The lost autobiography of Caesar Augustus and other works.

Jan 2017
63
Italy, EU
#1
Few people know that Augustus left three written works at his death. The first was the "Res Gestae", a compilation of his deeds and achievements. This was read in front of the Senate by Tiberius. It has survived: many inscriptions throughout the empire were made to record it and commemorate Augustus.

The second one was the "Breviarium Totii Imperii". This was documentation left to Tiberius about the financial state and military situation of the Empire at the death of Augustus. It included a description of the regions of the Empire, in particular a decription of Italy ("Descriptio Italiae"). It's now lost, altough it served as a source for the "Natural History" of Pliny the Elder.

The third one is the "Commentarii de Vita sua", the autobiography by Augustus in 13 books. Unfortunately this is lost too except for small fragments. However, a new book by Luciano Canfora argues that many passages of the Commentarii have survived in the Greek history of Appian who used the "Commentarii" as a source. Canfora has reconstructed the chronology of the rise to power of Augustus (and the way his propaganda narrated it) by using Appian and confronting it with several lesser-known letters of Cicero (in which the events of 44-42 BC are mentioned). The result is very interesting and a new light has been shed on Augustus and his propaganda.
 
Apr 2014
206
Liverpool, England
#2
This certainly sounds interesting and should provide scope for academic debate. T. P. Wiseman's 'The Death of Caligula' - in which he seeks to identify the sources of Josephus's account of the removal of Caligula and the elevation of Claudius - is a similar enterprise. I have heard it suggested that Josephus got his information on this from unreliable rumours, which I don't think is tenable.
 

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