he still continued to spend his winters in town. If ever he had some business he wanted to conduct in secret or without interruption, he had a particular room on a higher level which he used to call his Syracuse or his little workshop and this is where he would go, or else to the suburban villa of one of his freedmen. When he was ill he would sleep in the house of Maecenas. For relaxation he would generally repair to the coast and the islands off Campania, or else to the towns closest to Rome, Lanuvium, Praeneste, and Tibur, too, where he would frequently pronounce judgement from the portico of the Temple of Hercules. He was angered by extensive and luxurious places in the country and when his granddaughter Julia had had a rather lavish place built he had it razed to the ground. His own country places, modest as they were, he furnished not with statues or painted panels but rather with terraces and plantations and objects notable for their great age and rarity, such as the enormous bones of pg 82huge monsters and beasts from Capri, which were said to be the bones of giants, and the weaponry of heroes.

[73]    The plainness of his household utensils and furniture is evident even now from the remaining couches and tables, many of which are scarcely smart enough for an ordinary citizen. They say that he would always sleep on a bed which was low and equipped with simple coverings. He rarely wore clothes which were not produced in his own household by his sister, his wife, his daughter, or his granddaughters.* His togas were neither close-fitting nor voluminous, his purple stripe neither broad nor narrow.* His shoes were a little raised to make him seem taller than he was. At all times he would keep clothes for public wear and shoes in his bed-chamber, ready for any sudden and unexpected occasions.

[74]    He gave dinner parties with great frequency, though they were always formal, having great care for the rank and personal qualities of his guests. Valerius Messala relates that he never invited anyone who was a freedman to dinner with the exception of Menas, and even then only after he had been deemed of free birth, as a result of the defeat of Sextus Pompeius' fleet.* Augustus himself writes that he once invited a man in whose villa he used to stay* and who had earlier acted as his scout. Often he would arrive at the dinner party rather late and leave rather early, so that the guests would begin their meal before he had taken his place and would stay on after he had left. He would serve a dinner of three courses or, when he was being particularly generous, six; while avoiding extravagance he was always hospitable. He would draw into the general conversation those who were silent or whispering and he would provide entertainers and actors and even street performers from the circus, and frequently story-tellers also.

[75]    Holidays and religious festivals he would observe lavishly on the whole, but sometimes just with amusements. On the Saturnalia,* and at other times if the fancy took him, he would sometimes distribute gifts of clothing, gold and silver, and sometimes coins of every denomination, including old ones issued by kings and other nations, and occasionally nothing but hair-cloth, sponges, pokers, tongs, and other things of that kind with mysterious and punning labels. At dinner parties he would auction lots of widely differing value or else pictures with only their reverse sides on view, thus through the dictates of chance frustrating or fulfilling the hopes of pg 83the purchasers. He would insist that every couch* should make bids and have a share in either the loss or the gain.

[76]    As for food (for I do not omit even this), he ate sparingly and generally only simple food. He had a particular taste for coarse bread, small fish, moist cheese moulded by hand, and green figs from the second crop. He would even take food before dinner, the time and place dictated by his stomach. These are his own words from his letters: 'I had some bread and some little figs in my carriage.' And another time: 'When I was on my way home from the Regia in my litter, I ate an ounce of bread and a few grapes from a hard-skinned cluster.' And again: 'No Jew, my dear Tiberius, observes his Sabbath fast* so scrupulously as I have kept fast today, for it was only in the baths after the first hour of the night that I ate two mouthfuls of bread before I was rubbed with oil.' Because of his carelessness in this respect, he would often eat on his own either before the beginning or after the end of a dinner party, while during the party itself he would not touch a thing.*

[77]    He was naturally inclined to be very sparing in his consumption of wine also.* Cornelius Nepos records that when he was with his troops at Mutina he would not usually have more than three glasses at dinner. Later on, even when he was indulging himself most freely, he never had more than a pint; if he had more than this, he would throw it up. His favourite wine was Raetican but he rarely drank before dinner. Instead of a drink he would have some bread soaked in cold water or a piece of cucumber, a tender lettuce-heart or an apple, fresh or dried, with a tart flavour.

[78]    After lunch, he would take a short rest, just as he was, with his clothes and shoes on and no blanket for his feet, putting his hand over his eyes. After dinner he withdrew to his couch where he would work by lamplight. There he would remain until late into the night when he had completed what remained of the day's business or most of it. He went thence to bed where he would sleep no more than seven hours and even then not continuously for he would wake up three or four times in the course of those hours.* If, as happens, he could not get back to sleep, he would summon readers or storytellers and when sleep had returned to him he would often not wake until after first light. When he was awake after dark, he would always have someone sitting with him. He hated having to get up early and, if he had to rise earlier than usual for reasons of business or for some pg 84religious purpose, to minimize the inconvenience he would stay as close by as possible in the room of one of his friends. Still, he was often short of sleep and would drop off as he was being carried around the streets or when there was some delay and his litter was set down.

[79]    His appearance was striking and he remained exceedingly graceful all through his life, though he cared nothing for adorning himself. He was so little concerned about arranging his hair that he would employ several hairdressers simultaneously for speed and sometimes he would have his hair clipped and his beard shaved at the same time, while he himself meanwhile was reading something or even doing some writing. The expression of his face, whether he was speaking or silent, was so calm and serene that one of the leading men of Gaul confessed to his fellows that he was so impressed and won over that he abandoned his plan to throw the emperor over the cliff, when he was admitted to his presence as he was crossing the Alps. His eyes were clear and bright; he liked it to be thought that they revealed a godlike power and was pleased if someone who regarded him closely then lowered their gaze, as though from the sun's force.* In old age, however, the sight of his left eye diminished. His few teeth were weak and decayed. His hair curled slightly and was yellowish. His eyebrows met. His ears were of medium size. His nose protruded above then curved in below. His complexion was between dark and pale. He was short of stature (although his freedman and record-keeper Julius Marathus relates that he was five feet nine inches tall*) but did not appear so because his limbs were well made and well proportioned so that one only noticed his height by comparison when someone taller was standing next to him.

[80]    It is said that his body was mottled with birthmarks spread out over his chest and stomach which in their shape, number, and arrangement resembled the constellation of the bear, but that he also had numerous callouses, resembling ringworm, which were caused by itching on his body and harsh and frequent use of the strigil.* He was rather weak in his left hip, thigh, and leg so that sometimes he even limped but he got his strength back through treatment with sand and reeds.* In the index finger of his right hand, too, he sometimes felt such a weakness that when it was bent up and contracted in the cold he was hardly able to write even with a fingerstall made of pg 85horn. He also complained about his bladder, though the pain was relieved when he finally passed some stones in his urine.

