Augustus and his predecessor, Julius Caesar, both were said to have lived surprisingly sober lifestyles. They were reported to have been health fanatics, who dined calculatedly on nutritious food and strictly moderated their alcohol consumption. While they spent lavishly on public works and entertainment, they allegedly kept the furnishings in their own abodes fairly simple. Yet, like all people, Augustus and Julius Caesar had their guilty pleasures. For Caesar, this was women and a dooming curiosity of kingship. As for Augustus—he apparently had a weakness for antiques.
According to the Roman biographer, Suetonius (c. 70-130+), there was a villa on the Italian island of Capraea, located off the Campanian coast, which Augustus cherished greatly. He chose that villa to be the home of various historical or archeological finds that he encountered during his travels around the Mediterranean. In that laidback island environment, nicknamed affectionately ‘Do-Nothing Land’ or ‘Lubberland’, guests could browse through Augustus’ vast collection of rare objects, which supposedly included bones from giants and sea monsters, as well as the weapons and armor of legendary heroes of antiquity.
Written by C. Keith Hansley.
Picture Attribution: (Photograph from a sculpture art museum, [Public Domain] via maxpixel.net).
- The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, translated by Robert Graves and edited by James B. Rives. New York: Penguin Classics, 2007.