27 BC – 14 AD: Augustus

(Public Domain)


Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, introduces punishments for “literary treason” and orders illegal texts burned.


It does not harmonize with his instruction to his adoptive son and successor, Tiberius, to distinguish words from actions:

“My dear Tiberius, do not be carried away by the ardour of youth in this matter, or take it too much to heart that anyone speak evil of me; we must be content if we can stop anyone from doing evil to us.
– Augustus according to Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars 2:51.