[81]    In the course of his life he experienced a number of severe and dangerous illnesses, particularly after the conquest of Spain, when, desperately ill as a result of abscesses in his liver, he was obliged to undergo an unusual and dangerous remedy; since hot fomentations were unsuccessful the doctor, Antonius Musa,* made him submit to cold ones. Some maladies recurred every year and at a particular time. Around the time of his birthday* he was frequently unwell. In early spring he suffered from an enlargement of the midriff, while when the winds were southerly it was catarrh. His constitution was disturbed as a result, so that he could not easily tolerate either cold or heat.

[82]    In winter he wrapped himself up in four tunics and a thick toga, as well as an undershirt, a woollen vest, and coverings for his thighs and shins. In the summer he would have the doors of his bedroom open and often he would sleep in an open court beside a fountain, with someone fanning him, too. He could not bear the sun even in winter and he would wear a broad-brimmed hat when he went for a walk in the open at home also. Journeys by litter he would make by night and in short and easy stages so that it would take him two days to reach Praeneste or Tibur.* And if a place could be reached by sea, he always preferred to take a boat. Such was the state of his health that he took great care of himself, above all bathing only rarely. More often he would be rubbed with oil or work up a sweat by a fire, after which he had poured over him water, either cool or lukewarm from the heat of the sun. Whenever he needed to use hot salt water or sulphur baths for his muscles, he made do with sitting in a wooden tub, which he himself referred to by the Spanish term dureta, and immersing his hands and feet in turn.

[83]    Immediately after the civil wars he stopped taking part in exercises with horse or arms in the Campus, at first turning to pass–ball and balloon–ball,* but not long afterwards confining himself to riding or going for walks, at the end of which he would do some running and jumping, wrapped in a cloak or blanket. For relaxation he would sometimes go fishing with a rod, and sometimes play at dice, or marbles or nuts with little boys. Boys whose looks and manners were endearing he would seek out from all over the place, but pg 86particularly Moors and Syrians. For he loathed dwarves and cripples and anything like that as ill-omened and freaks of nature.

[84]    From his earliest youth he pursued eloquence and the liberal arts with the utmost diligence. During the war at Mutina, despite the mass of things he had to attend to, he is said to have spent some time each day reading, writing, and declaiming. Indeed, thereafter he never once addressed the senate, or people, or army without first preparing and organizing his speech, although he was quite capable of speaking off the cuff without preparation. And so that he would not risk forgetting, or waste time in memorizing, his practice was to read everything out from a written text. Remarks also to individuals and even to his wife Livia, if they were about something serious, he would always write out and read from his notes, in case in speaking off the cuff he should say less or more than he meant to. His manner of speaking was attractive and quite particular; he practised regularly with an elocution teacher. But sometimes when his throat troubled him he addressed the people by means of a herald.

[85]    He composed numerous works of various kinds in prose, some of which he would read to a family gathering or as if to an auditorium, for instance his 'Reply to Brutus concerning Cato'.* He read these volumes through almost to the end, but handed them over to Tiberius to finish when he was tired, being then advanced in years. He also wrote, 'Exhortations to Philosophy' and something 'On his own Life',* which he described in thirteen books up to the Cantabrian war and no further. His ventures into poetry were brief. One book, written by him in hexameter verse, survives which has as its subject and title 'Sicily'. There is another, similarly brief, 'Epigrams' which he mainly composed when taking his bath. However, the tragedy which he began with great enthusiasm he later destroyed when the writing did not go well. And when his friends asked what was happening to Ajax he replied that Ajax had fallen on his sponge.*

[86]    He cultivated an elegant and restrained manner of speaking which avoided the vanity of an artificial style of arrangement, as well as the 'rank odour', as he termed it, 'of far-fetched vocabulary'; his principal concern was to express his meaning as clearly as possible. The better to achieve this end, and so that nowhere would a reader or a listener be confused or slow to understand, he had no hesitation in putting prepositions before the names of cities nor in repeating rather frequently conjunctions whose omission leads to some obscur-pg 87ity, even if it is more stylish. Affected writers and those fond of archiac forms, as erring in opposite directions, he despised equally and sometimes took them to task, particularly his friend Maecenas whose 'scented curls', as he called them, he attacked relentlessly, making fun of him through parody. But he did not spare Tiberius either, watching out for his sometimes effete and far-fetched expressions. Mark Antony, however, he laid into as a madman on the grounds that he aimed to produce writings which would be admired rather than understood. Then, making a joke of his perversity and inconsistency in choosing a style of speaking, he added this comment: 'Are you so uncertain, too, whether you should take as a model Annius Cimber* or Veranius Flaccus that you even make use of terms which Sallustius Crispus took from Cato's "Origines"?* Or do you think the high flown style of Asiatic orators with their empty phrases should be adopted into our own language?'* Once, when in a letter he was praising the intelligence of his granddaughter Agrippina, he commented: 'But you really must take care that you do not write or speak with affectation.'

[87]    Some characteristic expressions he used rather frequently in everyday speech can be seen in letters in his own hand, in which he sometimes writes, when he wants to say that certain men will never pay: 'they'll pay on the Greek Kalends.'* And when he wants to encourage his addressee to put up with present circumstances whatever they are, he says: 'Let us be satisfied with the Cato we have.' To convey the speed of something fast, he says, 'Quicker than asparagus cooks.' He would often say baceolus ['idiotic'] instead of stultus ['stupid'], pulleiacus ['darkish'] for pullus ['dark'], vacerrosus ['crackbrained'] for cerritus ['insane'] and talked of feeling vapide ['flat'] rather than male ['ill'], as well as using betizare ['go like a beet'] instead of languere ['feel weak'] or, as common people say, lachanizare ['flop']. He would also say simus for sumus ['we are'] and used domos for the genitive singular form [of domus 'house'] instead of domuos. His usage of these two forms was invariable, in case anyone should mistake for errors what was his usual practice. In an examination of his handwriting the following characteristics stand out: he does not divide up his words and when there is not space for all the letters in a line, instead of running them on into the next line, he writes them underneath and draws a line around them.

[88]    He did not particularly observe orthography, that is the pg 88practice and rule of spelling as taught by the grammarians, and seems rather to have followed the guidance of those who advise writing words as they are spoken. As for his changing or leaving out not just letters but even syllables, that is a mistake people often make. I would not myself have pointed it out except that, to my surprise, others have reported that he appointed a replacement for a provincial governor who was an ex-consul on the grounds that he was an uncouth and ignorant fellow, for he had noticed that the man wrote ixi for ipsi ['themselves']. If he wanted to write in code, he would put 'b' for 'a', 'c' for 'b' and so on for the rest of the alphabet but putting a double 'a' for 'x'.

