Augustus as the New Numa

Gazing up at the carved figures of the Ara Pacis, a traveler might notice that Numa and Augustus are the only male figures on the altar who appear capite velato and crowned with a garland.1 Chapters 9–13 of the Res Gestae, which include accounts of Augustus' returns from Syria in 19 BCE and from Spain and Gaul in 13 BCE, refer, in fact, to a host of institutions established by Rome's second king, Numa Pompilius.2 At the death of Romulus and partly at the urging of their fellow citizens of Sabine extraction, the Romans chose the wise Sabine Numa to be their second king and inaugurated him at his own insistence, thus establishing his legitimacy as a ruler approved by Jupiter.3 Numa brought stability to Rome by instilling in the young city a fear of the gods. Augustus had adopted Numa as one of his models long before he turned to writing the Res Gestae. When Rome's mint was reopened and the office of the tresviri monetales was revived in 23, perhaps through a decree of Calpurnius Piso (cos. 23), among the first coins minted were bronze asses with Augustus on the obverse and Numa on the reverse.4 Piso's son, a descendant of Numa, was one of the tresviri to mint these coins. Galinsky suggests that the issue was planned to coincide with the aborted plans to celebrate the Secular Games in 23.5

Numa was a useful model for Augustus as princeps for a variety of reasons.6 Through Augustus' adoption by Julius Caesar, whose family mythology included a claim of descent from Ancus Marcius, Augustus could claim Numa as an ancestor. More useful to Augustus than this ancestral tie was the image of Numa as elected monarch.7 As an elected king, Numa's claim to the throne was more legitimate than that of kings like Servius Tullius, whom Sulla had emulated, and Tarquinius Superbus.8 By relating his image to Numa, Augustus sought to distance his elevation to power from the civil war past. Furthermore, Numa, as the founder of much of Rome's religious system, was an alter conditor whose peaceful reign was maintained by law and religious observance. Numa was credited with many of the religious and civic institutions that Augustus had a hand in buttressing, reviving, and augmenting. After having brought an end to civil war, pacified several provinces, and concluded successful negotiations with Parthia, Augustus wanted to associate this last, long, and comparatively tranquil phase of his career with the reign of Rome's peaceful king.

Furthermore, the legend of Numa intersected with a particular strain of Roman lore about the mysteries of imperium as worked out in rulers' interactions with Jupiter.9 The stories of these Italian rulers, both the successful and the failed ones, possess similar foci. The principal theme they share in common is an encounter with lightning in connection with the performance of special rituals. Augustus' own personal myth, which is filled with Jovian dreams and signs indicating his imperial destiny, resonates with this tradition, particularly in a close encounter with lightning in Cantabria in 26 BCE.10 The year after the first coins bearing the images of Augustus and Numa were struck (23 BCE), Augustus dedicated the Temple of Jupiter Tonans on the Capitoline, thus celebrating his escape from the fate of death by lightning of men such as Romulus Silvius and Tullus Hostilius.11 By placing Tonans on the Capitoline, Augustus called attention to his own brush with Jupiter's lightning, in a context that also evoked community welfare.12 He thus reintroduced the relationship between the ruler's intimate interactions with the power of the god and the community's protection and sovereignty, which is a prominent theme in the story of Numa's procurement of the pignus imperii of the ancile.13 Augustus' Temple of Jupiter Tonans was one of four sites where the quindecemviri received people's ritual offerings of grain during the Secular Games of 17 BCE.14 Augustus appealed to the figure of Numa in order to add mystique to the origins of his power and to suggest that, like Numa, he could successfully navigate his relationship with Jupiter and the god's thunderbolt for the good of Rome.

The memory of Numa reverberated in Augustan readings of the Republican tradition too. Miles has argued that Livy saw Augustus as most similar to the founding figure of Camillus, who saved Rome from the Gauls and twice prevented the Romans from relocating to Veii.15 Livy called Camillus a second founder (alter conditor), a term that may refer not only to Camillus' role in preserving the city but also to his likeness in some respects to Numa, Rome's other second founder. Although Camillus was clearly a great warrior, Camillus had a strong affinity to Numa. In his Livian speech warning against moving the Roman people to Veii, Camillus' arguments hinged on authority derived from Rome's centuries of religious traditions, many of which the city owed to Numa's ingenuity.16

In the same Livian speech, Camillus twice referred to the ancile, the divine shield that Numa had procured from Jupiter.17 Camillus and Numa were also indirectly connected to each other on the shield of Aeneas in the Aeneid, where Vergil described the dancing of the Salii and Luperci immediately following the shield's depiction of Camillus.18 Harrison has suggested that this passage of the Aeneid, which has otherwise baffled interpreters, makes sense in the context of Camillus' successful argument preventing the mass migration of Romans to Veii.19 Camillus' religiously based argument may have owed something to the appearance of his name, which is identical to camillus, the term used of noble youth who assisted the flamen Dialis, a priesthood created by Numa.20 Varro associated the word camillus with an alternate name of Hermes—Casmilus—while Macrobius preserved Statius Tullianus' statement that Callimachus identified Camillus as the Etruscan name for Mercury.21 These associations of Camillus and Hermes/Mercury may help us understand why Horace referred to Octavian by the name Mercury in an ode that has characteristics of a secular prophecy.22 As a Mercury/Camillus, Octavian takes on the role of assistant to the gods saving Rome from destruction, as Camillus had done before and as Mercury had done for all humanity.23 Also, like Numa, Camillus is associated with a pignus imperii, or “pledge of empire,” through his references to the Palladium and the ancilia in his speech against the migration to Veii.24 Thus, like the story of Numa and the ancile, Camillus' story is one that predicts the future greatness of Rome with reference to its deeply rooted cultic traditions. In Augustus' day, the figures of Numa, Camillus, Mercury, and the princeps were connected together in a web of associations that was not perfectly logical but was nevertheless symbolically potent and therefore useful.

