As we enter the era of the empire with Augustus (formerly known as Octavian), the first emperor of ancient Rome, there is perhaps no more fitting object to begin with than the Res Gestae, Augustus' autobiography. The Res Gestae (which translates into English literally as "things done," and forms a list of Augustus' achievements) was originally inscribed before Augustus' mauseoleum in Rome after his death in 14 AD, and supposedly written just before his death, though it seems likely that the text was in fact worked on and revised over Augustus' lifetime. The Roman original has not survived, but copies of the text were distributed throughout the empire; and the best-surviving copy was preserved on a temple to Augustus at Ankyra, Turkey (known as the Monumentum Ancyranum, and pictured in the top image). A replica is inscribed in Rome today, just facing the mausoleum of Augustus on the wall of the modern museum of the Ara Pacis (image below). A text, translation and commentary of the Res Gestae can be found here.