[89]    Nor was his interest in the teachings of the Greeks any less keen. His teacher of declamation was Apollodorus of Pergamon whom, despite the man's great age, he took with him from Rome when, still in his youth, he made a journey to Apollonia.* Later he took his fill of various kinds of learning in the company of Areus, the philosopher, and his sons Dionysius and Nicanor. He did not, however, reach the stage of being able to speak Greek fluently or compose anything in it. If it was required, he would put something together in Latin and have others translate it. Yet he was not altogether unfamiliar with their poetry and even took pleasure in old comedies, often having them put on in public shows. When reading authors in Greek or Latin, he looked out most particularly for precepts and examples which would be of benefit in public or private life. These he would often copy out word for word and send to members of his household, or to those in charge of armies or provinces or to the city magistrates, whenever any of them was in need of advice. Sometimes he would even read out texts in their entirety to the senate and would have them included in edicts to the people, for instance Quintus Metellus' 'On Increasing the Population' and Rutilius' 'On Limiting Building', so as to show people in both cases that he was not the first to raise such matters but that they had been a cause of concern in earlier days.* He gave every encouragement to the men of talent of his day. When they gave recitations of their work he was a well-disposed and patient listener, not only in the case of poetry and history, but also speeches and treatises. He took great offence, however, if anything was written about him which was not weighty and by the best of authors, often instructing the praetors that his name should not be made commonplace in speaking competitions.

pg 89[90]    In matters to do with the divine, we are told that his attitudes were as follows: he showed some weakness in being so afraid of thunder and lightning that he always took with him a sealskin for protection* and at any sign of a big storm he would take refuge in a room which was underground and vaulted. As I said earlier,* he once had a close brush with lightning when making a journey by night.

[91]    He paid regard both to his own dreams and dreams others had about him. Though he had made a decision because of ill health not to leave his tent at the battle of Philippi, he did leave it nevertheless because of the warning in a friend's dream. This was fortunate, as it turned out, for the camp was captured and his litter was run through and pulled apart in the enemy attack, as it was thought he was still lying there. Always during the spring he himself would have frequent and alarming dreams which were without substance and came to nothing. At other times they were less frequent but more likely to have significance. As he used to make constant visits to the Temple of Jupiter the Thunderer which he had dedicated on the Capitoline, he dreamed that Jupiter Capitolinus complained to him that he had taken away his worshippers and that he himself replied that he had placed Jupiter the Thunderer there beside him as a doorkeeper. Soon after, in consequence, he had bells put on the apex of the Thunderer's roof, since these usually hang from doors. It was also because of a dream that on a particular day every year he would beg from the people, holding out his empty hand for them to put pennies in.*

[92]    He would respect some auspices and omens as the most reliable of indicators. If his shoes were put on in the morning the wrong way, the left instead of the right, it was a bad omen. If, when he was embarking on a long journey by land or by sea, there happened to be drizzling rain, it was good omen indicating that he would return soon and with success. However, he was particularly influenced by prodigies. When a palm tree* sprang up between the joints in the paving in front of his house he moved it to the inner court of his household gods and took great care to ensure its flourishing. When a most ancient oak tree on the island of Capri, whose branches had withered and drooped to the ground, recovered at his arrival, he was so delighted that he handed over Aenaria to the city of Naples in exchange for the island.* He also had regard for particular days, never setting out on a journey the day after market-day,* or embarking on pg 90any important business on the Nones; though in this case, as he writes to Tiberius, all he feared was the unlucky sound of the name.*

[93]    As for the religious customs of foreigners, some he regarded with reverence as ancient and traditional, while the rest he held in disdain. For he was initiated into the mysteries at Athens* and when later at Rome he was sitting in judgement in a case concerning the privileges of priests of Athenian Ceres and some rather secret matters were being discussed, he sent away the court and the crowd of bystanders and heard the disputants alone. On the other hand, not only did he omit to make a small detour to see Apis,* when travelling through, but he even praised his grandson Gaius because on a journey through Judaea he did not pay his respects in Jerusalem.*

[94]    And now that we are on this subject, it would not be irrelevant to add an account of the events before his birth, on the very day he was born, and subsequently, from which could be drawn the hope and expectation of his greatness and enduring good fortune. When, in ancient times, part of the wall of Velitrae had been touched by lightning, this was seen as a sign that a citizen of the town would one day be ruler; bolstered by this, the people of Velitrae immediately waged war with the Roman people, and on many subsequent occasions too, almost to their own destruction. Finally, however, it became clear that this event had been a sign portending the power of Augustus. Julius Marathus records that a few months before Augustus was born a prodigy was generally observed at Rome, which announced that nature was bringing forth a king for the Roman people. The senate, he continues, was most alarmed and agreed that no child born in that year should be raised. However, those whose wives were pregnant ensured that the decree was not registered in the treasury,* since each hoped that the prodigy referred to his own child. I read in the books of Asclepiades of Mendes, entitled 'Theologoumena', that Atia, attending the sacred rites of Apollo in the middle of the night, had her litter positioned in the temple and fell asleep, while the other matrons were also sleeping. All of a sudden, a serpent slid up to her, then quickly went away. On waking, she purified herself, as she would after sleeping with her husband. And at once there appeared on her body a mark in the image of a snake and she was never able to get rid of it, so that ever afterwards she avoided going to the public baths. Augustus was born ten months later and for this reason is believed to be the son of Apollo. It was pg 91Atia, too, who before she gave birth, dreamed that her insides were carried to the stars and spread over all the earth and the skies. Octavius, the father, dreamed that the sun rose from Atia's womb.

    On the day Augustus was born, when the conspiracy of Catiline was being discussed in the senate house and Octavius stayed away until late because his wife was in labour, Publius Nigidius, hearing why he was delayed, when informed of the hour of the birth, asserted (as is generally known) that the master of the world was born. When Octavius, who was leading an army through remote regions of Thrace, sought guidance concerning his son at some barbarian rituals in the grove of Father Liber,* the same prediction was made by the priests, for so great a flame had leapt up when they poured wine on the altar, that it passed beyond the peak of the temple roof and right up to the sky, a portent which had only previously occurred when Alexander the Great* offered sacrifice at that altar. And on the very next night thereafter, he dreamed he saw his son of greater than mortal size with a thunderbolt and sceptre and emblems of Jupiter Best and Greatest and a radiate crown, on a chariot decorated with laurel drawn by twelve horses of astonishing whiteness.

