Res Gestae (Anon)

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Res Gestae Divi Augusti or The Achievements of the Deified Augustus  (14) 
by Augustus Caesar, translated by Wikisource
Of the three inscribed copies, the best preserved, known since the sixteenth century, is on the temple of Roma and Augustus in Ancyra (modern Ankara), the provincial capital: the Latin text is inscribed on the two inside walls of the temple porch (three colomns on each wall), and a Greek version on the south external wall of the temple.

Copies of the document were doubtless circulated to all the provinces; it is uncertain whether the decision to have it widely inscribed was a local initiative by the governor of Galatia or it is merely chance that all our copies come from there. The surviving copies enable us to restore virtually the entire text: where we do not have the Latin, it can almost always be supplied with certainty from the Greek version. The main body of the document is written in the first person, and the Latin text must be Augustus' own words. The preface and the appendix in the form in which we have them may have been composed in Galatia, but the preface is almost certainly adapted from the original heading of the inscriptions outside the Mausoleum, with merely the closing words modified. The Greek version is at times close to the original, at times a free paraphrase; it is uncertain whether it was composed in Rome or Galatia.

Of the achievements of the deified Augustus by which he subjected the world to the empire of the Roman people and of the expenses which he incurred for the republic and the Roman people, which are inscribed on two bronze pillars erected at Rome, a copy is set out below.

1.1 At the age of nineteen I raised an army on my own initiative and at my own expense with which I successfully championed the liberty of the republic when it was oppressed by the despotism of a faction.1.2 For that reason, the senate, in the consulship of Gaius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius [43 BC], passes decrees in my honour by which it enrolled me into its order, with the precedence of an ex-consul in expressing my opinion, and gave me imperium. 1.3 It ordered me as propraetor along with the consuls to see to it that the republic should suffer no harm. 1.4 Moreover, the people, in the same year, appointed me consul, when both consuls had fallen in battle, and triumvir for setting the republic in order.

2 Those who butchered my father I drove into exile, avenging their crime by legal judgements, and afterward, when they made war upon the republic, I defeated them twice in battle.

3.1 I many times waged civil and foreign wars by land and sea over the whole world, and as victor I spared all citizens who asked for pardon. 3.2 Foreign peoples who could be safely forgiven I preferred to preserve rather than exterminate. 3.3 About 500, 000 Roman citizens too the military oath of allegiance to me. Somewhat over 300, 000 of these I settled in colonies or sent back to their home towns, once they had served their time, and to all these I assigned lands or gave money as rewards for their military service. 3.4 I captured 600 ships, excluding those smaller than triremes.

4.1 I triumphed twice in ovations and three times in curule triumphs and was acclaimed Imperator twenty-one times. The senate decreed further triumphs for me, all of which I declined. The laurel from my fasces I deposited on the Capitol in fulfillment of the vows I had made before each war. 4.2 On fifty-five occasions the senate decreed that supplication should be made to the immortal gods for successes won on land and sea by me or my legates acting under my auspices. The days on which supplication was made by decree of the senate amounted to 890. 4.3 Nine kings or children of kings were led before my chariot in my triumphs. 4.4 I had been consul thirteen time when I wrote this, and I was in the thirty-seventh year of my tribunician power.

5.1 The dictatorship was offered to me both in my absence and in my presence by both the people and the senate in the consulship of Marcus Marcellus and Lucius Arruntius [22 BC], but I refused it. 5.2 I did not decline in the great scarcity of corn and the superintendence of the supply, and I so administered it that within a few days I had freed the whole community from the immediate fear and peril through my expenditure and care. 5.3 The consulship, for the year and in perpetuity, was also then offered to me, but I refused it.

6.1 In the consulship of Marcus Vincius and Quintus Lucretius [19 BC], and afterwards in that of Publius Lentulus and Gnaeus Lentulus [18 BC], and thirdly in that of Paullus Fabius Maximus and Quintus Tubero [11 BC], the senate and the people of Rome agreed that I should be appointed supervisor of laws and morals with supreme power and without a colleague, but I did not accept any office offered to me contrary to ancestral tradition. 6.2 The measures which the senate then wanted me to take I carried out through my tribunician power, and I myself on my own initiative five times requested and accepted from the senate a colleague in that power.