Camillus' argument against relocation bears on Augustus' imperial theology as expressed in the RG, in that the RG, like Camillus' argument, combines issues of ritual performance, the centering of that performance at Rome's traditional seat on the Tiber, and the rebirth and continuation of the city. Livy's account of Camillus' argument touched on a salient issue in the final years of the civil war between Octavian and Antony. Octavian had used Antony's deep involvement with the East and with Cleopatra as a rhetorical weapon against him.25 The smear worked well because of long-standing anxiety over Rome's survival as the city of the seven hills on the Tiber and over the possible rise of an altera Roma.26 Augustus' ostentatious devotion to Rome at its traditional seat on the Tiber was an important element in his success at shaping his own patriotic image. Whereas Antony would celebrate a quasi triumph in Alexandria and seek to be buried in the capital of the Ptolemies, Augustus would pour his efforts into sustaining the traditional connection between Rome as the city on the Tiber and its ritual and ceremonial practices.27 In striking contrast with Antony, Augustus built a mausoleum on the Campus Martius and made a point of not worshiping foreign gods.28

The Res Gestae's Itinerum Numae

There were few better ways Augustus could have expressed his loyalty to the city on the Tiber as the caput rerum than to construct a history of his career that began with his arrival at Rome and ended with his return to Rome. The cultivation of the Roman gods in those arrivals was an especially emphatic way of making the point, especially in light of Livy's representation of Camillus' argument for not abandoning the city the gods had chosen. Augustus built on that theological foundation by turning his arrivals in chapters 9–13 of the Res Gestae into a peaceful, Numan itinerary dominated by religious imagery. That Augustus was deliberately trying to suppress the military significance of his returns in 19 and 13 BCE is suggested by the fact that the RG does not refer to the victories that preceded those returns. Nor does the RG mention that Augustus turned down the triumphs that were offered on each occasion. The decision to refuse the offered triumphs appears to have been part of a premeditated plan for Augustus to move away from the celebration of triumphs, toward other, more pacific honors and, thus, a position in the state that depended not on personal military prowess but on the possession of supreme imperium and religious authority according to the model of Numa.29 In support of this theory, one can bring forward the place that Balbus' triumph has on the Fasti Triumphales as the final entry on the inscription.30 The organization of the Res Gestae echoes this periodization, in that a chapter (4) of triumphs is followed, several chapters later, by a passage (9–13) dominated by imperial advents and elements of ruler cult. These latter chapters abound in references to Numa.

The Numan character of chapters 9–13 of the RG is not simply in the avoidance of explicitly martial subjects. These chapters are replete with references to the career and achievements of Numa Pompilius. The first possible reference to the career of Numa in RG 9–13 comes in chapter 9's bland reference to the sacerdotum quattuor amplissima collegia who threw games for Augustus. Although Numa was only credited with founding one of these colleges—the pontifices—he was famous for the sheer number of priesthoods he created.31 That the priesthoods are not named here allows an association with Numa that might be undermined by indicating the specific colleges. Striking is the fact that the only priesthoods mentioned by name in these chapters are those Numa created: Salii, pontifices, and Vestals.32 The RG also follows Livy's (1.20) account of Numa's reign in mentioning the pontifex maximus before referring to the pontiffs.

After the sacerdotum collegia, the next allusion to Numa comes in Augustus' inclusion in the Salian Hymn.33 The Salii were, of course, the priests of Mars to whom Numa had entrusted the ancile—the pignus imperii that Jupiter had granted Numa after their encounter.34 Augustus' appearance in the Salian Hymn inserted him directly into the mythological context of primeval Rome, a time when Hercules defeated Cacus. The armed, dancing Salii also evoked the image of the Curetes who guarded the infant Jupiter from Saturn by banging their weapons together in a manner not unlike the sacred dance of the Salii.35 The Salian Hymn thus situates Augustus in a world of cosmogonic myth, dynastic patterns, heroic achievement, and apotheosis, just as the Aeneid's account of the Salian Hymn did for Hercules—in a text long available to readers of the RG.36 It did not matter so much that the bulk of the hymn's language was unintelligible to everyone, including the priests themselves.37 Indeed, its inscrutability was a positive virtue, inasmuch as this inscrutability allowed for the association of the princeps with an arcane knowledge of sacred things accessible only to an elite minority possessing the requisite expertise and pedigree (the Salii were a patrician priesthood).38 Augustus now stood at the pinnacle of the college of Salii but also superior to it, inasmuch as he was an object of their cultic observances. Numa's responsibility for the content of the original hymn was implicit, albeit anachronistic. The hymn, sung by Salian priests who bore a powerful talisman against the lightning of Jupiter, belonged in the category of sacred knowledge that also included the mysterious, powerful, and potentially dangerous commentarii of Numa, which, if not followed scrupulously, could lead to the ruler's destruction by lightning—as had occurred in the case of Tullus Hostilius.39

The next allusion to Numa in the RG occurs in its reference to the office of pontifex maximus. Numa established the pontificate to oversee all of Rome's cults, rituals, and sacral law, as well as the calendar. According to Plutarch (Num. 9.1), Numa himself was the first pontifex maximus. In Livy's (1.20) story of this priesthood, Numa installs Numa Marcius, the son of a senator and possessor of a name much like the king's, as the first supreme pontiff.40 Although the mechanism of electing the pontifex maximus was a late development, it recalls Numa's own election as king.41 Since Julius Caesar perhaps believed himself to be a descendant of that first pontifex maximus, his election to the position presumably returned the office to the person he believed to be the rightful possessor, himself.42 So, too, did Augustus' own election to the position in 12 BCE. The participation of cuncta Italia in the election of Augustus to the supreme pontificate constitutes an attractive parallel to the Romans' election of the Sabine Numa as their king, with the important distinction that Augustus chooses to emphasize priestly, rather than regal, authority. This was easy to do, of course, because the inauguration of Numa was modeled on the inauguration of a priest. Numa entrusted to the first pontifex maximus the responsibility of overseeing all of Rome's sacred caerimonia, with special attention to the Vestals and the Trojan cults. Once elected as pontifex maximus, Augustus, instead of moving to the Regia, had a shrine to Vesta attached to his own home, thus rendering his residence a public, sacred structure along the lines of the palace of Latinus as described in the Aeneid.43

