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Julius Caesar

This webpage reproduces one of
The Lives of the Twelve Caesars

C. Suetonius Tranquillus

published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars

 p123  The Life of Augustus

1 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 There are many indications that the Octavian family was in days of old a distinguished one at Velitrae; for not only was a street in the most frequented part of town long ago called Octavian, but an altar was shown there besides, consecrated by an Octavius. This man was leader in a war with a neighbouring town, and when news of a sudden onset of the enemy was brought to him just as he chanced to be sacrificing to Mars, he snatched the inwards of the victim from the fire and offered them up half raw; and thus he went forth to battle, and returned victorious. There was, besides, a decree of the people on record, providing that for the future too the inwards should be offered to Mars in the same way, and the rest of the victims be handed over to the Octavii.

2 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The family was admitted to the senate by king Tarquinius Priscus among the lesser clans;1 was later enrolled by Servius Tullius among the patricians; in course of time returned to the ranks of the plebeians; and after a long interval was restored to patrician rank by the Deified Julius. The first of the house to be elected by the people to a magistracy was Gaius Rufus, who became quaestor. 2 He begot  p125 Gnaeus and Gaius, from whom two branches of the Octavian family were derived, of very different standing; for Gnaeus and all his scions in turn held the highest offices, but Gaius and his progeny, whether from chance or choice, remained in the equestrian order down to the father of Augustus. Augustus's great-grandfather served in Sicily in the second Punic war as tribune of the soldiers under the command of Aemilius Papus. His grandfather, content with the offices of a municipal town and possessing an abundant income, lived to a peaceful old age. 3 This is the account given by others; Augustus himself merely writes2 that he came of an old and wealthy equestrian family, in which his own father was the first to become a senator. Marcus Antonius taunts him with his great-grandfather, saying that he was a freedman and a rope-maker from the country about Thurii, while his grandfather was a money-changer. This is all that I have been able to learn about the paternal ancestors of Augustus.

3 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 His father Gaius Octavius was from the beginning of his life a man of wealth and repute, and I cannot but wonder that some have said that he too was a money-changer, and was even employed to distribute bribes at the elections and perform other services in the Campus; for as a matter of fact, being brought up in affluence, he readily attained to high positions and filled them with distinction. Macedonia fell to his lot at the end of his praetorship; on his way to the province, executing a special commission from the senate, he wiped out a band of runaway slaves, refugees from the armies of Spartacus and Catiline, who held possession of the country about Thurii. 2 In governing his province he  p127 showed equal justice and courage; for besides routing the Bessi and the other Thracians in a great battle, his treatment of our allies was such, that Marcus Cicero, in letters which are still in existence,3 urges and admonishes his brother Quintus, who at the time was serving as proconsular governor4 of Asia with no great credit to himself, to imitate his neighbour Octavius in winning the favour of our allies.

4 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 While returning from Macedonia, before he could declare himself a candidate for the consulship, he died suddenly, survived by three children, an elder Octavia by Ancharia, and by Atia a younger Octavia and Augustus. Atia was the daughter of Marcus Atius Balbus and Julia, sister of Gaius Caesar. Balbus, a native of Aricia on his father's side, and of a family displaying many senatorial portraits,5 was closely connected on his mother's side with Pompey the Great. After holding the office of praetor, he was one of the commission of twenty6 appointed by the Julian law to distribute lands in Campania to the commons. 2 But Antonius again, trying to disparage the maternal ancestors of Augustus as well, twits him with having a great-grandfather of African birth, who kept first a perfumery shop and then a bakery at Aricia. Cassius of Parma also taunts Augustus with being the grandson both of a baker and of a money-changer, saying in one of his letters: "Your mother's meal came from a vulgar bakeshop of Aricia; this a money-changer from Nerulum kneaded into shape with hands stained with filthy lucre."7

 p129  5 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Augustus was born just before sunrise on the ninth day before the Kalends of Octobera in the consulship of Marcus Tullius Cicero and Gaius Antonius, at the Ox-Heads in the Palatine quarter, where he now has a shrine, built shortly after his death. For it is recorded in the proceedings of the senate, that when Gaius Laetorius, a young man of patrician family, was pleading for a milder punishment for adultery because of his youth and position, he further urged upon the senators that he was the possessor and as it were the warden of the spot which the deified Augustus first touched at his birth, begged that he be pardoned for the sake of what might be called his own special god. Whereupon it was decreed that that part of his house should be consecrated.

6 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 A small room like a pantry is shown to this day as the emperor's nursery in his grandfather's country-house near Velitrae, and the opinion prevails in the neighbourhood that he was actually born there. No one ventures to enter this room except of necessity and after purification, since there is a conviction of long-standing that those who approach it without ceremony are seized with shuddering and terror; and what is more, this has recently been shown to be true. For when a new owner, either by chance or to test the matter, went to bed in that room, it came to pass that, after a very few hours of the night, he was thrown out by a sudden mysterious force, and was found bedclothes and all half-dead before the door.

7 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In his infancy he was given the surname Thurinus in memory of the home of his ancestors, or else because it was near Thurii that his father  p131 Octavius, shortly after the birth of his son, had gained his victory over the runaway slaves. That he was surnamed Thurinus I may assert on very trustworthy evidence, since I once obtained a bronze statuette, representing him as a boy and inscribed with that name in letters of iron almost illegible from age. This I presented to the emperor,8 who cherishes it among the Lares of his bed-chamber. Furthermore, he is often called Thurinus in Mark Antony's letters by way of insult; to which Augustus merely replied that he was surprised that his former name was thrown in his face as a reproach. 2 Later he took the name of Gaius Caesar and then the surname Augustus, the former by the will of his great-uncle, the latter on the motion of Munatius Plancus. For when some expressed the opinion that he ought to be called Romulus as a second founder of the city, Plancus carried the proposal that he should rather be named Augustus, on the ground that this was not merely a new title but a more honourable one, inasmuch as sacred places too, and those in which anything is consecrated by augural rites are called "august" (augusta), from the increase (auctus) in dignity, or front movements or feeding of the birds (avium gestus gustuve), as Ennius9 also shows when he writes:

"After by augury august illustrious Rome had been founded."

8 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 At the age of four he lost his father. In his twelfth year he delivered a funeral oration to the assembled people in honour of his grandmother Julia. Four years later, after assuming the gown of manhood, he received military prizes at Caesar's  p133 African triumph, although he had taken no part in the war on account of his youth. When his uncle presently went to Spain to engage the sons of Pompey, although Augustus had hardly yet recovered his strength after a severe illness, he followed over roads beset by the enemy with only a very few companions, and that too after suffering shipwreck, and thereby greatly endeared himself to Caesar, who soon formed a high opinion of his character over and above the energy with which he had made the journey.

2 When Caesar, after recovering the Spanish provinces, planned an expedition against the Dacians and then against the Parthians, Augustus, who had been sent on in advance to Apollonia, devoted his leisure to study. As soon as he learned that his uncle had been slain and that he was his heir, he was in doubt for some time whether to appeal to the nearest legions, but gave up the idea as hasty and premature. He did, however, return to the city and enter upon his inheritance, in spite of the doubts of his mother and the strong opposition of his stepfather, the ex-consul Marcius Philippus. 3 Then he levied armies and henceforth ruled the State, at first with Marcus Antonius and Marcus Lepidus, then with Antony alone for nearly twelve years, and finally by himself for forty-four.

9 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Having given as it were a summary of his life, I shall now take up its various phases one by one, not in chronological order, but by classes, to make the account clearer and more intelligible.

The civil wars which he waged were five, called by the names of Mutina, Philippi, Perusia, Sicily, and Actium; the first and last of these were against Marcus Antonius, the second against Brutus and  p135 Cassius, the third against Lucius Antonius, brother of the triumvir, and the fourth against Sextus Pompeius, son of Gnaeus.

10 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The initial reason for all these wars was this: since he considered nothing more incumbent on him than to avenge his uncle's death and maintain the validity of his enactments, immediately on returning from Apollonia he resolved to surprise Brutus and Cassius by taking up arms against them; and when they foresaw the danger and fled, to resort to law and prosecute them for murder in their absence. Furthermore, since those who had been appointed to celebrate Caesar's victory by games did not dare to do so, he gave them himself. 2 To be able to carry out his other plans with more authority, he announced his candidature for the position of one of the tribunes of the people, who happened to die; though he was a patrician, and not yet a senator.10 But when his designs were opposed by Marcus Antonius, who was then consul, and on whose help he had especially counted, and Antony would not allow him even common and ordinary justice without the promise of a heavy bribe, he went over to the aristocrats, who he knew detested Antony, especially because he was besieging Decimus Brutus at Mutina, and trying to drive him by force of arms from the province given him by Caesar and ratified by the senate. 3 Accordingly at the advice of certain men he hired assassins to kill Antony, and when the plot was discovered, fearing retaliation he mustered veterans, by the use of all the money he could command, both for his own protection and that of the State. Put in command of the army which he had raised, with the rank of propraetor, and bidden  p137 to join with Hirtius and Pansa, who had become consuls, in lending aid to Decimus Brutus, he finished the war which had been entrusted to him within three months in two battles. 4 In the former of these, so Antony writes, he took to flight and was not seen again until the next day, when he returned without his cloak and his horse; but in that which followed all agree that he played the part not only a leader, but of a soldier as well, and that, in the thick of the fight, when the eagle-bearer of his legion was sorely wounded, he shouldered the eagle and carried it for some time.

11 1  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] As Hirtius lost his life in battle during this war, and Pansa shortly afterwards from a wound, the rumour spread that he had caused the death of both, in order that after Antony had been put to flight and the state bereft of its consuls, he might gain sole control of the victorious armies. The circumstances of Pansa's death in particular were so mysterious, that the physician Glyco was imprisoned on the charge of having applied poison to his wound. Aquilius Niger adds to this that Augustus himself slew the other consul Hirtius amid the confusion of the battle.

12 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 But when he learned that Antony after his flight had found a protector in Marcus Lepidus, and that the rest of the leaders and armies were coming to terms with them, he abandoned the cause of the nobles without hesitation, alleging as a pretext for his change of allegiance the words and acts of certain of their number, asserting that some had called him a boy, while others had openly said that he ought to be honoured and got rid of,11 to escape the necessity of making suitable recompense to him or to his veterans. To show more plainly that he  p139 regretted his connection with the former party, he imposed a heavy fine on the people of Nursia and banished them from their city when they were unable to pay it, because they had at public expense erected a monument to their citizens who were slain in the battles at Mutina and inscribed upon it: "they fell for liberty."

13 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Then, forming a league with Antony and Lepidus, he finished the war of Philippi also in two battles, although weakened by illness, being driven from his camp in the first battle and barely making his escape by fleeing to Antony's division. He did not use his victory with moderation, but after sending Brutus's head to Rome, to be cast at the feet of Caesar's statue, he vented his spleen upon the most distinguished of his captives, not even sparing them insulting language. 2 For instance, to one man who begged humbly for burial, he is said to have replied: "The birds will soon settle that question." When two others, father and son, begged for their lives, he is said to have bidden them cast lots or play mora,12 to decide which should be spared, and then to have looked on while both died, since the father was executed because he offered to die for his son, and the latter thereupon took his own life. Because of this the rest, including Marcus Favonius, the well-known imitator of Cato, saluted Antony respectfully as Imperator,13 when they were led out in chains, but lashed Augustus to his face with the foulest abuse.

3 When the duties of administration were divided after the victory, Antony undertaking to restore order in the East, and Augustus to lead the veterans back to Italy and assign them lands in the municipalities, he could neither satisfy the veterans nor the  p141 landowners, since the latter complained that they were driven from their homes, and the former that they were not being treated as their services had led them to hope.

14 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 When Lucius Antonius at this juncture attempted a revolution, relying on his position as consul and his brother's power, he forced him to take refuge in Perusia, and starved him into surrender, not, however, without great personal danger both before and during the war. For at an exhibition of games, when he had given orders that a common soldier who was sitting in the fourteen rows14 be put out by an attendant, the report was spread by his detractors that he had had the man killed later and tortured as well; whereupon he all but lost his life in a furious mob of soldiers, owing his escape to the sudden appearance of the missing man safe and sound. Again, when he was sacrificing near the walls of Perusia, he was well nigh cut off by a band of gladiators, who had made a sally from the town.

15 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 After the capture of Perusia he took vengeance on many, meeting all attempts to beg for pardon or to make excuses with the one reply, "You must die." Some write that three hundred men of both orders were selected from the prisoners of war and sacrificed on the Ides of March like so many victims at the altar raised to the Deified Julius. Some have written that he took up arms of a set purpose, to unmask his secret opponents and those whom fear rather than good-will kept faithful to him, by giving them the chance to follow the lead of Lucius Antonius; and then by vanquishing them and confiscating their estates to pay the rewards promised to his veterans.

 p143  16 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The Sicilian war was among the first that he began, but it was long drawn out by many interruptions, now for the purpose of rebuilding his fleets, which he twice lost by shipwreck due to storms, and that, too, in the summer; and again by making peace at the demand of the people, when supplies were cut off and there was a severe famine. Finally, after new ships had been built and twenty thousand slaves set free and trained as oarsmen, he made the Julian harbour at Baiae by letting the sea into the Lucrine lake and lake Avernus. After drilling his forces there all winter, he defeated Pompey between Mylae and Naulochus, though just before the battle he was suddenly held fast by so deep a sleep that his friends had to awaken him to give the signal. 2 And it was this, I think, that gave Antony opportunity for the taunt: "He could not even look with steady eyes at the fleet when it was ready for battle, but lay in a stupor on his back, looking up at the sky, and did not rise or appear before the soldiers until the enemy's ships had been put to flight by Marcus Agrippa." Some censured an act and saying of his, declaring that when his fleets were lost in the storm, he cried out, "I will have the victory spite of Neptune," and that on the day when games in the Circus next occurred, he removed the statue of the god from the sacred procession. 3 And it is safe to say that in none of his wars did he encounter more dangers or greater ones. For when he had transported an army to Sicily and was on his way back to the rest of his forces on the mainland, he was surprised by Pompey's admirals Demochares and Apollophanes and barely escaped with but a single ship. Again, as he was going on foot to Regium by  p145 way of Locri, he saw some of Pompey's biremes coasting along the shore, and taking them for his own ships and going down to the beach, narrowly escaped capture. At that same time, too, as he was making his escape by narrow bypaths, a slave of his companion Aemilius Paulus, nursing a grudge because Augustus had proscribed his master's father some time before, and thinking that he had an opportunity for revenge, attempted to slay him.

4 After Pompey's flight, Augustus' other colleague, Marcus Lepidus, whom he had summoned from Africa to help him, was puffed up by confidence in his twenty legions and claimed the first place with terrible threats; but Augustus stripped him of his army; and though he granted him his life when he sued for it, he banished him for all time to Circei.

