The month of August reminds me of going to Peoples Drug store to stock up on school supplies. I was always so excited to pick the notebooks to match the cool floral paper book covers that you taped and wrapped like a gift. Books were a gift to my education, and one of my favorite subjects was history.
Of Greek ancestry, I always thought learning about my heritage was difficult, especially trying to pronounce the ancient Greek names of the gods. One cannot just think of Greek ancient history without uttering its neighboring empire of Rome. Both ancient histories gave so much in language, the arts, theology and much more.
One of many examples is the origin of the month of August. Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome after Julius was assassinated in 44 B.C. August means Augustus Caesar’s month. He completed the reform of the calendar and named it after himself. He did not increase the month’s length, which had been set at 31 days in the Julian calendar a year before he became emperor.
August was considered by several emperors of that age as a month of great victories including the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra.
Augustus Caesar reigned for 40 years, nearly doubling the size of the empire, expanding the roads, founded the new postal service, police and fire departments. When Augustus died in A.D. 14, the Roman Empire was secure and at peace. At his death, he was reported as saying “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.”
Again, I often write about legacies and how ours will be perceived. My legacy is not in marble, and, frankly, I’m not sure how it will be written, if written at all. But when I research the covers of the magazine, I gain insight of how of the past truly marked the future and how historians, storytellers and myths all play a part in how our legacy will be conveyed.
And as Augustus was dying he said to his friends, “Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit.”