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Quotes of Augustus

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Augustus (Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus) lived in the years 63 BCE – 14 CE. He was the first emperor of Rome in 27 BCE – 14 CE and the creator of the so-called principate.

  • “Have I have played my part well in the comedy of life?”
    • description: one of the words spoken on his deathbed
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 99
  • “That is done quickly enough which is done well enough”
    • latin: [Sat celeriter fieri quidquid fiat satis bene]
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 25
  • “Live mindful of our wedlock, Livia, and farewell!”
    • latin: [Livia, nostri coniugii memor vive, ac vale!]
    • description: according to Suetonius, Augustus died with these words on his lips, embracing Livia
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 99
  • “On the Greek Kalends”
    • latin: [Ad calendas Graecas]
    • description: W kalendarzu greckim (który, nota bene, był mocno zróżnicowany w zależności od polis) nie było charakterystycznych rzymskich wysczególnień: Kalend, Non i Idów. August, kiedy powątpiewał aby dłużnik spłacił zaciągnięty dług, mawiał, że zapłaci na greckie kalendy, a więc “na święty Nigdy” – w greckim kalendarzu kalendy nie występowały.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 87
  • “May it be my privilege to establish the State in a firm and secure position, and reap from that act the fruit that I desire; but only if I may be called the author of the best possible government, and bear with me the hope when I die that the foundations which I have laid for the State will remain unshaken”
    • latin: [Ita mihi salvam ac sospitem rem p. sistere in sua sede liceat atque eius rei fructum percipere, quem peto, ut optimi status auctor dicar et moriens ut feram mecum spem, mansura in vestigio suo fundamenta rei p. quae iecero]
    • description: the words of Augustus said in one of the proclamations that characterized his rule
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 28
  • “Having attained my highest hopes, Fathers of the Senate, what more have I to ask of the immortal gods than that I may retain this same unanimous approval of yours to the very end of my life”
    • latin: [Compos factus votorum meorum, p. c., quid habeo aliud deos immortales precari, quam ut hunc consensum vestrum ad ultimum finem vitae mihi perferre liceat?]
    • description: Augustus’ response to the name received from the Senate “Father of the Country”.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 58
  • “The noisomeness of far-fetched words”
    • latin: [Reconditorum verborum]
    • description: a scornful term for outdated expressions which Augustus detested.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 86
  • “More haste, less speed”
    • latin: [Festina lente]
    • description: Augustus spoke those words in Greek, believing that it was not fitting for a leader to make hasty and ill-considered decisions
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 25
  • “The play is over”
    • latin: [Acta est fabula]
    • description: the words ending a theater play in ancient Rome. These words were said to have been uttered by Octavian on his deathbed. In the work of Suetonius, however, we find “Since well I’ve played my part, all clap your hands” (Augustus, 99)
  • “Quicker than you can cook asparagus”
    • latin: [Velocius quam asparagi conquantur]
    • description: Octavian used to say those words to illustrate the smooth performance
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 87
  • “You must die”
    • latin: [Moriendum esse]
    • description: words spoken by Augustus in response to opponents’ pleas for favor after the capture of Perusia
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 15
  • “Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!”
    • latin: [Vare, redde mihi legiones!]
    • description: words spoken after the defeat in the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE), in which Publius Varus lost three legions. This defeat shook Augustus strongly,; he did not shave or but hair for several months, and he celebrated each anniversary in mourning.
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 23
  • “Present a petition with as much hesitation as he would a penny to an elephant”
    • latin: [Quod sic sibi libellum porrigere dubitaret, quasi elephanto stipem]
    • description: playfully rebuked the petitioners who approached him with fear
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 53
  • “Those who slew my father I drove into exile, punishing their deed by due process of law, and afterwards when they waged war upon the republic I twice defeated them in battle”
    • latin: [Qui parentem meum interfecerunt, eos in exilium expuli iudiciis legi timis ultus eorum facinus, et postea bellum inferentis rei publicae vici bis acie]
    • source: Res Gestae divi Augusti, 2
  • “Found it built of brick and left it in marble”
    • latin: [Marmoream se relinquere, quam latericiam accepisse]
    • source: Suetonius, Augustus 28

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