Chapter 11 of the RG recounts the honors given to Augustus at his return (reditus) from Syria.44 The presence of Numa in this chapter is less obvious. Still, conspicuously absent from this account is any mention of Augustus' recovery of the legionary standards and any representation of military victory.45 Instead, the focus is on the establishment of a cult to Fortune the Home-bringer (Fortuna Redux) at the Porta Capena.46 The placement of the altar at Porta Capena instead of at the porta triumphalis reflected the fact that Augustus had turned down the celebration of a triumph.47 Of course, the Porta Capena was the traditional entry point for commanders and governors returning from successful assignments in the East and thus had its own associations with victory.48 It was the gate through which the annual transvectio equitum passed and through which Cicero returned from exile in a manner he had characterized as quasi-triumphal. The Porta Capena also had associations with the regal period. First, the gate was located in the Servian Wall, thus anchoring it chronologically to the time of Servius Tullius.49 More importantly, it was situated close to the grove where Numa met with the nymph Egeria and supposedly received from her the sacred instructions that constituted much of Rome's ritual system.50 Numa was also credited with building, outside the Porta Capena, an aedicula Camenarum (the Camenae were water goddesses worshiped together with Egeria), which Fulvius later moved into his aedes Herculis Musarum.51

The final destination of Augustus' Numan itinerary is the Janus Geminus, which was located close to the place where the Argiletum entered the Forum Romanum.52 Both Livy and Pliny the Elder credited Numa Pompilius with the shrine's foundation.53 Although Augustus does not mention Numa by name in connection with the Janus Geminus, the numerous gestures toward Numa up to this point will have made the king's presence felt. Augustus stated that the ancestors intended the Gates of Janus to be closed when peace had been achieved on land and sea.54 All of the successes described in preceding RG chapters paved the way for Augustus' closings of the shrine. The landscape of chapters 9–13 is dotted with allusions to Numa, who was linked to the goddess Pax herself on the Ara Pacis. As the New Numa, Augustus brought Pax to the entire empire, a point his RG topography emphasizes. With the altars of Fortuna and Pax symbolizing the pacified state of the eastern and western provinces respectively, the closing of the Gates of Janus symbolized peace reigning over the whole.

Augustus reported the closing of the Gates of Janus on three separate occasions during his reign, an accomplishment that far exceeded those of his two predecessors in that practice, each of whom only closed the gates a single time.55 If one views the path of Augustus' career as a convergence of space, time, and ascending achievements that carries the princeps to the heart of the city and its socio-political apex, the supremacy of the achievement of closing the Gates of Janus three times works synergistically with the destination in the heart of Rome to which Augustus has brought his reader—the Forum Romanum—to imbue it with a sense of completion. A telos has been attained.

Chapter 13 of the RG also contains a significant schematization of time. The discussion of the closing of the Gates of Janus introduced the idea that Augustus' birth marked the opening of a new era. This echoed the prophecy of Jupiter to Venus in the first book of the Aeneid, in which the closing of the Gates of Janus is connected to a prophecy of the birth of Augustus.56 In the RG, the princeps divided all of the historical closings of the shrine into three periods. The first period belonged to the maiores, who intended the closing of the shrine whenever peace was achieved by victory. In the second period, which preceded Augustus' birth (priusquam nascerer),57 the gates were closed twice: Numa, the founder of the cult associated with the gates, was the first to close them;58 they were closed for the second time during the consulship of C. Atilius and T. Manlius after the First Punic War.59 The third period spans from the time of Augustus' birth to the time of his leadership (me principe), when the Senate decreed that the shrine be closed three times. The beginning and ending of this period may have been evoked in the interaction of two Augustan monuments. Some have argued that the Horologium and the Ara Pacis were arranged so as to mark the birthday of Augustus as the opening of an era of peace, although this theory has met with criticism.60 Augustus did promote his birthday as the opening of a new age in various other ways, including the publication of his horoscope in 11 CE.61 Starting in 9 BCE, which was, perhaps not coincidentally, the year in which the Ara Pacis was dedicated, the Koinon of Asia celebrated Augustus' birthday openly as the advent of a new age and adjusted its calendars to open the year on that anniversary.62 The overall effect of this passage of the RG is to reorient time by making the birth of Augustus a pivotal event Roman history, just as he spatially reorients the Roman map to the Janus Quirinus in the RG.

In mythological terms, it is highly significant that the birth of Augustus is associated with Janus in the RG passage devoted to Augustus' advents in 19 and 13 BCE. One of the only known mythical stories featuring the god Janus is that of Janus' reception of a fleeing Saturn.63 According to this story, Janus lived in the area of the Janiculum. When Saturn came to Italy, Janus allowed him to cross the Tiber into the area of future Rome, where Saturn then established his own settlement on the Capitoline, called Saturnia. In the historical period, the Temple of Saturn was located on the clivus Capitolinus along the Sacred Way.64 Vergil refers to the fortresses of Janus and Saturn in his account of the tour of Rome that Evander provides Aeneas in book 8 of the Aeneid.

haec duo praeterea disiectis oppida muris,

reliquias veterumque vides monimenta virorum.

hanc Ianus pater, hanc Saturnus condidit arcem:

Ianiculum huic, illi fuerat Saturnia nomen.65

[These two other towns with fragmented walls

you see are artifacts and reminders of ancient warriors.

Janus was the founder of this citadel, Saturn of that one:

Thus the name of the former was Janiculum, the latter's Saturnia.]

This story takes the reader back to the dynastic struggle that brought the Golden Age, or the Saturnia regna, to an end and that began the reign of Jupiter. After his defeat, Saturn fled to Italy (by ship, according to Ov. Fast. 1.229–35) and, after being received by Janus on the banks of the Tiber, built a settlement and taught Janus the art of agriculture.66 Thus Italy came into its own Saturnia regna, or Golden Age, which, according to Vergil's Augustan portrayal, is an age of abundance through fruitful effort.67

The mythological relationship between Janus and Saturn was reflected in their adjoining places on the Roman calendar. January followed Saturnalia in December, thus representing the renewal of time. The relationship was therefore a suitable topos to revisit in order to imagine new beginnings. By capping off his own significant arrivals at Rome in 19 and 13 BCE with the closure of Janus' Gates at the Forum Romanum, Augustus associated his own arrival-birth with a return to the Golden Age. The figurative culmination of Augustus' arrival at the three closings of the Janus Geminus is, in a sense, the return of Saturn or, at least, the return of a Saturnian Age. Chapter 13 of the RG thus lends itself to the conclusion that the birth of Augustus heralded a new age in which conditions returned to those of a more idyllic past, preceding even the time of Numa, such as the one initiated by the first arrival of Saturn on the site of future Rome.

