Augustus: His Life and Work - Rene Francis

This biography of Octavio (Caesar Augustus) does an excellent job of explaining what the state of Rome's affairs were in the years following the death of Julius Caesar in easy to understand terms, accessible to middle school students and older. It clearly explains why Octavio's organizational abilities, and tact were so effective at stabilizing the republic at a critical juncture and laying the foundation of an empire.

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Augustus burning lists.


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Prefactory Note

I trust I have shown in the course of this book, such as it is, why in the case of Augustus personality has to give way so greatly to politics. Without some knowledge of Roman history in general, it is not possible to realize the part Augustus played therein. A biography of him, commencing with his birth and ending with his death, would have very little value as a contribution to history, nor would it throw any real light on Augustus himself. I have endeavoured to show not merely what manner of man Augustus was and what he did during his life, but how he was important and why: and in doing so, though I have said very little about his successors, I have been compelled to speak at some length about his predecessors.

I have to acknowledge my especial indebtedness to the Outlines of Roman History by the late Professor Pelham—whose lectures it was my privilege to attend when at Oxford—to Firth's biography of Augustus, and to the late George Warrington Steevens' Monologues of the Dead. The latter little-known work should be far more widely read, as it gives most fascinating and illuminating pictures of several great figures of ancient history, and transforms their dead records into living and vivid—even modern—personalities. I am obliged to Mr Steevens' literary executors for permission to quote from it.

R. F.

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