, also called
, sc. certamina
and by the Greek writers and in Greek inscriptions,
) were games
celebrated in honour of Augustus, at Rome and in other parts of the Roman
empire. At Rome two festivals were known under this name.
I. On Sept. 23, the birthday of Augustus, which after the battle of Actium
was kept as a holiday, it was customary from B.C. 13 onwards for games to be
held in the circus (D. C. 54.26
). These were at first voluntarily given by the
praetor, but from B.C. 8 they were regularly established (id.
55.6). In A.D. 14 the charge was transferred to the
consuls, and by these they continued to be celebrated under the empire.
(Henzen, Act. Fr. Arval.
During the lifetime of Augustus the equites
been accustomed of their own accord to celebrate his birthday with a
festival of two days (biduo,
Suet. Aug. 57
); and in most of the provinces
(the exceptions were apparently in the West) games were held in almost every
town at intervals of four years in his honour (quinquennales ludi,
ib.). In one passage Dio, or perhaps his
epitomator Xiphilinus, has confused the two festivals of the birthday of
Augustus and the Augustalia proper (56.29); but elsewhere (54.34, 56.46) he
clearly distinguishes them, as do also the calendars (cf. C. I.
pp. 402, 404, with Mommsen's notes).
II. The Augustalia
proper were held for ten
days (Oct. 3-12). These were instituted in B.C. 19 when Augustus returned to
Rome after settling the provinces (cf. Kal. Amit., Oct. 12, Ara
) reduci constit
) ), but the duration
and character of the festival were settled only in B.C. 11 by a senatus consultum
). In A.D. 14 the festival was assigned at their own request to
the tribunes of the commons, but shortly afterwards transferred to [p. 1.258]
(Tac. Ann. 1.15
). In Italy many towns observed as a holiday
the anniversary of the day on which he had first visited them (Suet. Aug. 59
The augustales or augustalia at Neapolis (Naples) were celebrated with great
splendour. They were instituted in the lifetime of Augustus (Suet. Aug. 98
), and were celebrated every four
years. According to Strabo (v. p.246
speaks of these games without mentioning their name, they rivalled the most
magnificent of the Grecian festivals. They consisted of gymnastic and
musical contests, and lasted for several days. At these games the Emperor
Claudius brought forward a Greek comedy, and received the prize. (Suet. Cl. 11
; compare D. C.
) were also celebrated
at Alexandria, as appears from an inscription in Gruter (316, 2); and in
this city there was a magnificent temple to Augustus (Σεβαστεῖον,
). We find mention of augustalia in numerous other
places, as Pergamus, Nicomedia, &c.