Plaster Cast: Res Gestae, Greek Inscription, First Panel


Thumbnail of Plaster Cast: Res Gestae, Greek Inscription, First Panel (1900.12.0087)

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Basic Information

Artifact Identification Plaster Cast: Res Gestae, Greek Inscription, First Panel   (1900.12.0087)
  1. Communication Artifacts
  2. :
  3. Documentary Artifacts
  4. :
  5. Declaratory Documents
Artist/Maker None
Geographic Location
Period/Date Early Roman Empire, 14 CE
Culture Roman

Physical Analysis

Dimension 1 (Height) 59.0 cm
Dimension 2 (Width) 55.5 cm
Dimension 3 (Depth) 3.6 cm
Weight 11,432 g
Measuring Remarks 25.2 lbs converted to grams by 10 grams = .3527 ounces weighed with wire attached.
Materials Plaster
Manufacturing Processes Cast
Munsell Color Information waived

Research Remarks

Published Description N/A

The inscription of the Res Gestae (Achievements) of Augustus is the longest and most important contemporary document to survive from antiquity. It commemorates his role as the founder of the Roman Empire in the words he chose to memorialize his acts. Augustus requested in his will that, after his death, his Res Gestae (Achievements) be displayed in front of his Mausoleum on the Campus Martius in Rome on two bronze pillars. The words used are the plural of pila in the Latin text and stele in the Greek text (both meaning pillar), but Suetonius in his life of Augustus, 101.4, written in the early 2nd century CE, calls them bronze tabulae (tablets). Thus the bronze text may have been inscribed on plaques attached to a presumably stone pier or one actually made of bronze. The bronze version did not survive but the text has been reconstructed from fragments of four copies, three in Galatia and one in Lydia: (1) The relatively complete Latin text with Greek translation found on the Ankara temple. (2) A fragmentary Latin text from Psidian Antioch, near Yalvaç, inscribed on the sides of the central passage of a triple arched and stepped gateway (dedicated to Augustus). This leads to a colonnaded square with a small distyle prostyle temple on a podium in the center of a colonnaded hemicycle opposite the entrance arches. The fragments are now in the Yalvaç museum. (3) A fragmentary Greek translation found on the acropolis of Apollonia, modern Uluborlu, on a large base (ca. 4.45 m. long) for five statues including Germanicus, Tiberius, and Augustus with the Res Gestae located below the molding at the top of the base inscribed in seven columns of text. Much of the inscription recorded by earlier travellers has been lost but what remains is now housed in the Afyon museum. (4) A fragment of a Greek translation found at Sardis inscribed on a wall, probably of a temple of Augustus. This is the first copy of the Res Gestae found outside of Galatia and differs from the translations at Ankara and Apollonia, indicating that the translations were locally made. The inscription fragment is housed in the Sardis museum.
Text: The first text below, in capital letters, is read directly from the cast of Panel 1 with the complete text of that part below it. Both are transliterated into the Latin alphabet without accents and include the following for non-Latin characters:
H = Eta (also for lower case)
th = Theta
P = Pi
R = Rho (P)
ph = Phi
ch = Chi (X)
ps = Psi
W = Omega
h = rough breathing
This is followed by Cooley’s (2009) translation.
Heading running from columns 1–17:
M E th [
MethHrmHneumenai hupegraphHsan praxeis te kai dwreai Sebastou theou, has apelipen epi RwmHs enkecharagmenas chalkais stHlais dusin.
Beginning of text of column 1 with the rest of each line on Panel 2:
EMOISAN[AL]WMASINHTOI[ letters very worn except for last four
GEMATA[EKTHS]T[W]SYNO[ letters very worn except for last three
[HLEY]thE[ROSAEphO]ISHS[ letters very worn except for last two
MEpsHphISMASI]PROSKATE[ letters very worn except for last one
[KAIAYLWIIRTIWIYPA]TO[ letters very worn except for last one
[TWNT]O[SYMBOY]LEYEINDOY[ letters very worn except for last two
[PER]ITADHMOSIAPRAGMATA[ only tops of worn letters on cast
Etwn dekae[nn]ea wn to strateuma emHi gnwmHi kai
emois an[al]wmasin Htoi[masa] di hou ta koina pra-
gmata [ek tHs] t[w]n suno[mosa]menwn dou[lHas]
[Hleu]the[rwsa. Eph ho]is H sunklHtos epainesasa
[me psHphismasi] proskatelexe tHi boulHi Gaiwi Pa[ns]a
[kai Aulwi hIrtiwi hupa]to[i]s en tHi taxei twn hupat[eusa]n-
[twn] to [sumbou]leuein dousa rabdous te moi edwken.
[Per]i ta dHmosia pragmata mH ti blabHi emoi me-
Translation: Heading: Transliterated and described below are the achievements and gifts of the god Augustus, which he left engraved at Rome on two bronze stelai (rectangular pillars).
Column 1: When I was nineteen years old [44 BCE], I got ready on my own initiative and at my own expense the army by means of which I set the state free from the slavery imposed by the conspirators. On account of these things the senate passed decrees in praise of me and enrolled me into the senate in the consulship of Gaius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius [43 BCE], giving me the status of an ex-consul in offering advice and it gave me rods of office. It entrusted to me as propraetor together with the consuls the task of taking precautions that nothing should harm the state. [This translation includes the entire Greek sentence that concludes after the end of the cast of Panels 1 and 2.]
The first part of the text of the Greek translation of the heading and column 1 is on Panel 1 (1900.12.0087) with the adjoining second part on Panel 2 (1900.12.0086). Inscription dimensions, height of heading: 8.5 cm; space between heading and main text of column 1: 4.5 cm. Column 1 is 111 cm high and 96 cm wide with letter heights normally 1.8 to 2.7 cm and the largest letter (phi) from 3.7 to 3.9 cm. The interlinear space is 2.5 cm and 10 letters in line 8 are 22 cm. The condition of column 1 is very poor. Several letters in lines 2–3 were obliterated by a rectangular beam hole and there has been serious wear and abrasion. The Latin text of the heading is provided by four panels (Panel 1: 1900.12.0094; Panel 2: 1900.12.0095; Panel 3: 1900.12.0084; Panel 4: 1900.12.0085). Panels 1 and 2 include the beginning of the first column of text; Panels 3 and 4 continue onto the second column of text.