17 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 At last he broke off his alliance with Marcus Antonius, which was always doubtful and uncertain, and with difficulty kept alive by various reconciliations; and the better to show that his rival had fallen away from conduct becoming a citizen, he had the will which Antony had left in Rome, naming his children by Cleopatra among his heirs, opened and read before the people. 2 But when Antony was declared a public enemy, he sent back to him all his kinsfolk and friends, among others Gaius Sosius and Titus Domitius, who were still consuls at the time. He also excused the community of Bononia from joining in the rally of all Italy to his standards, since they had been from ancient days dependents of the Antonii. Not long afterwards he won the sea-fight at Actium, where the contest continued to so late an hour that the victor passed the night on board. 3 Having gone into winter quarters at Samos  p147 after Actium, he was disturbed by the news of a mutiny of the troops that he had selected from every division of his army and sent on to Brundisium after the victory, who demanded their rewards and discharge; and on his way back to Italy he twice encountered storms at sea, first between the headlands of the Peloponnesus and Aetolia, and again off the Ceraunian mountains. In both places a part of his galleys were sunk, while the rigging of the ship in which he was sailing was carried away and its rudder broken. He delayed at Brundisium only twenty-seven days — just long enough to satisfy all the demands of the soldiers — and then went to Egypt by a roundabout way through Asia and Syria, laid siege to Alexandria, where Antony had taken refuge with Cleopatra, and soon took the city. 4 Although Antony tried to make terms at the eleventh hour, Augustus forced him to commit suicide, and viewed his corpse. He greatly desired to save Cleopatra alive for his triumph, and even had Psylli brought to her, to suck the poison from her wound, since it was thought that she had died from the bite of an asp. He allowed them both the honour of burial, and in the same tomb, giving orders that the mausoleum which they had begun should be finished. 5 The young Antony, the elder of Fulvia's two sons, he dragged from the image of the Deified Julius, to which he had fled after many vain entreaties, and slew him. Caesarion, too, whom Cleopatra fathered on Caesar, he overtook in his flight, brought back, and put to death. But he spared the rest of the offspring of Antony and Cleopatra, and afterwards maintained and reared them according to their several positions, as carefully as if they were his own kin.

 p149  18 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 About this time he had the sarcophagus and body of Alexander the Great brought forth from its shrine,15 and after gazing on it, showed his respect by placing upon it a golden crown and strewing it with flowers; and being then asked whether he wished to see the tomb of the Ptolemies as well, he replied, "My wish was to see a king, not corpses." 2 He reduced Egypt to the form of a province, and then to make it more fruitful and better adapted to supply the city with grain, he set his soldiers at work cleaning out all the canals into which the Nile overflows, which in the course of many years had become choked with mud. To extend the fame of his victory at Actium and perpetuate his memory, he founded a city called Nicopolis near Actium, and provided for the celebration of games there every five years; enlarged the ancient temple of Apollo; and after adorning the site of the camp which he had occupied with naval trophies, consecrated it to Neptune and Mars.b

19 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 After this he nipped in the bud at various times several outbreaks, attempts at revolution, and conspiracies, which were betrayed before they became formidable. The ringleaders were, first the young Lepidus, then Varro Murena and Fannius Caepio, later Marcus Egnatius, next Plautius Rufus and Lucius Paulus, husband of the emperor's granddaughter, and besides these Lucius Audasius, who had been charged with forgery, and was most old and feeble; also Asinius Epicadus, a half-breed descended from the Parthini,c and finally Telephus, slave and page16 of a woman; for even men of the lowest condition conspired against him and imperilled his safety. 2 Audasius and Epicadus had planned to take his daughter Julia  p151 and his grandson Agrippa by force to the armies from the islands where they were confined, Telephus to set upon both Augustus and the senate, under the delusion that he himself was destined for empire. Even a soldier's servant from the army in Illyricum, who had escaped the vigilance of the door-keepers, was caught at night near the emperor's bed-room, armed with a hunting knife; but whether the fellow was crazy or feigned madness is a question, since nothing could be wrung from him by torture.

20 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He carried on but two foreign wars in person: in Dalmatia, when he was but a youth, and with the Cantabrians after the overthrow of Antony. He was wounded, too, in the former campaign, being struck on the right knee with a stone in one battle, and in another having a leg and both arms severely injured by the collapse of a bridge. His other wars he carried on through his generals, although he was either present at some of those in Pannonia and Germany, or was not far from the front, since he went from the city as far as Ravenna, Mediolanum, or Aquileia.

21 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In part as leader, and in part with armies serving under his auspices,17 he subdued Cantabria, Aquitania, Pannonia, Dalmatia, and all Illyricum, as well as Raetia and the Vindelici and Salassi, which are Alpine tribes. He also put a stop to the inroads of the Dacians, slaying great numbers of them, together with three of their leaders, and force the Germans back to the farther side of the river Albis, with the exception of the Suebi and Sigambri, who submitted to him and were taken into Gaul and settled in lands near the Rhine. He reduced to submission other peoples, too, that were in a state of unrest.

 p153  2 But he never made war on any nation without just and due cause, and he was so far from desiring to increase his dominion or his military glory at any cost, that he forced the chiefs of certain barbarians to take oath in the temple of Mars the Avenger that they would faithfully keep the peace for which they asked; in some cases, indeed, he tried exacting a new kind of hostages, namely women, realizing that the barbarians disregarded pledges secured by males; but all were given the privilege of reclaiming their hostages whenever they wished. On those who rebelled often or under circumstances of especial treachery he never inflicted any severer punishment than that of selling the prisoners, with the condition that they should not pass their term of slavery in a country near their own, nor be set free within thirty years. 3 The reputation for prowess and moderation which he thus gained led even the Indians and the Scythians, nations known to us only by hearsay, to send envoys of their own free will and sue for his friendship and that of the Roman people. The Parthians, too, readily yielded to him, when he laid claim to Armenia, and at his demand surrendered the standards which they had taken from Marcus Crassus and Marcus Antonius;18 they offered him hostages besides, and once when there were several claimants of their throne, they would accept only the one whom he selected.

22 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The temple of Janus Quirinus, which had been closed but twice before his time since the founding of the city,19 he closed three times in a far shorter period, having won peace on land and sea. He twice entered the city in an ovation, after the war of Philippi, again after that in Sicily,  p155 and he celebrated three regular triumphs20 for his victories in Dalmatia, at Actium, and at Alexandria, all on three successive days.

23 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He suffered but two severe and ignominious defeats, those of Lollius and Varus, both of which were in Germany. Of these the former was more humiliating than serious, but the latter was almost fatal, since three legions were cut to pieces with their general, his lieutenants, and all the auxiliaries. When the news of this came, he ordered that watch be kept by night throughout the city, to prevent outbreak, and prolonged the terms of the governors of the provinces, that the allies might be held to their allegiance by experienced men with whom they were acquainted. 2 He also vowed great games to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, in case the condition of the commonwealth should improve, a thing which had been done in the Cimbric and Marsic wars. In fact, they say that he was so greatly affected that for several months in succession he cut neither his beard nor his hair, and sometimes he would dash his head against a door, crying: "Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!" And he observed the day of the disaster each year as one of sorrow and mourning.

24 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He made many changes and innovations in the army, besides reviving some usages of former times. He exacted the strictest discipline. It was with great reluctance that he allowed even his generals to visit their wives, and then only in the winter season. He sold a Roman knight and his property at public auction, because he had cut off the thumbs of two young sons, to make them unfit for military service; but when he saw that some tax-gatherers  p157 were intent upon buying him, he knocked him down to a freedmanº of his own, with the understanding that he should be banished to the country districts, but allowed to live in freedom. 2 He dismissed the entire tenth legion in disgrace, because they were insubordinate, and others, too, that demanded their discharge in an insolent fashion, he disbanded without the rewards which would have been due for faithful service. If any cohorts gave way in battle, he decimated them,21 and fed the rest on barley.22 When centurions left their posts, he punished them with death, just as he did the rank and file; for faults of other kinds he imposed various ignominious penalties, such as ordering to stand all day long before the general's tent, sometimes in their tunics without their sword-belts, or again holding ten-foot poles or even a clod of earth.23

25 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 After the civil wars he never called any of the troops "comrades," either in the assembly or in an edict, but always "soldiers";24 and he would not allow them to be addressed otherwise, even by those of his sons or stepsons who held military commands, thinking the former term too flattering for the requirements of discipline, the peaceful state of the times, and his own dignity and that of his household. 2 Except as a fire-brigade in Rome, and when there was fear of riots in times of scarcity, he employed freedmen as soldiers only twice: once as a guard for the colonies in the vicinity of Illyricum, and again to defend the bank of the river Rhine; even these he levied, when they were slaves, from men and women of means, and at once gave them freedom; and he kept them under their original  p159 standard,25 not mingling them with the soldiers of free birth or arming them in the same fashion.

3 As military prizes he was somewhat more ready to give trappings26 or collars, valuable for their gold and silver, than crowns for scaling ramparts or walls, which conferred high honour; the latter he gave as sparingly as possible and without favouritism, often even to the common soldiers. He presented Marcus Agrippa with a blue banner in Sicily after his naval victory. Those who had celebrated triumphs were the only ones whom he thought ineligible for prizes, even though they had been the companions of his campaigns and shared in his victories, on the ground that they themselves had the privilege of bestowing such honours wherever they wished. 4 He thought nothing less becoming in a well-trained leader than haste and rashness, and, accordingly, favourite sayings of his were: "More haste, less speed"; "Better a safe commander than a bold"; and "That is done quickly enough which is done well enough." He used to say that a war or a battle should not be begun under any circumstances, unless the hope of gain was clearly greater than the fear of loss; for he likened such as grasped at slight gains with no slight risk to those who fished with a golden hook, the loss of which, if it were carried off, could not be made good by any catch.

26 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He received offices and honours before the usual age, and some of a new kind and for life. He usurped the consulship in the twentieth year of his age, leading his legions against the city as if it were that of an enemy, and sending messengers to demand the office for him in the name of his army; and  p161 when the Senate hesitated, his centurion, Cornelius, leader of the deputation, throwing back his cloak and showing the hilt of his sword, did not hesitate to say in the House, "This will make him consul, if you do not." 2 He held his second consulship nine years later, and a third after a year's interval; the rest up to the eleventh were in successive years, then after declining a number of terms that were offered him, he asked of his own accord for a twelfth after a long interval, no less than seventeen years, and two years later for a thirteenth, wishing to hold the highest magistracy at the time when he introduced each of his sons Gaius and Lucius to public life upon their coming of age. 3 The five consulships from the sixth to the tenth he held for the full year, the rest for nine, six, four, or three months, except the second, which lasted only a few hours; for after sitting for a short time on the curule chair in front of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in the early morning, he resigned the honour on the Kalends of January and appointed another in his place. He did not begin all his consulships in Rome, but the fourth in Asia, the fifth on the Isle of Samos, the eighth and ninth at Tarraco.

27 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He was for ten years a member of the triumvirate for restoring the State to order, and though he opposed his colleagues for some time and tried to prevent a proscription, yet when it was begun, he carried it through with greater severity than either of them. For while they could oftentimes be moved by personal influence and entreaties, he alone was most insistent that no one should be spared, even adding to the list his guardian Gaius Toranius, who had also been the colleague of his father  p163 Octavius in the aedileship. 2 Julius Saturninus adds that after the proscription was over Marcus Lepidus addressed the senate in justification of the past and held out hope of leniency thereafter, since enough punishment had been inflicted; but that Augustus on the contrary declared that he had consented to end the proscription only on condition that he was allowed a free hand for the future. However, to show his regret for this inflexibility, he later honoured Titus Vinius Philopoemen with equestrian rank, because it was said that he had hidden his patron, who was on the list.

3 While he was triumvir, Augustus incurred general detestation by many of his acts. For example, when he was addressing the soldiers and a throng of civilians had been admitted to the assembly, noticing that Pinarius, a Roman knight, was taking notes, he ordered that he be stabbed on the spot, thinking him an eavesdropper and a spy. Because Tedius Afer, consul elect, railed at some act of his in spiteful terms, he uttered such terrible threats that Afer committed suicide.27 4 Again, when Quintus Gallius, a praetor, held some folded tablets under his robe as he was paying his respects, Augustus, suspecting that he had a sword concealed there, did not dare to make a search on the spot for fear it should turn out to be something else; but a little later he had Gallius hustled from the tribunal by some centurions and soldiers, tortured him as if he were a slave, and though he made no confession, ordered his execution, first tearing out the man's eyes with his own hand. He himself writes, however, that Gallius made a treacherous attack on him after asking for an audience, and was haled to prison; and that after he was dismissed under sentence of  p165 banishment, he either lost his life by shipwreck or was waylaid by brigands.

5 He received the tribunician power for life, and once or twice chose a colleague in the office for periods of five years each. He was also given the supervision of morals and of the laws for all time, and by the virtue of this position, although without the title of censor, he nevertheless took the census thrice, the first and last time with a colleague, the second time alone.

28 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He twice thought of restoring the republic; first immediately after the overthrow of Antony, remembering that his rival had often made the charge that it was his fault that it was not restored; and again in the weariness of a lingering illness, when he went so far as to summon the magistrates and the senate to his house, and submit an account of the general condition of the empire.28 Reflecting, however, that as he himself would not be free from danger if he should retire, so too it would be hazardous to trust the State to the control of more than one, he continued to keep it in his hands; and it is not easy to say whether his intentions or their results were the better.29 2 His good intentions he not only expressed from time to time, but put them on record as well in an edict in the following words: "May it be my privilege to establish the State in a firm and secure position, and reap from that act the fruit that I desire; but only if I may be called the author of the best possible government, and bear with me the hope when I die that the foundations which I have laid for the State will remain unshaken." And he realized his hope by making every effort to prevent any dissatisfaction with the new régime.

 p167  3 Since the city was not adorned as the dignity of the empire demanded, and was exposed to flood and fire, he so beautified it that he could justly boast that he had found it built of brick30 and left it in marble. He made it safe too for the future, so far as human foresight could provide for this.

29 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He built many public works, in particular the following: his forum with the temple of Mars the Avenger, the temple of Apollo on the Palatine, and the fane of Jupiter the Thunderer on the Capitol. His reason for building the forum was the increase in the number of the people and of cases at law, which seemed to call for a third forum, since two were no longer adequate. Therefore it was opened to the public with some haste, before the temple of Mars was finished, and it was provided that the public prosecutions be held there apart from the rest, as well as the selection of jurors by lot. 2 He had made a vow to build the temple of Mars in the war of Philippi, which he undertook to avenge his father; accordingly he decreed that in it the senate should consider wars and claims for triumphs, from it those who were on their way to the provinces with military commands should be escorted,31 and to it victors on their return should bear the tokens of their triumphs. 3 He reared the temple of Apollo in that part of his house on the Palatine for which the soothsayers declared that the god had shown his desire by striking it with lightning. He joined to it colonnades with Latin and Greek libraries, and when he was getting to be an old man he often held meetings of the senate there as well, and revised the lists of jurors. He dedicated the  p169 shrine to Jupiter the Thunderer because of a narrow escape; for on his Cantabrian expedition during a march by night, a flash of lightning grazed his litter and struck the slave dead who was carrying a torch before him. 4 He constructed some works too in the name of others, his grandsons and nephew to wit, his wife and his sister, such as the colonnade and basilica of Gaius and Lucius; also the colonnades of Livia and Octavia, and the theatre of Marcellus. More than that, he often urged other prominent men to adorn the city with new monuments or to restore and embellish old ones, each according to his means. 5 And many such works were built at that time by many men; for example, the temple of Hercules and the Muses by Marcius Philippus, the temple of Diana by Lucius Cornificius, the Hall of Liberty by Asinius Pollio, the temple of Saturn by Munatius Plancus, a theatre by Cornelius Balbus, an amphitheatre by Statilius Taurus, and by Marcus Agrippa in particular many magnificent structures.

30 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He divided the area of the city into regions and wards, arranging that the former should be under the charge of magistrates selected each year by lot, and the latter under "masters" elected by the inhabitants of the respective neighbourhoods. To guard against fires he devised a system of stations of night watchmen, and to control the floods he widened and cleared out the channel of the Tiber, which had for some time been filled with rubbish and narrowed by jutting buildings. Further, to make the approach to the city easier from every direction, he personally undertook to rebuild the Flaminian Road all the way to Ariminum, and assigned the rest of the high-ways to others who had  p171 been honoured with triumphs, asking them to use their prize-money in paving them.

2 He restored sacred edifices which had gone to ruin through lapse of time or had been destroyed by fire, and adorned both these and the other temples with most lavish gifts, depositing in the shrine of Jupiter Capitolinus as a single offering sixteen thousand pounds of gold, besides pearls and other precious stones to the value of fifty million sesterces.

