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The Deeds of the Divine Augustus
Written 14 A.C.E.
Translated by Thomas Bushnell, BSG
A copy below of the deeds of the divine Augustus, by which he subjected the whole wide earth
to the rule of the Roman people, and of the money which he spent for the state and Roman
people, inscribed on two bronze pillars, which are set up in Rome.
1. In my nineteenth year, on my own initiative and at my own expense, I raised an army with
which I set free the state, which was oppressed by the domination of a faction. For that reason,
the senate enrolled me in its order by laudatory resolutions, when Gaius Pansa and Aulus
Hirtius were consuls (43 B.C.E.), assigning me the place of a consul in the giving of opinions,
and gave me the imperium. With me as pro-praetor, it ordered me, together with the consuls, to
take care lest any detriment befall the state. But the people made me consul in the same year,
when the consuls each perished in battle, and they made me a triumvir for the settling of the
2. I drove the men who slaughtered my father into exile with a legal order, punishing their crime,
and afterwards, when they waged war on the state, I conquered them in two battles.
3. I often waged war, civil and foreign, on the earth and sea, in the whole wide world, and as
victor I spared all the citizens who sought pardon. As for foreign nations, those which I was able
to safely forgive, I preferred to preserve than to destroy. About five hundred thousand Roman
citizens were sworn to me. I led something more than three hundred thousand of them into
colonies and I returned them to their cities, after their stipend had been earned, and I assigned all
of them fields or gave them money for their military service. I captured six hundred ships
in addition to those smaller than triremes.
4. Twice I triumphed with an ovation, and three times I enjoyed a curule triumph and twenty one
times I was named emperor. When the senate decreed more triumphs for me, I sat out from all of
them. I placed the laurel from the fasces in the Capitol, when the vows which I pronounced in
each war had been fulfilled. On account of the things successfully done by me and through my
officers, under my auspices, on earth and sea, the senate decreed fifty-five times that there be
sacrifices to the immortal gods. Moreover there were 890 days on which the senate decreed there
would be sacrifices. In my triumphs kings and nine children of kings were led before my chariot.
I had been consul thirteen times, when I wrote this, and I was in the thirty-seventh year of
tribunician power (14 A.C.E.).
5. When the dictatorship was offered to me, both in my presence and my absence, by the people
and senate, when Marcus Marcellus and Lucius Arruntius were consuls (22 B.C.E.), I did not
accept it. I did not evade the curatorship of grain in the height of the food shortage, which I
so arranged that within a few days I freed the entire city from the present fear and danger by my
own expense and administration. When the annual and perpetual consulate was then again
offered to me, I did not accept it.
6. When Marcus Vinicius and Quintus Lucretius were consuls (19 B.C.E.), then again when
Publius Lentulus and Gnaeus Lentulus were (18 B.C.E.), and third when Paullus Fabius
Maximus and Quintus Tubero were (11 B.C.E.), although the senate and Roman people
consented that I alone be made curator of the laws and customs with the highest power, I
received no magistracy offered contrary to the customs of the ancestors. What the senate then
wanted to accomplish through me, I did through tribunician power, and five times on my own
accord I both requested and received from the senate a colleague in such power.
7. I was triumvir for the settling of the state for ten continuous years. I was first of the senate up
to that day on which I wrote this, for forty years. I was high priest, augur, one of the Fifteen
for the performance of rites, one of the Seven of the sacred feasts, brother of Arvis, fellow of
Titus, and Fetial.
8. When I was consul the fifth time (29 B.C.E.), I increased the number of patricians by order of
the people and senate. I read the roll of the senate three times, and in my sixth consulate (28
B.C.E.) I made a census of the people with Marcus Agrippa as my colleague. I conducted a
lustrum, after a forty-one year gap, in which lustrum were counted 4,063,000 heads of Roman
citizens. Then again, with consular imperium I conducted a lustrum alone when Gaius
Censorinus and Gaius Asinius were consuls (8 B.C.E.), in which lustrum were counted
4,233,000 heads of Roman citizens. And the third time, with consular imperium, I conducted a
lustrum with my son Tiberius Caesar as colleague, when Sextus Pompeius and Sextus
Appuleius were consuls (14 A.C.E.), in which lustrum were counted 4,937,000 of the heads of
Roman citizens. By new laws passed with my sponsorship, I restored many traditions of the
ancestors, which were falling into disuse in our age, and myself I handed on precedents of many
things to be imitated in later generations.