7.1 I was triumvir for setting the republic in order for ten consecutive years. 7.2 I was princeps senatus, up to the day of writing this, for forty years. 7.3 I was pontifex maximus, augur, quindecimvir sacris faciundis, septemvir epulonum, frater arvalis, sodalis titius, and fetialis.

8.1 When consul for the fifth time [29 BC], I increased the number of patricians by order of the people and the senate. 8.2 I revised the role of the senate three times. And in my sixth consulship [28 BC] I conducted a census of the people with Marcus Agrippa as collegue. I performed a lustrum in the forty-second year after the last had been held, and at that lustrum 4, 063, 000 Roman citizens were registered. 8.3 Then a second time I performed a lustrum, by consular imperium and without a colleague, in the consulship of Gaius Censorinus and Gaius Asinius [8 BC], and at that lustrum 4, 233, 000 citizens were registered. 8.4 And thirdly I performed a lustrum, by consular imperium and with my son Tiberius Caesar as colleague, in the consulship of Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Appuleius [14 AD], and at that lustrum 4, 937, 000 citizens were registered. 8.5 By new laws carried with me as sponsor, I revived many ancestral models which were falling into disuse in our age, and myself handed on many model pratices for posterity to imitate.

9.1 The senate decreed that vows for my welfare should be made by the consuls and priests every fifth year. In fulfillment of these vows, games were often celebrated while I was alive, sometimes by the four most distinguished colleges of priests, sometimes by the consuls. 9.2 Moreover, all the citizens, both individually and by their towns, of one accord repeatedly made supplication at all the gods' couches for my health.

10.1 My name was included in the hymn of the Salii by degree of the senate, and it was ordained by law that I should be sacrosanct forever and should have tribunician power for the rest of my life. 10.2 I refused to become pontifex maximus in place of my colleague while he was alive, when the people offered me that priesthood, which my father had held. However, some years later, after the death of the man who had taken advantage of civil unrest to appropriate it, I accepted the priesthood, in the consulship of Publius Supicius and Gaius Valgius [12 BC], and the crowd which poured in from the whole of Italy for my election was larger than any previously recorded to have assembled at Rome.

11 The senate consecrated the Alter of Fortuna Redux before the temple of Honour and Virtue near the Porta Capena for my return. It ordered that the pontifices and the Vestal Virgins should there make an annual sacrifice on the day on which, in the consulship of Quintus Lucretius and Marcus Vinicius [19 BC], I returned from Syria, and it called the say Augustalia after my cognomen.

12.1 On the authority of the senate some of the praetors and tribunes of the people along with the consuls Quintus Lucretius and leading men were sent to meet me in Campania, an honour which up to this time has been decreed for no one except me. 12.2 When I returned from Spain and Gaul after successfully settling the affairs of those provinces, in the consulship of Tiberius Nero and Publius Quintilius [13 BC], the Senate decreed that the Altar of Pax Augusta [Ara Pacis] should be consecrated for my return near the Campus Martius, and ordered that the magistrates, preists, and the Vestal Virgins should there make an annual sacrifice.

13 Janus Quirinus, which our ancestors wished to be closed whenever peace had been secured by victories throughout the Roman empire by land and sea, os recorded to have been closed, before I was born, twice altogether since the foundation of the city, but the senate decreed that it should be closed on three occasions while I was princeps.

14.1 My sons Gaius and Lucius Caesar, whom Fortune snatched from me by Fate while they were young men, were for my honour designated consuls by the senate and the people of Rome when they were in their fifteenth year, on the basis that they should enter office after five years, and the senate decreed that from when they were led into the forum they should take part in the councils of state. 14.2 Furthermore each of them was presented with a silver shield and spear by all the Roman equites and hailed as princeps iuventutis.

