Caesar Octavian Augustus, The Aura Pacis, and the Res Gestae Divi Augusti
The Ara Pacis, also known as the altar of the Augustan Peace in Rome. This was built to celebrate Augustus returning from his campaigns in Spain and Gaul. This structure of marble once stood in the Campus Martius and was described as a amazing Roman sculpture masterpiece. The whole imperial family are depicted with certain types of wall reliefs of this monument in an animate procession. For example, the procession when the altar was consecrated on July 4, 13 BCE, to welcome back the return of the emperor. On these exterior walls, there are many figures of symbolism coming from two groups on the north and south side of the buildings. The south side was about August and the imperial family. Then on the north side it shows officials such as the magistrates, senators, priests and families. It shows that they were participating in the precession of the emperor. Another major symbol was Augustus sister holding a finger to her lips and calling for silence. This was symbolizing that the children looked bored with one child pulling on the toga of the adult in order to stand up. These Roman figures described the relief of scene depth and reality in future. This altar was named because of Augustus reign and probably a reason that Ara Pacis appeared on the coins of Nero. Leading to this words of Augustus and why this building was made was through his words called res gestae divi Augusti, which were words describing his achievements for the Roman people. It survives as an inscription carved in Greek and Latin on the wall of the temple of Rome and the Ara Pacis. This inscription was called the “queen of inscriptions”, which was Order in bronze and put in front of Augustus’ mausoleum in Rome as a testament to the achievements of his reign or principate. The purpose of the words and the Ara Pacis was overall imperial propaganda. . A great example is the image of Pax, is from the altar showing Augustus family in a sacrifical procession. Overall his imperial propaganda shows the linkness with his military victories, internal order and happiness through his divine providence that is seen everywhere in the art and literature of his era.
Horace and the Odes
Horace was undoubtedly one of the greatest Roman poets during the age of Augustus. Born in Apulia, Italy, in 65 BC, he grew up in Venusia where he developed a strong love for nature. In 42 BC, during the Civil war period of Rome, Horace fought on behalf of Brutus in the battle of the Philippi. Brutus’ army was defeated by the forces of Antony and Octavian, but Horace and the defeated soldiers of Brutus were offered amnesty by Octavian, as explained by Caesar Octavian Augustus in his Res Gestae:
“Wars, both foreign and domestic, I waged throughout the world, both on land and sea, and when victorious I spared all citizens who asked for pardon.” -Caesar Octavian Augustus, Res Gestae 3
After being pardoned, Horace moved to Rome to work into the treasury. He befriended Vergil, Varius, and Maecenas. Maecenas gifted him a farm, which allowed him the leisure to write. In 23 BC, he published the first three books of Odes, and the fourth in 14 BC. He later died in 8 BC. Horace’s Odes consisted of four books, each including smaller poems. These poems promote his wisdom by including meaningful themes in seemingly simple topics, such as proposing a drink, or wishing a safe journey. Through these poems, Horace embraced an Epicurean view of the world. He promoted living for the moment, and enjoying life while you can. These poems accomplished his goal of promoting an Epicurean philosophy by writing on love, politics, as well as other areas of life. Horace was also known for callida iunctura, which means skillful joining. This references his great ability to get the most out of the words he used. For example, he used witty aphorisms such as Carpe Diem, which means seize the day.
Sources- Ecce Romani III chapter 73; https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/horace