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Res Gestae Divi Augusti: The Achievements of the Divine Augustus 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198317722
ISBN-10: 0198317727
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Editorial Reviews


Rex E. Wallace's textbook, Res Gestae Divi Augusti…presents Latin students with an engaging introduction to the corpus of Latin epigraphy. Wallace's work includes a thorough orientation to the history, content, function, and organization of the Res Gestae, along with relevant historical, grammatical, and vocabulary notes on the page facing the text. Not only are vocabulary items put into context, but the complete noun forms and principal verb parts are listed, so that students can quickly grasp the meaning of the Latin without a great deal of page flipping.

This volume also contains illustrations and an index of place names and persons; an alphabetical list of all vocabulary items follows the text. Wallace provides an up-to-date bibliography of resources for additional reading that is especially helpful, since instructors may want to give students some background on Augustus' life and refer them to other sources for further historical commentary. This is a thought-provoking text for intermediate college students and advanced high-school students who wish to increase their proficiency in Latin and gain an understanding of one of the key historical documents of the Augustan Age. --Jennifer A. Rea, Luther College, The Classical Outlook

....Rex Wallace's entry into the field is superior in several ways to the two editions (Benario and Damon) intended expressly for Latin students....

...Wallace's addition to the available student editions of the Res Gestae offers historical and grammatical/syntactic annotation sufficient to the needs of an intermediate-level student and quite comparable to that in Benario and Damon. The lexical assistance, however, is fuller--much fuller--than in any competing work. These features--together with the volume's excellent introduction, maps, and illustrations--make it the best option in a field of fine choices for classroom use. --James P. Holoka, Eastern Michigan University

It is thus the purpose of this essay to advocate the reading and teaching of Augustus' Res Gestae, and especially to demonstrate its value in the teaching of Latin style at the intermediate level, whether high school or college. Before I go any further, let me discuss practical matters, namely how one is to find a teachable edition of the text. Rex Wallace has recently (2000) produced an excellent, student-friendly edition of the inscription complete with introduction, historical notes, running vocabulary on facing pages, maps, photos, an index of names and places, and a complete vocabulary list. It has everything students need to read the text...

Moreover, all these topics are surveyed in language that should not be intimidating to the novice Latinist. The relative clarity and simplicity of Augustus' Latin make it possible, especially with the student-friendly features of Wallace's recent edition, for intermediate students to read the text with relative speed and confidence. And since Res Gestae is indeed 'real' Latin, excellent models of Latin grammar and syntax appear throughout and can be used to review fundamental grammatical structures.

Thus the study of Augustus' Latin style, valuable in and of itself as a means for students to discover why reading real Latin is rewarding, can also be employed as a counterweight to the persuasive intent of this historical text. Deciphering Augustus' intentions is one excellent way to bring students into the evaluation of his achievements, and thus to continue for another generation the now ancient yet still meaningful debate over the rightful historical legacy of the architect of the Roman Empire. --Rex Stem, The Classical Outlook --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: Latin, English --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 31, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198317727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198317722
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Although others have produced excellent editions of the Monumentum Ancyranum or Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Brunt's text of the Res Gestae Divi Augusti is by far and away the most useful for the advanced undergraduate history student with no Latin background, or Latin students with an interest in epigraphy and the history of one of the greatest propagandists ever. Brunt's text is clear, well-organized, useful and thoughtful -- as one would expect given his scholarly stature in the field. But his explanatory notes, his introduction and the level of historical background he presupposes in his audience make his version of this revealing and important inscription perfect for graduate and undergraduate students alike. These notes, introduction and index do not just help the student to read the text; they also help students to place this laundered version of Octavian's (aka Augustus) rise to power in its historical, political, epigraphical and literary contexts. Whether reading the inscription in Latin or English, the student gains real insight into Augustus as Augustus wished to be remembered, and into Roman military, economic and political history during the turbulent transition from Republic to Principate.
I highly recommend it for a variety of courses in Latin and Roman History. It is an approachable and useful primary source for those new to Roman history; an excellent exercise in imperial Latin epigraphy for students learning about Roman inscriptions; and a modestly priced textbook for Latin courses at the intermediate to advanced level. By far and away the best edition for college and university students.
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It might seem that there is little reason for a modern reader to buy a book of lists by a Roman emperor touting his 35 magnificent good deeds - like stopping the civil wars (by killing all the combatants) - but this little 90-page jewel puts you unbelievably, vividly in the moment when the Empire began. It's better than the histories left to us by Suetonius, Livy and Tacitus because it's so blatantly a brag book to remind the people of Rome who did all this marvelous stuff. The Princeps, as his proper title was, tells us that when the senate renamed him from Octavian to Augustus, they publicly wreathed the front porch of his house with bay leaves so everyone could come see and chat with him. When he finally defeated the Parthians in battle, he personally brought captured Roman standards back to Rome and deposited them "in the innermost shrine of the temple of Mars the Avenger." He produced a naval battle for a pubic entertainment just across the Tiber, excavated a hole 1,800 feet long and 1,200 feet wide and filled it with river water. "There," Augustus wrote, "thirty beaked triremes and biremes were joined in battle. About 5,000 men, besides the rowers, fought in these fleets." (Stories that this battle was held in the Colosseum - which hadn't been built yet - are false. Filling it with water would have been impossible because a mere wooden floor covered extensive underground machinery needed for holding the gladiators, animals, equipment and victims. The spectacle was in this artificial lake.) This little book, with the Latin text on left pages, English on right, is like riding on his shoulders from the time he was a young warrior out to revenge the murder of Julius Caesar, his adoptive father, to his seventy-sixth year. It's a romp into ancient Rome, not Roman history.
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Format: Paperback
The Res Gestae of the Roman Emperor Augustus (63 BC - AD 14) is a "catalogue of his achievements which he wished to be inscribed on bronze tablets and set up in front of his mausoleum." He entrusted this catalogue to the Vestal Virgins after his death. Three extant sources contain the Res Gestae and it is clear that all three come from a common original. At the funerals of famous men at Rome "it was the practice for some member of the family to deliver an oration commemorating the dead man's virtues and achievements." Often, men left behind them "more permanent memorials in the form of inscriptions recording their careers and deeds." Thus, Augustus' Res Gestae, although much more elaborate and grandiose, are part of this literary tradition. The editor points out that these lists could not contain "untrue" elements because everyone would see the tablets; however, the historian who wrote them could be highly selective in his word choice and content - i.e. keep that in mind when you read the Res Gestae.

Augustus' Res Gestae is addressed to Roman citizens. This document only addresses parts of his legislation, "leaves out his administrative reforms, and does not fully cover his revival of the old Roman religion." However, this document is "designed to demonstrate and justify the unique position of preeminence which [Augustus] had come to hold." He lays out his triumphs and military victories, entry into public life, and his accumulation of honors (he stresses that they were bestowed on him by the people).

The Latin is composed in a clear style which makes easy reading for intermediate Latin students (for whom this small volume was designed).
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