First, Best and Greatest
Once again we're taking a look at Ovid's Fasti, this week examining the Nones of February, the equivalent in the calender of the Republic for February 3rd. For this date, the Sun would be in Aquarius, while the Moon would fall in Aries.
"Romulus, thou must yield pride of place. Caesar by his guardian care makes great thy city walls; the walls thou gavest to the city were such as Remus could o'erleap."When Rome was young, a single individual could jump over the walls. This was not true during Ovid's time. Romulus has the honor of "pride of place," but the new and improved Rome is much superior. Romulus bested Tatius and his neighboring city, but Augustus's realm reaches everywhere under heaven. Throughout this day's verse, the parallels are clear:
"Thou didst own a little stretch of conquered land: all that exists beneath the canopy of Jove is Caesar's own.... Thou didst rape wives: Caesar bade them under his rule be chaste. Thou didst admit the guilty to thy grave: he hath repelled the wrong. Thine was a rule of force: under Caesar it is the laws that reign. Thou didst the name of master bear: he bears the name of prince."In each case, the Martial bar is set by Romulus, and then trumped by Caesar. Finally, the Emperor's power is seen to compete with Jove's himself, as Augustus raises his adopted father (Julius) to heaven.
"To heaven thy father raised thee: to heaven Caesar raised his sire."In short, while Romulus, the original founder of Rome set the stage, Augustus has triumphed over all, including his predecessor. He's the Man.
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