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Classical Interviews: Augustus (In Latin!)

Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Augustus (In Latin!)

Bust of Augustus

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Q: Ave, Auguste. Gratias ago! Mihi gaudio est tecum colloqui, o pater patriae. Quid de tuo regno novo nobis dicere potes?

(Ave, Auguste. Thanks for receiving us so soon. It’s a great pleasure to interview you, o father of the homeland. What can you tell us about your new life as a ruler?)

A: Fortasse comprensionem regendi diligo sed, si scire veritatem vis, non erat consilium meum, et non volens, opus istud accepi. Maxima volo populo Romano, et sic nullo labori parco. Fortasse homines futuri putabunt me imperatorem, sed ego me scio curatorem Reipublicae. Illa valde fragilis est, sed mihi est necesse eam ducere, etsi moriar. Imperator non sum, et volo occidere aliquem qui me sic vocet. Sed patriam regens, arcere bella civilia possum. Reges desideria populi nesciunt; certe meministi raptum Lucretiae a Tarquinio Superbo! Sed nunc bella civilia euitare possum et sic faciam. Vivat Pax Romana in aeternum!

(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. Although they might call me an emperor in the future, I see myself as a curator of the republic. I am not an emperor at all, and I wish to kill whoever calls me by this title! The republic is fragile at the moment but I hope to rule it, even if it cost me my life! As a ruler, though, I now have the power to prevent more civil wars. Kings don’t know anything about the desires of the people remember the rape of Lucretia by Tarquin Superbus. But now I can prevent more civil wars. May pax Romana last forever?)

Q: Quid facies in diebus venturis?

(What are your plans for the future?)

A: Ut dixi, bella valde mei taedent, et pacem servare debeo. Ergo, spero populum romanum me magnopere sustinere. Nunc desidero librum nominatum Res gestae divi augusti scribere. Illic omnia de pugnis nostris scies. Emere eum poteris in optimis librariis Romae. Etiam volo, in otio meo, ficos serere, quia in orbe terrarum eos maxime edere diligo. Sic et uxorem meam, pulcherrimam Liviam, amo, et sine ea sit vita mea similis morti.

(As I said, I am very tired of war, so I plan to consolidate the empire and get as much support as possible. Now I wish to write about the details of my campaigns a book called Res gestae divi augusti. You can read all about our battles there. It’s available in all the good bookshops. I also wish to dedicate myself to my fig trees. Without them, and without my beautiful wife Livia, life would be like death!)

Q: Quid de vita cum Livia nobis divulgare potes? Sunt qui putant illam esse verum virum in domo…

(What can you tell us about your relationship with Livia? Some Romans believe she is the real man of the house…)

A: Quis, quid?! Sapientiam illius valde admiror, et propter quod maritus illius sum. Sed utinam sciant omnes me esse dominum in mea domo! Forsitan me versanum putabis, sed dico mulieribus decet tanta iura habere quanta viri. Enim sunt pares nobis in ingenio, forsitan et meliores. Memento episodium Iliados, in quo dea Hera Iovem decepit? Mulieres enim possunt omnia officia gerere, et tum vere me paenitet illas non pares nobis esse in iure. Sed una exceptio remanet: officium imperatoris enim officium viro est!

(Who? What? I admire Livia’s wisdom, and that’s why I married her. But I want to make it absolutely clear that I always have the final word in 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 think women can do any job. The one exception to that is emperor. That is a man’s job!)

Q: Plurimi dicunt patrem tuum tyranum esse. Quae est sententia tua?

(Some people say your father was a tyrant. What is your opinion about this?)

A: Aspernor illos qui illud dicunt. Caius Iulius enim vir optimus fuit! Multae aetates venient antequam vir illius similis nascetur! Certe Iulius non meruit occisum esse, et tam ignave! Multi dicunt Brutum insomnia habuisse, et in somno semper audivisse verba: “tu quoque, tu quoque, fili.” Felix enim sum quod conspiratores occisi sunt.

(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. There is a rumor that Brutus couldn’t sleep, and he would always hear the words “tu quoque, tu quoque, fili”. I am glad all the conspirators who murdered Julius Caesar are dead.)

Q: Etiam quia Marcus Antonius mortuus est?

(Even Mark Anthony?)

A: Ah, nescio quod dicere possum. Altera pars mea dolet quia Marcus mortuus est. Sodalis fuit et socius in armis. Error illius unus fuit, negotia habere cum Cleopatra. Monui et Caesarem et Antonium illam cavere, sed audiverunt? Minime! Cleopatram ergo maledico, quia turbavit ambos contra me. Oro diis immortalibus illam se occidere. Illa tam impudens, tantum serpentes amat, forsitan serpens illam mordebit!

(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 both of them against me and I pray tothe immortal gods that that awful woman commits suicide. She likes snakes so much…I hope one of her pets bites her!)

Q: Quem nuntium feram posteris?

(What message do you have for people in the future?)

A: Memento nomen meum, maximi imperatoris Romae. Discite nostram Latinam linguam, diligenter, et nunquam obliuiscimini Romanorum. Is est nuntius. Sed, si loquimur de Latinam discendo, visne meum librum emere? Pretium non sumptuosum! L sestertii! Cape, nunc aut nunquam! Omnem pecuniam dabo aerario praecipuo, veteranos proelii Actii adiuuandi causa.

(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.)

Conclusion

Post colloquium, librum emi, et nunc felicissimus eruditus sum inter gentes.

(After the interview, I did buy the book, and now I’m the world’s happiest classicist!)

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
André Bastos Gurgel
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.

 

 

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