9. The senate decreed that vows be undertaken for my health by the consuls and priests every
fifth year. In fulfillment of these vows they often celebrated games for my life; several times the
four highest colleges of priests, several times the consuls. Also both privately and as a city all the
citizens unanimously and continuously prayed at all the shrines for my health.
10. By a senate decree my name was included in the Saliar Hymn, and it was sanctified by a law,
both that I would be sacrosanct forever, and that, as long as I would live, the tribunician power
would be mine. I was unwilling to be high priest in the place of my living colleague; when the
people offered me that priesthood which my father had, I refused it. And I received that
priesthood, after several years, with the death of him who had occupied it since the opportunity
of the civil disturbance, with a multitude flocking together out of all Italy to my election,
so many as had never before been in Rome, when Publius Sulpicius and Gaius Valgius were
consuls (12 B.C.E.).
11. The senate consecrated the altar of Fortune the Bringer-back before the temples of Honor and
Virtue at the Campanian gate for my return, on which it ordered the priests and Vestal virgins to
offer yearly sacrifices on the day when I had returned to the city from Syria (when Quintus
Lucretius and Marcus Vinicius were consuls (19 BC)), and it named that day Augustalia after my
12. 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 meet me in Campania, which honor had been
decreed for no one but me until that time. When I returned to Rome from Spain and Gaul, having
successfully accomplished matters in those provinces, when Tiberius Nero and Publius
Quintilius were consuls (13 B.C.E.), the senate voted to consecrate the altar of August Peace in
the field of Mars for my return, on which it ordered the magistrates and priests and Vestal virgins
to offer annual sacrifices.
13. Our ancestors wanted Janus Quirinus to be closed when throughout the all the rule of the
Roman people, by land and sea, peace had been secured through victory. Although before my
birth it had been closed twice in all in recorded memory from the founding of the city, the senate
voted three times in my principate that it be closed.
14. When my sons Gaius and Lucius Caesar, whom fortune stole from me as youths, were
fourteen, the senate and Roman people made them consuls-designate on behalf of my honor, so
that they would enter that magistracy after five years, and the senate decreed that on that day
when they were led into the forum they would be included in public councils. Moreover the
Roman knights together named each of them first of the youth and gave them shields and spears.
15. I paid to the Roman plebs, HS 300 per man from my father’s will and in my own name gave
HS 400 from the spoils of war when I was consul for the fifth time (29 B.C.E.); furthermore I
again paid out a public gift of HS 400 per man, in my tenth consulate (24 B.C.E.), from my own
patrimony; and, when consul for the eleventh time (23 B.C.E.), twelve doles of grain personally
bought were measured out; and in my twelfth year of tribunician power (12-11 B.C.E.) I gave
HS 400 per man for the third time. And these public gifts of mine never reached fewer than
250,000 men. In my eighteenth year of tribunician power, as consul for the twelfth time (5
B.C.E.), I gave to 320,000 plebs of the city HS 240 per man. And, when consul the fifth time (29
B.C.E.), I gave from my war-spoils to colonies of my soldiers each HS 1000 per man; about
120,000 men i the colonies received this triumphal public gift. Consul for the thirteenth time (2
B.C.E.), I gave HS 240 to the plebs who then received the public grain; they were a few more
16. I paid the towns money for the fields which I had assigned to soldiers in my fourth consulate
(30 B.C.E.) and then when Marcus Crassus and Gnaeus Lentulus Augur were consuls (14
B.C.E.); the sum was about HS 600,000,000 which I paid out for Italian estates, and about HS
260,000,000 which I paid for provincial fields. I was first and alone who did this among all who
founded military colonies in Italy or the provinces according to the memory of my age. And
afterwards, when Tiberius Nero and Gnaeus Piso were consuls (7 B.C.E.), and likewise when
Gaius Antistius and Decius Laelius were consuls (6 B.C.E.), and when Gaius Calvisius and
Lucius Passienus were consuls (4 B.C.E.), and when Lucius Lentulus and Marcus Messalla
were consuls (3 B.C.E.), and when Lucius Caninius and Quintus Fabricius were consuls (2
B.C.E.) , I paid out rewards in cash to the soldiers whom I had led into their towns when their
service was completed, and in this venture I spent about HS 400,000,000.