31 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 After he finally had assumed the office of pontifex maximus on the death of Lepidus (for he could not make up his mind to deprive him of the honour while he lived) he collected whatever prophetic writings of Greek or Latin origin were in circulation anonymously or under the names of authors of little repute, and burned more than two thousand of them, retaining only the Sibylline books and making a choice even among those; and he deposited them in two gilded cases under the pedestal of the Palatine Apollo. 2 Inasmuch as the calendar, which had been set in order by the Deified Julius, had later been confused and disordered through negligence, he restored it to its former system;d and in making this arrangement he called the month Sextilis by his own surname, rather than his birth-month September, because in the former he had won his first consulship and his most brilliant victories. 3 He increased the number and importance of the priests, and also their allowances and privileges, in particular those of the Vestal virgins. Moreover, when there was occasion to choose another vestal in place of one who had died, and many used all their influence to avoid submitting their daughters to the hazard of the lot, he solemnly swore that if  p173 anyone of his grand-daughters were of eligible age, he would have proposed her name. 4 He also revived some of the ancient rites which had gradually fallen into disuse, such as the augury of Safety,32 the office of Flamen Dialis, the ceremonies of the Lupercalia, the Secular Games, and the festival of the Compitalia. At the Lupercalia he forbade beardless youths to join in the running, and at the Secular Games he wouldn't allow young people of either sex to attend any entertainment by night except in company with some adult relative. He provided that the Lares of the Crossroads should be crowned twice a year, with spring and summer flowers.

5 Next to the immortal Gods he honoured the memory of the leaders who had raised the estate of the Roman people from obscurity to greatness. Accordingly he restored the works of such men with their original inscriptions, and in the two colonnades of his forum dedicated statues of all of them in triumphal garb, declaring besides in a proclamation: "I have contrived this to lead the citizens to require33 me, while I live, and the rulers of later times as well, to attain the standard set by those worthies of old." He also moved the statue of Pompey from the hall in which Gaius Caesar had been slain and placed it on a marble arch opposite the grand door34 of Pompey's theatre.

32 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Many pernicious practices militating against public security had survived as a result of the lawless habits of the civil wars, or had even arisen in time of peace. Gangs of footpads openly went about with swords by their sides, ostensibly to protect themselves, and travellers in the country, freemen and slaves alike, were seized and kept in confinement  p175 in the workhouses35 of the land owners; numerous leagues, too, were formed for the commission of crimes of every kind, assuming the title of some new guild.36 Therefore to put a stop to brigandage, he stationed guards of soldiers wherever it seemed advisable, inspected the workhouses, and disbanded all guilds, except such as were of long standing and formed for legitimate purposes. 2 He burned the records of old debts to the treasury, which were by far the most frequent source of blackmail. He made over to their holders places in the city to which the claim of the state was uncertain. He struck off the lists the names of those who had long been under accusation, from whose humiliation37 nothing was to be gained except the gratification of their enemies, with the stipulation that if anyone was minded to renew the charge, he should be liable to the same penalty.38 To prevent any action for damages or on a disputed claim from falling through or being put off, he added to the term of the courts thirty more days, which had before been taken up with honorary games. 3 To the three divisions of jurors he added a fourth of a lower estate, to be called ducenarii39 and to sit on cases involving trifling amounts. He enrolled as jurors men of thirty years or more, that is five years younger than usual. But when many strove to escape court duty, he reluctantly consented that each division in turn should have a year's exemption, and that the custom of holding court during the  p177 months of November and December should be given up.

33 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He himself administered justice regularly and sometimes up to nightfall, having a litter placed upon the tribunal, if he was indisposed, or even lying down at home. In his administration of justice he was both highly conscientious and very lenient; for to save a man clearly guilty of parricide from being sown up in the sack,40 a punishment which was inflicted only on those who pleaded guilty, he is said to have put the question to him in this form: "You surely did not kill your father, did you?" 2 Again, in a case touching a forged will, in which all the signers were liable to punishment by the Cornelian Law, he distributed to the jury not merely the two tablets for condemnation or acquittal, but a third as well, for the pardon of those who were shown to have been induced to sign by misrepresentation or misunderstanding. 3 Each year he referred appeals of cases involving foreigners to ex-consuls, of whom he had put one in charge of the business affairs of each province.

34 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He revised existing laws and enacted some new ones, for example, on extravagance, on adultery and chastity, on bribery, and on the encouragement of marriage among the various classes of citizens. Having made somewhat more stringent changes in the last of these than in the others, he was unable to carry it out because of an open revolt against its provisions, until he had abolished or mitigated a part of the penalties, besides increasing the rewards41 and allowing a three years' exemption from the obligation to marry after the death of a husband  p179 or wife. 2 When the knights even then persistently called for its repeal at a public show, he sent for the children of Germanicus and exhibited them, some in his own lap and some in their father's, intimating by his gestures and expression that they should not refuse to follow that young man's example. And on finding that the spirit of the law was being evaded by betrothal with immature girls and by frequent changes of wives, he shortened the duration of betrothals and set a limit on divorce.

35 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Since the number of the senators was swelled by a low-born and ill-assorted rabble (in fact, the senate numbered more than a thousand, some of whom, called by the vulgar Orcivi,42 were wholly unworthy, and had been admitted after Caesar's death through favour or bribery) he restored it to its former limits and distinction by two enrolments, one according to the choice of the members themselves, each man naming one other, and a second made by Agrippa and himself. On the latter occasion it is thought that he wore a coat of mail under his tunic as he presided, and a sword by his side, while ten of the most robust of his friends among the senators stood by his chair. 2 Cremutius Cordus writes that even then the senators were not allowed to approach except one by one, and after the folds of their robes had been carefully searched. Some he shamed into resigning, but he allowed even these to retain their distinctive dress, as well as the privilege of viewing the games from the orchestra and taking part in the public banquets of the order. 3 Furthermore, that those who were chosen and approved might perform their duties more conscientiously, and also with less inconvenience, he provided that before taking his seat each member  p181 should offer incense and wine at the altar of the god in whose temple the meeting was held; that regular meetings of the senate should be held not oftener than twice a month, on the Kalends and the Ides; and that in the months of September and October only those should be obliged to attend who were drawn by lot, to a number sufficient for the passage of decrees. He also adopted the plan of privy councils chosen by lot for terms of six months, with which to discuss in advance matters which were to come before the entire body. 4 On questions of special importance he called upon the senators to give their opinions, not according to the order established by precedent, but just as he fancied, to induce each man to keep his mind on the alert, as if he were to initiate action rather than give assent to others.

36 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He introduced other innovations too, among them these: that the proceedings of the senate should not be published;43 that magistrates should not be sent to the provinces immediately after laying down their office; that a fixed sum should be allowed the proconsuls for mules and tents, which it was the custom to contract for and charge to the State; that the management of the public treasury should be transferred from the city quaestors to ex-praetors or praetors; and that the centumviral court,44 which it was usual for ex-quaestors to convoke, should be summoned by the Board of Ten.45

37 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 To enable more men to take part in the administration of the State, he devised new offices: the charge of public buildings, of the roads, of the aqueducts, of the channel of the Tiber, of the distribution of grain to the people, as well as the  p183 prefecture of the city, a board of three for choosing senators, and another for reviewing the companies of the knights whenever it should be necessary. He appointed censors, an office which had long been discontinued. He increased the number of praetors. He also demanded that whenever the consulship was conferred on him, he should have two colleagues instead of one; but this was not granted, since all cried out that it was a sufficient offence to his supreme dignity that he held the office with another and not alone.

38 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He was not less generous in honouring martial prowess, for he had regular triumphs46 voted to above thirty generals, and the triumphal regalia to somewhat more than that number.

2 To enable senators' sons to gain an earlier acquaintance with public business, he allowed them to assume the broad purple stripe immediately after the gown of manhood and to attend meetings of the senate; and when they began their military career, he gave them not merely a tribunate in a legion, but the command of a division of cavalry as well; and to furnish all of them with experience in camp life, he usually appointed two senators' sons to command each division.

3 He reviewed the companies of knights at frequent intervals, reviving the custom of the procession after long disuse. But he would not allow an accuser to force anyone to dismount as he rode by, as was often done in the past; and he permitted those who were conspicuous because of old age or any bodily infirmity47 to send on their horses in the review, and come on foot to answer to their names whenever they were summoned. Later he excused those who were over  p185 thirty-five years of age and did not wish to retain their horses from formally surrendering them.

39 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Having obtained ten assistants from the senate, he compelled each knight to render an account of his life, punishing some of those whose conduct was scandalous and degrading others; but the greater part he reprimanded with varying degrees of severity. The mildest form of reprimand was to hand them a pair of tablets publicly, which they were to read in silence on the spot. He censured some because they had borrowed money at low interest and invested it at a higher rate.

40 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 At the elections for tribunes if there were not candidates enough of senatorial rank,48 he made appointments from among the knights, with the understanding that after their term they might remain in whichever order they wished. Moreover, since many knights whose property was diminished during the civil wars did not venture to view the games from the fourteen rows49 through fear of the penalty of the law regarding theatres, he declared that none were liable to its provisions, if they themselves or their parents had ever possessed a knight's estate.

2 He revised the lists of the people district by district, and to prevent the commons from being called away from their occupations too often because of the distributions of grain, he determined to give out tickets for four months' supply three times a year; but at their urgent request he allowed a return to the old custom of receiving a share every month. He also revived the old time election privileges,50 trying to put a stop to bribery by numerous penalties, and distributing to his fellow members of the Fabian  p187 and Scaptian tribes51 a thousand sesterces a man from his own purse on the day of the elections, to keep them from looking for anything from any of the candidates.

3 Considering it also of great importance to keep the people pure and unsullied by any taint of foreign or servile blood, he was most chary of conferring Roman citizenship and set a limit to manumission. When Tiberius requested citizenship for a Grecian dependent of his, Augustus wrote in reply that he would not grant it unless the man appeared in person and convinced him that he had reasonable grounds for the request; and when Livia asked it for a Gaul from a tributary province, he refused, offering instead freedom from tribute, and declaring that he would more willingly suffer a loss to his privy purse than the prostitution of the honour of Roman citizenship. 4 Not content with making it difficult for slaves to acquire freedom, and still more so for them to attain full rights, by making careful provision as to the number, condition, and status of those who were manumitted, he added the proviso that no one who had ever been put in irons or tortured should acquire citizenship by any grade of freedom.52

5 He desired also to revive the ancient fashion of dress, and once when he saw in an assembly a throng of men in dark cloaks, he cried out indignantly, "Behold them

Romans, lords of the world, the nation clad in the toga,"53

and he directed the aediles never again to allow  p189 anyone to appear in the Forum or its neighbourhood except in the toga and without a cloak.

41 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He often showed generosity to all classes when occasion offered. For example, by bringing the royal treasures to Rome in his Alexandrian triumph he made ready money so abundant, that the rate of interest fell, and the value of real estate rose greatly; and after that, whenever there was an excess of funds from the property of those who had been condemned, he loaned it without interest for fixed periods to any who could give security for double the amount. He increased the property qualification for senators, requiring one million two hundred thousand sesterces, instead of eight hundred thousand, and making up the amount for those who did not possess it. 2 He often gave largess54 to the people, but usually of different sums: now four hundred, now three hundred, now two hundred and fifty sesterces a man; and he did not even exclude young boys, though it had been usual for them to receive a share only after the age of eleven. In times of scarcity too he often distributed grain to each man at a very low figure, sometimes for nothing, and he doubled the money tickets.55

42 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 But to show that he was a prince who desired the public welfare rather than popularity, when the people complained of the scarcity and high price of wine, he sharply rebuked them by saying: "My son-in‑law Agrippa has taken good care, by building several aqueducts, that men shall not go thirsty." 2 Again, when the people demanded largess which he had in fact promised, he replied:  p191 "I am a man of my word"; but when they called for one which had not been promised, he rebuked them in a proclamation for their shameless impudence, and declared that he would not give it, even though he was intending to do so. With equal dignity and firmness, when he had announced a distribution of money and found that many had been manumitted and added to the list of citizens, he declared that those to whom no promise had been made should receive nothing, and gave the rest less than he had promised, to make the appointed sum suffice. 3 Once indeed in a time of great scarcity when it was difficult to find a remedy, he expelled from the city the slaves that were for sale, as well as the schools of gladiators, all foreigners with the exception of physicians and teachers, and a part of the household slaves; and when grain at last became more plentiful, he writes: "I was strongly inclined to do away forever with distributions of grain, because through dependence on them agriculture was neglected; but I did not carry out my purpose, feeling sure that they would one day be renewed through desire for popular favour." But from that time on he regulated the practice with no less regard for the interests of the farmers and grain-dealers than for those of the populace.

43 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He surpassed all his predecessors in the frequency, variety, and magnificence of his public shows. He says that he gave games four times in his own name and twenty-three times for other magistrates, who were either away from Rome or lacked means. He gave them sometimes in all the wards and on many stages with actors in all languages,56 and combats of gladiators not only in the Forum or the amphitheatre,  p193 but in the Circus and in the Saepta; sometimes, however, he gave nothing except a fight with wild beasts. He gave athletic contests too in the Campus Martius, erecting wooden seats; also a sea-fight, constructing an artificial lake near the Tiber, where the grove of the Caesars now stands. On such occasions he stationed guards in various parts of the city, to prevent it from falling a prey to footpads because of the few people who remained at home. 2 In the Circus he exhibited charioteers, runners, and slayers of wild animals, who were sometimes young men of the highest rank. Besides he gave frequent performances of the game of Troy57 by older and younger boys, thinking it a time-honoured and worthy custom for the flower of the nobility to become known in this way. When Nonius Asprenas was lamed by a fall while taking part in this game, he presented him with a golden necklace and allowed him and his descendants to bear the surname Torquatus. But soon after he gave up that form of entertainment, because Asinius Pollio the orator complained bitterly and angrily in the senate of an accident to his grandson Aeserninus, who also had broken his leg.

3 He sometimes employed even Roman knights in scenic and gladiatorial performances, but only before it was forbidden by decree of the senate. After that he exhibited no one of respectable parentage, with the exception of a young man named Lycius, whom he showed merely as a curiosity; for he was less than two feet tall, weighed but seventeen pounds, yet had a stentorian voice. 4 He did however on the day of one of the shows make a display of the first Parthian hostages that had ever  p195 been sent to Rome, by leading them through the middle of the arena and placing them in the second row above his own seat. Furthermore, if anything rare and worth seeing was ever brought to the city, it was his habit to make a special exhibit of it in any convenient place on days when no shows were appointed. For example a rhinoceros in the Saepta, a tiger on the stage and a snake of fifty cubits in front of the Comitium.

5 It chanced that at the time of the games which he had vowed to give in the circus, he was taken ill and headed the sacred procession lying in a litter; again, at the opening of the games with which he dedicated the theatre of Marcellus, it happened that the joints of his curule chair gave way and he fell on his back. At the games for his grandsons, when the people were in a panic for fear the theatre should fall, and he could not calm them or encourage them in any way, he left his own place and took his seat in the part which appeared most dangerous.

44 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He put a stop by special regulations to the disorderly and indiscriminate fashion of viewing the games, through exasperation at the insult to a senator, to whom no one offered a seat in a crowded house at some largely attended games in Puteoli. In consequence of this the senate decreed that, whenever any public show was given anywhere, the first row of seats should be reserved for senators; and at Rome he would not allow the envoys of the free and allied nations to sit in the orchestra, since he was informed that even freedmen were sometimes appointed. He separated the soldiery from the people. 2 He assigned special seats to the married men of the commons, to boys under age their own section and the adjoining one to their preceptors; and he decreed that no one  p197 wearing a dark cloak should sit in the middle of the house.58 He would not allow women to view even the gladiators except from the upper seats, though it had been the custom for men and women to sit together at such shows. 3 Only the Vestal virgins were assigned a place to themselves, opposite the praetor's tribunal. As for the contests of the athletes, he excluded women from them so strictly, that when a contest between a pair of boxers had been called for at the games in honour of his appointment as pontifex maximus, he postponed it until early the following day, making proclamation that it was his desire that women should not come to the theatre before the fifth hour.

