The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Numina Augustorum

Duncan Fishwicka1

a1 St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Shortly before the death of Augustus, Tiberius dedicated the celebrated ara numinis Augusti, thus formally enshrining the numen of Augustus within the Imperial Cult. The step was a radical one, fundamental to the whole development of the emperor's ‘divinity’. Whereas the official cult of the emperor's genius had continued a traditional Republican practice, if with significant differences, to ascribe numen to the princeps was to establish Augustus as a S0009838800044773_inline1S0009838800044773_inline2 through whom divinity could function as an intermediary. For to pay cult to the numen Augusti was to ascribe to the human emperor the quintessential property of a god.