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Res Gestae Divi Augusti


Temple of Augustus in Ancyra (modern Ankara). Photo Marco Prins.
Temple of Augustus and Roma in Ankara
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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[11] The Senate consecrated in honor of my return an altar to Fortuna Redux at the Porta Capena, near the temple of Honor and Virtue, on which it ordered the pontiffs and the Vestal virgins to perform a yearly sacrifice on the anniversary of the day on which I returned [12 October 19 BCE] to the city from Syria, in the consulship of Quintus Lucretius and Marcus Vinicius, and named the day, after my cognomen, the Augustalia.

[12] At the same time, by decree of the senate, part of the praetors and of the tribunes of the people, together with the consul Quintus Lucretius and the leading men of the state, were sent to Campania to meet me, an honor which up to the present time has been decreed to no one except myself. When I returned from Spain and Gaul, in the consulship of Tiberius Nero and Publius Quintilius [13 BCE], after successful operations in those provinces, the Senate voted in honor of my return the consecration of an altar to Pax Augusta in the Campus Martius, and on this altar it ordered the magistrates and priests and Vestal virgins to make annual sacrifice.


[13] Janus Quirinus, which our ancestors ordered to be closed whenever there was peace, secured by victory, throughout the whole domain of the Roman people on land and sea, and which, before my birth is recorded to have been closed but twice in all since the foundation of the city, the senate ordered to be closed thrice while I was princeps.

[14]My sons Gaius and Lucius Caesar, whom fortune snatched away from me in their youth, the Senate and the Roman people to do me honor made consuls designate, each in his fifteenth year, providing that each should enter upon that office after a period of five years. The Senate decreed that from the day on which they were introduced to the forum they should take part in the counsels of state. Moreover, the entire body of Roman knights gave each of them the title of princeps iuventutis and presented them with silver shields and spears.

Bust of Augustus. Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida (Spain). Photo Marco Prins.
Bust of Augustus (Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida)
[15]To the Roman plebs I paid out three hundred sesterces per man in accordance with the will of my father [44 BCE], and in my own name in my fifth consulship [29 BCE] I gave four hundred sesterces apiece from the spoils of war [i.e., the conquest of Egypt]; a second time, moreover, in my tenth consulship [24 BCE] I paid out of my own patrimony four hundred sesterces per man by way of bounty, and in my eleventh consulship [23 BCE] I made twelve distributions of food from grain bought at my own expense, and in the twelfth year of my tribunician power [11 BCE] I gave for the third time four hundred sesterces to each man. These largesses of mine reached a number of persons never less than two hundred and fifty thousand. In the eighteenth year of my tribunician power [5 BCE], as consul for the twelfth time [29 BCE], I gave to three hundred and twenty thousand of the city plebs sixty denarii apiece. In the colonies of my soldiers, as consul for the fifth time, I gave one thousand sesterces to each man from the spoils of war; about one hundred and twenty thousand men in the colonies received this triumphal largesse. When consul for the thirteenth time [2 BCE] I gave sixty denarii apiece to the plebs who were then receiving public grain; these were a little more than two hundred thousand persons.

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