In emphasizing Janus as a god associated with Pax, Augustus continued to relate his own career to that of Numa. Numa's own reign was marked by peace, and the king was able to leave Janus' gates closed for forty-three years—a feat that Augustus alone attempted to match. Numa not only was responsible for the foundation of the cult of Janus Geminus but also made the god Janus the titular deity of the first month of Rome's calendar.68 This accorded with Janus' role as the first deity mentioned in Roman prayers.69 According to Festus, Numa lived on the Janiculum (the location of Janus' mythical palace), the place where tradition held that Numa was later buried and where, even later, a flood purportedly unearthed twin coffins containing Numa's remains and commentarii.70 Ancus Marcius, the grandson of Numa, was credited with bringing the Janiculum inside Rome's fortifications.71 The many connections between Numa and Janus show that in referring to Janus Augustus had not left Numa behind.

Given the fact that the Golden Age is thematically important in these chapters, the absence of Apollo is striking, and, indeed, the resonance of Janus and Numa with Augustus' Apolline theology is not obvious at first. Certainly Apollo had been associated with Numa earlier in Republican history. Apollo was associated with Numa on two coin issues of the Late Republic.72 The Pomponii Mathones, who claimed Numa as an ancestor through a legendary son of Numa named Pompon, had helped found the Ludi Apollinares in 213 BCE.73 One of these Pomponii minted a coin circa 97 BCE with Apollo on the obverse and Numa Pompilius sacrificing a goat on the reverse.74 Numa is thus depicted sacrificing according to ritus Graecus, perhaps in the same manner in which the sacrifice was conducted at the Ludi Apollinares.75 Denarii and asses of 88 BCE minted by C. Marcius Censorinus (the Marcii were, of course, another family claiming descent from Numa through his son, King Ancus Marcius) depict Numa, Ancus Marcius, and Apollo.76 Like the coin of 97, some of these coins refer to the founding of the Ludi Apollinares. The founding was prompted by the discovery of a prophecy by the seer Marcius—a connection that was undoubtedly significant given the role of Pomponius Matho in founding the games. As the adopted son of Julius Caesar, Augustus could lay claim to a similar heritage. The Julii had a special historical relationship with the cult of Apollo Medicus, while Caesar himself was the grandson of Marcia and thus a descendant of the Marcii Reges.77

The connection between Janus and Apollo is perhaps more obscure than the connection between Numa and Apollo, but it is nevertheless strongly attested in the work of Nigidius Figulus and has potential bearing on the decisions Augustus made as he crafted his own relationship with Apollo.78 In the first book of his Saturnalia, Macrobius transmits fragments of Nigidius Figulus' theological speculations on the god Janus.79 Figulus theorized that Janus Bifrons was actually the divine pair of Apollo and Diana. He demonstrated this by arguing that these gods, in the form of Apollo Agyieus and Diana Trivia, had power over entrances and exits and over roads, respectively, just as Janus had power over iani.80 Indeed, Figulus referred to Apollo as Ianus and to Diana as Iana.81 There is little question regarding Augustus' interest in Apollo Agyieus, since the image of this Apollo graced both his Palatine palace and the Temple of Palatine Apollo.82

Even more interesting is what the proposed familiarity of Augustus with the theology of Figulus might imply for Augustus' celebration of the Secular Games. To welcome the new saeculum, Augustus celebrated Secular Games that prominently featured Apollo and Diana.83 This innovation has often been attributed to the Hellenization of the games.84 It may instead be the case that Augustus adopted Figulus' identification of Apollo and Diana as Janus and Jana. The extant but fragmentary Acta of the games shows Augustus petitioning Apollo and Diana first at what may have been the opening of the games. Although the left-hand portion of the text leaves room for uncertainty, Miller observes, “It is nonetheless intriguing that the name of Apollo heads the list as we have it, and that the only two deities named here who received sacrificial honors during Augustus' ludi saeculares are Apollo and Diana.”85 Apollo and Diana likewise appear at the opening (and closing) of Horace's Carmen Saeculare. The possibility that Augustus prayed to Apollo and Diana first of all the gods as he opened his Secular Games makes sense if these gods were also interpreted to be Figulus' Ianus and Iana.86 Janus, after all, was the first god to be addressed in Roman prayers.87

The dual-gendered Janus is also reflected in the decoration of the Ara Pacis, which strikes a balance between the eastern and western sides of the Janu-form monument populated by predominantly female or male figures, respectively. As mentioned previously, Augustus and Numa are the only two male figures who appear capite velato and crowned, while Livia and Pax are the only two female figures thus attired.88 It is possible that in the polysemic symbolism of Augustan theology, Augustus and Livia were also Apollo and Diana, as well as Ianus and Iana.89 In identifying Janus with his own birth (priusquam nascerer) at chapter 13, Augustus returns to the topic he raised at the end of chapter 8—his saeculum (ex nostro saeculo). Although absent in the text, the dawn of the saeculum of Augustus as marked by the Secular Games is still very much present in chapters 8 and 13, and its presence both provides a new context for and reshapes the arrivals of 19 and 13 as symbolic of this advent of the new age. However messy the historical reality of this period was, through the theology of the Res Gestae, the arrival of Augustus as New Numa, New Apollo, and New Janus marked the transition to a new saeculum for Rome and a new lease on life for the Republic.

