chapter  III
8 Pages

AUGUSTUS (31 B.C.–14 A.D.)

These words of homage and others in the same style have been found in Asia Minor engraved on stones which at the same time announce the institution of festivals on the anniversaries of the sovereign’s birth. No one has been more pompously belauded than the founder of the Empire, the former Octavius, who had been styled Augustus (i.e. sacred) by acclamation and apparently against his own will-an appearance which he had artfully contrived. Though a man of the first importance, if we judge by the magnitude of his work,1 he is an unattractive figure, eluding portraiture by his determined coldness, his indubitable background of hypocrisy, his calculated moderation, his paraded simplicity, and his constant application, which however was rather guided by the lessons of experience than by any great original design.