The Senate Loved Augustus for His Virtue, Clemency, Justice and Piety. Truly.

Yesterday we posted a bit from Ovid’s Tristia where he appears to be a little less than sincere in his lament from exile. Today, here’s a bit from the man who allegedly exiled him–Augustus Caesar–which I do wish were a little more ironic. The full Greek and Latin texts are drawn from the Loeb and made available online by Lacus Curtius.

“In my sixth and seventh consulships [28-27 BCE], after I had ended the civil wars and had achieved power over everything by universal consensus, I returned the state from my control to the guidance of the senate and Roman people. For this, the senate decreed that I would be named Augustus: the door posts of my house were decorated with laurel; a public crown was put up over my doorway, and a golden shield was dedicated in the Curia Julia, whose inscription declared that the senate and people of Rome gave it to me to recognize my virtue, clemency, justice and piety. After that moment, I stood apart from all other men in authority, but I had no more power than those who were my associates in any magistracy.”

In consulatu sexto et septimo, postquam bella civilia exstinxeram, per consensum universorum potitus rerum omnium, rem publicam ex mea potestate in senatus populique Romani arbitrium transtuli. Quo pro merito meo senatus consulto Augustus appellatus sum et laureis postes aedium mearum vestiti publice coronaque civica super ianuam meam fixa est et clupeus aureus in curia Iulia positus, quem mihi senatum populumque Romanum dare virtutis clementiaeque et iustitiae et pietatis caussa testatum est per eius clupei inscriptionem. Post id tempus auctoritate omnibus praestiti, potestatis autem nihilo amplius habui quam ceteri qui mihi quoque in magistratu conlegae fuerunt.

34 Ἑν ὑπατείαι ἔκτηι καὶ ἑβδόμηι μετὰ τὸ τοὺς ἐνφυλίους ζβέσαι με πολέμους κατὰ τὰς εὐχὰς τῶν ἐμῶν πολειτῶν ἐνκρατὴς γενόμενος πάντων τῶν πραγμάτων, ἐκ τῆς ἐμῆς ἐξουσίας εἰς τὴν τῆς συν κλήτου καὶ τοῦ δήμου τῶν Ῥωμαίων μετήνεγκα κυριήαν. Ἐξ ἧς αἰτίας δόγματι συνκλήτου Σεβαστὸς προσηγορεύθην καὶ δάφναις δημοσίαι τὰ πρόπυλά μου ἐστέφθη, ὅ τε δρύινος στέφανος ὁ διδόμενος ἐπὶ σωτηρίᾳ τῶν πολειτῶν ὑπεράνω τοῦ πυλῶ2 νος τῆς ἐμῆς οἰκίας ἀνετέθη, ὅπλον τε χρυσοῦν ἐν τῶι βουλευτηρίωι ἀνατεθὲν ὑπό τε τῆς συνκλήτου καὶ τοῦ δήμου τῶν Ῥωμαίων διὰ τῆς ἐπιγραφῆς ἀρετὴν καὶ ἐπείκειαν καὶ δικαιοσύνην καὶ εὐσέβειαν ἐμοὶ μαρτυρεῖ. Ἀξιώμὰτι πάντων διήνεγκα, § ἐξουσίας δὲ οὐδέν τι πλεῖον ἔσχον τῶν συναρξάντων μοι.