    When Augustus was still a baby, as is recorded in the writings of Gaius Drusus, he was placed one evening by his nurse in his cot on level ground but the next morning he had disappeared. He was only found, after a long search, in a tower of great height where he lay facing the rising sun. When he first began to speak, he ordered some frogs to be silent who happened to be croaking in his grandfather's villa and they say that from that time no frog croaked there. When he was having a snack in a grove by the fourth milestone along the road to Campania, suddenly an eagle snatched the bread from his hand and, after flying up high into the air, unexpectedly came back and, dropping down gently, returned it to him. After the dedication of the Capitoline temple, Quintus Catulus* had dreams for two nights in succession: first that Jupiter Best and Greatest, when a number of youths were playing around his altar, took one of them aside and placed in the fold of his toga the image of the republic, which he carried in his hand; and, on the next night, that he noticed the same boy in the lap of Capitoline Jupiter and when he gave orders that the boy be brought down, this was forbidden by a warning from the god, as the boy was being reared for the salvation of the state. And on pg 92the next day Catulus encountered Augustus, who was otherwise unknown to him, and looking upon him with wonder, remarked on his great similarity to the boy in his dream. Others give a different account of Catulus' first dream, namely that when a number of wellborn youths asked Jupiter for a guardian, he pointed out one of their number, on whom they were to depend for all their wishes and, having touched the boy's mouth with his fingers then brought them to his own lips. Marcus Cicero, when following Julius Caesar up to the Capitol, happened to tell his friends of his own dream of the previous night: a boy of noble appearance was let down from the sky on a golden chain. He came to rest before the doors of the Capitoline temple and was presented with a whip by Jupiter. Immediately afterwards Cicero saw Augustus, who was then relatively unknown and had been summoned to the ceremony by his great-uncle Caesar, and declared that he was the one whose image had appeared to him in his dream.

    When Augustus took on the toga of manhood, his broad-striped tunic was ripped in two and fell at his feet. Some interpreted this as meaning no less than that the order whose emblem this was would some time become subject to him. The Deified Julius, in the course of taking over a place for his camp at Munda, when a palm tree was discovered in the wood which was being cut down, gave orders that it be preserved as an omen of victory. From this a shoot at once sprang forth which within a few days had so matured that it not only equalled its parent in size but even overshadowed it and it was filled with the nests of doves, even though that breed of bird has a particular aversion to hard and spiky leaves. They say that Caesar was particularly influenced by that sign in wishing for no other successor than his sister's grandson. Having withdrawn to Apollonia, Augustus went with Agrippa to the studio of the astrologer Theogenes. When a great and almost incredible future was predicted for Agrippa, who was the first to put his questions, Augustus concealed the details of his own birth and kept refusing to reveal them, through fear or shame that he himself would turn out to be of lesser importance. However, when, after much persuasion, he slowly and unwillingly disclosed them, Theogenes jumped up and venerated him. Soon Augustus had acquired such faith in fate that he made public his horoscope and had a silver coin struck with the image of the star sign Capricorn, under which he was born.

pg 93[95]    When he returned from Apollonia, after the death of Caesar, and entered the city, all at once, although the sky was clear and calm, a circle appeared around the sun, like a rainbow, and suddenly the monument to Caesar's daughter Julia was struck by lightning. In Augustus' first consulship, when he was taking the auspices, twelve vultures appeared, as they had to Romulus,* and, when he slaughtered the victims, all their livers were found to be doubled inwards underneath; all the experts agreed in interpreting this as an omen portending a good and great future.

[96]    He even sensed in advance what would be the outcome of all his wars. When the troops of the triumvirs had withdrawn to Bononia an eagle, which came to rest on the top of his tent, set upon two ravens who were attacking it from each side, bringing them to the ground. From this the entire army drew the conclusion that such a dispute would arise between the colleagues as indeed happened, and predicted what the outcome would be. When Augustus was travelling to Philippi a Thessalian declared that his victory was assured on the authority of the Deified Julius, whose image had appeared to him when he was travelling along a byway. When a sacrifice that was being offered near Perusia did not go well and he gave orders that more victims should be offered, the enemy suddenly burst in and seized all the ritual equipment. The haruspices agreed that the dangers and setbacks which were predicted for the sacrificer would all befall those who had taken the entrails, and this was exactly what happened. The day before he and his fleet engaged in the Sicilian war, he was walking along the shore when a fish jumped out of the water and landed at his feet. When at Actium he was going to join the fray, he met an ass with his driver. The man's name was Eutychus, while the animal was called Nicon.* After his victory he placed bronze images of them both in the temple which he had made of the place where his camp had been.

[97]    His death also, which I shall recount later, and his divinization thereafter were both foretold through the clearest signs. When he was performing the rites* to mark the end of the lustrum in the Campus Martius with a great crowd of the people in attendance, an eagle flew around him a number of times, then went over to a nearby temple where it landed on the first letter of the word 'Agrippa'. Noticing this, he instructed his colleague Tiberius to pronounce the vows which it is customary to undertake for the next lustrum. For he pg 94himself, although the tablets were written out and ready, was not willing to embark upon what he would not bring to a conclusion. At around the same time, the first letter of his name was struck from the inscription on his statue by a bolt of lightning. This was understood to mean that he would only live for a further hundred days, for that was the significance of the letter 'C', and that it would come to pass that he would be included among the gods, for 'aesar', the remaining part of the name 'Caesar', means 'god' in the language of the Etruscans.

    Then, when he was about to send Tiberius to Illyria and planning to accompany him as far as Beneventum,* he was held up by litigants requiring his judgement in one case after another and declared that, whatever tried to delay him, he would stay in Rome no longer, and this was soon seen as another omen. For, having embarked on his journey, he got as far as Astura, and thence, contrary to his usual practice, put to sea before daybreak, as the wind was favourable; thus he succumbed to an illness, which began with diarrhoea. [98]Then, having travelled along the Campanian coast and around the neighbouring islands, he rested for four days in an inlet by Capri, feeling particularly inclined to enjoy leisure and the company of his friends. As he happened to be sailing past the bay of Puteoli, the passengers and sailors of an Alexandrian ship, which had just arrived, dressed in white, wearing crowns, and offering incense, heaped upon him great praise, saying that it was thanks to him that they lived, travelled, and enjoyed liberty and good fortune. Greatly pleased by this event, he divided four hundred gold coins amongst his companions, extracting an undertaking on oath from each of them that they would only spend the money on Alexandrian merchandise. And for the rest of the days which followed, he gave out, amongst other presents, togas and Greek cloaks, proposing a rule that Romans should adopt Greek dress and language, and Greeks Roman dress and language. He was an enthusiastic observer of the exercises of the ephebes, of whom there was still a significant number on Capri, according to the traditional practice.* He even provided a feast for them which he himself attended, allowing them, even demanding of them, licence to joke and fight over tokens for apples and sweets and all kinds of things. Indeed, he indulged in every kind of fun.