See 1900.12.84-87, 94, 95 The copies in Psidian Antioch, Apollonia, and Sardis.


CIL vol. III, pars 2, nos. 774–776 = Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. III, Northern and Eastern Provinces of the Empire (including Asia Minor), pars 2, nos. 774–776. I.Ankara I = Stephen Mitchell and David French, eds. 2012. The Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Ankara (Ancyra), vol. I, From Augustus to the End of the Third Century AD. Vestigia. Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte, 71. Munich: Verlag C. H. Beck, Part 1, the Imperial Temple: 86–138, no. 1 Res Gestae and 138–153, nos. 2–4 Priests of the Imperial Cult. Cooley, Alison E. 2009. Res Gestae Divi Augusti: Text, Translation, and Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Krencker, D. and M. Schede. 1937. Der Temple in Ankara. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Rowe, Gregory. 2012. Review of I.Ankara I. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.09.47. Scheid, John. 2007. Res Gestae Divi Augusti. Hauts faits du divin Auguste. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. Thonemann, P. 2012. “A Copy of Augustus’ Res Gestae at Sardis.” Historia 61:283–88. Ward-Perkins, J. B. 1981. Roman Architecture. New York: Penguin Books, 279–80.

Artifact History

Archaeological Data N/A
Credit Line/Dedication N/A
Reproduction yes
Reproduction Information Original casts made by Carl Humann in 1882 commissioned by Theodor Mommsen for the Berlin Academy and now stored in a depot of the Berlin Pergamon Museum. Cast made by staff of the Berlin Museum from molds made from the original casts made in Ankara.

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