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Review: The Life of Augustus

Nicolaus of Damascus

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A contemporary of the times he describes, Nicholas of Damascus – the biographer of Emperor Augustus, gave us a portrait of the benefactor of the entire Roman world. His work, originally titled Vita Augustii is laudatory in nature, but despite this, it is not devoid of both historical and literary values. The author of this work himself remains almost unknown to us because we know little about him other than that he was one of the courtiers of Herod the Great, who after the death of his dangerous, but completely dependent Roman master, settled in Rome. There in the Eternal City, this widely unknown historian was certainly well acquainted with the successor of the great Caesar.

The Polish translation of the work in question, written by the outstanding Polish classical philologist Tadeusz Sinka, is a great pleasure to read.

It is to be regretted that so few of the works of ancient historiographers have come down to our times. We often received, as in this case, only fragments or summaries of them. We can read the work in question thanks to the meticulous work of such bibliophiles as the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, who compiled an excerpt from the original work, still available in his time (first half of the 10th century).

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Author: Antypater (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)

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