    The neighbouring part of the island of Capri he termed the City of Do-nothings, on account of the idleness of those of his com-pg 95panions who had retreated there. But one man, of whom he was very fond, Masgaba by name, he used to call 'Ktistes',* as though he were the island's founder. This Masgaba had died the previous year and Augustus, noticing, as he looked out from the dining–room, that his tomb was surrounded by a crowd of people and many lights,* composed a line of poetry off the cuff, which he declaimed out loud:

  •                                   The founder's tomb I see in flames.

And, turning to Tiberius' friend, Thrasyllus, who was reclining opposite him and knew nothing of the matter, he asked him which of the poets he thought was the author. When Thrasyllus hesitated, he added another line:

  •                                   Seest thou Masgaba honoured with lights?

and asked his opinion on this one also. When the other replied simply that, whoever wrote them, they were very good, he burst out laughing and made many jokes. Shortly thereafter he crossed over to Naples, even though his digestive system was already weakened through intermittent illness. Nevertheless he sat through the whole of the five-yearly gymnastic contest which had been established in his honour, then set out with Tiberius for their destination. But, his condition worsening on the way back, he finally took to his bed at Nola and held a long meeting in secret with Tiberius, whom he had recalled from his expedition. After this, he was unable to give his mind to any further matter of importance.

[99]    On his last day, he kept asking whether there was any disturbance in the streets because of him. Asking for a mirror, he gave instructions that his hair should be combed and his drooping features rearranged. Then, when the friends he had summoned were present, he inquired of them whether they thought he had played his role well in the comedy of life, adding the concluding lines:

  •                                   Since the play has been so good, clap your hands
  •                                   And all of you dismiss us with applause.*

Then he sent everyone away and suddenly, in the middle of questioning some people who had come from Rome about the illness of Drusus' daughter, he slipped away, as he was kissing Livia, with these words: 'Live mindful of our marriage, Livia, and farewell.' Thus did he have the good fortune to die easily and as he had always pg 96wished. For whenever he heard that anyone had died quickly and without suffering, he would pray that he himself and his dear ones would have a similar 'euthanasia'*—that was even the term he used. Before he died he gave only one indication that his mind was disturbed, when he suddenly took fright and complained that he was being taken away by forty young men. And this too was really a premonition rather than a symptom of mental failing, for that was the number of the praetorian soldiers who carried him forth for the funeral. Editor’s Note[100]He died in the same bedroom as his father Octavius, when two Sextuses, Pompeius and Appuleius, were consuls, on the fourteenth day before the Kalends of September,* at the ninth hour, when he was thirty-five days short of seventy-six years.

    Councillors from the towns and colonies carried his body from Nola as far as Bovillae,* by night, because of the season of the year, and in the intervals it was placed in the basilica or the largest temple in one of the towns. From Bovillae, it was taken by the equestrian order who carried it to Rome where it was placed in the vestibule of his house. The senators so competed to show devotion in the elaboration of the funeral and in honouring his memory that amongst many other proposals some were of the view that the funeral procession should come through the triumphal gate, that the Victory from the senate house should head the procession, and that the dirge should be sung by boys and girls who were the children of the leading citizens. Others recommended that on the day of the funeral people should take off their gold rings and replace them with iron ones, and some that his bones should be collected up by priests of the senior colleges.* There was even one who advocated that the name of the month of August should be transferred to September, since he had been born in the latter and died in the former. Another man proposed that the entire period from the day he was born to the day he died should be termed the Augustan age and should appear as such in the records. However, though a limit was placed upon the honours, his eulogy was delivered twice, once by Tiberius in front of the Temple of the Deified Julius and once in front of the old rostra by Drusus, Tiberius' son. Then he was carried on the shoulders of senators to the Campus Martius, where he was cremated. There was even an ex–praetor who swore that after the cremation he saw Augustus' image ascending into the sky. The remains were gathered by leading men of the equestrian order, dressed in unbelted tunics, pg 97their feet bare, before being enclosed in the Mausoleum. This monument he had had built between the Flaminian Way and the Tiber bank in his sixth consulship and had planted around it trees and walkways which he had then made available for public use.

