Athens: the Agora of Caesar and Augustus

Agora of Caesar and Augustus, Athens © David Gill

The city of Athens deserves to be explored on foot. The agora of Caesar and Augustus lies to the east of the main agora area. The monumental Doric propylon for this space still stands at the west end of the agora. The inscription shows that the gate was dedicated to Athena Archegetis; it is dated to the archonship of Nikias, i.e. 11/10 or 10/9 BC. The architectural style evokes the 5th century Athens of Perikles.

There is an open colonnade inside the propylon, some 111 m long.

Agora of Caesar and Augustus, Athens © David Gill
Agora of Caesar and Augustus, Athens © David Gill

From Octavian to Augustus

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Bronze Augustus, National Museum, Athens © David Gill

On this day, 16 January 27 BC, Octavian was awarded the title Augustus ‘by decree of the Senate’.

This equestrian statue of Augustus was found in the sea between Ayios Evstratios and Euboea in 1979. It is now in the National Museum in Athens (inv. X 23322).

Rome: The Arch of Claudius

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Inscription from the now lost Arch of Claudius, Rome © David Gill

Among the inscriptions in the collection of the Capitoline Museums is a fragmentary Latin inscription originally displayed on the arch of the emperor Claudius over the via Flaminia. This records the emperor’s conquest of Britain with the subjection of eleven [not on this fragment] kings of Britain (Reges Brit[annorum]). The number is based on a fragment found in 1562.

The main fragment was recovered in 1641. The original inscription would have been approximately 6 m wide. The arch is dated by the titles in this inscription to AD 51 or early 52.

A suggested translation by Barrett reads:

The Senate and People of Rome [dedicated this] to Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, son of Drusus, Pontifex Maximus, during his eleventh tenure of Tribunicia Potestas, Consul five times, hailed as Imperator twenty-two times, Censor, Pater Patriae, because he received into surrender eleven kings of the Britons, conquered without loss and he first brought the barbarian peoples across the Ocean under the authority of the Roman people.

  • Barrett, A. A. “Claudius’ British Victory Arch in Rome”. Britannia 22 (1991): 1–19 [JSTOR]