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Augustus, Chapter 31: Religious measures.
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The office of Pontifex Maximus, of which he [Note 1] could not decently deprive Lepidus as long as he lived, he assumed as soon as he was dead. He then caused all prophetical books, both in Latin and Greek, the authors of which were either unknown, or of no great authority, to be brought in; and the whole collection, amounting to upwards of two thousand volumes, he committed to the flames, preserving only the Sibylline oracles; but not even those without a strict examination, to ascertain which were genuine. This being done, he deposited them in two gilt coffers, under the pedestal of the statue of the Palatine Apollo. He restored the calendar, which had been corrected by Julius Caesar, but through negligence was again fallen into confusion, to its former regularity; and upon that occasion, called the month Sextilis, by his own name, August, rather than September, in which he was born; because in it he had obtained his first consulship, and all his most considerable victories. He increased the number, dignity, and revenues of the priests, and especially those of the Vestal Virgins. And when, upon the death of one of them, a new one was to be taken, and many persons made interest that their daughters' names might be omitted in the lists for election, he replied with an oath, If either of my own grand-daughters were old enough, I would have proposed her. He likewise revived some old religious customs, which had become obsolete; as the augury of public health, the office of high priest of Jupiter, the religious solemnity of the Lupercalia, with the Secular games, and Gompitalian Games. He prohibited young boys from running in the Lupercalia; and in respect of the Secular games, issued an order, that no young persons of either sex should appear at any public diversions in the night-time, unless in the company of some elderly relation. He ordered the household gods to be decked twice a year with spring and summer flowers, in the Compitalian Festival. Next to the immortal gods, he paid the highest honours to the memory of those generals who had raised the Roman state from its low origin to the highest pitch of grandeur. He accordingly repaired or rebuilt the public edifices erected by them; preserving the former inscriptions, and placing statues of them all, with triumphal emblems, in both the porticos of his forum, issuing an edict on the occasion, in which he made the following declaration: My design in so doing is, that the Roman people may require from me, and all succeeding princes, a conformity to those illustrious examples. He likewise removed the statue of Pompey from the senate-house, in which Julius Caesar had been killed, and placed it under a marble arch, fronting the palace attached to the theatre of Pompey. |
Note 1: he = Augustus
|Postquam vero pontificatum maximum, quem numquam vivo Lepido auferre sustinuerat, mortuo demum suscepit, quidquid fatidicorum librorum Graeci Latinique generis nullis vel parum idoneis auctoribus vulgo ferebatur, supra duo milia contracta undique cremavit ac solos retinuit Sibyllinos, bos quoque dilectu habito; condiditque duobus forulis auratis sub Palatini Apollinis basi. Annum a Divo lulio ordinatum, sed postea neglegentia conturbatum atque confusum, rursus ad pristinam rationem redegit; in cuius ordinatione Sextilem mensem e suo cognomine nuncupavit magis quam Septembrem quo erat natus, quod hoc sibi et primus consulatus et in signes victoriae optigissent. Sacerdotum et numerum et dignitatem sed et commoda auxit, praecipue Vestalium virginum. Cumque in demortuae locum aliam capi oporteret ambirentque multi ne filias in sortem darent, adiuravit, si cuiusquam neptium suarum competeret aetas, oblaturum se fuisse eam. Nonnulla etiam ex antiquis caerimoniis paulatim abolita restituit, ut Salutis augurium, Diale flamonium, sacrum Lupercale, ludos Saeculares et Compitalicios. Lupercalibus vetuit currere inberbes, item Saecularibus ludis iuvenes utriusque sexus prohibuit ullum nocturnum spectaculum frequentare nisi cum aliquo maiore natu propinquorum. Compitales Lares ornari bis anno instituit vernis floribus et aestivis. Proximum a dis immortalibus honorem memoriae ducum praestitit, qui imperium p. R. ex minimo maximum reddidissent. Itaque et opera cuiusque manentibus titulis restituit et statuas omnium triumphali effigie in utraque fori sui porticu dedicavit, professus et edicto: commentum id se, ut ad illorum vitam velut ad exemplar et ipse, dum viveret, et insequentium aetatium principes exigerentur a civibus. Pompei quoque statuam contra theatri eius regiam marmoreo Iano superposuit translatam e curia, in qua C. Caesar fuerat occisus.|