[101]    In the consulship of Lucius Plancius and Gaius Silius, three days before the Nones of April,* one year and four months before his death, he had made a will, in two books, partly in his hand and partly in those of his freedmen Polybius and Hilarion, and deposited it with the Vestal Virgins. This they now brought forth, together with three rolls, sealed in the same manner. All of these were opened in the senate and read out. He designated as primary heirs Tiberius, who was to receive one half and one sixth of his property, and Livia, who was to receive a third. They were also ordered to take his name. His secondary heirs* were Drusus, the son of Tiberius, who was to receive one third, while the remainder went to Germanicus and his three male children. In third place were many relatives and friends. To the Roman people he left forty million sesterces, to the tribes* three million five hundred thousand, to the praetorian guard a thousand each, to the city cohorts five hundred, and to the legionaries three hundred. This sum, he ordered, was to be paid at once for he always had it to hand and ready. He gave various legacies to other people, some amounting to twenty thousand sesterces. These were to be paid out on a day in a year's time, with the excuse that the size of his holdings was limited and even his heirs would get no more than a hundred and fifty million. For, although he had in recent years received fourteen hundred million through the wills of his friends, almost all of this, together with the estates of his two fathers* and his other inheritances he had spent for the benefit of the state. He gave orders that if anything happened to the Julias, his daughter and granddaughter, they were not to be buried in his tomb. As for the three rolls, in one he set out the instructions for his funeral, in the second a list of his achievements, which he wished to have inscribed in bronze and set up in front of his Mausoleum,* while in the third he gave an account of the entire empire, how many soldiers there were serving in each place and how much money there was in the treasury, in the provincial accounts, and in outstanding taxes. He added the names of his freedmen and slaves from whom details could be obtained.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
43 Velitrae: about 20 miles south of Rome (modern name Velletri).
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minor families: i.e. those who were not patricians but of plebeian rank.
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The family … to the patriciate: Suetonius' account here is inconsistent with what is known of the senatorial élite in the earliest period of Roman history from other ancient sources. Livy's account implies that in the time of the kings only patricians could be senators. It is also highly unlikely that an entire family could change status from patrician to plebeian.
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during the Second Punic War. 205 bce.
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44 other services … elections in the Campus Martius: presumably these related to the conduct of elections and were not wholly respectable.
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the gang of runaway slaves … around Thurii: 60 bce. Spartacus led a rebellion of slave gladiators in 73–71 bce; the aristocrat Catiline was leader of a conspiracy suppressed 63–62.
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Bessi: a mountain tribe in Thrace.
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Cicero … our allies: Cicero, To his Brother Quintus 1. 2. 7.
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displayed many senatorial portraits: a family with senatorial ancestors would display portraits of them in the entrance hall of the house.
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the twenty-man commission … the Julian law: 59 bce. Cf. Jul. 20.
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45 eight days before the Kalends of October: 23 September 63. It is not known which part of the Palatine was known as Ox Heads.
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the emperor: Hadrian.
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46 Ennius: Quintus Ennius (239–169) was one of Rome's leading epic poets before Virgil. The line is from his Annals (502, Vahlen, edn. 2).
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when his great-uncle … a serious illness: in 46.
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47 tribunes of the plebs … not a senator: this magistracy was restricted to those of plebeian family. Since the time of Sulla only senators were eligible.
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48 he should be honoured then disposed of: Cicero, Letters to his Friends 11. 20. 1. Cicero seems to have been punning on the double meaning of the Latin verb tollo, 'to raise' and 'to put out of the way'.
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in two battles … Antony's wing: in 42.
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mora: a game whereby one person suddenly raises his fingers and the other must at once guess how many.
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49 Perusia: modern Perugia, a town in Umbria.
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both before the war and during it: in 41.
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the orders: i.e. senators and knights.
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the capture of Perusia: in 40.
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the Sicilian war: 43–35 bce.
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50 Others criticize … festival procession: it is no doubt relevant that Sextus Pompeius presented himself as the 'son of Neptune' according to Dio 48. 48.
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Paulus' father: Marcus Lepidus the triumvir's elder brother, Lucius Aemilius Paulus, proscribed by the triumvirs in 43.
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Circeii: a seaside town south of Rome.
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51 Gnaeus: the name wrongly appears as Titus in the manuscripts.
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Bononia: modern Bologna.
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Actium: in 31.
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the Ceraunian mountains: in northeastern Epirus.
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Psylli: an African people known for their skill in dealing with snakes.
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52 Alexander the Great … for him to see: compare the references to Alexander in Jul. 7, also Aug. 50 and 94.
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Lepidus: Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, son of the triumvir Lepidus.
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the emperor's granddaughter: Julia, daughter of Augustus' daughter Julia.
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the foreign wars … the defeat of Antony: in 35–33 and 26–25.
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53 the River Albis: the River Elbe.
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Marcus Crassus and Mark Antony: Crassus lost his standards at Carrhae in 53, Antony his when his officers were defeated in 40 and 36.
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on only two occasions: the doors of the temple of Janus Quirinus were believed to have been closed in the time of the legendary King Numa and in 235 with the conclusion of the First Punic War.
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54 Lollius … Varus: in 17 or 16 bce, and 9 ce respectively.
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every tenth man … barley: 'decimation' was a traditional form of punishment in the Roman army. Soldiers' rations normally included wheat rather than barley.
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ten-foot measuring poles or even a lump of turf: these were associated with the common soldiers' tasks of measuring off the camp or building the ramparts and thus would have been humiliating for officers.
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55 sons: i.e. his grandsons, sons by adoption. See Aug. 64.
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'comrades' … the dignity of his own family: contrast Jul. 67.
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his naval victory: Agrippa and Augustus defeated Sextus Pompeius at Naulochus in 36 bce.
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'make haste slowly!'; 'A safe commander's better than a bold one': both these phrases are given in Greek.
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The consulship … the army: in 43 bce.
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56 His second consulship … the eleventh time: 33, 31, 30–23 bce.
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he accepted it for the twelfth time … the thirteenth time: 5 and 2 bce.
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He did not begin them all in Rome: it was almost unprecedented for a consul to embark upon his period of office outside Rome.
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he later raised … when the latter was proscribed: it was exceptional for an ex-slave to be given equestrian status.
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57 on one occasion and then another chose a colleague: Agrippa and Tiberius.
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the first and third times with a colleague: again, Agrippa and then Tiberius.
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59 Ariminum: modern Rimini on the Adriatic coast.
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Pontifex Maximus: in 13 bce.
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the calendar which had been brought to order by the Divine Julius: cf. Jul. 40.
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he gave his own name … the month of his birth: cf. Jul. 76 and Aug. 100.
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60 the augury of Safety: an inquiry as to whether prayers should be offered for the safety of the state.
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he would risk incurring … the crime: the penalty would be applied to the accuser if the accused were acquitted.
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61 ducenarii: these would be men whose property was valued at 200,000 sesterces (half that required for knights) or above.
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twenty-five: the Latin text is most likely corrupt here. The manuscripts give the new minimum age as 30 but all other evidence suggests 30 was already the minimum, thus five years younger than the previous figure would be 25.
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the punishment of being sewn in the sack: parricides were sewn up in a sack with a dog, a cock, a snake, and a monkey and thrown into the sea or a river.
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the Cornelian law: under this law the witnesses to a forged will were liable to the same penalties as the forger.
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allowing an exception of three years: so that those who were widowed were not obliged by the threat of legal penalties to remarry immediately.
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increasing the rewards: the law regulating marriage passed in 18 bce was modified in 9 ce. Those who did not marry were penalized (e.g. with regard to their capacity to inherit) as were, to a lesser extent, those without children. Those who were married and had three children were given a number of privileges such as the right to stand for election in advance of the usual age.
