The Deeds Of The Divine Augustus: Res Gestae Divi Augusti


The Deeds of the Divine Augustus: Res Gestae Divi Augusti

by Augustus

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Res Gestae Divi Augusti (Eng. The Deeds of the Divine Augustus) is the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, giving a first-person record of his life and accomplishments. The Res Gestae is especially significant because it gives an insight into the image Augustus portrayed to the Roman people. Various inscriptions of the Res Gestae have been found scattered across the former Roman Empire. The inscription itself is a monument to the establishment of the Julio-Claudian dynasty that was to follow Augustus. The text consists of a short introduction, 35 body paragraphs, and a posthumous addendum. These paragraphs are conventionally grouped in four sections, political career, public benefactions, military accomplishments and a political statement. The first section (paragraphs 2–14) is concerned with Augustus' political career; it records the offices and political honours that he held. Augustus also lists numerous offices he refused to take and privileges he refused to be awarded. The second section (paragraphs 15–24) lists Augustus' donations of money, land and grain to the citizens of Italy and his soldiers, as well as the public works and gladiatorial spectacles that he commissioned. The text is careful to point out that all this was paid for out of Augustus' own funds. The third section (paragraphs 25–33) describes his military deeds and how he established alliances with other nations during his reign. Finally the fourth section (paragraphs 34–35) consists of a statement of the Romans' approval for the reign and deeds of Augustus. The appendix is written in the third person, and likely not by Augustus himself. It summarizes the entire text, and lists various buildings he renovated or constructed; it states that Augustus spent 600 million silver denarii (i.e. 600,000 gold denarii) from his own funds during his reign on public projects. Ancient currencies cannot be reliably converted into modern equivalents, but it is clearly more than anyone else in the Empire could afford. Augustus consolidated his hold on power by reversing the prior tax policy beginning with funding the aerarium militare with 170 million sesterces of his own money.



































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