The campaigns in Gaul and Hispania, which form the subject of 26.2 were certainly tangible expansions, however, with both provinces subjugated and reorganised in the ten years after Actium (Cooley, Res Gestae, p. 220). ‘Gallia Narbonensis’ (Languedoc and Provence) had been under Roman control as ‘Transalpine Gaul’ for many years, but the campaigns into the interior between 31-27 BCE made way for Augustus’s own military advances in 27-25 BCE, after which the territory was redistributed (Cooley, Res Gestae, p. 220). ‘Hispania’ had proven a tricky province to hold under Roman occupation; although parts of it had been under Roman control since 218 BCE, a large section of the northwest and mountainous regions remained unmanageable in the first century. Many campaigns had been led against the tribes here, including one by Augustus against the Cantabri in 26 BCE, which was claimed as one of the great victories that led to the closure of the gates of Janus in 25 BCE, even though the province was not properly supressed until Agrippa overcame the Cantabrian rebels in 19 BCE (Livy, History of Rome XXVIII.12.12). A further offensive from Augustus was necessary, between 16 and 13 BCE, after which the province of Hispania Ulterior was split into Baetica and Lusitania, in the former of which a gold statue representing the personification of the province was set up in honour of Augustus in order to celebrate his pacification of the region (Cooley, Res Gestae, p. 221). The campaigns in Gaul and Hispania had required Augustus’s personal involvement, but the same cannot be said for the description of the subjugation of Germania that follows here in 26.2. Between 12 and 8 BCE Tiberius and Drusus the Elder made successful expeditions against the German tribes, which resulted in the conquest of most of their territory and triumphal honours being awarded to them (see Velleius Paterculus, History of Rome II.97.3-4, although exaggerated). From 8 BCE the Romans continued to advance, until Domitius Ahenobarbus crossed the Elbe and made peace with the Germans beyond it in 1 CE, for which he too received triumphal honours (Tacitus, Annals IV.442). Further pushes into German territory continued over the next seven years, but the Res Gestae does not, unsurprisingly, refer to the disaster that occurred under the leadership of Varus in 9 CE, during which three legions were lost at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (Velleius Paterculus, Roman History II.117-120;Tacitus, Annals I.3, I.10, I.43, I.55-71, II.7, II.41, II.45; Suetonius, Augustus XXIII; Tiberius, XVII-XVIII). Ronald Ridley has noted that this omission is to be expected, and simply represents Augustus’s ‘selective’ approach to his reign; there was no way to spin the loss of three legions as a ‘great achievement,’ and so the entire encounter was excluded (Ridley, Emperor’s Retrospect,p. 196-203). There is a further, significant reason for mentioning these expansions; ‘Ocean’ was believed to be the mass of water that surrounded the inhabited part of the ancient world, with a western extremity marked by the Pillars of Hercules at ‘Gades,’ or Cadiz. This was said to be the point at which Alexander the Great had intended to conquer the Phoenicians (a plan which came to an end because of his sudden death); by mentioning the western edge of the known world, at Gades, Augustus is demonstrating that his territorial expansion went beyond that achieved by Alexander, a fact which ties the conquest of these three provinces together (Cooley, Res Gestae, p. 222; Scheid, Res Gestae, p, 70). Not only has Augustus emulated Alexander by subduing new parts of the world, but he has also surpassed him; by drawing such implicit comparisons between the achievements of two men, Augustus emerges not only as Alexander’s equal, but his better, completing the project of expansion in the West that Alexander did not live long enough to see (Nenci, Introduzione alle guerre persiane, p. 290-8).
Keywords in the original language: