2000 years since Augustus Caesar died

Octavian becomes consul.

SJ emails to remind us that today 2000 years ago (Australian time*) Augustus Caesar (23 September 63 BC – 19 August 14 AD) passed away. The first and greatest of the Roman emperors.

The scene above is from season 2 of the Rome mini-series. Magnificent if you haven’t seen it – unfortunately the second half of the second season to rushed (after the series got cancelled – too expensive).

* We hadn’t forgotten, of course.

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28 Responses to 2000 years since Augustus Caesar died

  1. David

    Just seems like yesterday.
    Are we going to conduct commemorative funeral games? Perhaps a gladiatorial contest between Senators Seemingly Always-Wrong and Corporal Jacqui Lambast?

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    An innings of 75 no. is no mean feat in those days of very sticky wickets. Did better than his dad (adoptive), who gets my vote for two most entertaining volumes plus not a few exploits to go with them. Vale Caesars.

  3. Talleyrand

    SJ = Society of Jesus (Jesuits) ?

  4. I posted yesterday that the 19th of August was the MMth anniversary. Strangely, few people have commemorated this notable event.

  5. Leigh Lowe

    I didn’t even know he was ill.

  6. mareeS

    Gaius Octavius Caesar Augustus passed away in 14

  7. By the way, Suetonius reports that the divine Augustus died “at the ninth hour” which, in Rome, in summer, was likely before 15:00 by modern reckoning—and before midnight according to modern AEST, and thus still on the 19th of August, Australian time.

  8. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Augustus cuts a magnificent figure in that statue.

    Cassius Deo tells us that the title of Imperator was given to Augustus after success in battle. The title of Father was formalized at the ceremony to honour Mars. Mars was said to be the father of Romulus. The clip shows the making of a god in the name of Roman Fatherhood in the mind of a young adopted man; impressive.

    The Patriline, Pater Familias, Fatherland: the All-Father deity was alive and well in Rome as well as among the barbarians sanctifying the Germanic All-Father Wotan. Augustus claimed this Imperial Godhead for the Roman State; Caesar specifically rejected accepting this. Later, Claudius imposed his own manifestation of the Roman Imperial Father Deity on the Britons, who took exception to this (I have considerable good, albeit remnant, evidence of a unitary Father God – The Dis Pater – among the Celts). Claudius built in British Camulodunum the largest temple to the Imperial Godhead outside of Rome; Suspicously, in my view, Boudicca (=Victory in Brythonic) rose at the very time that Rome made a ferocious attack on the traditions of Druidism on Anglesey. Rome nearly lost Britannia in that, and the retribution was harsh. Roman soldiers were head-hunters in Britain, as were the Britons. Recently, in Lancaster, a Roman tombstone (a variety called a ‘Rider Stone’ was found in a drain, in perfect condition). The Roman soldier, as in such Rider Stones, had a captive barbarian on the ground under his horse. A number of human heads hung from the soldier’s saddle and the captive was headless.

    On today of all days – Islamic beheading day – you can’t get away from religion. For better or worse.

  9. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Apologies for some loss of punctuation in that piece; just failure to proof read (I know you are watching, Deadman :) ).

  10. mareeS, the name of the divine Augustus was C. Octavius only until 44 BC when, following his posthumous adoption by C. Julius Caesar, he became C. Julius Caesar Octavianus (though he gradually forgot the Octavianus). After 38 BC until 27 BC he was known formally as Imperator Caesar Divi Filius, and after 27 BC his name was Imperator Caesar Divi F. Augustus—until his death, whereupon he became Augustus Divus.

  11. braddles

    Can we really say it was 2000 years to the day given the changes in calendars since then?

  12. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Augustus died “at the ninth hour”

    Nine was an old Indo-European ‘magic’ number, Deadman, as was three, and some say seven.
    Suitable for a god. I wouldn’t be putting too much faith in the veracity of that time.

  13. Can we really say it was 2000 years to the day given the changes in calendars since then?

    Yes.

  14. Leigh Lowe

    SJ emails to remind us that today 2000 years ago (Australian time*) Augustus Caesar (23 September 63 BC – 19 August 14 AD) passed away.

    … and I think that raises the question about the role Tony Abbott played in all this.

  15. mareeS

    Where’s Mary?

    Women must have a role in all of this biblical stuff.

  16. mundi

    Braddles, never mind if it is to the day, the year is probably decades if not centuries out.

    Dionysius was the first person to supposedly count years since Jesus, which he did over 500 years after Jesus death, and the year he did this just happened to be not only the right leap year – but also a perfect fit with the 500 year cycle of Easter dates.

