Italy. 38 BCE


TYPE: Bust of Octavian




TYPE: Bust of Julius Caesar

LEGEND: DIVOS IULIUS (the divine Julius)

[previous] [next]




LEGEND: Since the legends are in Latin, which most of you do not read, I will only discuss and/or translate those that I wish to draw special attention to. This will include those recurring legends which non-literate Romans would have decoded more as a picture, i.e., as a complete unit, than as the letters comprising a word, including: IMP(erator), DIVI F(ilius), ob cives servatos, Pax, S(enatus) C(onsulto), S P Q R (abbreviation for senate and people of Rome), LUDI SAEC(ulares), and COS (consul).

DIVI F(ilius): Prior to his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, Octavian's depiction of himself was determined by the rivalry for power. His most valuable political tool in the power struggle was his association with Julius Caesar, who had disturbed much of the senatorial nobility, but was wildly popular with the Plebs and with his legions.