15.1 To the Roman plebs per man I paid 300 sesterces under my father's will, and in my own name in my fifth consulship [29 BC] I gave them 400 sesterces from war booty, and again in my tenth consulship [24 BC] I paid out 400 sesterces as a gift per man from my patrimony, and in my eleventh consulship [23 BC] I made twelve distributions of corn purchased at my own expense, and in my twelfth year of tribunician power [12 BC] I gave them 400 sesterces per man for the third time. These gifts of mine never reached less than 250, 000 citizens. 15.2 In my eighteenth year of tribunician power and my twelfth consulship [5 BC] I gave 240 sesterces per man to 320, 000 members of the urban plebs. 15.3 In my fifth consulship [29 BC] from war booty I gave 1000 sesterces per man to my soldiers settled in colonies; about 120, 000 men revieved this triumphal gift in their colonies. 15.4 In my thirteenth consulship [2 BC] I gave 240 sesterces to the plebs which then recieved the corn dole; the number was a little over 200, 000 men.

16.1 I paid money to the towns for the land which I allocated to soldiers in my fourth consulship [4 BC] and again later in the consulship of Marcus Crassus and Gnaeus Lentulus Augur [14 BC]. The sum which I paid for Italian property amounted to about 600 million sesterces and that disbursed for provincial lands to about 260 million sesterces. Of all those who are known to have established military colonies in Italy or the provinces down to my own day, I was the first and only one to act in this way. 16.2 Subsequently, in the consulships of Tiberius Nero and Gnaeus Piso [7 BC], Gaius Antistius and Decimus Laelius [6 BC], Gaius Calvisius and Lucius Pasienus [4 BC], Lucius Lentulus and Marcus Messala [3BC], and Lucius Caninius and Quintus Fabricius [2 BC], I paid cash rewards to the soldiers who had served their time and whom I settled in their home towns, and on this I spent about 400 million sesterces.

17.1 Four times I assisted the treasury with my own money, paying a total of 150 million sesterces to those who presided over the treasury. 17.2 In the consulships of Marcus Lepidus and Lucius Arruntius [6 AD], I paid 170 million sesterces from my own patrimony to the military treasury, which had been established at my suggestion for the payment of rewards to soldiers who had completed twenty or more years' service.

18 From the year in which Gnaeus and Publius Lentulus were consuls [18 BC], whenever tax revenues proved insufficient, I made grain and cash distributions from my granary and patrimony, sometimes to 100, 000 people, and sometimes to many more.

19.1 I built the Senate-house and the adjacent Chalcidicum; the temple of Apollo on the Palatine with its porticoes; the temple of the Deified Julius; the Lupercal; the portico at the Flaminian Circus, whoch I allowed to be called Octavia after the builder of the previous portico on the same site; the couc for the gods at the Circus Maximus; 19.2 the temples of Jupiter Feretrius and Jupiter the Thunderer on the Capitol; the temple of Quirinus; the temples of Minerva, Juno Queen of Heaven, and Jupiter Freedom on the Aventine; the temples of the Lares at the top of the Sacred Way, the temple of the Penates on the wwlia; the temple of Youth; and the temple of the Great Mother on the Palantine.

20.1 I restored the Capitol and the Theatre of Pompey, both works at great expense, without inscribing my name upon them. 20.2 I restored the channels of the aqueducts, which in several places were falling into disrepair through age, and doubled the supply to the aqueduct called Marcia by linking its channel to a new source. 20.3 I completed the Forum Julium and the basilica which was between the temples of Castor and Saturn, both of which my father began and almost finished. When the same basilica was destroyed by fire, I enlarged the site and started rebuilding it in the name of my sons, and I have given orders that, if I do not live to complete the work, it should be completed by my heirs. 20.4 In my sixth consulship [28 BC] on the authority of the Senate I restored eighty-two temples of the gods in the city, omitting none which needed repair at the time. 20.5 In my seventh consulship [27 BC] I restored the Flaminian Way from the city to Ariminum, and all the bridges except the Mulvian and the Minucian.

21.1 On private land I built the temple of Mars teh Avenger and the Forum Augustum from booty. On land largely purchased frp private sources I built the theatre next to the temple of Apollo, to bear the name of my son-in-law, Marcus Marcellus. 21.2 I have dedicated gifts from booty to the value of 100 million sesterces in the Capitol, and in the temples of Deified Julius, Apollo, Vesta and Mars the Avenger. 21.3 In my fifth consulship [29 BC] I remitted 35, 000 pounds of crown gold collected by the Italian towns and colonies for my triumphs. Thereafter, whenever I was hailed imperator, I refused crown gold, even thought the towns and colonies continued to vote it to me with as much goodwill as before.