    In other words Dionysius was a fabrication of the council of Trent in the 1500′s. At best people starting using dates since Jesus in 1300AD at earliest, and often used a I or J in place of the 1 to honor Jesus.

    Today they claim they got year right within a few years or a decade. The truth is no one really knows, it is probably hundreds of years wrong.

  17. never mind if it is to the day, the year is probably decades if not centuries out.

    Rubbish.
    The exact date of the birth of Jesus is a matter for argument, but we have continuous records—within the Roman empire (which continued in the east until the fall of Constantinople on Tuesday, 29 May, 1453) and without—since the death of Augustus Divus, and we know that it was 2,000 years ago,

  18. wreckage

    Today they claim they got year right within a few years or a decade. The truth is no one really knows, it is probably hundreds of years wrong.

    No, because we can date the writings of Christians to within a smaller margin of error than 1 century. So even if they made him up entirely, we have a pretty good idea when they made him up, to within about 40 years, give or take.

  19. Pete of Perth

    Some notes on the Roman Calendar

  20. wreckage

    In other words Dionysius was a fabrication of the council of Trent in the 1500

    So the Catholic Church didn’t bother fabricating a birthday for Jesus until over a thousand years into its verified and documented existence?????

    In 1188, the historian, Gerald of Wales, gave a public reading to the assembled Oxford dons and in around 1190 the arrival of Emo of Friesland, the first known overseas student, set in motion the University’s tradition of international scholarly links. By 1201, the University was headed by a magister scolarum Oxonie, on whom the title of Chancellor was conferred in 1214, and in 1231 the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation.

    But it was still 300 years until they fabricated a birthday for Jesus. When Nicene Christianity was made the official state religion of Rome – possibly, in the “off by several centuries” hypothesis, up to 100 years before Christianity existed, a truly remarkable feat – they didn’t bother to have a bit of a chat about roughly how long ago Jesus actually existed?

  21. Liam

    Hopefully this remembrance is not made in blind adulation. If it is, that would be an ironic shame for a libertarian and centre-right forum. Let’s remember that this man ran roughshod over Republican libertas and laws in building his power. With his fellow Triumvirs, he executed many in the proscriptions and seized private properties. He also agreed to Marcus Antonius’ demand to slaughter Cicero who had bravely opposed the assault on constitutional government in a free Republic: Cicero’s Philippics should be read by any freedom-loving individual. As Tacitus notes, Augustus’ ‘peace stained with blood’ was not forgotten on the ruler’s death (Annals 1.8-10).

  22. Robert O.

    A lot of todays trouble spots in the middle East were fairly peaceful in Roman times and Islam didn’t come for another 700 years.

  23. 2dogs

    Let’s not forget that the Julius Caesar/Mark Anthony/Octavian camp was effectively the left wing of Roman politics at the time.

    The right wing featured such men as Cicero.

  24. Epictetus

    Anyway, Marcus Aurelius was the greatest Roman emperor.

  25. JohnA

    2dogs #1424525, posted on August 21, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Let’s not forget that the Julius Caesar/Mark Anthony/Octavian camp was effectively the left wing of Roman politics at the time.

    The right wing featured such men as Cicero.

    Cato, where was Cato? He’s the one to watch: man with a mission “Delenda est Catargo” until we hardly know who the Carthaginians were…

  26. tgs

    Hopefully this remembrance is not made in blind adulation. If it is, that would be an ironic shame for a libertarian and centre-right forum. Let’s remember that this man ran roughshod over Republican libertas and laws in building his power. With his fellow Triumvirs, he executed many in the proscriptions and seized private properties. He also agreed to Marcus Antonius’ demand to slaughter Cicero who had bravely opposed the assault on constitutional government in a free Republic: Cicero’s Philippics should be read by any freedom-loving individual. As Tacitus notes, Augustus’ ‘peace stained with blood’ was not forgotten on the ruler’s death (Annals 1.8-10).

    Couldn’t agree more.

  27. johanna

    Agree, Cicero and Cato are more aligned with this site’s philosophy. Both great writers and thinkers.

    Not many folks who wrote in another language two thousand years ago are still quoted today – i.e. Cato’s “Carthago delenda est” is still a succint and definitive statement of what has to happen to a nation’s mortal enemy.

    The excellent US thinktank Cato uses his name as a clue to educated libertarians about its political stance.

    As for Cicero, it was worth learning Latin just to be able to read him. No translation can convey the beauty of his glorious cadences. His politics were pretty sound, too.

  28. Squirrel

    I believe he wanted to be known as the Infrastructure Caesar – something about brick and marble……?

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