It is the fashion of the day, and it has been the fashion for more than thirty years, for many of the younger citizens to speak with some condescension of the long reign of Octavius Caesar. And he himself, toward the end of his life, thought that all of his work had been for nothing.
Yet the Empire of Rome that he created has endured the harshness of a Tiberius, the monstrous cruelty of a Caligula, and the ineptness of a Claudius. And now our new Emperor is one whom you tutored as a boy, and to whom you remain close in his new authority; let us be thankful for the fact that he will rule in the light of your wisdom and virtue, and let us pray to the gods that, under Nero, Rome will at last fulfill the dream of Octavius Caesar.
John Williams的Augustus尾声，Philippus of Athens致（我那全书掉线到这里才终于刷了存在感的本命）Seneca的信的最后两段。
可是嫌弃完了还是不得不承认自己多少是被戳中了。虽然对帝国的命运（或者说Julio-Claudian dynasty的气数）不怎么惋惜，但对个人的体验还是会有感触的。偷懒照抄原文地概括一下，我感慨的大约是Augustus, toward the end of his life, thought that all of his work had been for nothing. And despite all Philippus's wishful thinking, Seneca, toward the end of his life, must also have thought that all of his work had been for nothing.
纽约时报某书评说过John Williams的《斯通纳》、《屠夫十字镇》和Augustus这三本书的narrative arc是很相似的：
a young man's initiation, vicious male rivalries, subtler tensions between men and women, fathers and daughters, and finally a bleak sense of disappointment, even futility.