Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Model of the Temple of Augustus and Roma in Ankara
(Museo nazionale della civiltÓ romana, Rome)
|The Res Gestae Divi Augusti
("the achievements of the deified Augustus") are the official
autobiography of Augustus, the
man who had renovated the Roman Empire during his long reign from 31
BCE to 14 CE. The text tells us how he wanted to be remembered. It is
best summarized in the full title: "the achievements of the
deified Augustus by which he placed the whole world under the
sovereignty of the Roman people, and of the amounts which he expended
upon the state and the Roman people". In other words - it is propaganda.
The translation offered here, made by F.W. Shipley, was copied from LacusCurtius, where you can also find the Greek and Latin text.
of Marcus Vinicius and Quintus Lucretius [19 BCE], and afterwards in that of Publius
and Gnaeus Lentulus [18
BCE], and a
third time in that of Paullus Fabius Maximus and Quintus Tubero [11 BCE], when the Senate
and the Roman people unanimously agreed that
I should be elected overseer of laws and morals, without a
and with the fullest power, I refused to accept any power
which was contrary to the traditions of our ancestors. Those things which at that time the
me to administer I carried out by virtue of my tribunician
even in this office I five times received from the Senate a
at my own request.
For ten years in succession
I was one of the triumvirs
for the re-establishment of the constitution. To
the day of writing this I have been princeps
forty years. I have
augur, a member of the fifteen commissioners for performing
sacred rites, one of the seven for sacred feasts, an arval brother, a sodalis Titius, a fetial priest.
Bust of Augustus (Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, MÚrida)
consul for the fifth time [29
BCE], by order
of the people and the Senate I increased the number of the
times I revised the roll of the senate.
In my sixth consulship, with Marcus
Agrippa as my colleague, I made a census
of the people.
I performed the lustrum after an interval of forty-one
years. In this lustration 4,063,000 Roman citizens were entered on the
census roll. A second
time, in the consulship of
Gaius Censorinus and Gaius Asinius [8 BCE],
I again performed the lustrum
alone, with the consular imperium. In this lustrum
4,233,000 Roman citizens were entered on the census roll. A third
time, with the consular imperium, and with my son Tiberius
Caesar as my colleague [14 CE],
I performed the lustrum
in the consulship of Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Apuleius. In this lustrum
4,937,000 Roman citizens were entered on the census roll. By
the passage of new laws I restored many traditions of our
which were then falling into disuse, and I myself set
many things for posterity to imitate.
Senate decreed that every fifth year
vows should be undertaken for my health by the consuls and the priests.
In fulfilment of these vows games were often held in my lifetime,
sometimes by the four chief colleges of priests, sometimes by the
addition the entire body of citizens with one accord, both individually and by
municipalities, performed continued sacrifices for my health at all the
couches of the gods.
By decree of the Senate my name was
included in the Salian hymn,
and it was enacted by law that my person should be sacred in perpetuity
and that so long as I lived I should hold the
tribunician power. I declined to be made
pontifex maximus in succession to a colleague
still living, when the people tendered me that priesthood which my father
had held. Several years later I accepted that sacred office
he at last was dead who, taking advantage of a time of civil
disturbance, had seized it for himself [i.e., Lepidus],
such a multitude from all Italy assembling for my
election, in the consulship of Publius Sulpicius and Gaius Valgius [12 CE], as
is never recorded to have been in Rome before.
by Jona Lendering for
Revision: 18 February 2007