45 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He himself usually watched the games in the Circus from the upper rooms of his friends and freedmen,59 but sometimes from the imperial box,60 and even in company with his wife and children. He was sometimes absent for several hours, and now and then for whole days, making his excuses and appointing presiding officers to take his place. But whenever he was present, he gave his entire attention to the performance, either to avoid the censure to which he realized that his father Caesar had been generally exposed, because he spent his time in reading or answering letters and petitions; or from his interest and pleasure in the spectacle, which he never denied but often frankly confessed. 2 Because of this he used to offer special prizes and numerous valuable gifts from his own purse at games given by others, and he appeared at no contest in the Grecian fashion61 without making a present to each of the participants according to his deserts.  p199 He was especially given to watching boxers, particularly those of Latin birth, not merely such as were recognized and classed as professionals, whom he was wont to match even with Greeks, but the common untrained townspeople that fought rough and tumble and without skill in the narrow streets. 3 In fine, he followed with his interest all classes of performers who took part in the public shows; maintained the privileges of the athletes and even increased them; forbade the matching of gladiators without the right of appeal for quarter; and deprived the magistrates of the power allowed them by an ancient law of punishing actors anywhere and everywhere, restricting it to the time of games and to the theatre. 4 Nevertheless he exacted the severest discipline in the contests in the wrestling halls and the combats of the gladiators. In particular he was so strict in curbing the lawlessness of the actors, that when he learned that Stephanio, an actor of Roman plays, was waited on by a matron with hair cut short to look like a boy, he had him whipped with rods through the three theatres62 and then banished him. Hylas, a pantomimic actor, was publicly scourged in the atrium of his own house, on complaint of a praetor, and Pylades was expelled from the city and from Italy as well, because by pointing at him with his finger63 he turned all eyes upon a spectator who was hissing him.

46 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 After having thus set the city and its affairs in order, he added to the population of Italy by personally establishing twenty-eight colonies; furnished many parts of it with public buildings and revenues; and even gave it, at least to some degree, equal rights and dignity with the city of Rome, by  p201 devising a kind of votes which the members of the local senate were to cast in each colony for candidates for the city offices and send under seal to Rome against the day of the elections. To keep up the supply of men of rank and induce the commons to increase and multiply, he admitted to the equestrian military career64 those who were recommended by any town, while to those of the commons who could lay claim to legitimate sons or daughters when he made his rounds of the districts he distributed a thousand sesterces for each child.

47 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The stronger provinces, which could neither easily nor safely be governed by annual meetings, he took to himself; the others he assigned to proconsular governors selected by lot. But he changed some of them at times from one class to the other, and often visited many of both sorts. Certain of the cities which had treaties with Rome, but were on the road to ruin through their lawlessness, he deprived of their independence; he relieved others that were overwhelmed with debt, rebuilt some which had been destroyed by earthquakes, and gave Latin rights65 or full citizenship to such as could point to services rendered the Roman people. I believe there is no province, excepting only Africa and Sardinia, which he did not visit; and he was planning to cross to these from Sicily after his defeat of Sextus Pompeius, but was prevented by a series of violent storms, and later had neither the opportunity nor occasion to make the voyage.

48 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Except in a few instances he restored the kingdoms of which he gained possession by the right of conquest to those from whom he had taken  p203 them or joined them with other foreign nations. He also united the kings with whom he was in alliance by mutual ties, and was very ready to propose or favour intermarriages or friendships among them. He never failed to treat them all with consideration as integral parts of the empire, regularly appointing a guardian for such as were too young to rule or whose minds were affected, until they grew up or recovered; and he brought up the children of many of them and educated them with his own.

49 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Of his military forces he assigned legions and auxiliaries to the various provinces, stationed a fleet at Misenum and another at Ravenna, to defend the Upper and Lower seas, and employed the remainder partly in the defence of the city and partly in that of his own person, disbanding a troop of Calagurritani which had formed a part of his body-guard until the overthrow of Antony, and also one of Germans, which he had retained until the defeat of Varus. However, he never allowed more than three cohorts to remain in the city and even those were without a permanent camp; the rest he regularly sent to winter or summer quarters in the towns near Rome. 2 Furthermore, he restricted all the soldiery everywhere to a fixed scale of pay and allowances, designating the duration of their service and the rewards on its completion according to each man's rank, in order to keep them from being tempted to revolution after their discharge either by age or poverty. To have funds ready at all times without difficulty for maintaining the soldiers and paying the rewards due to them, he established a military treasury, supported by new taxes.

 p205  3 To enable what was going on in each of the provinces to be reported and known more speedily and promptly, he at first stationed young men at short intervals along the military roads, and afterwards post-chaises. The latter has seemed the more convenient arrangement, since the same men who bring the dispatches from any place can, if occasion demands, be questioned as well.

50 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In passports,66 dispatches, and private letters he used as his seal at first a sphinx, later an image of Alexander the Great, and finally his own, carved by the hand of Dioscurides; and this his successors continued to use as their seal. He always attached to all letters the exact hour, not only of the day, but even of the night, to indicate precisely when they were written.

51 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The evidences of his clemency and moderation are numerous and strong. Not to give the full list of the men of the opposite faction whom he not only pardoned and spared, but allowed to hold high positions in the state, I may say that he thought it enough to punish two plebeians, Junius Novatus and Cassius Patavinus, with a fine and with a mild form of banishment respectively, although the former had circulated a most scathing letter about him under the name of the young Agrippa, while the latter had openly declared at a large dinner party that he lacked neither the earnest desire nor the courage to kill him. 2 Again, when he was hearing a case against Aemilius Aelianus of Corduba and it was made the chief offence, amongst other charges, that he was in the habit of expressing a bad opinion of Caesar, Augustus turned to the accused with assumed anger and said: "I wish you could prove the truth of that. I'll let  p207 Aelianus know that I have a tongue as well as he, for I'll say even more about him;" and he made no further inquiry either at the time or afterwards. 3 When Tiberius complained to him of the same thing in a letter, but in more forcible language, he replied as follows: "My dear Tiberius, do not be carried away by the ardour of youth in this matter, or take it too much to heart that anyone speak evil of me; we must be content if we can stop anyone from doing evil to us."

52 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Although well aware that it was usual to vote temples even to proconsuls, he would not accept one even in a province save jointly in his own name and that of Rome. In the city itself he refused this honour most emphatically, even melting down the silver statues which had been set up in his honour in former times and with the money coined from them dedicating golden tripods to Apollo of the Palatine.

When the people did their best to force the dictatorship upon him, he knelt down, threw off his toga from his shoulders and with bare breast begged them not to insist.

53 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He always shrank from the title of Lord67 as reproachful and insulting. When the words

"O just and gracious Lord!"

were uttered in a farce at which he was a spectator and all the people sprang to their feet and applauded as if they were said of him, he at once checked their unseemly flattery by look and gesture, and on the following day sharply reproved them in an edict. After that he would not suffer himself to be called Sire even by his children or his grandchildren either in jest or in earnest, and he forbade them to use  p209 such flattering terms even among themselves. 2 He did not if he could help it leave or enter any city or town except in the evening or at night, to avoid disturbing anyone by the obligations of ceremony. In his consulship he commonly went through the streets on foot, and when he was not consul, generally in a closed litter. His morning receptions were open to all, including even the commons, and he met the requests of those who approached him with great affability, jocosely reproving one man because he presented a petition to him with as much hesitation "as he would a penny to an elephant." 3 On the day of a meeting of the senate he always greeted the members in the House68 and in their seats, calling each man by name without a prompter; and when he left the House, he used to take leave of them in the same manner, while they remained seated. He exchanged social calls with many, and did not cease to attend all their anniversaries, until he was well on in years and was once incommoded by the crowd on the day of a betrothal. When Gallus Cerrinius, a senator with whom he was not at all intimate, had suddenly become blind and had therefore resolved to end his life by starvation, Augustus called on him and by his consoling words induced him to live.

54 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 As he was speaking in the senate someone said to him: "I did not understand," and another: "I would contradict you if I had an opportunity." Several times when he was rushing from the House in anger at the excessive bickering of the disputants, some shouted after him: "Senators ought to have the right of speaking their mind on public affairs." At the selection of senators when each member chose  p211 another,69 Antistius Labeo named Marcus Lepidus, an old enemy of the emperor's who was at the time in banishment; and when Augustus asked him whether there were not others more deserving of the honour, Labeo replied that every man had his own opinion. Yet for all that no one suffered for his freedom of speech or insolence.

55 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He did not even dread the lampoons against him which were scattered in the senate house, but took great pains to refute them; and without trying to discover the authors, he merely proposed that thereafter such as published notes or verses defamatory of anyone under a false name should be called to account.

56 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 When he was assailed with scurrilous or spiteful jests by certain men, he made reply in a public proclamation; yet he vetoed a law to check freedom of speech in wills.70 Whenever he took part in the election of magistrates, he went the round of the tribes with his candidates and appealed for them in the traditional manner. He also cast his own vote in his tribe, as one of the people. When he gave testimony in court, he was most patient in submitting to questions and even to contradiction. 2 He made his forum narrower than he had planned, because he did not venture to eject the owners of the neighbouring houses. He never recommended his sons for office without adding "If they be worthy of it." When they were still under age and the audience at the theatre rose as one man in their honour, and stood up and applauded them, he expressed strong disapproval. He wished his friends to be prominent and influential in the state, but to be bound by the same laws as the rest and equally liable to  p213 prosecution. 3 When Nonius Asprenas, a close friend of his, was meeting a charge of poisoning made by Cassius Severus, Augustus asked the senate what they thought he ought to do; for he hesitated, he said, for fear that if he should support him, it might be thought that he was shielding a guilty man, but if he failed to do so, that he was proving false to a friend and prejudicing his case. Then, since all approved of his appearing in the case, he sat on the benches71 for several hours, but in silence and without even speaking in praise of the defendant.72 4 He did however defend some of his clients, for instance a certain Scutarius, one of his former officers, who was accused of slander. But he secured the acquittal of no more than one single man, and then only by entreaty, making a successful appeal to the accuser in the presence of the jurors; this was Castricius, through whom he had learned of Murena's conspiracy.

57 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 It may readily be imagined how much he was beloved because of this admirable conduct. I say nothing of decrees of the senate, which might seem to have been dictated by necessity or by awe. The Roman knights celebrated his birthday of their own accord by common consent, and always for two successive days.73 All sorts and conditions of men, in fulfillment of a vow for his welfare, each year threw a small coin into the Lacus Curtius, and also brought a New Year's gift to the Capitol on the Kalends of January, even when he was away from Rome. With this sum he bought and dedicated in each of the city wards costly statues of the gods, such as Apollo Sandalarius, Jupiter Tragoedus, and others. 2 To rebuild his house on the Palatine, which had been destroyed by fire, the veterans, the guilds,74 the tribes,  p215 and even individuals of other conditions gladly contributed money, each according to his means; but he merely took a little from each pile as a matter of form, not more than a denarius from any of them. On his return from a province they received him not only with prayers and good wishes, but with songs. It was the rule, too, that whenever he entered the city, no one should suffer punishment.e

58 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The whole body of citizens with a sudden unanimous impulse proffered him the title of Father of his Country: first the commons, by a deputation sent to Antium, and then, because he declined it, again at Rome as he entered the theatre, which they attended in throngs, all wearing laurel wreaths: the senate afterwards in the House, not by a decree or by acclamation, but through Valerius Messala. 2 He, speaking for the whole body, said: "Good fortune and divine favour attend thee and thy house, Caesar Augustus; for thus we feel that we are praying for lasting prosperity for our country and happiness for our city. The senate in accord with the people of Rome hails thee Father of thy Country." Then Augustus with tears in his eyes replied as follows (and I have given his exact words, as I did those of Messala): "Having attained my highest hopes, Fathers of the Senate, what more have I to ask of the immortal gods than that I may retain this same unanimous approval of yours to the very end of my life."

59 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In honour of his physician, Antonius Musa, through whose care he had recovered from a dangerous illness, a sum of money was raised and Musa's statue was set up beside that of Aesculapius. Some householders provided in their wills that their heirs should drive victims to the Capitol and pay a thank-offering  p217 in their behalf, because Augustus had survived them, and that a placard to this effect should be carried before them. Some of the Italian cities made the day on which he first visited them the beginning of their year. Many of the provinces, in addition to temples and altars, established quinquennial gamesf in his honour in almost every one of their towns.

60 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 His friends and allies among the kings each in his own realm founded a city called Caesarea, and all joined in a plan to contribute the funds for finishing the temple of Jupiter Olympius, which was begun at Athens in ancient days, and to dedicate it to his Genius;75 and they would often leave their kingdoms and show him the attentions usual in dependents, clad in the toga and without the emblems of royalty, not only at Rome, but even when he was travelling through the provinces.

61 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Now that I have shown how he conducted himself in civil and military positions, and in ruling the State in all parts of the world in peace and in war, I shall next give an account of his private and domestic life, describing his character and his fortune at home and in his household from his youth until the last day of his life.

2 He lost his mother during his first consulship and his sister Octavia in his fifty-fourth year. To both he showed marked devotion during their lifetime, and also paid them the highest honours after their death.

62 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In his youth he was betrothed to the daughter of Publius Servilius Isauricus, but when he became reconciled with Antony after their first quarrel, and their troops begged that the rivals be further united by some tie of kinship, he took to  p219 wife Antony's stepdaughter Claudia, daughter of Fulvia by Publius Clodius, although she was barely of marriageable age; but because of a falling out with his mother-in‑law Fulvia, he divorced her before they had begun to live together.g 2 Shortly after that he married Scribonia, who had been wedded before to two ex-consuls, and was a mother by one of them. He divorced her also, "unable to put up with her shrewish disposition," as he himself writes, and at once took Livia Drusilla from her husband Tiberius Nero, although she was with child at the time; and he loved and esteemed her to the end without a rival.

63 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 By Scribonia he had a daughter Julia, by Livia no children at all, although he earnestly desired issue. One baby was conceived, but was prematurely born. He gave Julia in marriage first to Marcellus, son of his sister Octavia and hardly more than a boy, and then after his death to Marcus Agrippa, prevailing upon his sister to yield her son-in‑law to him; for at that time Agrippa had to wife one of the Marcellas and had children from her. 2 When Agrippa also died, Augustus, after considering various alliances for a long time, even in the equestrian order, finally chose his stepson Tiberius, obliging him to divorce his wife, who was with child and by whom he was already a father. Mark Antony writes that Augustus first betrothed his daughter to his son Antonius and then to Cotiso, king of the Getae, at the same time asking for the hand of the king's daughter for himself in turn.

64 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 From Agrippa and Julia he had three grandsons, Gaius, Lucius, and Agrippa, and two granddaughters, Julia and Agrippina. He married  p221 Julia to Lucius Paulus, the censor's son, and Agrippina to Germanicus his sister's grandson. Gaius and Lucius he adopted at home, privately buying them from their father by a symbolic sale,76 and initiated them into administrative life when they were still young, sending them to the provinces and the armies as consuls elect. 2 In bringing up his daughter and his granddaughters he even had them taught spinning and weaving, and he forbade them to say or do anything except openly and such as might be recorded in the household diary.77 He was most strict in keeping them from meeting strangers, once writing to Lucius Vinicius, a young man of good position and character: "You have acted presumptuously in coming to Baiae to call on my daughter." 3 He taught his grandsons reading, swimming, and the other elements of education, for the most part himself, taking special pains to train them to imitate his own handwriting; and he never dined in their company unless they sat beside him on the lowest couch,78 or made a journey unless they preceded his carriage or rode close by it on either side.