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62 the young man's example: Germanicus was the son of Livia's son Drusus. With his wife Agrippina he produced numerous children. For details see Family Tree.
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Orcini: a term used to denote slaves freed by their master's will, thus owing their status to a death. The implication is that it was the triumvirs who had swelled the ranks of the senate with the unworthy, though Caesar himself seems to have increased the number from around 600 to around 900.
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63 the centumviral court: dealing with civil cases involving status, inheritance, and some other property rights referred to it by the praetor.
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Board of Ten: these judged disputes of law.
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praetors: from eight to ten.
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generous in honouring military achievements: the triumph was the highest military honour which could be won by a Roman general. Despite Suetonius' claim, triumphs, at least after the first ten years of Augustus' reign, virtually disappeared. The last non-member of the imperial family to triumph was Lucius Cornelius Balbus in 19 bce. After that the only triumphs to take place under Augustus were those of Tiberius in 7 bce and 12 ce. One reason for this was that a general needed to be fighting under his own auspices to win a triumph and most major wars took place in provinces which were under Augustus' supreme command. It is not clear how many may have received the less prestigious triumphal ornaments.
Editor’s Note
64 the Theatre Law … the equestrian census: strictly speaking, to be a member of the equestrian order, one needed a fortune of at least 400,000 sesterces. The Julian Law on the Theatre reinforced the existing reservation of the front rows at the theatre for senators and knights.
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restored the older arrangements for elections: presumably reversing the change instituted by Julius Caesar (Jul. 41).
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65 no matter what their degree of freedom: normally a grant of 'legitimate freedom' would automatically entitle an ex-slave to citizenship.
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Behold the Romans … the toga'd race!: Virgil, Aeneid 1. 282. Written in Augustus' own time, this epic poem was already playing an important role in the construction of national identity.
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money tokens: these were tablets or balls distributed to the people which could be exchanged for the sums inscribed on them.
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66 nothing would be given to those to whom nothing had been promised: because when the promise was made they were not citizens.
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'Torquati': from torquis meaning 'collar'.
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67 Augustus would even employ … forbade the practice: despite their high profile and sometimes glamorous associations, the social status of professional actors and gladiators was very low. For members of the élite to appear on stage and in the arena could be seen as humiliating.
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67 no one dressed in dark clothing should sit in the central rows: thus, all who did not wear a toga had to sit in less conspicuous places.
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though it had been the custom … together: apparently they had always sat separately at the theatre and circus.
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68 the praetor's tribunal: the president at the games was normally a praetor.
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Pontifex Maximus: cf. ch. 31 above.
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the upper-storey apartments: that is, in nearby buildings which commanded a view of the circus.
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of the Greek kind: perhaps meaning in Greek language and dress.
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the three theatres: those of Pompey, Balbus, and Marcellus.
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69 pantomime actor: Roman pantomime consisted in one actor presenting a dramatic scene to musical accompaniment through dance and gesture rather than words.
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he gestured with his finger: this seems to be a gesture signifying the effeminacy of the victim. Cf. Cal. 56.
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colonies: Here the term colony refers to the settlement of a number of veteran soldiers.
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he even gave Italy … the election day: thus, parity with the city-dwellers was not complete as only the local councillors in the colonies were in a position to exercise their voting rights as Roman citizens.
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allied cities: cities which enjoyed autonomy in their internal affairs.
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Latin or Roman citizenship: Latin citizenship gave some but not all the rights of full citizenship.
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70 Calagurritani: Calagurria was a town in northwestern Spain on the River Iberus (Ebro).
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Alexander the Great: for the significance of Alexander see chs. 18 and 94, and also Jul. 7.
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his clemency: though contrast ch. 27 above.
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71 young Agrippa: Augustus' grandson.
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to accept the dictatorship: in 22, the first year for some time when Augustus was not consul. Augustus' example in refusing honours is followed by a number of his successors. Cf. e.g. Tib. 24.
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the title 'Master': the term dominus was associated with the master-slave relationship.
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72 so that people … pay him respect: it was an established custom to greet or bid farewell to magistrates or commanders with a procession.
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All and sundry … the common people: it was the custom for important men to receive visits daily from those who hoped for their patronage.
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in the senate house: rather than them coming to his house. This account of Augustus' behaviour forms a contrast with that attributed to Caesar in Jul. 78.
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each man selecting his own candidate: see ch. 35 above.
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freedom of speech in wills: Romans often used the occasion of making a will to express their opinions of others. Cf. ch. 66 below.
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73 the conspiracy of Murena: cf. ch. 19 above.
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the lacus Curtius: a well or pool in an enclosure in the Forum which had powerful mythological associations. Cf. Livy, who gives two different versions of its origins in History of Rome 1. 12–13 and 7.6.
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destroyed by fire: around 3 ce.
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guilds: probably of officials.
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74 'Father of the Fatherland': Augustus received this title (see Glossary) in 2 bce. Contrast Suetonius' disapproving comment on Julius Caesar's acceptance of this title (Jul. 76).
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a dangerous illness: cf. ch. 81 below.
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Aesculapius: the god of healing.
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begun long ago: allegedly under Peisistratus in the sixth century.
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75 dressed in togas … regal insignia: their dress acknowledged that they were Roman subjects.
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his sister Octavia: presumably Augustus' full sister. See ch. 4 above.
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during his first consulship … his fifty-fourth year: 43 and 9 bce respectively.
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Mark Antony writes … for himself: such stories would have served Antony's purpose by showing Augustus' faithlessness in breaking an earlier engagement and his willingness to contract an alliance with a foreign ruler, as Antony himself had done.
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76 with penny and scales: the purchaser had to touch the scales three times with a penny in the presence of the praetor. Augustus thus became their pater familias, acquiring important legal rights over them.
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consuls: Gaius was consul designate in 5 bce, assuming office in 1 ce. Lucius was consul designate in 2 bce but died before assuming office.
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working wool: a traditionally respectable feminine occuption, associated with the virtues of early Rome.
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daily chronicles: probably the daily public bulletin of official news.
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He himself taught … many other skills: usually a slave tutor would have taught them.
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the lowest couch: the host's usual place.
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He adopted … by a law passed by the assembly of the curiae in the Forum: this form of adoption was followed because both were at the time legally independent following the deaths of their fathers.
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Surrentum: modern Sorrento, on the coast near Naples.
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77 her island: Pandateria, off the coast of Latium.
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77 an island: Planasia, a small island south of Elba.
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Oh, that I … without children!: a variation on Iliad 3. 40.
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78 Murena's conspiracy had been discovered: cf. ch. 19 above.
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For, although he was for … gratitude and affection: Suetonius makes clear later that Augustus received a very substantial part of his income from this source; see ch. 101 below.
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legacies or inheritances: it was customary in a Roman will to leave one's friends legacies or to institute them as second (or third) heir. In this case they would only inherit if the first (or second) heir was unable or unwilling. Thus, this was often simply a mark of honour.
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effeminate: Roman politicians regularly made such charges, particularly against younger opponents. Cf. Cicero's speech In Defence of Caelius 6.
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79 to singe his legs: for a man to depilate his legs was often associated with effeminacy.
