Res Gestae Divi Augusti
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.
my own ground I built the temple of Mars Ultor and the
Augustan Forum from the spoils of war [against the murderers of Caesar].
On ground purchased for the most part from private owners
I built the
theater near the temple of Apollo which was to bear the name of my
son-in‑law Marcus Marcellus. From the spoils of war
I consecrated offerings on the Capitol, and in
the temple of the divine
Julius, and in the temple of Apollo, and in
the temple of Vesta, and in the temple of Mars Ultor, which cost me
about one hundred million sesterces. In
my fifth consulship
I remitted thirty-five thousand pounds weight
of coronary gold
contributed by the municipia and the colonies
of Italy, and thereafter,
whenever I was saluted as imperator,
I did not accept the coronary
gold, although the municipia and colonies voted it in the same kindly
spirit as before.
Bust of Augustus (Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida)
times in my own name I gave a show of gladiators, and five
in the name of my sons or grandsons; in these shows there fought about
ten thousand men.
Twice in my own name I furnished for the people an exhibition
athletes gathered from all parts of the world, and a third time in the
name of my grandson. Four times I gave games in my
own name; as representing other magistrates twenty-three times.
For the college of quindecemvirs, as master of that college and with Marcus
Agrippa as my colleague, I conducted the
in the consulship of Gaius Furnius and Marcus Silanus [17 BCE].
In my thirteenth consulship [2
BCE] I gave, for the first time, the games of
Mars, which, since that time, the consuls by decree of the Senate
given in successive years in conjunction with me. In
my own name, or that of my sons or grandsons, on twenty-six
occasions I gave to the people, in the circus, in the forum,
or in the
amphitheatre, hunts of African wild beasts, in which about three
thousand five hundred beasts were slain.
| I gave
the people the spectacle of a naval battle beyond the Tiber, at
the place where now stands the grove of the Caesars, the ground having
been excavated for a length of eighteen hundred and a breadth of twelve
hundred feet. In this
spectacle thirty beaked ships, triremes or biremes, and a
of smaller vessels met in conflict. In these fleets there fought about
three thousand men exclusive of the rowers.
After my victory
I replaced in the temples in all the cities of the province
of Asia the ornaments which my antagonist in the war, when he despoiled the temples, had
appropriated to his private use. Silver
statues of me, on foot, on horseback, and in chariots were
erected in the city to the number of about eighty; these
removed, and from the money thus obtained I placed in the
Apollo golden offerings in my own name and in the name of those who had
paid me the honor of a statue.
I freed the sea from pirates.
About thirty thousand slaves, captured in
that war, who had run away from their masters and had taken up arms
against the republic, I delivered to their masters for
whole of Italy voluntarily took oath of
allegiance to me and demanded me as its leader in the war in which
I was victorious at Actium.
The provinces of the Spains, the Gauls,
and Sardinia took the same oath of allegiance. Those
who served under my standards at that time included more than 700
and among them eighty-three who had previously or have since been
consuls up to the day on which these words were written, and
have been priests.
by Jona Lendering for
Revision: 18 February 2007