Deeds of the Divine Augustus Essay
Deeds of the Divine Augustus
Deeds of the Divine Augustus
• Trade and Currency
The Roman currency is sestertius (HS). Augustus paid to the Roman plebs, HS 300 per man from his father’s will and in his own name, he gave HS 400 from the spoils of war when he was consul for the fifth time (29 BCE); furthermore, he again paid out a public gift of HS 400 per man in his tenth consulate (24 BCE) from his own patrimony; and in his twelfth year of tribunician power (12-11 BCE), he gave HS 400 per man for the third time. And these public gifts of his never reached fewer than 250,000 men. In his eighteenth year of tribunician power, as consul for the twelfth time (5 BCE), he gave HS 240 to 320,000 plebs of the city. And when he consul the fifth time (29 BCE), he gave from his war spoils to colonies of his soldiers each HS 1,000, about 120,000 men in the colonies received this triumphal public gift. He paid the towns money for the fields, which he had assigned to soldiers in his fourth consulate (30 BCE) and then when Marcus Crassus and Gnaeus Lentulus Augur were consuls (14 BCE); the sum was about HS 600,000,000, which he paid out for Italian estates, and about HS 260,000,000 for which he paid for provincial fields.
He was the first and alone who did this among all who founded military colonies in Italy or the provinces according to the memory of his age. And afterwards, he paid out rewards in cash to the soldiers whom he had led into their towns when their service was completed, and in this venture, he spent about HS 400,000,000. He helped the senatorial treasury with his money four times, so that he offered HS 150,000,000 to those who were in charge of the treasury. And when Marcus Lepidus and Lucius Arruntius were consuls (6 BCE), he offered HS 170,000,000 from his patrimony to the military treasury, which was founded by his advice and from which rewards were given to soldiers who had served twenty or more times. All the expenditures, which he gave either into the treasury or to the Roman plebs or to discharged soldiers totaled to be HS 2,400,000,000. • Diplomacy
The Cimbri, the Charydes, the Semmones, and the other Germans of the same territory sought by envoys the friendship of Augustus and of the Roman people. He compelled the Parthians to return to him and as suppliants, to seek the friendship of the Roman people. Emissaries from the Indian kings were often sent to him, which had not been seen before that time by any Roman leader. Also, the Basternae, the Scythians, and the Sarmatians, and the kings of the Albanians, Iberians, and Medes, sought his friendship through emissaries. King Phrates of the Parthians sent all his sons and grandsons into Italy to Augustus, seeking friendship through the pledges of his children. And in his principate, many other people experienced the faith of the Roman people, of whom nothing had previous existed of embassies or interchange of friendship with the Roman people.
• Public Works
The works that Augustus built include the temples of Mars, of Jupiter Subduer and Thunderer, of Apollo, of divine Julius, of Minerva, of Queen Juno, of Jupiter Liberator, of the Lares, of the gods of the Penates, of Youth, and of the Great Mother, the Lupercal, the state box at the circus, the senate-house with the Chalcidium, the forum of Augustus, the Julian basilica, the theater of Mecellus, the Octavian portico, and the grove of the Caesars across the Tiber. He also rebuilt the Capitol and eighty-two holy temples of the gods, the theater of Pompey, waterways like aqueducts, and the Flaminian road. • Maintaining Supply Lines and Food Supplies
Augustus did not evade the curatorship of grain in the height of the food shortage, which he arranged so that within a few days, he freed the entire city from the present fear and danger by his own expense and administration. When he consul for the eleventh time (23 BCE), twelve doles of grain, personally bought, were measured out. He gave HS 240 to the plebs who then received the public grain. And he also gave out contributions of grain and money from his granary and patrimony to more than 100,000 men when the taxes fell short. • Treatment and Incorporation of New People Into the Empire As victor, Augustus spared all the citizens who sought pardon in the civil war. And as for foreign nations, those of which he was able to safely forgive, he preferred to preserve than to destroy. • Centralized Government
By the authority of the senate, a part of the praetors and tribunes of the plebs, with consul Quintus Lucretius and the leading men, was sent to Augustus in Campania, which honor had been decreed for no one but him until that time. • Strong Military Power
Augustus founded colonies of soldiers in Africa, Sicily, Macedonia, Spain, Greece, Asia, Syria, Narban Gaul, and Pisida. Furthermore, he had twenty-eight colonies founded in Italy under his authority.