"Now it came about that in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth... And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city." (Luke 2, 1-3)|
Caesar Augustus was an outstanding administrator and consolidated the so-called Pax Romana (Roman Peace) that he had established with a durable administrative and financial system. This census of the inhabited earth is one example of his far-reaching oversight of the empire he had consolidated after the assassination of Julius Caesar.
Augustus also has the distinction of being the Emperor who presided over the birth of Christ. Artists like to suggest that there were omens perceived even by the emperor.
Antoine Caron's Augustus and the Tiburtine Sybil is a good example. There was something truly portentous in the air and Augustus somehow divined it.
[Note that this painting is currently available as a poster from Allposters.com.]
This article is copyright 2002-04 by Joseph Phelan. Please do not republish any portion of this article without written permission.