An argument in favor of the predominance of Numan themes in RG chapters 9–13 does not utterly preclude the presence of Romulus. Augustus referred to Janus as Quirinus, not Geminus, and thereby also alluded to the deified Romulus.90 When Augustus referred to pax, it was a pax produced by victories. The Romulean character of the first chapters is still present, albeit to a lesser extent, in the Numan chapters. Augustus did not construct a stark contrast between the Romulean and Numan elements of his career up to the third closing of the Gates of Janus. What one sees instead is a progression from allusions to Romulus to allusions to Numa. This shift reflects the interrelated nature of the martial and civil spheres of Roman space. Just as reminders of war were not barred from the space within the pomerium, Romulus is not exiled from the Numan chapters in Augustus' Res Gestae. Just as the figures of Romulus and Roma interact with the figures of Numa and Pax on the Ara Pacis, Quirinus finds a place in Augustus' Numan landscape in chapter 13 of the RG. Still, there is a shift of emphasis toward Numa in the textual landscape. The Janus Quirinus is not the Romulus-Quirinus heroön of the Forum Romanum. Augustus wrote of peace born of victory, but he did not explicitly take credit for the victories in RG chapter 13. Instead, the victories occur me principe, and the word that appears directly after principe is senatus.91 The princeps senatus was a leader in senatorial deliberations, not a leader on the battlefield, and Augustus' careful arrangement of these words was intended to emphasize his civil role. Augustus was rewriting old victories for the new context of his Numan peace.


On the surface of the opening chapters of the Res Gestae, Augustus addressed issues regarding the salvation of the Republic. On a deeper level, he was engaging Rome's regal period in such a way that he could tie his own career to the founders and foundations of Rome. These allusions, which shifted from the Romulean to predominantly Numan, mirrored the organization of scenes on the Ara Pacis, suggesting that his text was constructed as an ideological map of the city for a hypothetical traveler who was proceeding from the Mausoleum of Augustus down the Via Flaminia and toward the Forum Romanum. At the outset, Augustus alluded to the memory of Romulus' arrival in infancy on the banks of the Tiber and Romulus' later liberation of Alba Longa and foundation of the city (as recounted in Livy) and, at the very same time, to Caesar's liberation of the Republic. The triumphal arrivals that follow in chapter 4 remind the reader of the triumphal theme on the northern half of the Ara Pacis, as well as the fact that Romulus first celebrated the triumph. Victory serves as the entrée to the censuses of chapter 8 signifying the refoundation of the city and evoking Romulus' welcoming of all comers into his nascent city. The census also, however, has Numan associations, and thus it serves as the pivot point after which allusions to Numa increase markedly.

The shift to Numan allusions is strongest in Augustus' description of the returns of 19 and 13 BCE in the chapters following the censuses. Augustus refashions the memory of these returns, once replete with martial glory, to emphasize the accompanying cultic foundations. Indeed, the Ara Pacis stands in for and thus perpetually commemorates an idealized moment of return—one that never happened in reality, for Augustus had actually returned at nighttime to avoid crowds. Nevertheless, the Senate had voted Augustus an official apantêsis in 19 BCE, and envoys were sent to meet him in Campania. The state instituted ruler cult in the form of games for the living Augustus (vivo me). As novel (and Hellenizing) as these gestures were, Roman religious institutions constituted the overwhelming presence in these chapters. Specific institutions and monuments evoke the memory of King Numa and depict Augustus in his returns after civil war as a New Numa. Like Numa, Augustus receives an enthusiastic election. The princeps even outdoes the king by capturing the votes of cuncta Italia. References to Numa build over the course of these chapters, as each return and monument has a deeper connection with the king, until the climax of three closings of the Gates of Janus, which were founded by Numa and recall the first deified priest-king of Rome, Janus himself, who welcomed Saturnia Regna to Italy when the god allowed Saturn to settle on the banks of the Tiber. Finally, by including a reference to his birth in the midst of his account of the three closings of the Gates of Janus, Augustus, the New Numa, associates his lifetime with the birth of a new age of peace.

1. Grimal 1983, 135. Grimal also remarks that Livia and Pax are the only two female figures thus depicted. See figure 2 in the present book, for Numa capite velato.

2. See Hooker 1963 for a summary of Numa's religious reforms. See Levene 1993, 134–37, on Livy's portrayal of Numa.

3. On the Sabines' insistence on a Sabine king of Rome, see Liv. 1.17.2. On the election of Numa of Cures, see Liv. 1.18; D.H. 1.58.2–60.3; Plu. Num. 3.1–3, 5.1–7.3. As Levene (1993, 134–35 n. 36) points out, in Livy, “Numa insists that his election must be ratified by the gods.” Livy places great emphasis on ritual as the locus of legitimate authority in Numa's Rome. On the similarity of this ritual to the inauguration of priests, see Linderski 1986, 2256–96. Cf. Ogilvie 1965, 91–93. The ritual serves to establish Numa's identity as a priest-king.

4. RIC I Augustus 64–66; Galinsky 1998, 34; Evans 1992, 141–44.

5. Galinsky 1998, 35. See chapter 7, n. 71.

6. Galinsky (1998, 36–37) observes, “[T]he Numa bronzes look forward to two abiding qualities of the imagery of Augustus. One was a de-emphasis of rank military subjects in favor of the theme of peaceful consolidation by a civilis princeps…. The other fundamental characteristic the Numa issue shares with much Augustan coinage and art is an intentional multiplicity of associations and their determination by the beholder who thereby becomes an active participant.” Ramage's discussion (1987, 91–100) of pietas in the RG pertains, although he does not mention Numa: “Augustus' pietas erga deos takes the form of two separate, though related, ideas in the RG: the emperor's respect for the gods and his relation to them. Augustus' respect for the gods and religious tradition is manifested in a number of ways in the RG. The theme appears early when he says that he carried out his vows after each war (4.1) and continues as he describes the closing of the Gates of Janus (13), the offerings he made to the gods (21.2, 24.2, 29.2), and the restoration of plundered objects to the temples of Asia Minor (24.1).” Also intriguing in connection with Numa is Lewis' new interpretation (2008, 327) of Augustus' horoscope wherein the Midheaven in Gemini “indicated an individual who cultivated the gods and religious rites and lived an upright life in old age.” Cf. Firm. Mat. 5.1.17. Such a description matches Numa well.

7. Liv. 1.17–18, 2.57–48.

8. Servius Tullius was installed on the throne by Tanaquil, and Tarquinius Superbus usurped the throne from Servius. On the ascent of Servius, see Liv. 1.41; Ogilvie 1965, 161–65; D.H. 4.5. On Tarquin, see Liv. 1.47–48; Ogilvie 1965, 189–94; D.H. 4.29–39.