65 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 But at the height of his happiness and his confidence in his family and its training, Fortune proved fickle. He found the two Julias, his daughter and granddaughter, guilty of every form of vice, and banished them. He lost Gaius and Lucius within the span of eighteen months, for the former died in Lycia and the latter at Massilia. He then publicly adopted his third grandson Agrippa and at the same time his stepson Tiberius by a bill passed in the assembly of the curiae;79 but he soon disowned  p223 Agrippa because of his low tastes and violent temper, and sent him off to Surrentum.

2 He bore the death of his kin with far more resignation than their misconduct. For he was not greatly broken by the fate of Gaius and Lucius, but he informed the senate of his daughter's fall through a letter read in his absence by a quaestor, and for very shame would meet no one for a long time, and even thought of putting her to death. At all events, when one of her confidantes, a freedwoman called Phoebe, hanged herself at about that same time, he said: "I would rather have been Phoebe's father." 3 After Julia was banished, he denied her the use of wine and every form of luxury, and would not allow any man, bond or free, to come near her without his permission, and then not without being informed of his stature, complexion, and even of any marks or scars upon his body. It was not until five years later that he moved her from the island80 to the mainland and treated her with somewhat less rigour. But he could not by any means be prevailed on to recall her altogether, and when the Roman people several times interceded for her and urgently pressed their suit, he in open assembly called upon the gods to curse them with like daughters and like wives. 4 He would not allow the child born to his granddaughter Julia after her sentence to be recognized or reared. As Agrippa grew no more manageable, but on the contrary became madder from day to day, he transferred him to an island81 and set a guard of soldiers over him besides. He also provided by a decree of  p225 the senate that he should be confined there for all time, and at every mention of him and of the Julias he would sigh deeply and even cry out:

"Would that I ne'er had wedded and would I had died without offspring";82

and he never alluded to them except as his three boils and his three ulcers.

66 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He did not readily make friends, but he clung to them with the utmost constancy, not only suitably rewarding their virtues and deserts but even condoning their faults, provided they were not too great. In fact one cannot readily name any of his numerous friends who fell into disgrace, except Salvidienus Rufus, whom he had advanced to a consul's rank, and Cornelius Gallus, whom he had raised to the prefecture of Egypt, both from the lowest estate. 2 The former he handed over to the senate that it might condemn him to death, because he was plotting revolution; the latter he forbade his house and the privilege of residence in the imperial provinces,83 because of his ungrateful and envious spirit. But when Gallus too84 was forced to undergo death through the declarations of his accusers and the decrees of the senate, though commending their loyalty and their indignation on his account, Augustus yet shed tears and bewailed his lot, because he alone could not set what limits he chose to his anger with his friends.85 3 All the rest continued to enjoy power and wealth to the end of their lives, each holding a leading place in his own class,86 although  p227 sometimes differences arose. Not to mention the others, he occasionally found Agrippa lacking in patience and Maecenas in the gift of silence; for the former because of a slight suspicion of coolness and of a preference shown for Marcellus, threw up everything and went off to Mytilene, while the latter betrayed to his wife Terentia the secret of the discovery of the conspiracy of Murena.

4 In return he demanded of his friends affection on their part, both in life and after death.87 For though he was in no sense a legacy-hunter, and in fact could never bring himself to accept anything from the will of a stranger, yet he was highly sensitive in weighing the death-bed utterances of his friends, concealing neither his chagrin if he was left a niggardly bequest or one unaccompanied by compliments, nor his satisfaction, if he was praised in terms of gratitude and affection. Whenever legacies or shares in inheritances were left him by men of any station who had offspring, he either turned them over to the children at once, or if the latter were in their minority, paid the money back with interest on the day when they assumed the gown of manhood or married.

67 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 As patron and master he was no less strict than gracious and merciful, while he held many of his freedmen in high honour and close intimacy, such as Licinus, Celadus, and others. His slave Cosmus, who spoke of him most insultingly, he merely put in irons. When he was walking with his steward Diomedes, and the latter in a panic got behind him when they were suddenly charged by a wild boar, he preferred to tax the man with timorousness rather than with anything more serious, and  p229 turned a matter of grave danger into a jest, because after all there was no evil intent. 2 But he forced Polus, a favourite freedman of his, to take his own life, because he was convicted of adultery with Roman matrons, and broke the legs of his secretary Thallus for taking five hundred denarii to betray the contents of a letter. Because the tutor and attendants of his son Gaius took advantage of their master's illness and death to commit acts of arrogance and greed in his province, he had them thrown into a river with heavy weights about their necks.

68 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In early youth he incurred the reproach of sundry shameless acts. Sextus Pompey taunted him with effeminacy; Mark Antony with having earned adoption by his uncle through unnatural relations; and Lucius, brother of Mark Antony, that after sacrificing his honour to Caesar he had given himself to Aulus Hirtius in Spain for three hundred thousand sesterces, and that he used to singe his legs with red-hot nutshells, to make the hair grow softer. What is more, one day when there were plays in the theatre, all the people took as directed against him and loudly applauded the following line, spoken on the stage and referring to a priest of the Mother of the Gods, as he beat his timbrel:

"See'st how a wanton's finger sways the world?"88

69 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 That he was given to adultery not even his friends deny, although it is true that they excuse it as committed not from passion but from policy, the more readily to get track of his adversaries' designs through the women of their households. Mark Antony charged him, besides his hasty marriage with Livia, with taking the wife  p231 of an ex-consul from her husband's dining-room before his very eyes into a bed-chamber, and bringing her back to the table with her hair in disorder and her ears glowing; that Scribonia was divorced because she expressed her resentment too freely at the excessive influence of a rival;89 that his friends acted as his panders, and stripped and inspected matrons and well-grown girls, as if Toranius the slave-dealer were putting them up for sale. 2 Antony also writes to Augustus himself in the following familiar terms, when he had not yet wholly broken with him privately or publicly: "What has made such a change in you? Because I lie with the queen? She is my wife. Am I just beginning this, or was it nine years ago? What then of you — do you lie only with Drusilla? Good luck to you if when you read this letter you have not been with Tertulla or Terentilla or Rufilla or Salvia Titisenia, or all of them. Does it matter where or with whom you take your pleasure?"

70 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 There was besides a private dinner of his, commonly called that of the "twelve gods," which was the subject of gossip. At this the guests appeared in the guise of gods and goddesses, while he himself was made up to represent Apollo, as was charged not merely in letters of Antony, who spitefully gives the names of all the guests, but also in these anonymous lines, which everyone knows:

"As soon as that table of rascals had secured a choragus90 and Mallia91 saw six gods and six goddesses, while Caesar impiously plays the false rôle of Apollo and feasts amid novel debaucheries of the gods; then all the deities turned their faces from the earth and Jupiter himself fled from his golden throne."

 p233  2 The scandal of this banquet was the greater because of dearth and famine in the land at the time, and on the following day there was an outcry that the gods had eaten all the grain and that Caesar was in truth Apollo, but Apollo the Tormentor, a surname under which the god was worshipped in one part of the city. He was criticized too as over fond of costly furniture and Corinthian bronzes and as given to gaming. Indeed, as early as the time of the proscriptions there was written on his statue —

"In silver once my father dealt, now in Corinthians92 I,"

since it was believed that he caused some men to be entered in the list of the proscribed because of their Corinthian vases. Later, during the Sicilian war, this epigram was current:

"After he has twice been beaten at sea and lost his ships, he plays at dice all the time, in the hope of winning one victory."

71 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Of these charges or slanders (whichever we may call them) he easily refuted that for unnatural vice by the purity of his life at the time and afterwards; so too the odium of extravagance by the fact that when he took Alexandria, he kept none of the furniture of the palace for himself93 except a single agate cup, and presently melted down all the golden vessels intended for everyday use. He could not dispose of the charge of lustfulness and they say that even in his later years he was fond of deflowering maidens, who were brought together for him from all quarters, even by his own wife. He did not in the least  p235 shrink from a reputation for gaming, and played frankly and openly for recreation, even when he was well on in years, not only in the month of December,94 but on other holidays as well, and on working days too. 2 There is no question about this, for in a letter in his own handwriting he says: "I dined, dear Tiberius, with the same company; we had besides as guests Vinicius and the elder Silius. We gambled like old men during the meal both yesterday and to‑day; for when the dice were thrown, whoever turned up the 'dog'95 or the six, put a denarius in the pool for each one of the dice, and the whole was taken by anyone who threw the 'Venus.' " 3 Again in another letter: "We spent the Quinquatria96 very merrily, my dear Tiberius, for we played all day long and kept the gaming-board warm. Your brother made a great outcry about his luck, but after all did not come out far behind in the long run; for after losing heavily, he unexpectedly and little by little got back a good deal. For my part, I lost twenty thousand sesterces, but because I was extravagantly generous in my play, as usual. If I had demanded of everyone the stakes which I let go, or had kept all that I gave away, I should have won fully fifty thousand. But I like that better, for my generosity will exalt me to immortal glory." 4 To his daughter he writes: "I send you two hundred and fifty denarii, the sum which I gave each of my guests, in case they wished to play at dice or at odd and even during the dinner."

72 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In the other details of his life it is generally agreed that he was most temperate and without even the suspicion of any fault. He lived at first  p237 near the Forum Romanum, above the Stairs of the Ringmakers, in a house which had belonged to the orator Calvus; afterwards, on the Palatine, but in the no less modest dwelling of Hortensius, which was remarkable neither for size nor elegance, having but short colonnades with columns of Alban stone,97 and rooms without any marble decorations or handsome pavements. For more than forty years too he used the same bedroom in winter and summer;98 although he found the city unfavourable to his health in the winter, yet continued to winter there. 2 If ever he planned to do anything in private or without interruption, he had a retired place at the top of the house, which he called "Syracuse"99 and "technyphion."100 In this he used to take refuge, or else in the villa of one of his freedmen in the suburbs; but whenever he was not well, he slept at Maecenas's house. For retirement he went most frequently to places by the sea and the islands of Campania, or to the towns near Rome, such as Lanuvium, Praeneste or Tibur, where he very often held court in the colonnades of the Temple of Hercules. 3 He disliked large and sumptuous country palaces, actually razing to the ground one which his granddaughter Julia built on a lavish scale. His own villas, which were modest enough, he decorated not so much with handsome statues and pictures as with terraces, groves, and objects noteworthy for their antiquity and rarity; for example, at Capreae the monstrous bones of huge sea monsters and wild beasts, called the "bones of the giants," and the weapons of the heroes.

73 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 The simplicity of his furniture and household goods may be seen from couches and tables still in  p239 existence, many of which are scarcely fine enough for a private citizen. They say that he always slept on a low and plainly furnished bed. Except on special occasions he wore common clothes for the house,101 made by his sister, wife, daughter or granddaughters; his togas were neither close nor full, his purple stripe neither narrow nor broad, and his shoes somewhat high-soled, to make him look taller than he really was. But he always kept shoes and clothing to wear in public ready in his room for sudden and unexpected occasions.

74 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He gave dinner parties constantly and always formally,102 with great regard to the rank and personality of his guests. Valerius Messala writes that he never invited a freedman to dinner with the exception of Menas, and then only when he had been enrolled among the freeborn after betraying the fleet of Sextus Pompey. Augustus himself writes that he once entertained a man at whose villa he used to stop,103 who had been one of his body-guard. He would sometimes come to table late on these occasions and leave early, allowing his guests to begin to dine before he took his place and keep their places after he went out. He served a dinner of three courses or of six when he was most lavish, without needless extravagance but with the greatest goodfellowship. For he drew into the general conversation those who were silent or chatted under their breath, and introduced music and actors, or even strolling players from the circus, and especially story-tellers.104

 p241  75 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Festivals and holidays he celebrated lavishly as a rule, but sometimes only in a spirit of fun. On the Saturnalia, and at any other time when he took it into his head, he would now give gifts of clothing or gold and silver; again coins of every device, including old pieces of the kings and foreign money; another time nothing but hair cloth, sponges, pokers and tongs, and other such things under misleading names of double meaning. He used also at a dinner party to put up for auction lottery-tickets for articles of most unequal value, and paintings of which only the back was shown, thus by the caprice of fortune disappointing or filling to the full the expectations of the purchasers, requiring however that all the guests should take part in the bidding and share the loss or gain.

76 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He was a light eater (for I would not omit even this detail) and as a rule ate of plain food. He particularly liked coarse bread, small fishes, hand-made moist cheese, and green figs of the second crop; and he would eat even before dinner, wherever and whenever he felt hungry. I quote word for word from some of his letters: "I ate a little bread and some dates in my carriage." 2 And again: "As I was on my homeward way from the Regia105 in my litter, I devoured an ounce of bread and a few berries from a cluster of hard-fleshed grapes."106 Once more: "Not even a Jew, my dear Tiberius, fasts so scrupulously on his sabbaths as I have to‑day; for it was not until after the first hour of the night that I ate two mouthfuls of bread in the bath before I began to be anointed." Because of this irregularity he sometimes ate alone either before a dinner party  p243 began or after it was over, touching nothing while it was in progress.

77 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He was by nature most sparing also in his use of wine. Cornelius Nepos writes that in camp before Mutina it was his habit to drink not more than three times at dinner. Afterwards, when he indulged most freely he never exceeded a pint; or if he did, he used to throw it up. He liked Raetian wine best, but rarely drank before dinner. Instead he would take a bit of bread soaked in cold water, a slice of cucumber, a sprig of young lettuce, or an apple with a tart flavour,107 either fresh or dried.

78 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 After his midday meal he used to rest for a while just as he was, without taking off his clothes or his shoes, with his feet uncovered108 and his hand to his eyes. After dinner he went to a couch in his study,109 where he remained to late at night, until he had attended to what was left of the day's business, either wholly or in great part. Then he went to bed and slept not more than seven hours at most, and not even that length of time without a break, but waking three or four times. 2 If he could not resume his sleep when it was interrupted, as would happen, he sent for readers or story-tellers, and when sleep came to him he often prolonged it until after daylight. He would never lie awake in the dark without having someone sit by his side. He detested early rising and when he had to get up earlier than usual because of some official or religious duty, to avoid inconveniencing himself he spent the night in the room of one of his friends near the appointed place. Even so, he often suffered from want of sleep, and he would drop off while he was being  p245 carried through the streets and when his litter was set down because of some delay.

79 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He was unusually handsome and exceedingly graceful at all periods of his life, though he cared nothing for personal adornment. He was so far from being particular about the dressing of his hair, that he would have several barbers working in a hurry at the same time, and as for his beard he now had it clipped and now shaved, while at the very same time he would either be reading or writing something. His expression, whether in conversation or when he was silent, was so calm and mild, that one of the leading men of the Gallic provinces admitted to his countrymen that it had softened his heart, and kept him from carrying out his design of pushing the emperor over a cliff, when he had been allowed to approach him under the pretence of a conference, as he was crossing the Alps. 2 He had clear, bright eyes, in which he liked to have it thought that there was a kind of divine power, and it greatly pleased him, whenever he looked keenly at anyone, if he let his face fall as if before the radiance of the sun; but in his old age he could not see very well with his left eye. His teeth were wide apart, small, and ill-kept; his hair was slightly curly and inclining to golden; his eyebrows met. His ears were of moderate size, and his nose projected a little at the top and then bent slightly inward.110 His complexion was between dark and fair. He was short of stature (although Julius Marathus, his freedman and keeper of his records, says that he was five feet and nine inches in height),111 but this was concealed by the fine proportion and symmetry of his figure, and was  p247 noticeable only by comparison with some taller person standing beside him.

[image ALT: A cameo with an idealized head-and-shoulders portrait of a young man with slightly curly hair. It is identified as the emperor Augustus; the cameo is in New York.]

Augustus in an antique cameo in New York.