17. Four times I helped the senatorial treasury with my money, so that I offered HS 150,000,000
to those who were in charge of the treasury. And when Marcus Lepidus and Lucius Arruntius
were consuls (6 A.C.E.), I offered HS 170,000,000 from my patrimony to the military treasury,
which was founded by my advice and from which rewards were given to soldiers who had served
twenty or more times.
18. From that year when Gnaeus and Publius Lentulus were consuls (18 BCE), when the taxes
fell short, I gave out contributions of grain and money from my granary and patrimony,
sometimes to 100,000 men, sometimes to many more.
19. I built the senate-house and the Chalcidicum which adjoins it and the temple of Apollo on the
Palatine with porticos, the temple of divine Julius, the Lupercal, the portico at the Flaminian
circus, which I allowed to be called by the name Octavian, after he who had earlier built in the
same place, the state box at the great circus, the temple on the Capitoline of Jupiter Subduer and
Jupiter Thunderer, the temple of Quirinus, the temples of Minerva and Queen Juno and Jupiter
Liberator on the Aventine, the temple of the Lares at the top of the holy street, the temple of
the gods of the Penates on the Velian, the temple of Youth, and the temple of the Great Mother
on the Palatine.
20. I rebuilt the Capitol and the theater of Pompey, each work at enormous cost, without any
inscription of my name. I rebuilt aqueducts in many places that had decayed with age, and I
doubled the capacity of the Marcian aqueduct by sending a new spring into its channel. I
completed the Forum of Julius and the basilica which he built between the temple of Castor and
the temple of Saturn, works begun and almost finished by my father. When the same basilica was
burned with fire I expanded its grounds and I began it under an inscription of the name of my
sons, and, if I should not complete it alive, I ordered it to be completed by my heirs. Consul for
the sixth time (28 B.C.E.), I rebuilt eighty-two temples of the gods in the city by the authority of
the senate, omitting nothing which ought to have been rebuilt at that time. Consul for the seventh
time (27 B.C.E.), I rebuilt the Flaminian road from the city to Ariminum and all the
bridges except the Mulvian and Minucian.
21. I built the temple of Mars Ultor on private ground and the forum of Augustus from warspoils. I build the theater at the temple of Apollo on ground largely bought from private owners,
under the name of Marcus Marcellus my son-in-law. I consecrated gifts from war-spoils in the
Capitol and in the temple of divine Julius, in the temple of Apollo, in the temple of Vesta, and in
the temple of Mars Ultor, which cost me about HS 100,000,000. I sent back gold crowns
weighing 35,000 to the towns and colonies of Italy, which had been contributed for my triumphs,
and later, however many times I was named emperor, I refused gold crowns from the towns and
colonies which they equally kindly decreed, and before they had decreed them.
22. Three times I gave shows of gladiators under my name and five times under the name of my
sons and grandsons; in these shows about 10,000 men fought. Twice I furnished under my name
spectacles of athletes gathered from everywhere, and three times under my grandson’s name. I
celebrated games under my name four times, and furthermore in the place of other magistrates
twenty-three times. As master of the college I celebrated the secular games for the college of the
Fifteen, with my colleague Marcus Agrippa, when Gaius Furnius and Gaius Silanus were
consuls (17 B.C.E.). Consul for the thirteenth time (2 B.C.E.), I celebrated the first games of
Mas, which after that time thereafter in following years, by a senate decree and a law, the consuls
were to celebrate. Twenty-six times, under my name or that of my sons and grandsons, I gave the
people hunts of African beasts in the circus, in the open, or in the amphitheater; in them about
3,500 beasts were killed.
23. I gave the people a spectacle of a naval battle, in the place across the Tiber where the grove
of the Caesars is now, with the ground excavated in length 1,800 feet, in width 1,200, in which
thirty beaked ships, biremes or triremes, but many smaller, fought among themselves; in these
ships about 3,000 men fought in addition to the rowers.
24. In the temples of all the cities of the province of Asia, as victor, I replaced the ornaments
which he with whom I fought the war had possessed privately after he despoiled the temples.
Silver statues of me-on foot, on horseback, and standing in a chariot-were erected in about eighty
cities, which I myself removed, and from the money I placed golden offerings in the temple of
Apollo under my name and of those who paid the honor of the statues to me.
