For this blog post, we are supposed to write about an object or person that has a name that derives from Julius Caesar or Augustus, two of the most well-known Roman emperors in history. The object I chose that has a name that derives from these two emperors is the book It by Stephen King. Even though on the surface this novel doesn’t seem connected to these two famous emperors, it actually does. If you are familiar with the novel, the 1990s mini-series, or the movie that came out this year, you know that half of the book takes place in the summer of 1958 and two months in the summer are July and August. July is named after Julius Caesar and August is named after Augustus. Even though Stephen King didn’t choose these months because of the origins of their names, it is still interesting to look at why these months have these names. While both are important, I’m mainly going to focus on August and Augustus in this post.
Augustus was the adopted great-nephew of Julius Caesar and was emperor of Rome after Caesar’s death. I thought the month of August was named after Augustus because it was the month he was born, but this speculation actually isn’t true. According to Suetonius’ “Life of Augustus,” he states, “that the name ‘August’ should be transferred to September, because Augustus had been born in September but had died in the month now called August; and that the period between his birth and death should be officially entered in the Calendar as ‘the Augustan Age.” This is quote shows that August is actually named after Augustus’ death and not his birth. This also clears up this common misconception that many people have about the origins of the name “August.”
Augustus was a very popular ruler. In the same writing, Suetonius states, “Such was his reputation for courage and clemency that the very Indians and Scythians — nations of whom we then knew by hearsay alone — voluntarily sent ambassadors to Rome, pleading for his friendship and that of his people.” This shows how Augustus was seen as this powerful, courageous, merciful leader that was a desired ally. I chose this quote because it shows how other countries saw Augustus and how they all wanted to be his ally. He was seen as someone who would protect all the people he ruled over and who were on his side. As well as being courageous and merciful, he was also well accomplished. In Res Gestae, Augustus himself says, “Twice I triumphed with an ovation, and three times I enjoyeda curule triumph and twenty-one times I was named emperor.” This shows just some of the things that Augustus accomplished his long reign as emperor and it shows how accomplished Augustus was. I chose this quote because it shows how accomplished Augustus is and how Augustus views himself. These two quotes show how Augustus was seen as this powerful figure who accomplished many triumphs. Both passages list Augustus’ political and military victories.
This postive view of Augustus can be seen in artwork such as “The Augustus of Primaporta” made in 20 BC. This was meant to be a propaganda piece that showed Augustus as a powerful decendant of the gods that had a vast amount of political triumphs. His power is show by his powerful stance. Also, his divine herititage is symbolized by the cupid and the dolphin, which are symbols of Aphrodite, and his bare feet, which was used in art work to show god-like status. Furthermore, Augustus’ breast plate depicts many of his political victories, such as the returning of military standards to Rome from the Parthians. This sculpture, the passages, and the name, “August,” shows how Augustus was seen as this powerful, god-like figure and how he has a lasting legacy.
Augustus of Primaporta picture link
-Emily Ryan, Team Mars