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AUGUSTUS (27 B.C.–14 A.D.)
Chapter 1. The Octavian Family
Page 46. 1. Velitris : Velitrae, modern Velletri, a picturesque town on a spur of Monte Artemisio on the southern slope of the Alban Hills, overlooking the Pomptine Marshes, twenty-six miles by rail from Rome. It is mentioned among the original thirty cities of the Latin League and, again, as a Volscian city ; cf. Dion. H., Ant. Rom. V. 61. 3, III. 41. 5, VI. 42. 1-2. Though colonized twice, at least, by Rome, in 492 and 404 B.C., it long maintained a traditional hostility towards Rome and partial independence ; cf. Dion. H., Ant. Rom. VII. 12. 4-5, 13. 5; Diod., Bibl. Hist. XIV. 34 ; Liv. VI. 12. 6, 13. 8, 21. 2–3, 22. 1-3, 29. 6, 36. 1-2, 4-5, VII. 15. 11. Joining in the Latin revolt of 340 B.C., Velitrae was selected for most severe punishment at the close of the war in 338 B.C. Its walls were destroyed and its local senators carried beyond the Tiber, while their places were filled by a new body of Roman colonists. From this time Velitrae becomes an ordinary municipal town, receiving the Roman civitas by the lex Iulia of 90 B.C. It gained some celebrity from having been the native place of the Octavii, who were already Roman citizens. Cf. Liv. VIII. 3. 9, 13. 4-5, 14. 5-7, XXX. 38. 8, XXXII. 1. 10. praecipuam : distinguished; in this sense often applied to persons in Silver Latin : cf. Quint., Inst. VI. 3. 3, praecipui in eloquentia viri; Tac., Ann. XII. 40. 2, praecipuus scientia rei militaris Venutius.
2. vicus : street. From this meaning was derived that of quarter', • district' of a town or city. celeberrima : most frequented; its proper signification. Cf. Cic., pro Leg. Manil. XII. 33, portum Caietae celeberrimum ac plenissimum navium, and see page 73, line 7, celeberrimos ludos. oppidi : probably used interchangeably with urbs except as Velitrae is distinguished from Rome; cf. Tib. 1. 1 ; Oth. 1. 1. vicus
vocabatur et ostendebatur ara : chiastic order; cf. page 3, lines 10 f., reditum ... confecit habuitque . . . contionem. See Introd. II. § 10. h.
3. ara Octavio consecrata bello dux finitimo : observe the position of Octavio and dux; cf. page 48, line 29, subita vi et incerta; page 58, line 21, commutavit multa et instituit.
4. Octavio : by an Octavius; best construed as a dative of the agent, but may also imply that the altar served as a rendezvous ófor 'the family of the Octavii : see Introd. II. § 4. h; cf. page 9, line 27, Campum Stellatem maioribus consecratum; Tac., Germ. 3. 3, aram ...
.. Ulixi consecratam. Yet it was consecrated “to' some deity, perhaps Mars. Commemoration of events of note in a family was not infrequent. See note to page 9, line 27. bello . . . finitimo: Velitrae often engaged in border warfare as well as in conflicts with Rome. See note to line 1, above.
5. rem divinam : sacrifice; cf. page 103, lines 5 f., omnem rei divinae apparatum ; Tib. 44. 2, re divina peracta. It is used less frequently in the plural ; cf. Liv. I. 8. 1, Rebus divinis rite perpetratis ; Cic., de Div. II. 10. 25, rebus divinis procuratis.
6. semicruda : half raw. The sacrificial parts would ordinarily not be taken from the altar in this condition ; cf. Marquardt, Röm. Staatsv. III2. 182 f. foco : = ara; mainly poetic in this sense ; to be taken with rapta : “snatched from the altar and offered up (prosecuit)'. Cf. Ov., Met. IV. 753–755, where focus is identified with ara :
Dis tribus ille focos totidem de caespite ponit,
prosecuit: peculiar to the ritual of sacrifice; refers to the cutting' or chopping' into pieces of the inwards of the victim, the exta, after they were cooked, but before they were finally burnt upon the altar. Hence came the terms prosecta, prosiciae, prosicies, prosicium, of the parts thus treated. The procedure is described in Ovid, Met. XII. 150–154 :
Festa dies aderat qua Cygni victor Achilles
7. victor redit: in describing the fall of Veii Livy relates (V. 21. 8) a story which affords an interesting parallel. The Romans had completed their mine beneath the city when they heard, as the king of Veii was sacrificing, vocem haruspicis dicentis qui eius hostiae exta prosecuisset, ei victoriam dari. A sortie was made from the mine and the exta were carried off to the Roman dictator. In the present instance the ingenuity of the sacrificing Octavius was rewarded with the victory which the altar commemorated.
