[After the war against Sextus Pompeius in
Sicily, in 36 BC] Augustus returned to the city and announced that
he was dedicating to public use those homes which he had purchased
earlier through his agents to expand his own home. He also promised
to build a temple to Apollo with a portico around it, a project he
carried out with exceptional magnificence.
Augustus built the Temple of Apollo on that part of his
compound that, after lightning struck it, the soothsayers said was
wanted by the god. He included colonnades with Greek and Latin
libraries and when he was old often convened the senate here and
reviewed the senatorial panels of jurors.
[In 28 BC] Augustus finished and dedicated the Temple
of Apollo on the Palatine, along with the precinct around the temple
and the libraries there.
[The poet contrasts Cynthia's wild ways with his own
upstanding use of time:]
You wonder why I'm late, my love? The mighty Augustus
Just opened Apollo's golden portico.
Columns of African marble border the temple grounds,
And the fifty daughters of Danaus stand between them.
A marble Apollo seems to outshine the god himself,
Lips parted to sing along with his silent lyre,
And spaced around the altar, looking almost alive,
Four bulls from the famous hand of Myron stand.
Then, in the middle, a temple of radiant marble rises,
A home more dear to the god than Delos itself.
The chariot of the Sun is upon its pediment.
The doors are Libyan ivory, finely wrought,
One door lamenting the Gauls tossed from the peak of Parnassus,
The other mourning the death of Niobe's children.
Next, the god himself, between his mother and sister,
The Pythian Apollo sings in a lengthy robe.
I wish that you, in your free time, would stroll such
Looking down from his temple above the battle of
Apollo bent his bow, and all our eastern enemies
from Arabia, Egypt, and India turned and fled in terror.
The shield portrayed Augustus sitting on the snow-white threshold
Of radiant Apollo, receiving the gifts of foreign peoples
On the god's behalf and attaching them to the lofty
After Augustus assumed the office of Pontifex Maximus
[in 12 BC], he collected all the Greek and Latin prophetic writings
in circulation that were anonymous or attributed to unqualified
authors, and burned more than two thousand of them. He preserved
only the Sibylline verses (though editing even these) and deposited
them in two gilded cases beneath the pedestal of the Palatine
Augustus constructed numerous public
works, among which the following are perhaps the most outstanding:
his forum with its temple of Mars the Avenger, the temple of Apollo
on the Palatine, and the temple of Jupiter the Thunderer on the
Augustus built his forum because the two existing
forums could no longer accommodate the increasing number of people
and law cases, so that a third was thought necessary. Because of
this need for space it was opened for business even before the
temple was finished, and it was stipulated that the new forum be the
venue for public trials as well as the selection of jurors by lot.
He had vowed the temple to Mars during the battle at Philippi, which
he fought to avenge the death of his father Julius Caesar. He
decreed, therefore, that the Senate use the forum to deliberate on
war and the awarding of triumphs, that those heading off to
provinces with military command be officially escorted from here,
and that those who returned victorious should deposit the insignia
of their triumphs in his forum.