See Augustus, Res Gestae divi Augusti (General Background) for the historical context of the Res Gestae.
The main focus of chapter 12 is found in the second part, which describes the dedication of the Altar of Augustan Peace. Augustus had been away again on campaign in Hispania and Gaul from 16-13 BCE, reorganising the Spanish provinces following the end of the Cantabric Wars in 19 BCE, and dealing with the aftermath of invasions to Roman territory by the Sugambri, Usipetes and Tencteri tribes (Dio, Roman History, 54.20.4-5; Suetonius, Augustus 23; Tacitus, Annals, 10.1). The sentate vowed the altar to him upon his return to Rome on 4th July 13 BCE, and it was dedicated on Livia’s birthday on the 30 January, 9 BCE. The propagandistic nature of the altar is well documented, with its combination of mythical and historical iconography linking Augustus and the Julio-Claudians irreversibly with the legendary foundation of Rome and the divinely ordained nature of their roles in Roman government. The dedication of the altar, and that of the one previously dedicated to Fortuna Redux, was in place of triumphs that Augustus had refused on both occasions. However, the dedication of the Altar of Augustan Peace was far more significant than the celebrations associated with triumphs; it formally introduced the cult of ‘Augustan Peace’ (pax Augusta) to Rome. This was the first time that a title or magistracy had been associated with an ‘august(an)’ deity, which served to formalise the idea that the people of Rome enjoyed a special relationship with the gods directly through, and because of, the figure of Augustus (Cooley, Res Gestae, p. 156). It was also a useful unification tool, bringing all the different areas and communities of the Roman world together under one, associative protection, the cult of which could be disseminated through all kinds of cultural groups (see Cooley, Beyond Rome and Latium, p. 246-52).
Keywords in the original language: