As Horace brings the final book of his Odes to an end, an idealised Roman family of the future gathers to sing Augustus’s praises and give thanks for the peace and the imperial power that he has brought to Rome.

Hear Horace’s Latin and follow in English here.

On the new shield that Venus has just given to Aeneas, her husband Vulcan has depicted many scenes from the future of Rome. They go from Romulus and Remus to Virgil’s present day, so it is a big shield! At the political level, the whole purpose of the Aeneid is to suggest that Augustus’s ascendancy is divinely sanctioned and the culmination of the history of Rome so far. No wonder, then, that Virgil does not hold back when he comes to describe how the shield shows his defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium, and his triumphant reception by the City.

The illustration is a Roman cameo of the first century showing Augustus in triumph.

Hear the Latin and follow in English here.

In Book 1 of the Aeneid, Jupiter promises Venus that her son, Aeneas, will not be prevented by the enmity of Juno, Queen of the Gods, from founding a dynasty that will produce the city of Rome and the great Augustus.

In the illustration, Augustus cuts a figure that is no less imposing than Virgil’s descriptions of his mighty ancestor.

Hear Virgil’s original Latin and follow in a new English translation here.

Even with Octavian in the ascendant, around 29 BCE Rome is still at risk from the legacy of civil war. In his Georgics, comparing the city to a racing chariot out of control, Virgil turns abruptly from the life of the countryside to implore the Gods to allow the future Emperor Augustus to restore its threatened fortunes.

Hear Virgil’s Latin and follow in English here.