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Res Gestae Divi Augusti


Model of the temple of Augustus in Ancyra. Museo nazionale della civiltÓ romana, Roma (Italy). Photo Jona Lendering.
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.
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[6] In the consulship 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 colleague and with the fullest power, I refused to accept any power offered me which was contrary to the traditions of our ancestors. Those things which at that time the Senate wished me to administer I carried out by virtue of my tribunician power. And even in this office I five times received from the Senate a colleague at my own request.



[7] 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 senatus for forty years. I have been pontifex maximus, 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 (Spain). Photo Marco Prins.
Bust of Augustus (Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, MÚrida)
[8] As consul for the fifth time [29 BCE], by order of the people and the Senate I increased the number of the patricians. Three 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 ancestors which were then falling into disuse, and I myself set precedents in many things for posterity to imitate.



[9] The 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 consuls. In 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.



[10] 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 when 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.


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Page by Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2007
Revision: 18 February 2007
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