Photo © Jona Lendering 2007, by kind permission.

80 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 It is said that his body was covered with spots and that he had birthmarks scattered over his breast and belly, corresponding in form, order and number with the stars of the Bear in the heavens;112 also numerous callous places resembling ringworm, caused by a constant itching of his body and a vigorous use of the strigil. He was not very strong in his left hip, thigh, and leg, and even limped slightly at times; but he strengthened them by treatment with sand and reeds.113 He sometimes found the forefinger of his right hand so weak, when it was numb and shrunken with the cold, that he could hardly use it for writing even with the aid of a finger-stall of horn. He complained of his bladder too, and was relieved of the pain only after passing stones in his urine.

81 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In the course of his life he suffered from several severe and dangerous illnesses, especially after the subjugation of Cantabria, when he was in such a desperate plight from abscesses of the liver, that he was forced to submit to an unprecedented and hazardous course of treatment. Since hot fomentations gave him no relief, he was led by the advice of his physician Antonius Musa to try cold ones.114

2 He experienced also some disorders which recurred every year at definite times; for he was commonly ailing just before his birthday; and at the beginning of spring he was troubled with an enlargement of the diaphragm, and when the wind was in the south, with catarrh. Hence his constitution was so weakened that he could not readily endure either cold or heat.

 p249  82 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 In winter he protected himself with four tunics and a heavy toga, besides an undershirt, a woollen chest-protector and wraps for his thighs and shins, while in summer he slept with the doors of his bed-room open, oftentimes in the open court near a fountain, besides having someone to fan him.115 Yet he could not endure the sun even in winter, and never walked in the open air without wearing a broad-brimmed hat, even at home. He travelled in a litter, usually at night, and by such slow and easy stages that he took two days to go to Praeneste or Tibur; and if he could reach his destination by sea, he preferred to sail. 2 Yet in spite of all he made good his weakness by great care, especially by moderation in bathing; for as a rule he was anointed or took sweat by a fire, after which he was doused with water either lukewarm or tepid from long exposure to the sun. When however he had to use hot salt water and sulphur baths116 for rheumatism, he contented himself with sitting on a wooden bath-seat, which he called by the Spanish name dureta, and plunging his hands and feet in the water one after the other.

83 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Immediately after the civil war he gave up exercise with horses and arms in the Campus Martius, at first turning to pass-ball117 and balloon-ball,118 but soon confining himself to riding or taking a walk, ending the latter by running and leaping, wrapped in a mantle or a blanket. To divert his mind he sometimes angled and sometimes played at dice, marbles and nuts119 with little boys, searching  p251 everywhere for such as were attractive for their pretty faces or their prattle, especially Syrians or Moors; for he abhorred dwarfs, cripples, and everything of that sort, as freaks of nature and of ill omen.

84 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 From early youth he devoted himself eagerly and with utmost diligence to oratory and liberal studies. During the war at Mutina, amid such a press of affairs, he is said to have read, written and declaimed every day. In fact he never afterwards spoke in the senate, or to the people or the soldiers, except in a studied and written address, although he did not lack the gift of speaking offhand without preparation. 2 Moreover, to avoid the danger of forgetting what he was to say, or wasting time in committing it to memory, he adopted the practice of reading everything from a manuscript. Even his conversations with individuals and the more important of those with his own wife Livia, he always wrote out and read from a note-book, for fear of saying too much or too little if he spoke offhand. He had an agreeable and rather characteristic enunciation, and he practised constantly with a teacher of elocution; but sometimes because of weakness of the throat120 he addressed the people through a herald.

85 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He wrote numerous works of various kinds in prose, some of which he read to a group of his intimate friends, as others did in a lecture-room; for example, his "Reply to Brutus on Cato."121 At the reading of these volumes he had all but come to the end, when he grew tired and handed them to Tiberius to finish, for he was well on in years. He also wrote "Exhortations to Philosophy"  p253 and some volumes of an Autobiography, giving an account of his life in thirteen books up to the time of the Cantabrian war, but no farther. 2 His essays in poetry were but slight. One book has come down to us written in hexameter verse, of which the subject and the title is "Sicily." There is another, equally brief, of "Epigrams," which he composed for the most part at the time of the bath. Though he began a tragedy with much enthusiasm, he destroyed it because his style did not satisfy him, and when some of his friends asked him what in the world had become of Ajax, he answered that "his Ajax had fallen on his sponge."

86 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He cultivated a style of speaking that was chaste and elegant, avoiding the vanity of attempts at epigram and an artificial order, and as he himself expresses it, "the noisomeness of far-fetched words," making it his chief aim to express his thought as clearly as possible. With this end in view, to avoid confusing and checking his reader or hearer at any point, he did not hesitate to use prepositions with names of cities, nor to repeat conjunctions several times, the omission of which causes some obscurity, though it adds grace. 2 He looked on innovators and archaizers with equal contempt, as faulty in opposite directions, and he sometimes had a fling at them, in particular his friend Maecenas, whose "unguent-dripping curls," as he calls them, he loses no opportunity of belabouring and pokes fun at them by parody. He did not spare even Tiberius, who sometimes hunted up obsolete and pedantic expressions; and as for Mark Antony, he calls him a madman, for writing rather to be admired than to be understood. Then  p255 going on to ridicule his perverse and inconsistent taste in choosing an oratorical style, he adds the following: 3 "Can you doubt whether you ought to imitate Annius Cimber or Veranius Flaccus,122 that you use the words which Sallustius Crispus gleaned from Cato's Origines?123 Or would you rather introduce into our tongue the verbose and unmeaning fluency of the Asiatic orators?"124 And in a letter praising the talent of his granddaughter Agrippina he writes: "But you must take great care not to write and talk affectedly."

87 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 That in his everyday conversation he used certain favourite and peculiar expressions appears from letters in his own hand, in which he says every now and then, when he wished to indicate that certain men will never pay, that "they will pay on the Greek Kalends." Urging his correspondent to put up with present circumstances, such as they were, he says: "Let's be satisfied with the Cato we have;"125 and to express the speed of a hasty action, "Quicker than you can cook asparagus." 2 He continually used baceolus (dolt) for stultus (fool), for pullus (dark) pulleiaceus (darkish), for cerritus (mad) vacerrosus (blockhead); also vapide se habere (feel flat) for male se habere (feel badly) and betizare126 (be like a beet) for languere (be weak), for which the vulgar term is lachanizare. Besides he used simus for sumus127 and domos in the genitive  p257 singular instead of domuos.128 The last two forms he wrote invariably, for fear they should be thought errors rather than a habit.

3 I have also observed this special peculiarity in his manner of writing: he does not divide words or carry superfluous letters from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, but writes them just below the rest of the word and draws a loop around them.

88 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He does not strictly comply with orthography, that is the say the theoretical rules of spelling laid down by the grammarians, seeming to be rather of the mind of those who believe that we should spell exactly as we pronounce. Of course his frequent transposition or omission of syllables as well as of letters are slips common to all mankind. I should not have noted this, did it not seem to me surprising that some have written that he cashiered a consular governor, as an uncultivated and ignorant fellow, because he observed that he had written ixi for ipsi. Whenever he wrote in cipher,129 he wrote B for A, C for B, and the rest of the letters on the same principle, using AA for X.

89 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He was equally interested in Greek studies, and in these too he excelled greatly. His teacher of declamation was Apollodorus of Pergamon, whom he even took with him in his youthful days from Rome to Apollonia, though Apollodorus was an old man at the time. Later he became versed in various forms of learning through association with the philosopher Areus and his sons Dionysius and Nicanor. Yet he never acquired the ability to speak Greek fluently or to compose anything in it; for if he had occasion to use the language,  p259 he wrote what he had to say in Latin and gave it to someone else to translate. Still he was far from being ignorant of Greek poetry, even taking pleasure in the Old Comedy and frequently staging it at his public entertainments. 2 In reading the writers of both tongues there was nothing for which he looked so carefully as precepts and examples instructive to the public or to individuals; these he would often copy word for word, and send to the members of his household, or to his generals and provincial governors, whenever any of them required admonition. He even read entire volumes to the senate and called the attention of the people to them by proclamations; for example, the speeches of Quintus Metellus "On Increasing the Family," and of Rutilius "On the Height of Buildings"; to convince them that he was not the first to give attention to such matters, but that they had aroused the interest even of their forefathers.

3 He gave every encouragement to the men of talent of his own age, listening with courtesy and patience to their readings, not only of poetry and history, but of speeches and dialogues as well. But he took offence at being made the subject of any composition except in serious earnest and by the most eminent writers, often charging the praetors not to let his name be cheapened in prize declamations.

90 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 This is what we are told of his attitude towards matters of religion.130 He was somewhat weak in his fear of thunder and lightning, for he always carried a seal-skin about with him everywhere as a protection, and at any sign of a violent storm took refuge in an underground  p261 vaulted room;131 for as I have said,132 he was once badly frightened by a narrow escape from lightning during a journey by night.

91 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He was not indifferent to his own dreams or to those which others dreamed about him. At the battle of Philippi, though he had made up his mind not to leave his tent because of illness, he did so after all when warned by a friend's dream; fortunately, as it turned out, for his camp was taken and when the enemy rushed in, his litter was stabbed through and through and torn to pieces, in the belief that he was still lying there ill. All through the spring his own dreams were very numerous and fearful, but idle and unfulfilled; during the rest of the year they were less frequent and more reliable. 2 Being in the habit of making constant visits to the temple of Jupiter the Thunderer, which he had founded on the Capitol, he dreamed that Jupiter Capitolinus complained that his worshippers were being taken from him, and that he answered that he had placed the Thunderer hard by to be his doorkeeper; and accordingly he presently festooned the gable of the temple with bells, because these commonly hung at house-doors. It was likewise because of a dream that every year on an appointed day he begged alms of the people, holding out his open hand to have pennies dropped in it.133

92 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Certain auspices and omens he regarded as infallible. If his shoes were put on in the wrong way in the morning, the left instead of the right, he considered it a bad sign. If there chanced to be a drizzle of rain when he was starting on a long journey by land or sea, he thought it a good omen, betokening  p263 a speedy and prosperous return. But he was especially affected by prodigies. When a palm tree sprang up between the crevices of the pavement before his house, he transplanted it to the inner court beside his household gods and took great pains to make it grow. 2 He was so pleased that the branches of an old oak, which had already drooped to the ground and were withering, became vigorous again on his arrival in the island of Capreae, that he arranged with the city of Naples to give him the island in exchange for Aenaria. He also had regard to certain days, refusing ever to begin a journey on the day after a market day,134 or to take up any important business on the Nones; though in the latter case, as he writes Tiberius, he merely dreaded the unlucky sound135 of the name.

93 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He treated with great respect such foreign rites as were ancient and well established, but held the rest in contempt. For example, having been initiated at Athens136 and afterwards sitting in judgment of a case at Rome involving the privileges of the priests of Attic Ceres, in which certain matters of secrecy were brought up, he dismissed his counsellors and the throng of bystanders and heard the disputants in private. But on the other hand he not only omitted to make a slight detour to visit Apis, when he was travelling through Egypt, but highly commended his grandson Gaius for not offering prayers at Jerusalem as he passed by Judaea.

94 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Having reached this point, it will not be out of place to add an account of the omens which occurred before he was born, on the very day of his birth, and afterwards, from which it was  p265 possible to anticipate and perceive his future greatness and uninterrupted good fortune.

2 In ancient days, when a part of the wall of Velitrae had been struck by lightning, the prediction was made that a citizen of that town would one day rule the world. Through their confidence in this the people of Velitrae had at once made war on the Roman people and fought with them many times after that almost to their utter destruction; but at last long afterward the event proved that the omen had foretold the rule of Augustus.

3 According to Julius Marathus, a few months before Augustus was born a portent was generally observed at Rome, which gave warning that nature was pregnant with a king for the Roman people; thereupon the senate in consternation decreed that no male child born that year should be reared; but those whose wives were with child saw to it that the decree was not filed in the treasury,137 since each one appropriated the prediction to his own family.

4 I have read the following story in the books of Asclepias of Mendes entitled Theologumena.138 When Atia had come in the middle of the night to the solemn service of Apollo, she had her litter set down in the temple and fell asleep, while the rest of the matrons also slept. On a sudden a serpent139 glided up to her and shortly went away. When she awoke, she purified herself,140 as if after the embraces of her husband, and at once there appeared on her body a mark in colours like a serpent, and she could never get rid of it; so that presently she ceased  p267 ever to go to the public baths. In the tenth month after that Augustus was born and was therefore regarded as the son of Apollo. Atia too, before she gave him birth, dreamed that her vitals were borne up to the stars and spread over the whole extent of land and sea, while Octavius dreamed that the sun rose from Atia's womb.

5 The day he was born the conspiracy of Catiline was before the House, and Octavius came late because of his wife's confinement; then Publius Nigidius, as everyone knows, learning the reason for his tardiness and being informed also of the hour of the birth, declared that the ruler of the world had been born. Later, when Octavius was leading an army through remote parts of Thrace, and in the grove of Father Liber consulted the priests about his son with barbarian rites, they made the same prediction; since such a pillar of flame sprang forth from the wine that was poured over the altar, that it rose above the temple roof and mounted to the very sky, and such an omen had befallen no one save Alexander the Great, when he offered sacrifice at the same altar. 6 Moreover, the very next night he dreamt that his son appeared to him in a guise more majestic than that of mortal man, with the thunderbolt, sceptre, and insignia of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, wearing a crown begirt with rays and mounted upon a laurel-wreathed chariot drawn by twelve horses of surpassing whiteness. When Augustus was still an infant, as is recorded by the hand of Gaius Drusus,141 he was placed by his nurse at evening in his cradle on the ground floor and the next morning had disappeared; but after long search he was at  p269 last found on a lofty tower with his face towards the rising sun.

7 As soon as he began to talk, it chanced that the frogs were making a great noise at his grandfather's country place; he bade them be silent, and they say that since then no frog has ever croaked there. As he was lunching in a grove at the fourth milestone on the Campanian road,142 an eagle surprised him by snatching his bread from his hand, after flying to a great height, equally to his surprise dropped gently down again and gave it back to him.

8 After Quintus Catulus had dedicated the Capitol, he had dreams on two nights in succession: first, that Jupiter Optimus Maximus called aside a number of boys of good family, who were playing around his altar,º and put in the fold of his toga an image of Roma, which he was carrying in his hand; the next night he dreamt that he saw this same boy in the lap of Jupiter of the Capitol, and that when he had ordered that he be removed, the god warned him to desist, declaring that the boy was being reared to be the saviour of his country. When Catulus next day met Augustus, whom he had never seen before, he looked at him in great surprise and said that he was very like the boy of whom he had dreamed.

Some give a different account of Catulus's first dream: when a large group of well-born children asked Jupiter for a guardian, he pointed out one of their number, to whom they were to refer all their wishes, and then, after lightly touching the boy's mouth with his fingers, laid them on his own lips.143

9 As Marcus Cicero was attending Gaius Caesar to the Capitol,144 he happened to tell his friends a  p271 dream of the night before; that a boy of noble countenance was let down from heaven on a golden chain and, standing at the door of the temple, was given a whip by Jupiter. Just then suddenly catching sight of Augustus, who was still unknown to the greater number of those present and had been brought to the ceremony by his uncle Caesar, he declared that he was the very one whose form had appeared to him in his dream.

10 When Augustus was assuming the gown of manhood, his senatorial tunic145 was ripped apart on both sides and fell at his feet, which some interpreted as a sure sign that the order of which the tunic was the badge would one day be brought to his feet.

11 As the Deified Julius was cutting down a wood at Munda and preparing a place for his camp, coming across a palm tree, he caused it to be spared as an omen of victory. From this a shoot at once sprang forth and in a few days grew so great that it not only equalled the parent tree, but even overshadowed it; moreover many doves built their nests there, although that kind of bird especially avoids hard and rough foliage. Indeed, it was that omen in particular, they say, that led Caesar to wish that none other than his sister's grandson should be his successor.