22.1 I gave gladiatorial shows three times in my own name and five times in the name of my sons or grandsons; about 10, 000 men fought in these shows. Twice in my own name and once in the name of my grandsons I provided for the people a display of athletes summoned from all over the world. 22.2 I held games in my own name four times an in place of other magistrates twenty three times. On behalf of the college of quindecimviri as master of the college, together with my colleague, Marcus Agrippa, I held the Secular Games in the consulship of Gaius Furnius and Gaius Silanus [17 BC]. As consul for the thirteenth time [2 BC] I was the first to hold the Games of Mars, which thereafter in subsequent years the consuls held in accordance with a senatorial decree and a law. 22.3 I gave the people hunts of African beasts, in my own name or in that of my sons or grandsons, in the Circus, the Forum, or the Amphitheatre, on twenty-six occasions, at which about 3500 beasts were killed.

23 I staged a naval battle as a display for the people across the Tiber in the place that is now occupied by the Grove of the Caesars now stands [sic]. A basin was excavated, 1800 feet long by 1200 feet wide, in which thirty beaked triremes or biremes and many more smaller vessels joined battle. Some 3000 men fought in these fleets, excluding the rowers.

24.1 As victor I replaced in the temples of all the cities of the province of Asia the ornaments which my adversary in the war has stolen from the temples and held in his personal possession 24.2 About eighty silver statues of myself, on foot, on horseback, or in a chariot, had been erected in the city. I myself removed them and with the money realized from them I placed gold gifts in the temple of Apollo in my name and in that of those who put up the statues in my honour.

25.1 I pacified the sea from pirates. In that war I captured about thirty thousand slaves who had escaped from their masters and taken arms against the republic and returned them to their masters for punishment. 25.2 The whole of Italy, of its own accord, swore an oath of allegiance to me and demanded me as leader in the war, in which I was victorious at Actium. The provinces of Gaul, Spain, Africa, Sicily, and Sardinia swore the same oath. 25.3 Morre than 700 senators served under my command at the time, including eighty-three who previously or subsequently (up to the time of writing) were appointed consul, and one hundred and seventy who were appointed priests.

26.1 I extended the boundaries of all the provinces of the Roman people which were adjoined by peoples not obedient to our empire. 26.2 I pacified the provinces of Gaul and Spain, and also Germany, where Ocean surrounds from Gades [Cadiz] to the mouth of the River Elbe. 26.3 I pacified the Alps from the region nearest to the Adriatic to the Tuscan sea without making war unjustly on any nation. 26.4 My fleet sailed across the Ocean from the mouth of the Rhine eastwards as far as the territory of the Cimbri, which no Roman had reached up to that time by land or sea. The cimbri, the Charyddes, the Semnones, and other German peoples of that region through ambassadors sought my friendship and that of the Roman people. 26.5 By my command and under my auspices of two armies were ked at about the same time into Ethiopia and into Arabia, which is called the Blessed [?]. Great forces of each enemy people were slain in battle and several towns captured. In Ethiopia the advance reached the town of Nabata, which is close to Meroe; in Arabia the army penetrated as far as the territory of the Sabaeans and the town of Mariba.

27.1 I added Egypt to the empire of the Roman people. 27.2 I could have made Greater Armenia a province after its king Artaxes had been killed, but I preferred, following the example of our ancestors, to hand the kingdom over to Tigranes, son of King Artavasdes and grandson to King Tigranes, acting through Tiberius Nero, who was then my stepson. When this same people later defected and rebelled, through my son Gaius I subdued the and handed them over to be ruled by King Ariobarzanes, son of Artabazus, the king of the Medians, and after his death by his sone Artavasdes. When he was assassinated I sent Tigranes, who was sprung from the royal family of Armenia, into that kingdom. 27.3 I recovered all the provinces beyond the Adriatic and further east, including Cyrene, a great part of which were then in the hands of kings, and before that Sicily and Sardinia, which had been occupied during the Slave War.