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the Mother of the Gods: the priests of the Great Mother, or Cybele, were themselves eunuchs and were known as galli.
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rules the globe with his finger: the Latin is a pun, meaning also 'beats the drum'. Particular gestures of the finger were themselves seen as signs of effeminacy.
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in front of her husband … dishevelled hair: the same story is told about Caligula; see Cal. 36.
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Tertulla or Terentilla or Rufilla: these are all diminutives to parody the language of lovers.
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the Twelve Gods: the worship of the Twelve Gods was Greek practice. Similar stories of audacious fancy-dress are associated with Antony (see e.g. Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2. 83. 2).
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Apollo: Augustus associated himself with Apollo through various means. Cf. ch. 18 above.
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80 As soon as … his golden throne: these lines are obscure and have puzzled numerous editors. Mallia is perhaps the name of the house where the banquet took place.
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My father … Corinthian: cf. ch. 3 above for comments on Augustus' father's profession.
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murrine: perhaps agate or fluorspar. Whatever this substance was, it was highly prized in Rome.
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in everyday use: the use of precious metals for everyday purposes was seen as a sign of tyrannical luxury on the part of Antony and Cleopatra. Augustus' own practice forms a conspicuous contrast.
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December: there seems to have been a law against gambling which it was customary to ignore in December, when the festival of the Saturnalia took place.
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a 'dog' … whoever threw a Venus scooped the lot: if all the dice showed one, this was a 'dog'; if they all showed different numbers, a 'Venus'.
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81 Quinquatria: the festival of Minerva, 19–23 March.
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Alban stone: several leading men of the late republic were criticized for importing marble pillars to decorate their homes.
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82 produced in his own household … granddaughters: cf. ch. 64 above.
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His togas … neither broad nor narrow: Julius Caesar had been criticized for his flowing toga; see Jul. 45. The stripe on Augustus' toga was midway between the broad stripe of the senator and the narrow stripe of the knight.
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the defeat of Sextus Pompeius' fleet: an admiral of Sextus Pompeius, Menas had betrayed his forces to Octavian in 38 bce.
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a man in whose villa he used to stay: cf. ch. 72 on Augustus' visits to the villas of his freedmen.
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Saturnalia: when it was customary to give presents.
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83 every couch: usually at dinner parties guests reclined three to a couch.
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his Sabbath fast: apparently Augustus misunderstood Jewish practice.
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he would not touch a thing: Suetonius attributes eccentric eating habits to several emperors. Augustus' are excusable since they do not reflect an excessive interest in the pleasures of eating. Contrast e.g. Claud. 33.
Editor’s Note
very sparing in his consumption of wine also: constrast the excessive consumption attributed to Tiberius and to Claudius (Tib. 42, Claud. 33).
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he would sleep no more than seven hours … in the course of those hours: Suetonius attributes to Vespasian a similar commitment to duty (Vesp. 21).
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84 His eyes … the sun's force: cf. the superhuman gaze attributed to Alexander the Great (an important figure for Augustus, as Suetonius emphasizes, chs. 18, 50, and 94).
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five feet nine inches tall: in Roman measures; about 5 feet 7 inches (imperial) or 1.7 metres.
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strigil: an implement used to scrape off oil applied during the bathing process.
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treatment with sand and reeds: perhaps a poultice of warm sand and pounded-up reeds.
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85 Antonius Musa: cf. ch. 59.
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his birthday: 23 September.
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Praeneste or Tibur: towns only a short distance from Rome.
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pass-ball and balloon-ball: the former term covers a variety of games played with a small ball, the latter a game played with a large, light ball.
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86 'Reply to Brutus concerning Cato': Marcus Brutus had written a panegyric of his father-in-law and uncle, Cato, who had chosen to kill himself rather than live under the rule of Caesar.
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86 'On his own Life': these memoirs are often quoted by Suetonius; see chs. 2, 7, 27, 42, and 43, for example.
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sponge: rather than, as in the legend, on his sword. A sponge was used to erase writing in ink.
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87 Annius Cimber: his reputation for inflated oratory seems to have been notorious. Cf. Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory 8. 3. 28.
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which Sallustius Crispus took from Cato's Origines: Cato wrote in the early second century bce and Sallust in the mid-first century. Several ancient authors criticize Sallust's obscure brevity and his use of archaic terms (Quintilian, Institutes 8. 3. 29; Seneca, Letters 114. 17).
Editor’s Note
the high-flown style … in to our own language: on the distinction between plain 'Attic' and florid 'Asiatic' styles, see Quintilian, Institutes 12. 10. 1 and 16–20). Antony's alleged preference for the exotic Asiatic style is of a piece with allegations concerning his preference for eastern modes of dress and consumption, and of course, his alliance with the eastern ruler Cleopatra.
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Greek Kalends: there was no Greek Kalends (the Roman term for the first day of the month).
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88 Apollonia: cf. ch. 8 above.
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Metellus' … in earlier days: both of these men were consuls in the mid-to late first century bce though there is some dispute as to the exact identity of Metellus.
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89 a sealskin for protection: cf. Pliny, who writes that seals are never struck by lightning (Natural Histories 2. 146).
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as I said earlier: ch. 29 above.
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he would beg from the people … put pennies in: this could be understood as an act of humility to ward off invidia, the ill-feeling which Romans believed posed a particular danger to the fortunate. Suetonius attributes a similar practice to Caligula (Cal. 42).
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palm tree: an omen of victory.
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Aenaria … the island: Aenaria is modern Ischia. The islands were exchanged in 29 bce.
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market-day: the nundinae, or market-day, fell every eight days.
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90 the unlucky sound of the name: Nonis could be understood as non is, 'you do not go'.
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the mysteries at Athens: of Ceres at Eleusis.
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Apis: the sacred bull of Memphis in Egypt.
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pay his respects in Jerusalem: to do so would have meant acknowledging the faith of the Jews.
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registered in the treasury: without which the decree would not be-law.
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91 Liber: another name for Bacchus.
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Alexander the Great: for links with Alexander, cf. chs. 18 and 50 above.
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Quintus Catulus: cf. Jul. 15.
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93 as they had to Romulus: cf. Livy, 1. 7—an account written in Augustus' own time.
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Eutychus … Nicon: the names mean 'fortunate' and 'victor' in Greek.
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he was performing the rites: traditionally the censors performed rituals of purification to mark the conclusion of their period of office. Though not a censor, Augustus had undertaken many censorial duties.
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94 Beneventum: modern Benevento.
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traditional practice: in Greek settlements (including Naples, of whose territory Capri had been part), young men had regular gymnastic training as part of their education.
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95 'Ktistes': Greek for 'founder'.
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his tomb was surrounded by a crowd of people and many lights: this seems to have been customary on the anniversary of someone's death.
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Since the play … applause: the final lines of a comedy by Menander (Poetae Comici Graeci VIII. 925 (p. 275)). For Suetonius' emphasis here on the way the death corresponds to the subject's wishes, cf. Jul. 87.
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96 'euthanasia': Greek for 'good death'.
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'That was the Mausoleum he deserved': contrasting Otho's modest grave with the grandeur of the imperial Mausoleum in Rome (Aug. 100).
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the fourteenth day before the Kalends of September: 19 August 14 ce.
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Bovillae: about twelve miles from Rome on the Appian Way.
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his bones … priests of the senior colleges: this was usually done by female relatives.
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97 three days before the Nones of April: 3 April 13 ce.
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secondary heirs: cf. Jul. 83 and Aug. 66.
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tribes: since all Roman citizens were also members of tribes this distinction is unclear.
Editor’s Note
his two fathers: Octavius, his natural father, and Julius Caesar who had adopted him.
Editor’s Note
a list of his achievements … his Mausoleum: versions of this have survived. It is referred to as Res Gestae Divi Augusti, 'The Achievements of the Deified Augustus'.
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