Emperor Augustus / Wikimedia Commons

Emperor Augustus / Wikimedia Commons

Augustus is the greatest ancient Roman leader. He ended decades of civil strife, brought order to a vast empire stretching from the coast of Normandy to the Nile Delta, and created the quasi-monarchy that lasted two centuries and gave Rome its most successful and stable years.

And yet, Augustus remains something of an enigma. The general public realizes he is important, but knows little about his motivations or personality, beyond caricatures in literature (the ruthless and dishonest Octavian of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra) and television (the well meaning, but doddering old man of I, Claudius). So his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, and his nemesis, Marc Antony, rate higher in the popular imagination than Augustus, despite the fact that he succeeded where they failed.

Less than Human

AP

Two and a half millennia ago, Aristotle made one of the most fundamental statements ever about human society: “Man is by nature a political animal.”

Aristotle meant more than that people group together for their survival and reproduction. People actually group together to strive for higher goods beyond mere preservation. This is politics—a community’s pursuit of a good life together.

Review: Season of Saturdays

Tom Osborne

Only when it comes to college football do we believe that the deaths of a girlfriend and grandmother will spur a 21-year-old to lead his team to victory, and accept that a 22-year-old sprained his ankles from leaping off a three-story balcony to rescue a drowning nephew. The NFL may be played on Sundays, but college football is religion, with each team steeped in its own obscure mores, traditions, and believers.

Less than Human

AP

Two and a half millennia ago, Aristotle made one of the most fundamental statements ever about human society: “Man is by nature a political animal.”

Aristotle meant more than that people group together for their survival and reproduction. People actually group together to strive for higher goods beyond mere preservation. This is politics—a community’s pursuit of a good life together.

Review: Season of Saturdays

Tom Osborne

Only when it comes to college football do we believe that the deaths of a girlfriend and grandmother will spur a 21-year-old to lead his team to victory, and accept that a 22-year-old sprained his ankles from leaping off a three-story balcony to rescue a drowning nephew. The NFL may be played on Sundays, but college football is religion, with each team steeped in its own obscure mores, traditions, and believers.