Temple-of-Augustus
The Temple of Augusta containing the Res Gestae inscription that contains Ceaser Augusta’s ordered for a census of the whole Roman Empire. And the 1930's  re-creation of the Res Gestae decorating the wall of the modern Ara Pacis Museum in Rome. (Images: istockphoto)

Augustus’ Census

One of the most important inscriptions from the Roman era is the Res Gestae (Acts or Achievements) of Augustus. It is an autobiography in which Augustus describes his achievements. Basically the document was a propaganda tool written by Augustus to explain his power but also to boast about his many achievements and what he has done for the people of Rome.
Many copies of the inscription can be found throughout the Roman empire, such as on this temple (above left) in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. This very ancient building known as the Temple of Augustus was constructed and dedicated to Cybele, the mother goddess of Anatolia in the second centry BC. Later, it was rededicated to the Roman Emperor Augustus and on its wall is inscribed the Res Gestae inscription, written in both Latin and Greek. The text tells of three enrolments decreed by Augustus: 28 and 8 BC and AD 14. Apparently, there was some delay in implementing the decree of 8 BC and it just came into effect at the propitious moment that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem in time for the birth of Jesus in that city.
Digging up the Past Course
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