8. cavebatur : provision was made ; cf. page 84, line 4, Cavit etiam 3. C. ut, etc. ; Tib. 75. 2, Nam cum senatus consulto cautum esset ut, etc. in posterum : sc. tempus; for the future. Cf. page 62, lines 22 f., Tutam vero ..
in posterum praestitit; page 84, line 4, in perpetuum (sc. tempus), ‘for all time', 'forever'. See Introd. II. § 5. k. (1). (b).
9. redderentur : should be offered; also a word of ritual. In a sense, offerings were a debt due the gods; hence, perhaps, this use of reddere. Cf. Serv. ad Verg. Georg. II. 194 ; Tac., Hist. IV. 53, super caespitem redditis extis. reliquiae . . . referrentur : i.e. the parts other than the exta, which (as prosecta) were burned, were to be handed over 'to the Octavii. Certain parts of the victim were ordinarily perquisites of those engaged in the sacrifice, as may be seen from the Ovid passage (Met. XII. 154) quoted in note to line 6, above.
Chapter 2. Paternal Ancestors
11. Ea gens : the heads, patres, of the gens were admitted to the senate inter minores gentis, but such admission probably conferred patrician rank on the descendants of such patres minorum gentium. See Mommsen, Röm. Staatsr. III. 31. n. 1. Tarquinio Prisco : fifth king of Rome, first of the Tarquin dynasty, by whom, according to Livy (I. 35. 6), were added to the one hundred patres maiorum gentium of Romulus (cf. Liv. I. 8. 7) one hundred patres minorum gentium. inter minores gentis : the precedence of maiores gentes over minores gentes was, Mommsen thinks, an honorary rather than a legal one. Certainly, the later distinction between the terms 'patrician ' and 'plebeian' did not hold at the time of Tarquinius Priscus. Cf. Liv. II. 1. 10 and see Momms., Röm. Staatsr. III. 32 ; Hist. of Rome (Eng. Trans.), I. 108.
12. adlecta : regularly used of admitting additional members to the senate; cf. page 40, line 7, Peregrinis in senatum allectis; page 65, line 31, Iudices . . . adlegit ; Claud. 24. 1, libertinorum filios in senatum adlegisse; Vit. 1. 2, stirpem ... inter patricios adlectam. subsequently; equivalent to deinde. Observe the variation again in procedente tempore; cf. Tib. 49. 1, Procedente mox tempore; Tib. 1. 2, Deinceps procedente tempore. See Introd. II. § 6. i. in patricias traducta : the Octavii mentioned by Livy are always plebeians. Statements of traductio, or transfer’ to a different rank, scarcely admit of discussion for the legendary period. Suetonius himself has apparently blended two traditional accounts of the early history of the gens.
13. ad plebem se contulit : the most notable instance of transfer from patrician to plebeian rank was that of Cicero's enemy, P. Clodius. See note to page 10, line 8, for the legal procedure.
14. Divum : deified. This posthumous title was not enjoyed by the emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Domitian. Gudeman (Tac., Agr. and Germ. 260) states that Julius Caesar is always mentioned by Tacitus as Divus Iulius or dictator Caesar except in Hist. III. 66, where no ambiguity is possible. in patriciatum redit : was restored to patrician rank; see Introd. II. § 1. b. This occurred through Octavius, the future Augustus, whose elevation apparently happened soon after Pharsalus, August 9, 48 B.C. Before Caesar's time a lex curiata was necessary for this kind of traductio. The actual transfer may not have taken place until 46 or 45 B.C., when Caesar, under a lex Cassia, added to the number of patrician gentes, of whom not more than fourteen or fifteen still survived. Augustus followed his example by an enabling lex Saenia passed in 30 B.C. ; cf. Tac., Ann. XI. 25. 3 and see note to page 21, line 4. In his fifth consulship, 29 B.C., he increased the number of patricians iussu populi et senatus; see M. A. VIII. 2. 1, with Mommsen's note; cf. Momms., Hist. of Rome (Engl. Trans.), V. 337. Later emperors acted on their own authority in this matter.
15. Primus ex hac, etc. : the first of this house to receive a public office by vote of the people was Gaius (Octavius) Rufus. Note order of words and emphasis of position in this sentence. See stemma of the Octavii on page 181. C. (Octavius) Rufus : quaestor in 230 B.C. Drumann (Gesch. Roms, IV2. 236) argues for “Gnaeus' as his praenomen, basing his argument on the name of the consul for 165 B.C., Gnaeus Octavius, as proved by C.I.L. 12. p. 25. an. 589.
16. a quibus . defluxit: from whom were derived two branches of the house of the Octavii.
17. condicione diversa : of dissimilar rank; i.e. the one patrician, the other plebeian. In like manner the gens Domitia contained both the patrician Ahenobarbi and the plebeian Calvini ; cf. Ner. 1. 1. See also Tib. 1. 1, Patricia gens Claudia (fuit enim et alia plebeia nec potentia minor nec dignitate), etc.
18. siquidem : for; gives cause of statement contained in condicione diversa; cf. page 4, line 15; page 45, line 18 ; page 66, line 7 ; page 106,