LAT20160 Augustus: Res Gestae

Academic Year 2022/2023

In this module students will read (in the original Latin) the entire text of the Res Gestae, the political testament of the emperor Augustus. Students will assess the literary and rhetorical qualities of the work and evaluate its importance as a historical source in the context of the political culture of the Augustan period. The set text for the module is: Res Gestae Divi Augusti, The Achievements of the Divine Augustus, edited by P. A. Brunt and J. M. Moore (Oxford University Press, 1967).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
• Translate the text
• Understand the genre of the work and evaluate its structure and style
• Evaluate the text in relation to the key events in the political, social, and cultural history of the Augustan period

Indicative Module Content:

Context of the original text
Translation of the text and grammar review (using Kennedy's Latin Primer)
Augustus' public image and comparison with other sources (e.g. Suetonius & Tacitus)
Political and cultural history of the triumviral and Augustan periods

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Small Group


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In class translation of the set text, students having prepared sections in advance, with focus on the Latin sentence structure, review of grammar, and translating into accurate and idiomatic English. Class discussion will also focus on points of historical interest, e.g. the comparison of statements in the text with other literary sources, or with the evidence of visual sources such as coins. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students taking this module should have studied Latin for at least one year.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
LAT20170 - Introduction to Latin Texts

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Coursework Essay Assignment Week 9 n/a Graded No


Class Test: Translation and Short-Answer Questions Week 12 n/a Graded No


Class Test: Translation and Short-Answer Questions Week 7 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 1 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Detailed written feedback on coursework assignment using School template.

Text and commentary:
• Res Gestae Divi Augusti: The Achievements of the Divine Augustus, edited by P. A. Brunt and J. M. Moore (Oxford University Press, 1967).
• Res Gestae Divi Augusti: Text, Translation, and Commentary, edited by Alison E. Cooley (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
• Res Gestae Divi Augusti, edited by Cynthia Damon (Bryn Mawr Latin Commentaries, 1995).

Background Reading:
• W. Eck, The Age of Augustus, 2nd edition (Blackwell Publishing 2007).
• K. Galinsky, Augustus: introduction to the life of an emperor (Cambridge 2012).
• H. H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero: A history of Rome from 133 B.C. to A.D. 68 (Routledge 1959).

Further Reading:
• J. Elsner, ‘Inventing Imperium: Texts and the Propaganda of Monuments in Augustan Rome’, in: Art and Text in Roman Culture (Cambridge University Press 1996) 32-53.
• S. Güven, ‘Displaying the Res Gestae of Augustus: A Monument of Imperial Image for All’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 57 (1998) 30-45.
• E. S. Ramage, The Nature and Purpose of Augustus’ Res Gestae (Steiner 1987).
• R. Ridley, The Emperor’s Retrospect: Augustus’ ‘Res Gestae’ in Epigraphy, Historiography, and Commentary. Studia Hellenistica 39 (Peeters 2003).
• Yavetz, Z. ‘The Res Gestae and Augustus’ public image.’ In: Caesar Augustus: Seven Aspects, eds. F. Millar and E. Segal (Oxford 1984),1-36.
Name Role
Dr Martin Brady Lecturer / Co-Lecturer