12 While in retirement at Apollonia, Augustus mounted with Agrippa to the studio of the astrologer Theogenes. Agrippa was the first to try his fortune, and when a great and almost incredible career was predicted for him, Augustus persisted in concealing the time of his birth and in refusing to disclose it, through diffidence and fear that he might be found to be less eminent. When he at last gave it unwillingly and hesitatingly, and  p273 only after many requests, Theogenes sprang up and threw himself at his feet. From that time on Augustus had such faith in his destiny, that he made his horoscope public and issued a silver coin stamped with the sign of the constellation Capricornus, under which he was born.

95 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 As he was entering the city on his return from Apollonia after Caesar's death, though the heaven was clear and cloudless, a circle like a rainbow suddenly formed around the sun's disc, and straightway the tomb of Caesar's daughter Julia was struck by lightning. Again, as he was taking the auspices in his first consulship, twelve vultures appeared to him, as to Romulus, and when he slew the victims, the livers within all of them were found to be doubled inward at the lower end, which all those who were skilled in such matters unanimously declared to be an omen of a great and happy future.

96 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He even divined beforehand the outcome of all his wars. When the forces of the triumvirs were assembled at Bononia, an eagle that had perched upon his tent made a dash at two ravens, which attacked it on either side, and struck them to the ground. From this the whole army inferred that there would one day be discord among the colleagues, as actually came to pass, and divined its result. As he was on his way to Philippi, a Thessalian gave him notice of his coming victory on the authority of the deified Caesar, whose shade had met him on a lonely road. 2 When he was sacrificing at Perusia without getting a favourable omen, and so had ordered more victims to be brought, the enemy made a sudden sally and carried off all the equipment of the sacrifice; whereupon the  p275 soothsayers agreed that all the dangers and disasters with which the sacrificer had been threatened would recoil on the heads of those who were in possession of the entrails; and so it turned out. As he was walking on the shore the day before the sea-fight off Sicily, a fish sprang from the sea and fell at his feet. At Actium, as he was going down to begin the battle, he met an ass with his driver, the man having the name Eutychus146 and the beast that of Nicon;147 and after the victory he set up bronze images of the two in the sacred enclosure into which he converted the site of his camp.

97 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 His death, too, of which I shall speak next, and his deification after death, were known in advance by unmistakable signs. As he was bringing the lustrum148 to an end in the Campus Martius before a great throng of people, an eagle flew several times about him and then going across to the temple hard by, perched above the first letter of Agrippa's name. On noticing this, Augustus bade his colleague recite the vows which it is usual to offer for the next five years for although he had them prepared and written out on a tablet, he declared that he would not be responsible for vows which he should never pay. 2 At about the same time the first letter of his name was melted from the inscription on one of his statues by a flash of lightning; this was interpreted to mean that he would live only a hundred days from that time, the number indicated by the letter C, and that he would be numbered with the gods, since aesar (that is, the part of the name Caesar which was left) is the word for god in the Etruscan tongue.

3 Then, too, when he was on the point of sending  p277 Tiberius to Illyricum and was proposing to escort him as far as Beneventum, and litigants detained him on the judgment seat by bringing forward case after case, he cried out that he would stay no longer in Rome, even if everything conspired to delay him — and this too was afterwards looked upon as one of the omens of his death. When he had begun the journey, he went on as far as Asturah and from there, contrary to his custom, took ship by night since it chanced that there was a favourable breeze, and thus contracted an illness beginning with a diarrhoea.

98 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 Then after skirting the coast of Campania and the neighbouring islands, he spent four more days at his villa in Capreae, where he gave himself up wholly to rest and social diversions. 2 As he sailed by the gulf of Puteoli, it happened that from an Alexandrian ship which had just arrived there, the passengers and crew, clad in white, crowned with garlands, and burning incense, lavished upon him good wishes and the highest praise, saying that it was through him that they lived, through him that they sailed the seas, and through him that they enjoyed their liberty and their fortunes. Exceedingly pleased at this, he gave forty gold pieces to each of his companions, exacting from every one of them a pledge under oath not to spend the sum that had been given them in any other way than in buying wares from Alexandria. 3 More than that, for the several remaining days of his stay, among little presents of various kinds, he distributed togas and cloaks149 as well, stipulating that Romans should use the Greek dress and language and the Greeks the Roman. He continually watched the exercises of the ephebi,150 of whom  p279 there was still a goodly number at Capreae according to the ancient usage. He also gave these youths a banquet at which he himself was present, and not only allowed, but even required perfect freedom in jesting and in scrambling for tickets for fruit, dainties and all kinds of things, which he threw to them. In short, there was no form of gaiety in which he did not indulge.

4 He called the neighbouring part of the island of Capreae Apragopolis151 from the laziness of some of his company who sojourned there. Besides he used to call one of his favourites, Masgaba by name, Ktistes,152 as if he were the founder of the island. Noticing from his dining-room that the tomb of this Masgaba, who had died the year before, was visited by a large crowd with many torches, he uttered aloud this verse, composed offhand:

"I see the founder's tomb alight with fire";

and turning to Thrasyllus, one of the suite of Tiberius who was reclining opposite him and knew nothing about the matter, he asked of what poet he thought it was the work. When Thrasyllus hesitated, he added another verse:

"See you with lights Masgaba honoured now?"

and asked his opinion of this one also. When Thrasyllus could say nothing except that they were very good, whoever made them, he burst into a laugh and fell a joking above it.

5 Presently he crossed over to Naples, although his bowels were still weak from intermittent attacks. In spite of this he witnessed a quinquennial gymnastic contest which had been established in his honour,  p281 and then started with Tiberius for his destination.153 But as he was returning his illness increased and he at last took to his bed at Nola, calling back Tiberius, who was on his way to Illyricum, and keeping him for a long time in private conversation, after which he gave attention to no business of importance.

99 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 On the last day of his life he asked every now and then whether there was any disturbance without on his account; then calling for a mirror, he had his hair combed and his falling154 jaws set straight.155 After that, calling in his friends and asking whether it seemed to them that he had played the comedy of life fitly, he added the tag:

"Since well I've played my part, all clap your hands
And from the stage dismiss me with applause."

Then he sent them all off, and while he was asking some newcomers from the city about the daughter of Drusus, who was ill, he suddenly passed away as he was kissing Livia, uttering these last words: "Live mindful of our wedlock, Livia, and farewell," thus blessed with an easy death and such a one as he had always longed for. 2 For almost always on hearing that anyone had died swiftly and painlessly, he prayed that he and his might have a like euthanasia, for that was the term he was wont to use. He gave but one single sign of wandering before he breathed his last, calling out in sudden terror that forty men were carrying him off. And even this was rather a premonition than a delusion, since it was that very number of soldiers of the pretorian guard that carried him forth to lie in state.

100 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He died in the same room as his father Octavius, in the consulship of two Sextuses, Pompeius and  p283 Appuleius, on the fourteenth day before the Kalends of September at the ninth hour, just thirty-five days before his seventy-sixth birthday.

2 His body was carried by the senators of the municipalities and colonies from Nola all the way to Bovillae, in the night time because of the season of the year, being placed by day in the basilica of the town at which they arrived or in its principal temple. At Bovillae the members of the equestrian order156 met it and bore it to the city, where they placed it in the vestibule of his house.

In their desire to give him a splendid funeral and honour his memory the senators so vied with one another that among many other suggestions some proposed that his cortege pass through the triumphal gate, preceded by a statue of Victory which stands in the House, while a dirge was sung by children of both sexes belonging to the leading families; others, that on the day of the obsequies golden rings be laid aside and iron ones worn; and some, that his ashes be collected by the priests of the highest colleges. 3 One man proposed that the name of the month of August be transferred to September, because Augustus was born in the latter, but died in the former; another, that all the period from the day of his birth until his demise be called the Augustan Age, and so entered in the Calendar. But though a limit was set to the honours paid him, his eulogy was twice delivered: before the temple of the Deified Julius by Tiberius, and from the old rostra by Drusus, son of Tiberius; and he was carried on the shoulders of senators to the Campus Martius and there cremated. 4 There was even an ex-praetor who took oath that he had seen the form of the Emperor, after he had been  p285 reduced to ashes, on its way to heaven. His remains were gathered up by the leading men of the equestrian order, bare-footed and in ungirt tunics, and placed in the Mausoleum. This structure he had built in his sixth consulship between the Via Flaminia and the bank of the Tiber, and at the same time opened to the public the groves and walks by which it was surrounded.

101 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] 1 He had made a will in the consulship of Lucius Plancus and Gaius Silius on the third day before the Nones of April, a year and four months before he died, in two note-books, written in part in his own hand and in part in that of his freedmen Polybius and Hilarion. These the Vestal virgins, with whom they had been deposited, now produced, together with three rolls, which were sealed in the same way. All these were opened and read in the senate. 2 He appointed as his chief heirs Tiberius, to receive two-thirds of the estate, and Livia, one-third; these he also bade assume his name.157 His heirs in the second degree158 were Drusus, son of Tiberius, for one-third, and for the rest Germanicus and his three male children.159 In the third grade he mentioned many of his relatives and friends. He left to the Roman people forty million sesterces; to the tribes160 three million five hundred thousand; to the soldiers of the pretorian guard a thousand each; to the city cohorts five hundred; and to the legionaries three hundred. This sum he ordered to be paid at once, for he had always kept the amount at hand and ready for the purpose. 3 He gave other legacies to various individuals, some amounting to as much as twenty thousand sesterces, and provided for the payment of these a year later, giving as his excuse for the delay the small amount of  p287 his property, and declaring that not more than a hundred and fifty millions would come to his heirs; for though he had received fourteen hundred millions during the last twenty years from the wills of his friends, he said that he had spent nearly all of it, as well as the estates left him by his natural and his adoptive father, for the benefit of the State. He gave orders that his daughter and his granddaughter Julia should not be put in his Mausoleum, if anything befell them.161 4 In one of the three rolls he included directions for his funeral; in the second, an account of what he had accomplished, which he desired to have cut upon bronze tablets and set up at the entrance to the Mausoleum;162 in the third, a summary of the condition of the whole empire; how many soldiers there were in active service in all parts of it, how much money there was in the public treasury and in the privy-purse, and what revenues were in arrears. He added, besides, the names of the freedmen and slaves from whom the details could be demanded.

The Editor's Notes:

1 A term applied to the plebeian families in the senate enrolled in addition to the patricians.

2 In his Memoirs; see chap. lxxxv.1.

3 Ad Quint. Frat. 1.1.21.

4 Q. Cicero was really propraetor; see note on Jul. liv.1.

5 Imagines were waxen masks of ancestors of noble (i.e., senatorial) rank, kept in the hall (atrium) of their descendants.

6 See Jul. xx.3, note.

7 According to the Thes. Ling. Lat. s.v. collybus, Suetonius (p127)misunderstood Cassius, who used collybus of a kind of cake. In general, see Scott, Mem. Amer. Acad. in Rome, xi.12 f.

8 i.e. Hadrian.

9 Annales, 502, Vahlen2.

10 Since the time of Sulla only senators were eligible for the position of tribune.

11 Cic. Epist. ad Fam. 11.20.1; according to Vell. Paterc. 2.62.6, Cicero punned on the double meaning of tollo, "raise" and "put out of the way."

12 A game still common in Italy, in which the contestants thrust out their fingers (micare digitis), the one naming correctly the number thrust out by his opponent being the winner.

13 The term applied to a victorious general by his soldiers.

14 See note on Jul. xxxix.2.

15 The sacred precinct at Alexandria (τὸ καλούμενον Σῆμα, ὅ περίβολος ἧν, Strabo, 17.1.8) containing the tombs of Alexander and of the kings.

Thayer's Note: And for further much more comprehensive details, be sure to follow the note there.

16 The nomenclator (nomenculator) was a slave whose duty it was to remind his master, or mistress, of the names of persons.

17 Applied to expeditions commanded by others, since as commander-in‑chief he took the auspices before the army set out.

18 Crassus lost his standards at the battle of Carrhae in 53, and Antony through the defeat of his lieutenants in 40 and 36 B.C.

19 In the reign of Numa, and in 235 B.C., after the first Punic war.

20 The ovation was a lesser triumph, in which the general entered the city on foot, instead of in a chariot drawn by four horses (whence the term triumphus curulis), and with other differencesº described by Gellius, 5.6.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Ovatio in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

21 That is, executed every tenth man, selected by lot.

Thayer's Note: For fuller details, see the article Decimatio in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

22 Instead of the usual rations of wheat.

23 Carrying the pole to measure off the camp, or clods for building the rampart, was the work of common soldiers; hence degrading for officers.

24 Cf. Jul. lxvii.2.

25 That is, he kept them apart from the rest in the companies in which they were first enrolled.

26 The phalerae were discs or plates of metal attached to a belt or to the harness of horses.

27 Se praecipitaverit means "hurled himself headlong," perhaps into the Tiber; more probably from some high place such as the Tarpeian Rock, or the roof of a building.

28 See chap. ci.

29 Suetonius is brief to the point of obscurity. The idea seems to be that the intentions of Augustus in establishing the principate, and the effect of the new régime on the public welfare, were equally good.

30 Latericiam is strictly "of sun-dried brick."

31 See Jul. lxxi.º

32 See Index under Salus, and Dio 37.24.

33 Exigere is the technical term for making weights and measures correspond with the standards in charge of the aediles; see CIL XIV.4124.1, 2; X.8067.2; etc.

34 According to Richter, Topographie von Rom, p229, the regia was the main door, leading from the stage of the theatre to the colonnade.

For Prof. Rolfe's detailed argument and a few other possibilities, see his Notes on Suetonius (TAPA 45:35‑38).

35 The ergastula were prisons for slaves, who were made to work in chains in the fields.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Ergastulum in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

36 Collegia, or guilds, of workmen were allowed and were numerous; not infrequently they were a pretext for some illegal secret organization.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Collegium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

37 Sordibus refers especially to the mourning garb in which it was usual for the accused to appear in public.

38 That is, if he failed to win his suit, he should suffer the penalty that would have been inflicted on the defendant, if he had been convicted.

39 Men whose property amounted to 200,000 sesterces, or half of a knight's estate.

Thayer's Note: Normally, yes; but the Loeb editor went too fast: see the article Ducenarii (2) in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

40 Parricides were sewn up in a sack with a dog, a cock, a snake, and a monkey, and thrown into the sea or a river. The word is here used in its modern sense; cf. note on Jul. xlii.3.

41 These consisted of various immunities, especially those connected with the ius trium liberorum (see Introd. p. x).

42 Orcivi or Orcini, "freedmen by the grace of Orcus," were slaves set free by their master's will. The Orcivi senatores were those admitted by Mark Antony under pretence that they had been named in the papers left by Caesar.

43 Cf. Jul. xx.1.

44 A very ancient tribunal, consisting at first of 105 members, three from each tribe, but later of 180. It sat in the Basilica Julia, with a spear (hasta), the ancient symbol of Quiritary ownership, planted before it. It was divided into four chambers, which usually sat separately, but sometimes altogether, or in two divisions.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Centumviri in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

45 The decemviri stlitibus iudicandis.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Decemviri in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

46 See note on chap. xxii.

47 That is, were so old or infirm that they could not ride, or would cut a sorry figure if they did.

48 See note on chap. x.2.

49 See note on Jul. xxxix.2, and cf. chap. xiv.

50 Cf. Jul. xli.

51 Augustus was a member of the latter because of his connection with the Octavian family; of the former, through his adoption into the Julian gens.

52 That is, even by iusta libertas, which conferred citizenship. Slaves who had been punished for crimes (facinora) (p187)or disgraceful acts (flagitia) became on manumission dediticii, "prisoners of war."

