By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB
This series of fictitious interviews is based on the Italian writer Papini’s novel Gog. In it, the main character interviews contemporary celebrities, like Freud and Einstein. In this series I’ve done the same thing, but with well-known personalities from the ancient Greek and Roman world. In today’s interview, I feel honored to interview Rome’s first emperor and Caesar’s adoptive son.
Q. Ave, Auguste. Thanks for receiving us. It’s a great pleasure to interview Rome’s first emperor. Are you enjoying your new position?
A. I sort of like the idea of being emperor but, to tell you the truth, it wasn’t my idea, and I only took the job reluctantly. On the other hand, I plan to spare no effort to do the right thing. Just between us, I would prefer for the empire to be a temporary thing and for Rome eventually to become a republic again. As emperor, though, I now have the power to prevent more civil wars. Sometimes I wonder what future people will think about all this fighting we’ve done amongst ourselves. My greatest wish is to see Rome thrive under a well-deserved Pax Romana.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. As I said, I am very tired of war, so I plan to consolidate the empire and get as much support as possible. I realize many Romans are uncomfortable with the idea of being ruled by an emperor, but I think my subjects will end up supporting me. Right now I am trying to find the time to write about the details of my campaigns. The title of the book will be “Res gestae divi augusti”. I’m glad that I can at least count on Livia to support my ideas.
Q. What can you tell us about your relationship with Livia? Some Romans think you are a bit henpecked…
A. Nonsense. I admire Livia’s wisdom–that’s why I married her. But I want to make it absolutely clear that I always have the final word at our domus. I know this sounds crazy, but I think women should have the same rights as men. They are as intelligent as we are. Remember that episode in Homer’s Iliad when Hera tricks Zeus? I really think it’s a shame Roman women don’t have the same rights as men, and I hope that in your time it will be normal for women to enter politics. The one exception to that is emperor. That is a man’s job!
Q. What do you think about people who accuse Julius Caesar of being a tyrant?
A. I despise those who slandered my adoptive father. Caesar was a real patriot! Many millennia will pass before another man like him is born! He certainly didn’t deserve to be murdered in that cowardly way. I know that what I’m about to say is not appropriate for a soldier, but I really don’t like violence, although I am glad all the conspirators who murdered Julius Caesar are dead.
Q. Even Mark Antony?
A. I’m not so sure what to say about him. Half of me feels sorry for Antony. He was a good friend and comrade-in-arms. His only mistake was getting involved with that despicable woman, Cleopatra. I warned both Caesar and Antony about her, but did they listen? No! I curse Cleopatra for turning my father and my BFF against me and I hope
that awful woman commits suicide. She likes snakes so much…I hope one of her pets bites her!
Q. What message do you have for people in the future?
A. I hope my name will live forever as the greatest emperor Rome ever had. I also hope people in the future will study Latin diligently and never forget about the Romans. Speaking of learning Latin, would you like to buy my book? It’s only 50 sestertii! Get yours before it’s too late. All the money is going to a special fund I created to help the veterans of the battle of Actium.
After the interview, I did buy the book, and now I’m the world’s happiest classicist!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
André Bastos Gurgel, OAB (Order of Attorneys of Brazil), Academic Advisor for the Carmenta Online Latin School, is a life-long student of both modern and ancient languages. Mr. Gurgel is fluent in English, Portuguese, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Latin (the last of which he learned with Carmenta) and has a working knowledge of Danish, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. Mr. Gurgel is currently studying Old English through Carmenta as well.
Click here to read Mr. Gurgel’s full profile.