9. Numa's achievement of obtaining the ancile from Jupiter (Ov. Fast. 3.285–374) is one of the few reported successes. The story of Manius Valesius' foundation of the Secular Games has similar elements (see Zos. 2.1–2). Lightning strikes the sacred grove near Valesius' home, and his children fall ill. The god tells him to seek healing at Tarentum, where he finds that healing and founds the Secular Games. The Alban king Romulus Silvius (the name differs according to the source) emulates the thundering of Jupiter and is killed by lightning; his palace is then buried in a flood. Cf. D.H. 1.71.3 (as Allocius); Liv. 1.3; Ov. Met. 14.617–18 (as Remulus); D.S. 7 frs. 5.11 (Aramulius), 7 (Romulus Silvius).

10. This refers to the numerous anecdotes in Suetonius (Aug. 94.6, 8–9) and Dio (45.2.1–3) about certain dreams of Octavian's father, Q. Lutatius Catulus, and Cicero, in which either Jupiter is shown to authorize Octavian or Octavian is depicted as a Jupiter figure. More interesting is Augustus' own dream in which Augustus responds to Capitoline Jupiter's complaints that he was losing visitors to Jupiter Tonans by reasoning that he had installed Tonans as Capitoline Jupiter's doorman to keep away unwanted visitors. Cf. Suet. Aug. 91.2; D.C. 54.4.2–4. Such sophistry in dealing with Jupiter is reminiscent of Numa's interactions with the god. See Suet. Aug. 29.3 for the Cantabrian incident. Augustus mentions the Temple of Jupiter Tonans at RG 19. See Rea 2007, 44–54.

11. NTDAR s.v. Iuppiter Tonans, Aedes. The temple was dedicated on September 1, 22 BCE. See Inscr. Ital. 2.33, 193, 504. Ovid (Fast. 2.69–70) places Numa and Tonans together on the Kalends of February: ad penetrale Numae Capitoliumque Tontantem / inque Iovis summa caeditur arce bidens. The connection between Jupiter, Numa, and the Cantabrian incident may hark back to the theology of Scipio Aemilianus during the Spanish War. Suetonius (Gal. 9.2) refers to an incident two hundred years before Galba in which a young girl prophesied that a ruler of the world would come forth from Spain. The prophecy was kept in the inner shrine of the Temple of Jupiter at Clunia. During the Third Punic War, Scipio's soldiers came to believe that Jupiter favored Aemilianus, as he had earlier favored Africanus. When he returned to Rome, they escorted him to his ship, shouting acclamations and praying that he might return as consul, because they came to believe that only a Scipio could take Carthage. See App. Pun. 104, 109. Aemilianus, adopted out of the Aemilii, would have considered Numa his ancestor. Cicero (Rep. 2.28) places a refutation of the theory that Numa was a disciple of Pythagoras in the mouth of Aemilianus. Aemilianus' friend Laelius appealed to the example of Numa when he spoke against the popular election of augurs in 145 BCE. On that speech, see Cic. Brut. 21; Amic. 25; Rep. 6.2; N.D. 3.2.17.

12. Rea 2007, 54.

13. The parallel with Numa is also evident in the founding of a temple of Jupiter after the encounter with Jupiter. Numa founded the cult of Elicius on the Aventine after his encounter with the god. Liv. 1.20; Ov. Fast. 3.327–28.

14. Acta 30–33; Zos. 2.5.1–2; RIC2 I Augustus 350. The other sites were the Temple of Apollo Palatinus, the Temple of Diana Aventina, and the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. See Miller 2009, 273.

15. Miles 1997, 79–97. In Numan fashion, Livy's Camillus elevates the role of religion at Rome to the level of a sine qua non for the state's success (Liv. 5.51.5): invenietis omnia prospera evenisse sequentibus deos, adversos spernentibus (“you will find that all will turn out well for those who attend upon the gods, poorly for those who reject them”). See also Littlewood 2002, 180–81.

16. Liv. 5.51–54.

17. Liv. 5.52.7, 54.7.

18. Verg. A. 8.663–66.

19. Harrison 1997, 72–73.

20. Fest. 82 L: Flaminius camillus puer dicebatur ingenuus patrimes et matrimes, qui flamini Diali ad sacrificia praeministrabat: antiqui enim ministros camillos dicebant. alii dicunt omnes pueros ab antiquis camillos appellatos, sicut habetur in antiquo carmine, cum pater filio de agricultura praeciperet (carm. ad fil. 1): “hiberno pulvere, verno luto, grandia farra, camille, metes.” See also Serv. ad Georg. 1.101; Macr. 5.20.18. Cf. Serv. A. 11.544, 588; D.H. 2.22.2; Var. L. 7.34.

21. Var. L. 7.34; Macr. 3.8.6–7.

22. Hor. Carm. 1.2.41–44. Nisbet and Hubbard (1970) stress the tradition of associating Alexander the Great with Hermes. Lyne (1995, 48 n. 25) agrees.

23. Gesztelyi 1973, 77–81.

24. Liv. 5.52.7. It should also be noted that the terracotta chariot of Veii was one of the traditional pignora imperii. See Plu. Publ. 13.

25. D.C. 50.5.3, 50.25.1–4; Scott 1929, 136–37.

26. Ceausescu 1976, 79–108. On the theme in Cicero, see Vasaly 1993, 231–43.

27. On the Alexandrian triumph, see Plu. Ant. 50.4; D.C. 49.40–41. On Antony's burial in Alexandria, see Plu. Ant. 58.2–4; D.C. 50.3.3–5. It is important to keep in mind that, as Kleiner and Buxton (2008, 78–87) have argued, Octavian does not utterly repudiate Antony's eastern image so much as reappropriate and incorporate it into his own western response.

28. Consider Augustus' behavior in Egypt, where, according to Dio (51.16.3–5), Augustus refused to worship Apis or view the remains of the Ptolemies. Cf. Suet. Aug. 93. Still, Augustus' praise of Serapis and his desire to visit the body of Alexander show that he was not repudiating Egypt so much as carefully defining his relationship, as a Roman, with the royal culture and religion of the former Ptolemaic kingdom. Serapis and Alexander were already familiar to the Romans. Cf. Reinhold 1988, 139–40. Augustus also praised his grandson Gaius for not praying at Jerusalem. See Suet. Aug. 93.