28.1 I founded colonies of former soldiers in Africa, Sicily, Macedonia, both the Spanish provinces, Achaea, Asia, Syria, Gallia Narbonensis, and Pisidia, 28.2 Italy too has twenty-eight colonies founded on my authority, which during my lifetime were thriving and populous.

29.1 A number of military standards lost by other commanders were recovered, after the enemies' defeat, from Spain, Gaul and Dalmatia. 29.2 As for the Parthians, I compelled them to return the spoils and standards of three Roman armies, and seek the friendship of the Roman people as supppliants. Those standards I deposited in the inner shrine of the temple of Mars the Avenger.

30.1 The Pannonian peoples, which before I became princeps no Roman army had ever reached, I conquered through Tiberius Nero, who was then my stepson and legate, and subjected to the empire of the Roman people, and I extended the boundaries of Illyricum to the bank of the River Danube. 30.2 When a Dacian army crossed, it was defeated and routed under my auspices, an my army was later led across the Danube and obliged the Dacians to submit to the commands of the Roman People.

31.1 From India embassies of kings were often sent to me, not seen before that time with any Roman commander. 31.2 Our friendship was requested through ambassadors by the Bastarnae, the Scythiansm Sarmatian kings from both sides of the river Tanais [Don], and kings of the Albanians, the Iberians and the Medes.

32.1 The following fled to me as suppliants Tiridates and later Phraates, son of King Phraates, both kings of the Parthians; Artavasdes, king of the Medes; Artaxares, king of the Adiabeni; Dumnobellaunus and Tincommius, kings of the Britons; Maelo, king of the Sugambri; and [...]rus, king of the Marcomanni and Suebi. 32.2 Phraates, son of Orodes, king of the Parthians, sent his sons and grandsons to me in Italy, not overcome in war but seeking our friendship by pledging his children. 32.3 Very many other people experienced the good faith of the Roman people while I was princeps, who had not previously had any exchange of embassies or friendship with the Roman people.

33 The Parthian and Median peoples, through ambassadors of their nobility, sought and accepted kings from me as follows: for the Parthians, Vonones, son of King Phraates and grandson of King Orodes; for the Medes, Ariobarzanes, son of King Artavasdes and grandson of King Ariobarzanes.

34.1 In my sixth and seventh consulships [28-27 BC], after I had extinguised the civil wars, having become master of everything by consent of all, I transferred the republic from my power [potestas] to the control of the senate and the Roman people. 34.2 In return for this service of mine by decree of the senate I was called Augustus, and the door-posts of my house were screened with laurel at public expense, and a civic crown was fixed above my door and a golden shield was set up in the Julian Senate-house with an inscription attesting that the senate and the Roman people gave it to me because of my courage, clemency, justice, and piety. 34.3 after that time I excelled all in authority [auctoritas], but I had no more power [potestas] than others who were my colleagues in each magistracy.

35.1 When I was holding my thirteenth consulship [2BC] the senate, the equestrian order, and the whole Roman people called me Father of the Fatherland [pater patriae] and decreed that this should be inscribed on the porch of my house, in the Julian Senate-house, and in the Forum Augustrum below the chariot which was set up there for me by decree of the senate. 35.2 When I wrote this I was in my seventy sixth year.


1 The total amount of money which he gave to the treasury, the Roman plebs, or to discharged soldiers: 6 million denarii [= 24 million sesterces]

2 As new works he built the temples of Mars, Jupiter the Thunderer, Jupiter Feretrius, Apollo, the Deified Julius, Quirinus [Romulus], Minerva, Juno Queen of Heaven, Jupiter Freedom, the Lares, the Penates, the Great Mother, the Lupercal; in addition, the couch of the gods at the Circus, the Senate-house with Chalcidicum, the Forum Augustum, the Basilica Julia, the Theater of Marcellus, the Octavian Portico, and the Grove of the Caesars across the Tiber.

3 He restored the Capitol, eighty-two temples, the Theater of Pompey, the channels of the aqueducts and the Flaminian Way.

4 The amount which he expended on his theatrical displays, gladiatorial shows, athletes, hunts, a sea battle, donations to the Italian colonies and towns, and to provincial towns damaged by earthquake or fire, and individual gifts to friends and to senators is beyond calculation.

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