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Writings From the Time of Augustus Caesar
Decree Issued by Emperor Augustus, 4 BC
The Emperor Caesar Augustus declares:
"A decree of the senate was passed ... and I was present at the writing. Since it affects the welfare of the allies of the Roman people, I have decided to send it into the provinces ... so that it may be known to all who are under our care. From this it will be evident to all the inhabitants of the provinces how much both I and the senate are concerned that none of our subjects should suffer any improper treatment or any extortion."
Decree of the Senate
Concerning matters affecting the security of the allies of the Roman people which the Emperor Caesar Augustus ... desired to be brought before the senate, the senate passed the following decree:
Our ancestors established a legal process for victims of extortion so that the allies might more easily be able to take action for any wrongs done them and recover monies forcibly taken from them. This type of process has sometimes been very expensive and troublesome for those who have been victimized. For example, poor people or persons weak with illness or age are dragged from far-distant provinces as witnesses. Therefore, in light of the above, the Senate decrees the following:
"If any of our allies desire to recover monies extorted from them, either public or private, they shall appear before one of the magistrates. The magistrate shall bring them in before the senate as soon as possible and shall assign them a lawyer to speak on their behalf. The judges shall hear and inquire into only those cases in which a man is accused of having extorted money from a community or from private individuals; they shall order those found guilty of extortion to restore whatever sum of money their accusers prove was taken from them."
Inscription from the City of Narbonne, AD 11
The populace of Narbonne takes the following vow to the divine spirit of Augustus forever:
"May it be good, favorable, and timely for the Emperor Caesar Augustus, son of a god, father of his country, pontifex maximus, who holds the power of tribune for a thirty-fourth year. May it be the same for his wife, children, and his house; for the Roman senate and people; and for the retired soldiers and residents of the colony of Narbonne, who have bound themselves to worship his spirit continually and forever."
The Narbonesians have erected in the forum at Narbonne an altar. Every year at this altar on September 23 - the day on which the good fortune of the age bore him to be ruler of the world - three Roman cavalry officers and three freedmen shall sacrifice one animal each and shall at their own expense on that heat day provide the colonists and residents with incense and wine to offer to his divine spirit. They shall do likewise on September 24 ... January 1 ... January 7 ... May 31...
From Horace, Odes
Your times, O Caesar, have brought back fertile crops to the fields and have restored to Jupiter the military standards which had been taken from us by our enemies the Parthians. You have made the temple of Janus close because we are at peace. You have put reins on sin and keep the people within the boundaries of right. You have wiped away our sins and revived the ancient virtues which made Rome great, and the fame and majesty of our empire is spread from the sun's bed in the west to the east. As long as Caesar is the guardian of the state, neither civil dissension nor violence shall banish peace, nor will it be ended by the anger that forges swords and brings discord and misery to cities. None of our enemies shall violate the orders of Caesar. And we, both on profane days and sacred days, amid the gifts of merry Bacchus, together with our wives and children, will first pray to the gods; and then we will sing songs, with accompaniment of Lydian flutes, to great leaders whose duty is done.
From Suetonius, Life of Augustus
The whole body of citizens with a sudden unanimous impulse offered to him the title of "father of his country" - first the plebeians, and then the senate. The representative of the senate, speaking for the whole body, said: "Good fortune and divine favor attend you and your house, Caesar Augustus; for when we pray this we know that we are also praying for lasting prosperity for our country and happiness for our city. The senate in accord with the Roman people hails thee 'Father of your Country.'" Then Augustus with tears in his eyes replied as follows (and I have given his exact words): "Having attained my highest hopes, members 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?"
Writings From the Time of Augustus By:
The Rise of the Roman Empire
Historical Periods of
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