Ancient Roman History from original sources

Cassius Dio 


Inscriptions, coins, etc


Res Gestae



Seneca the Younger 



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The Battle of Actium and the aftermath of civil war:
Source (inc. citation if possible) Quote Relevance
Cassius Dio 50.34 `[fire missiles] ignited the timbers and immediately Highlights the use of fire in the battle the penguin
started a blaze' translator says that Dio was the only source to mention
fire when commenting on the Battle of Actium, although
other sources beg to differ.
50.32 `Octavian's fleet, having smaller and faster ships, could Highlights the advantageous position of Octavian
advance at speed and ram the enemy' throughout this battle over Mark Antony (whom he
Mentions an `asp' used in Cleopatra's suicide and that Demonstrating that Dio Cassius has relevance to other,
Antony `longed to follow and join [Cleopatra] in death' some contemporary sources and gives evidence for the
aftermath of the civil war
Suetonius, Augustus 17 `Presently he defeated Antony in a seabattle off Briefly covers this period, mentioning Mark Antony as
Actium' he is a historian beyond Augustus' reign ­ keeper to
`Augustus forced [Antony]... to commit suicide' whilst imperial archives
Cleopatra was, as an `ornament' supposed to be kept
for Augustus' triumph but she committed suicide with
`the bite of an asp'
Horace, Epode 9 `Hail victory!' Triumph of Augustus at the Battle of Actium, short and
`Rejoice for Victory at Actium' concise snippet of information
Horace, Odes 1.37 `doom laden monster' Propaganda apparent and evident throughout Horace's
`Suicide of Cleopatra' `scarcely one ship survived the fire' work
`savage serpents.../Venom [spread] through her body's Disproves Cassius Dio's translator ­fire mentioned
veins' Bite of an asp to end Cleopatra's life expressed
Virgil ­ Shield of Aeneas `broad swelling sea.../... you could see the ships' The Battle on water is represented
`Twin flames shot joyfully upward' Another source referencing fire
`in the mist the queen summoned' Cleopatra commented ­ Mark Antony not mentioned in
any contemporary sources (Aug made sure the battle
was not to be viewed as a civil war)
Denarius 2927BC Obverse ­ depicts a victorious Octavian Augustine Propaganda ­ coins distributed across the
commemorating his triple victory 29BC, standing on a empire
Reverse ­ demonstrates Augustus in a triumphal chariot
Propertius 4.6 `fire blazed, twisting/Their slanting torchlike flames...' Celebration of the Palatine Temple of Apollo's
`Temple of Apollo' construction post victory at the Battle of Actium

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Constitutional Settlement ­ 28/7BC
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Res Gestae 34 `And a golden shield was set up in the Julian Autobiographical Obituary which was edited post
Senatehouse ...…read more

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Strabo, Geography `he divided the empire in two' Statement from a wealthy Greek with much knowledge
in this field
CD `Through this process the power both of the people and ANACHRONISTIC ­ there is no `monarchy'
... Senate who...transferred into the hands of established
Augustus, and it was this time that a monarchy...…read more

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Constitutional Settlement ­ 19BC
`Crucle' chair ­ magistrates chair between two consuls is erected. Augustus is given consul for life where he would be preceded by 12 lictors (like a consul) and allowed to sit
on that third crucle chair in the senate ­ this, as a result, pleases the public immensely.
The Role of the emperor's family, friends and supporters
The role of the emperor's family, friends and supporters
Source (inc. citation if possible) Quote Relevance
Paterculus 103.2 'Tiberius Nero's return from Rhodes...…read more

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Tacitus 3.56 `he then selected Marcus Agrippa to share this title with Agrippa's importance because he is a good leader,
him as colleague and, after his death, Tiberius Nero thus general and friend that Augustus has shared this position
insuring that there could be no doubt about his intended with him ­ the sharing of these powers highlights that
successor' Augustus is not hogging the powers he has been given
and sharing them in a Republican manner
Velleius Paterculus 100.…read more

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Fasti Capitolini Erased the details as to why Maurena was abdicated
from his consulship in 23BC
Paterculus 'Augustus's main political rival... arrested along with his Reasons because Augustus was his main political rival
accomplices and killed' and to ensure political safety in the future
Seneca the Younger, Clemency 1.9 While in Gaul, news of the conspiracy leaked. Augs'
wife said to forgive Cinna. He received a lecture, then
was awarded with a consulship. He became a loyal
friend.…read more

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Tacitus `seduced the soldiery with gifts, the people with corn `'
and everyone with the delights of peace'
Pliny, Natural Histories 33.30 `Augustus laid down the regulations for judicial Comments on the Equestrian order
panels...The title `equestrian' remained the prerogative
of those in the troop'
Suetonius `never wantonly invaded any country...…read more

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God's the `lares' invisible gods (genius). Augustus
creates his own cults of priests to protect the areas
where slaves would attend the areas
Ovid, Fasti 5 `Rome has a thousand...Lares now, and a leader's worship of the divine spirit associated with Augustus'
Genius, whose gift/Bestowed them' genius
Tacitus, Annals 4.37 `The deified Augustus did not prevent the building of a Augustus is very intertwined with religion, particularly
temple...…read more



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