1 The emotions in Rome were mainly GUILT AND RELIEF - their main mistake seemed to be
that they had not carried out their religious duties.
2 Priesthoods had been left unfilled,
temples like that of Jupiter Feretrius on
the Capitol, which Atticus had visited
3 Augustus wanted to exploit this atmosphere. In the
words of Ovid (Roman poet) said expedot esse
deos et, ut expedit, esse putemus – the existence
of gods in convenient and, as it is convenient, let us
4 Augustus succeeded - Roman religion survived a more or less vital force
for another 400 hundred years and it is clear that they did rediscover their
confidence within religion.
5 `I rebuilt in my sixth consulship (28 B.C), on the authority of the senate,
eighty-two temples and overlooked none that needed repair`, XX, 4.
6 It would have been unlike Augustus (and brave of him) to have
encouraged some of the new oriental cults, such as Isis or Mithras,
which were already gaining in popularity among the mixed ethnic
elements in the city.
7 Instead Augustus decided to single out special devotion
for certain traditional gods, who had been relatively dim
up until now.
8 Apollo: Augustus’ respect for Apollo can be shown to be long-standing. He founded the Temple of Apollo in
3.6 B.C and later attached to it a superb library (Suetonius). According to Propertius (Latin poet of the
Augustan age) Apollo appeared to him at a critical moment at the battle of Actium and ensured his success.
Throughout Augustus’ life he seemed to be his favourite god. Before then he had not been much note at Rome,
he was exclusively a god of healing, especially by the Vestal Virgins. But to Augustus he was much more, for
him he was the god of peace and civilisation, an appropriate deity to watch over the progress of his new
9 Mars: Mars had since time immemorial been a powerful force at Rome as the god of war and the god who
guarded agriculture from disease. He is invoked in the song of the Arval Brethren; his altar had long stood in
the Campus Martius, the field names after him a month bore his name. Augustus seemed to want to stress to
aspects of this god. First: Was that Mar was the father or Romulus, the progenitor or Rome. `Romulus, son of
Mars founded Rome`. Augustus had toyed with the idea of calling himself Romulus.
9.1 Second: It was Mars’ special capacity as Avenger (Ultor), That Augustus revered Mars. There was much to
be avenged for Augustus – not least the murder of his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, and the ignominies
which Rome had suffered. As early as 42 B.C he had vowed a temple to Mars `in vengeance of his father`
Suetonius, XXIX, 2. Again in 20 B.C he ordered a temple of Mars Ultor to be built to commemorate the
recovery of the standards captured by the Parthians and he records in the Res Gestae XXI that it was
eventually dedicated in 2 B.C. This was a convincing sign that Augustus intended to put things right. He
wanted the Mars Ultor to inspire the Romans to triumph over their past failures, according to Dio he would
regularly visit the temples with his grandsons and he stated that every youth, enrolling for the first time in
the ranks of the military, should pay their respects there; every commander setting out on expedition
should make it his starting point.