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Dediticii in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

53 Verg. Aen. 1.282.

54 Congiarium, strictly a distribution of oil (from congius, a liquid measure) came to be used of any largess.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Congiarium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

55 The tesserae nummulariae were small tablets or round hollow balls of wood, marked with numbers. They were distributed to the people instead of money and entitled the holder to receive the sum inscribed upon them. Grain, oil, (p189)and various commodities were distributed by similar tesserae; cf. chap. xl.2; Nero, xi; Dom. iv.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Tessera in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

56 Cf. Jul. xxxix.1.

57 Cf. Jul. xxxix.2.

58 The auditorium was divided horizontally into three parts: ima (prima), media, and summa (ultima) cavea.

59 This puzzling statement is thus explained by Baum.-Crusius: "i.e. ex aedibus proxime adjacentibus, unde prospectus erat in Circum. Coenacula autem in summis aedibus esse solebant. Idem narrat Dio 57.11 de Tiberio: τοὺς τῶν ἵππων ἀγῶνας ἐξ οἰκίας καὶ αὐτὸς τῶν ἀπελευθέρων τινὸς πολλάκις ἑώρα."

60 Pulvinar was originally a sacred couch for a god. The honour was given to Julius Caesar (see Jul. lxxvi.1) and the term was later applied, as here, to the place reserved for the emperor and his family; cf. Claud. iv.3.

61 That is, given at Rome in the Greek language and dress. Or Graeco certamini may mean "a contest in Greece."

62 Those of Pompey, Balbus, and Marcellus.

63 That is, his middle finger, infamis digitus; it implied a charge of obscenity; cf. Calig. lvi.2.

64 That is, appointed them to the offices of tribunus cohortis, praefectus alae, and tribunus legionis, usually open only to knights.

65 A limited citizenship, taking its name from the old Latin cities and varying in different cases and at different times.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Latinitas in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

66 Diploma, strictly any document written on a two-leaved tablet, is used specially of those which secured to travellers the use of the public post (see chap. xlix.3) and other privileges; cf. Cic. Ad Fam. 6.12.

Thayer's Note: For details and sources, see the article Diploma in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

67 Dominus, "master," in the time of the Republic indicated the relation between master and slaves. Tiberius also shrank from it (Tib. xxvii), and it was first adopted by Caligula and Domitian. From the time of Trajan it was usual in the sense of "Lord" or "Sire."

68 That is, they did not make a morning call on him, as in other days.

69 See chap. xxxv.1.

70 The Romans in their wills often express the opinion freely about public men and affairs; cf. chap. lxvi, and Cassius Dio, 58.25, where it is said that Fulcinius Tiro, who died in prison, bitterly assailed Tiberius in his will.

71 The movable seats provided for the advocates, witnesses, etc.

72 The custom of defending an accused person by a general eulogy of his character was forbidden by Pompey in his third consulship (Dio, 40.52), but was nevertheless resorted to, even by Pompey himself (Dio, 40.55).

73 September 22 and 23.

74 Probably of the scribes and other minor officials.

75 One's tutelary divinity, or familiar spirit, closely identified with the person himself.

76 The form of purchase consisted in thrice touching a balance (libra) with a penny (as), in the presence of the praetor.

77 A record of the events of the imperial household. The custom of keeping such a day-book apparently dated from the time of Augustus. See Friedländer, Roman Life and Manners (Eng. Trans.), IV, p56.

78 The host usually occupied the summus locus on the imus lectus.

Thayer's Note: Stripped of its Latin, that's the uppermost position (of three) on the couch called "lowest". For details and sources on Roman dining etiquette, with diagrams, see the article Triclinium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

79 Ancient divisions of the citizens for political purposes. In cases of adoption the curiae were represented by thirty (p221)lictors, presided over by the pontifex maximus. This form of adoption was usual with adults; cf. chap. lxiv.1.

80 Pandataria.

Thayer's Note: To give it its modern name, the small island of Ventotene, S of Rome by some distance in the Gulf of Gaeta. For a map and 11 informative photos of both the island and the imperial villa, see these 2 pages at Roma Aeterna.

81 Planasia.

Thayer's Note: The modern island of Pianosa, off Tuscany. For maps, history, and photos, including of some Roman remains, see Pianosa.Net.

82 Iliad 3.40, where the line is addressed by Hector to Paris, with the verbs in the second person.

83 See chap. xlvii, at the beginning.

84 As well as Salvidienus.

85 That is, while a private citizen could quarrel and make (p225)up with his friends, the emperor's position made his anger fatal.

86 That is to say, holding the highest place in the ordo (senatorius, equestris, plebeius) of which he was a member.

87 Cf. chap. lvi.1 and the note.

88 A double word-play on orbem, "round drum" and "world," and temperat, "beats" and "sways."

89 Probably referring to Livia.

90 The choragus at Athens had charge of the costuming and stage setting of plays. Hence the meaning is here "when they had found someone to make them up."

91 According to some, the choragus; others regard it as the name of a place.

92 Corinthiarius: coined in jest on the analogy of argentarius; used in inscr. of slaves in charge of the vasa Corinthia.

93 Cf. chap. xli.1.

94 When the freedom of the Saturnalia justified it.

95 When only aces appeared, the throw was called canis; when all the dice turned up different numbers, Venus.

96 The "five-day" festival of Minerva, March 20‑25.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Quinquatrus in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

97 Commonly called peperino, a hard grey volcanic stone with black nodules resembling peppercorns.

98 Cf. chap. lxxxii.1.

99 With reference to the study of Archimedes, or perhaps to the general use of such elevated rooms in Syracuse.

100 "Little workshop"; a diminutive from τέχνη.

101 Opposed to vestis forensis or forensia (vestimenta); cf. Vit. viii.1.

102 The cena recta was a regular dinner, at which the guests reclined on couches at a table, contrasted with sportula, an informal meal (Claud. xxi.4) or a distribution of food. See Friedländer, Roman Life and Manners (Eng. trans.), IV. pp77 ff.

103 See chap. lxxii.2.

104 Tellers of marvellous tales; cf. Juv. 15.16, and Mayor ad loc. Doubtless the same as the fabulatores, lxxviii.2, below.

Thayer's Note: the Greek word means "people who discourse on virtue". See the interesting entry Aretalogi in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

105 See chap. xxxi.5 and note; some think that the reference is to the Regia in the Forum.

106 That is, grapes suited for eating and not for making wine; cf. Mart. 13.22; Colum. 3.2.

107 Like an acid wine.

108 That is, without a blanket over his feet, because he had his shoes on.

109 Lucubratoriam, "for working by lamp-light."

110 The so‑called "Roman nose."

111 Roman measure; a little less than five feet seven inches (5·58) English.

112 Ursa major, Charles's Wain, the Great Dipper.

113 Apparently a form of poultice; some read habenarum and explain as a kind of truss.

Thayer's Note: The reading habenarum makes good sense to me; see the use of habenae for treating fractures in Celsus, VIII.10, and note (subsection C) that such a treatment would stretch the bone, a desirable effect in the case of a limp.

114 Cf.  Hor. Epist. 1.15.2‑3.

Thayer's Note: For medical commentary and further context in ancient medicine, see Spencer's Introduction to Book V of Celsus.

115 Cf. chap. lxxii.1, note 98.

116 Albulae aquae were the sulphur springs which flow into the Anio between Rome and Tivoli (Tibur).

Thayer's Note: For further sources, geographical indications, etc., see the article Albulae Aquae.

117 The pila was a small hard ball. Three players stood at the three points of a triangle (whence the game was called trigon) and passed the ball from one to the other. A skilful player used his left hand as well as his right.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, a woodcut, and an excellent link, see the article Pila in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

118 The folliculus was a large light ball. The players wore a guard on the right arm, with which they struck the ball, as in the Italian gioco del pallone.

Thayer's Note: For further sources, see the article Follis in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

119 Many games were played with nuts; cf. Hor. Serm. 2.3.171, Mart. 5.84, etc.

120 See chap. lxxxi at the end.

121 Brutus published a eulogy of Cato in 46 B.C.; cf. Cic. ad Att. 12.21.

122 Evidently two archaizing grammarians of the day.

123 See De Grammaticis, x, at the end.

124 Thus characterized in contrast with the studied simplicity of the Attic school of orators.

125 See Index.

126 Cf. Catull. 67.21, languidior tenera beta. All these words, which Augustus is said to have used, are colloquialisms or (p255)slang, and the exact form and derivation of many of them are uncertain.

127 Since sumus was originally enclitic, the forms simus, sumus may have represented the sound between u and i in maximus, maxumus, etc. Or simus may have been formed on the analogy of agimus and similar forms.

128 Domuos is the earlier form of the genitive, with the suffix -os; domus the later, with the suffix -s. There was no form domos, and if Augustus used it, he probably did so on the analogy of domos domus in the acc. plur.

129 Cf. Jul. lvi.6‑7, and Aul. Gell. 17.9.1‑5.

130 Religiones includes both religious belief and regard for omens and portents.

131 Plin. N. H. ii.55, says that the laurel tree (cf. Tib. lxix) and the seal are never struck by lightning; and also that lightning never goes more than five feet below the ground.

132 Chap. xxix.3.

133 This is not in accordance with the emperor's character (cf. chap. lvii), and Suetonius may have confused him with Caligula; see Calig. xlii. Yet there are records of many such acts of humility to propitiate Nemesis; see Casaubon ad loc.

134 The Roman month was divided into periods of eight days, lettered in the Calendar from A to H. The last of these, every ninth day (nundinae) according to the Roman reckoning, was a market day.

Thayer's Note: This is misleading, leaving the impression that the nundinal periods were subdivisions of the month. Like our own weeks, they were not. For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Nundinae in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

135 Because of its resemblance to non is (from eo); cf. Cic. de Div. 2.84;º or perhaps merely because it contained non.

136 Into the Eleusinian mysteries of Ceres.

137 The decree was not complete until this was done; cf. Jul. xxviii.3.

138 i.e. "Discourses about the Gods." Aristotle wrote a work with the same title.

139 The genius, or familiar spirit (see note on chap. lx), was (p265)often represented by a serpent, and those of husband and wife by two serpents; e.g. in Pompeian frescoes.

Thayer's Note: In Roman art, as far as anyone can tell, serpents as genii appear to be a motif of Etruscan origin; at any rate, they appear very frequently in very old Etruscan tombs and sculpture. For a plethora of them, with various explanations, see this long passage of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, without neglecting the notes.

140 To avoid profanation of the sacred rites.

141 Otherwise unknown; Müller would read Caesarem Drusum. Stahr believes that the reference is to the Eulogy in chap. c.3.

142 Apparently another name for the via Appia; see CIL I.1291.

Thayer's Note: For a different and firmer opinion, see the article Via Campana in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

143 Instead of kissing him directly.

144 See note on Jul. xv.

145 Marked by the broad purple stripe (latus clavus). Augustus was not yet a senator, but the privilege of wearing the laticlave was doubtless one of the honours conferred on him by Caesar.

146 Prosper (εὐτυχής, "fortunate").

147 Victor (νικῶν).

148 The lustrum was a sacrifice of purification, made every five years by one of the censors, after the completion of the census, or enumeration of the Roman people. The sacrifice consisted of the suovetaurilia, the offering of a pig, a sheep, and a bull. Lustrum was also applied to the five-year period.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Lustrum in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

149 The pallium was the distinctive dress of the Greeks, as the toga was of the Romans.

150 Greek youths between the ages of eighteen and that of full citizenship, who had regular gymnastic training as a part of their education. The Greek training survived in Capreae, which until recently (see chap. xcii.2) had belonged to Naples.

151 The City of Do-Nothings. There is no island "near Capreae," and "the neighbouring island of Capreae" is meaningless; if the text is sound, Suetonius is careless, or we must take Capreis as a locative, and regard vicinam as used in a partitive sense like reliquus, primus, etc.

152 Κτίστης, the Greek name for the founder of a city or colony.

153 Beneventum; chap. xcvii.3.

154 i.e. open through weakness.

155 Or closed.

156 See Claud. vi.1.

157 Augustus and Augusta, but Tiberius did not assume the title until it was conferred on him by the senate; Dio 57.2‑3.

158 See note on Jul. lxxxiii.2.

159 See chap. lxiv.1.

160 Probably those with which he was connected (see chap. xl.2); Lipsius suggested tribulibus.

161 That is, on their death; a common euphemism.

162 The original of this inscription is lost, but the greater part of a copy inscribed in Greek and Latin on marble is preserved at Ancyra in Asia Minor and is known as the Monumentum Ancyranum.

Thayer's Notes:

a The 23rd of September was Augustus's birthdate in the calendar of the time. It was, however, out of whack with the seasons, as is proved by the frequent statement in ancient authors that his birth sign was Capricorn; some modern writers state that Capricorn was the sign under which he was conceived.

Other evidence as to the actual date of his birthday includes the location of the Ara Pacis in relation to the Obelisk of Augustus (see this article) and some of the emperor's coinage, depicting Capricorn, said to be the sign under which he was born (or, according to others — seeking to get around the calendrical difficulties, I think — conceived). A page on this whole question may eventually show up on this site in the fullness of time; this is one of the pages slated to receive a link to it when it does.

b An excellent paper on Augustus' Nicopolis campsite memorial was once available online at Harvard; with the continued shrinkage of the Web, it has vanished.

c This note received from John D. Morgan, II at the University of Delaware:

There's a foolish error in the Loeb translation of Suetonius, D. Aug. 19.1:

also Asinius Epicadus, a half-breed of Parthian descent, . . .

The corresponding Latin is

item Asini Epicadi ex gente Parthina hybridae, . . .

'Parthina' means not 'Parthian' but 'of the Parthini', the Illyrian tribe over which Asinius Pollio had celebrated his triumph in 39 B.C.

This is a bad enough mistake that you might want to violate your usual policy of not correcting errors in your sources.

This mistake is probably not one I would have caught on my own — and when putting up translations I don't check them systematically against the original — but Loeb translations are often not the best and do fall into just this kind of foolish error, and the Lewis & Short so defines Parthinus (although it too, like all of us, falls into the occasional error) so I've gratefully incorporated Dr. Morgan's correction.

d It wasn't much of a confusion, nor consequently of a restoration. There had been a communication problem, a translation error between the Greek astronomer who had done the calculations, and the bureaucrats who implemented it: "every fourth year" for the leap years had been understood by the Latin-speakers as meaning "every third year", since Latin counts inclusively but Greek, as we do today, exclusively. If continued, this would have put the calendar off by a cumulative systematic error of one day every twelve years.

Augustus ordered that the intercalation be set right to one day every fourth year, and that some leap years be skipped to make up for the extra days since 45 B.C. Historians looking for exact dates in Augustus' reign thus need to take into account this slippage and its correction; their task is complicated by our not knowing exactly when the error was caught: see Chris Bennett's very probable solution in his long, thorough note (on an excellent page about Cleopatra, by the way).

e Crucifixions, which appear to have been quite frequent, were carried out along the public roads into the city; the connection, very likely, is not so much one of participating in the prince's mercy, but a cosmetic desire that his eyes should not see these brutal executions. (I cannot avoid being reminded of the firm custom, in the area around Assisi, of not hunting on the feast day of St. Francis.)

f That is, games held every four years. (Not every five; if this puzzles you, see the article Quinquennalia in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, and my note there.)

g A bit of Loeb prudery: the Latin text reads intactam adhuc et virginem, "untouched until then, and still a virgin."

h An elegant sea resort in Roman times, mentioned also in Suet. Tib. 72.2, and in Plut. Cic. 47 as the site of a villa of Cicero's to which he fled in his last days and near which he was killed. It was heavily fortified in the 12c and is now the small town of Torre Astura in Latina province: it is about 15 km SE of Anzio (Antium) by road. See for example this photo site.

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Page updated: 6 Mar 13