29. The Gemma Augustea, which shows an enthroned Augustus holding a lituus and a scepter as he receives a triumphing Tiberius, is a fine visual expression of this position. See Kuttner 1995, 188.

30. Hickson Hahn 1991, 124–28.

31. Numa created the college of pontifices. See Liv. 1. 20–21; D.H. 2.73; Plu. Num. 9. Livy mentions the creation of the priesthood of the pontifex maximus and then proceeds to mention the pontiffs in connection with the rites of the Argei, as if these priests were assumed to exist already or naturally followed the creation of the chief member of the college. On Livy's account, see Ogilvie 1965, 100–101.

32. On Numa's creation of the Salii, see Liv. 1.20; Ogilvie 1965, 98–101; D.H. 2.70–71; Plu. Num. 12.3, 13. On his creation of the Vestals, see Liv. 1.20; Ogilvie 1965, 97–98; D.H. 2.66–67; Plu. Num. 11.

33. On the Salian Hymn, see Beard, North, and Price 1998, 2:128; Habinek 2005, 8–33. For the esoteric and antiquarian side of Roman religious thought in the Late Republic, see Rawson 1985, 298–316; Iles Johnston 2004, 132.

34. See Barchiesi's discussion (1997, 110–12) of Ovid's account of Numa, Jupiter, the ancile, and the Salii. For Numa's creation of the Salii, see n. 32 in the present chapter.

35. Like the Curetes, the Salii were young adolescent males at the time they were enrolled in the college. Lucilius (349) describes them as having their first small beards. See D.H., 70.3–4, and 71.4, for the requirements for enlistment into the college. The Salian ceremony occurred at the time of the year when young men donned the toga virilis in the Liberalia (i.e., in March).

36. Habinek (2005, 26) discusses the power of the hymn in bringing the gods to life through the Salian priest who addresses them in song. Of its cosmogonical character, he writes that “the singing of the song on the first day of the year…[and] ‘the hymning of Janus in accordance with the months of the Italian year’ together identify the Salian hymn as the sort of cosmogonical creation song familiar from initiatory contexts worldwide.”

37. Gordon 1990, 188–89.

38. See Hickson Hahn 2011, 236, on the implicit connection between archaic language and the necessity to repeat formulae precisely. See Liv. 41.16.1.

39. Liv. 1.31. Commentaries of Numa were unearthed in 181 BCE. See Liv. 40.29.3–14; V. Max. 1.1.12; Plin. Nat. 27.87; Plu. Num. 22.4.

40. The identity of Numa Marcius seems deliberately ambiguous. The name is a combination of Numa and the name of Numa's grandson Ancus Marcius. Livy states that the father of Numa Marcius was Marcus. Plutarch (Num. 21) claims that this Numa Marcius is a relative of Numa. The problems with Numa Marcius' identity leave open the possibility that some saw him as an ancestor of the Marcii Reges. See Marino 1999, 123. Curti (2000, 84) claims that the Marcii Censorini created this myth in honor of an ancestor who held the supreme pontificate. While she claims this Censorinus was censor in 300, he may also have been C. Marcius Rutilus Censorinus, censor in 294. Cf. Liv. 10.47.1. See RRC 346/1–4b for Censorinus' coins with Numa and Ancus Marcius. For discussion of the coins, see Farney 2007, 264.

41. See n. 3.

42. See chapter 7, n. 158.

43. On the shrine of Vesta in the palace, see D.C. 54.27.3; Inscr. Ital. 2.452; CIL I2 p. 410; MAR s.v. Domus: Augustus, 105. On Latinus' palace, see Rosivach 1980.

44. Cooley 2009, 151.

45. This silence is remarkable considering that the recovery of the standards was celebrated in numerous coin issues in 19/18 BCE and that the standards were housed in the shrine of Jupiter Feretrius until they could be moved to the Temple of Mars Ultor, which was also decreed in 19 BCE. See chapter 7, n. 58.

46. D.C. 54.10.3; Inscr. Ital. 2.195, 279, 519–20, 538; LTUR 2.275. Horace (Carm. 1.35) had written of Fortuna as the guardian of Augustus on Augustus' expeditions against the Britons, Parthians, and Arabs. This evidence may indicate an interest in Fortuna in connection with Augustus' campaigns that finds its fullest expression in the Ara Fortunae Reducis. See Weinstock 1971, 125–26.

47. Fortuna Redux had traditionally been associated with the porta triumphalis. See Torelli 1982, 29. The location of the porta triumphalis, however, is a vexing and undecided issue. For bibliography, see Pittenger 2008, 282 n. 33.

48. Morpurgo (1908, 108–50) raises the possibility that the Porta Capena was one of a handful of flexible options for the porta triumphalis. Versnel (1970, 133) rejects this as contradicting the literary evidence.

49. MAR s.v. Porta Capena; LTUR 4.325; NTDAR s.v. Porta Capena; Säflund 1932, 146–48, 199–201, 222–24.

50. See MAR s.v. Camenae, Camenarum Fons. Ancient sources regularly described its location as being ad Camenas. The sanctuary of the Camenae was also a cult site for Egeria. The associated sacred spring and grove were the location of Numa's meetings with the nymph. The Camenae themselves were water goddesses who had been assimilated to the Greek Muses. On the Camenae, see Myers 1994, 109–11.

51. Serv. A. 1.8. Servius actually describes it as an aedicula Musarum, which is a mistake. See Hinds 1998, 62 n. 23; Sciarrino 2004, 45–46. On Numa's founding of the grove cult that Egeria shared with the Camenae outside of the Porta Capena, see Liv. 1.21.3; Juv. 3.10–20.

52. This place was also called the Janus Quirinus. See NTDAR s.v. Ianus Geminus; MAR s.v. Ianus Quirinus, Sacellum. The Argiletum was the street connecting the Forum Romanum to the Subura. For the Argiletum, see MAR s.v. Argiletum.

