First on view at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, this exhibtion at the Grand Palais in Paris marks the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus's death. The adopted son and great-nephew of Julius Caesar, Augustus was a man endowed both with exceptional charisma and with extraordinary political intuition. Where even Julius Caesar had failed, he succeeded in putting an end to the decades of internecine strife that had brought the Roman Republic to its knees, and in inaugurating a new political era: the Empire.
His reign, which lasted over forty years, was to be the longest in the city's entire history. Under Augustus the Empire achieved its greatest expansion, spreading to cover the whole of the Mediterranean basin, from Spain to Turkey and from the Maghreb to Greece, and Germany. The details of his life and dazzling career are known to us both from the emperor himself and from historians as Velleius Paterculus, Suetonius, Tacitus and Cassius Dio. In fact there are very few other Roman emperors for whose life we have such a large number of written sources.
This allows us to reconstruct the stages of a political career in the course of which Augustus held all of the most important public offices, and at the same time to track the disastrous series of deaths in his family that robbed him, in the space of a few decades, both of Agrippa, his son-in-law and deputy, and of the heirs designated to succeed him: his nephew Marcellus, the son of his sister Octavia, and Gaius and Lucius Caesar, the sons of Julia and Agrippa.
Thus on his death the Empire passed into the hands of Tiberius, the son of his third and much-loved wife Livia.
As in Rome. the Paris viewing will display a selection of works of art of the highest artistic quality including statues, portraits, household objects in bronze, silver and glass, golden jewellery and precious stones.
Grand Palais Website