25. I restored peace to the sea from pirates. In that slave war I handed over to their masters for
the infliction of punishments about 30,000 captured, who had fled their masters and taken up
arms against the state. All Italy swore allegiance to me voluntarily, and demanded me as leader
of the war which I won at Actium; the provinces of Gaul, Spain, Africa, Sicily, and Sardinia
swore the same allegiance. And those who then fought under my standard were more than 700
senators, among whom 83 were made consuls either before or after, up to the day this was
written, and about 170 were made priests.
26. I extended the borders of all the provinces of the Roman people which neighbored nations
not subject to our rule. I restored peace to the provinces of Gaul and Spain, likewise Germany,
which includes the ocean from Cadiz to the mouth of the river Elbe. I brought peace to the Alps
from the region which i near the Adriatic Sea to the Tuscan, with no unjust war waged against
any nation. I sailed my ships on the ocean from the mouth of the Rhine to the east region up to
the borders of the Cimbri, where no Roman had gone before that time by land or sea, and
the Cimbri and the Charydes and the Semnones and the other Germans of the same territory
sought by envoys the friendship of me and of the Roman people. By my order and auspices two
armies were led at about the same time into Ethiopia and into that part of Arabia which is called
Happy, and the troops of each nation of enemies were slaughtered in battle and many towns
captured. They penetrated into Ethiopia all the way to the town Nabata, which is near to Meroe;
and into Arabia all the way to the border of the Sabaei, advancing to the town Mariba.
27. I added Egypt to the rule of the Roman people. When Artaxes, king of Greater Armenia, was
killed, though I could have made it a province, I preferred, by the example of our elders, to hand
over that kingdom to Tigranes, son of king Artavasdes, and grandson of King Tigranes, through
Tiberius Nero, who was then my step-son. And the same nation, after revolting and rebelling,
and subdued through my son Gaius, I handed over to be ruled by King Ariobarzanes son of
Artabazus, King of the Medes, and after his death, to his son Artavasdes; and when he was
killed, I sent Tigranes, who came from the royal clan of the Armenians, into that rule. I
recovered all the provinces which lie across the Adriatic to the east and Cyrene, with kings now
possessing them in large part, and Sicily and Sardinia, which had been occupied earlier in the
28. I founded colonies of soldiers in Africa, Sicily, Macedonia, each Spain, Greece, Asia, Syria,
Narbonian Gaul, and Pisidia, and furthermore had twenty-eight colonies founded in Italy under
my authority, which were very populous and crowded while I lived.
29. I recovered from Spain, Gaul, and Dalmatia the many military standards lost through other
leaders, after defeating the enemies. I compelled the Parthians to return to me the spoils and
standards of three Roman armies, and as suppliants to seek the friendship of the Roman
people. Furthermore I placed those standards in the sanctuary of the temple of Mars Ultor.
30. As for the tribes of the Pannonians, before my principate no army of the Roman people had
entered their land. When they were conquered through Tiberius Nero, who was then my step-son
and emissary, I subjected them to the rule of the Roman people and extended the borders of
Illyricum to the shores of the river Danube. On the near side of it the army of the Dacians was
conquered and overcome under my auspices, and then my army, led across the Danube, forced
the tribes of the Dacians to bear the rule of the Roman people.
31. Emissaries from the Indian kings were often sent to me, which had not been seen before that
time by any Roman leader. The Bastarnae, the Scythians, and the Sarmatians, who are on this
side of the river Don and the kings further away, and the kings of the Albanians, of the
Iberians, and of the Medes, sought our friendship through emissaries.
32. To me were sent supplications by kings: of the Parthians, Tiridates and later Phrates son of
king Phrates, of the Medes, Artavasdes, of the Adiabeni, Artaxares, of the Britons,
Dumnobellaunus and Tincommius, of the Sugambri, Maelo, of the Marcomanian Suebi (…) (-
)rus. King Phrates of the Parthians, son of Orodes, sent all his sons and grandsons into Italy to
me, though defeated in no war, but seeking our friendship through the pledges of his children.
And in my principate many other peoples experienced the faith of the Roman people, of whom
nothing had previously existed of embassies or interchange of friendship with the
33. The nations of the Parthians and Medes received from me the first kings of those nations
which they sought by emissaries: the Parthians, Vonones son of king Phrates, grandson of king
Orodes, the Medes, Ariobarzanes, son of king Artavasdes, grandson of king Aiobarzanes.
34. In my sixth and seventh consulates (28-27 B.C.E.), after putting out the civil war, having
obtained all things by universal consent, I handed over the state from my power to the dominion
of the senate and Roman people. And for this merit of mine, by a senate …
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