53. Liv. 1.19.2; Plin. Nat. 34.33. For more on the Janus-Numa relationship, see Betz, 2009, 45–46. Another tradition views the foundation of the Janus Geminus as a commemoration of Janus' intervention to quash a Sabine attack. See Ov. Fast. 1.263–76; Serv. A. 1.291, 8.361. Augustus does not mention Romulus by name either. He prefers, instead, to raise the memories of these founders by way of allusion to their careers, accomplishments, and the institutions they founded.

54. RG 13: Ianum Quirinum, quem claussum esse maiores nostri voluerunt, cum per totum imperium populi Romani terra marique esset parta victoriis pax.

55. Ibid.: cum, priusquam nascerer, a condita urbe bis omnino clausum fuisse prodatur memoriae, ter me principe senatus claudendum esse censuit.

56. Verg. A. 1.286–96.

57. Cooley 2009, 158.

58. Var. L. 5.165; Plu. Num. 20.2.

59. Var. L. 5.165; Liv. 1.19.3–4; Plu. Num. 20.2, De fort. Rom. 9. On problems in dating the second closure, see Syme 1979, 188–212.

60. Buchner 1982. The idea was rejected, however, by Schütz (1990, 444–52). Rehak (2006, 80–87) maintains that the relationship between the monuments would have nevertheless been viewed as significant (85): “[W]e can accept Buchner's basic reconstruction of the Horologium-Solarium as…constructed in such a manner as to create a programmatic relationship between itself and the Ara Pacis.”

61. D.C. 56.25.5.

62. Cooley 2009, 159; SEG 4.490.

63. Ov. Fast. 6.101–30; August. C.D. 7.4.

64. NTDAR s.v. Clivus Capitolinus.

65. Verg. A. 8.355–58.

66. In reference to this myth, Republican bronze coin issues bear the head of Saturn (as) or Janus (semis) on the obverse and the prow of a ship on the reverse. See Mattingly 1928, 50.

67. Galinsky 1998, 121–23.

68. Romulus was credited with creating the first lunar calendar. See Ov. Fast. 1.27–42. According to second-century BCE Roman Neo-Pythagorean scholarship, Numa added two months to shift to a lunisolar calendar. See Michels 1967, 123–26.

69. Fest. 52 L: fuerit omnium primus: cui primo supplicabant veluti parenti, et a quo rerum omnium factum putabant initium. Mart. 10.28.1–2: annorum nitidique sator pulcherrime mundi, / publica quem primum vota precesque vocant. Cf. Arnob. 3.29; August. C.D. 7.7.

70. Fest. 12.287.4. On the burial of Numa at the Janiculum, see Plu. Num. 22; D.H. 2.76.

71. Liv. 1.33.6; D.H. 3.45.1; De vir. ill. 5.2. Wiseman (2004, 44 n.17) attributes this story to Antias. See also Musti 1970, 80.

72. Liv. 25.12.13; Luce 1968, 29 n. 19; Gagé 1955, 89, 163–64, 297–347; Galinsky 1998, 35.

73. Farney 2007, 261–62.

74. RRC 334/1.

75. Buraselis 1976, 378.

76. RRC 346/1–4b; Farney 2007, 264.

77. See Liv. 4.29.7 for Cn. Julius' dedication of the Temple of Apollo Medicus.

78. The idea of Augustus appealing to Figulus as an authority for his theology regarding his saeculum is uncannily apt considering the story casting Figulus as the one to predict Augustus' ecumenical rule during the Senate's deliberations on the Catilinarian conspiracy. See Suet. Aug. 94.5.

79. Macr. 1.9.5–8.

80. Figulus' theology may have also been inspired by the association of Apollo and Veiovis, which Scullard (1981, 56) believed to be a “late speculation.” See Gel. 5.12.11–13. The Veiovis statue found at the Tabularium has a traveler's heavy cloak, which prompted Holland (1961, 188) to compare him to Mercury-Hermes, but this could assimilate him to Apollo Agyieus as well. Veiovis and Aesculapius both had temples on Tiber Island that were dedicated on January 1 (the first day, in other words, of the month of Janus). See Ov. Fast. 1.289–94; F. Praen.; Scullard 1981, 54–58. Aesculapius was the son of Apollo. Aesculapius' child Hygeia (Salus) shared his sanctuary on the island. According to Livy (40.37.2), in 180 BCE, the decemviri, upon consulting the Sibylline Oracles, ordered the consul to give gilded statues to Apollo, Aesculapius, and Salus. This was the year following the discovery and destruction of the books of Numa.

81. In Diana's case, so Figulus speculated, the letter D was simply added before the I of Iana for the sake of beauty (Macr. 1.9.8): adposita D littera, quae saepe I litterae causa decoris adponitur: reditur redhibetur redintegratur et similia.

82. Rehak 2006, 93; Carettoni 1973, 78–80, figs. 15, 19; Simon 1986, 5; Strazzulla 1990, 22–29; Reeder 1989; Fehrentz 1991, 85–90; Kellum 1997, 158–59.

83. Apollo and Diana appear on the extant fragments of the Acta of the games. CIL VI. 30975. See also CAH X2 834–37; Hall 1986, 2583–89; and n. 85 of the present chapter.

84. For bibliography, see Hall 1986, 2570 n. 30. Lipka (2009, 159–66) argues that in the Carmen Saeculare, Horace Romanized the Hellenic elements of the games and magnified the role of Diana.

85. Miller 2009, 272. On the pertinent fragment of the Acta, see Moretti 1982–84, 370; Schnegg-Köhler 2002, 26 (fr. C.9–14).

86. Hor. Saec. 1, 75. The performance of the Secular Hymn followed a sacrifice to Diana on the third day of the games. On Apollo and Diana in the Carmen Saeculare, see Putnam 2001, 51–64; Miller 2009, 276–88.

87. See n. 69.

88. Grimal 1983, 135.

89. Galinsky (1992, 457–75) has proposed such polysemy for the Tellus figure on the Ara Pacis.

90. Fraschetti 2005, 93–96; Porte 1981, 323–24; Radke 1981, 293.

91. RG 13: ter me principe senatus claudendum esse censuit. Senatus is the subject of censuit, but its placement directly after principe is suggestive of the position of princeps senatus.

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