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Augustan Society

Augustan Society

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Published by: mitsuki_sylph on Aug 06, 2010
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03/04/2014

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AUGUSTAN SOCIETY
Roman society in the Early Empire was characterized by a system of social stratification,inherited from the Republic, in which Roamn citixen were divide into three basic classes:
Senatorial
Equestrian
Lower classesSenatorial order
o
One needed to possess property worth 1,000,000 sesterces to belong to thesenatorial order.
o
Ruling class for the empire
o
Filled the chief magistracies of the Roman government
o
held the most important military posts
o
governed the provinces
It has 1,000 members, but Augustus revised the senatorial list and reduced its size to 600, but also added new men from wealthy families throughout Italy.
Equestrian order
o
It is open to all Roman citizen of good standing who possesses property valued at400,000 sesterces.
o
They hold military and government offices, too. But the positions open to themwhere lass important than those held in the senatorial order.Lower class
o
Constituted the overwhelming majority of the free citizens.
o
The people were provided free grain and public spectacles to keep them fromcreating disturbances.
 Nevertheless, by gaining wealth and serving as lower officers in the Roman, it wassometimes possible for them to advance to the equestrian.
Religion
- 
one area of the great concern of Augustus. He considered that the Religion is thecornerstone of the strong state.
Therefore:
o
He restored traditional priesthoods that had fallen into disuse in the Late Republic
 
o
Rebuilt many ruined temples and shrines
o
Constructed new ones to honor the Roman gods.
o
Insisted upon the careful observance of traditional festivalsImperial cult 
 – it is a new religious cult instituted by Augustus that would serve to strengthen theempire. It also served as a unifying instrument for the Roman world.Augustus permits the construction of temples to his deified adoptive father, Julius Caesar.He also permitted the building of Temples and Roma, the personification of Roman state.Augustus’s belief that the Roman morals had been corrupted during the late Republic led him toinitiate social legislation to arrest the decline.He thought that increased luxury had undermined traditional Roman frugality (thrift) andsimplicity and caused a decline in morals, evidenced by:
o
Easy divorce
o
A falling birthrate among the upper classes
o
Lax behavior manifested in hedonistic (pleasure-seeker) parties.
o
Love affairs of prominent Romans with fashionable women and elegant boys.
Augustus also limit the expenditures for feasts, made adultery a criminal offense, revised taxlaws to penalize bachelors, widowers, and married persons who had fewer than three children.
A GOLDEN AGE OF LATIN LITERATURE
Traditionally, Roman aristocrats had attempted to gain prestige and enhance their ownreputations by providing financial support for artists and poets.Augustus perceived the publicity value of literature and art and became the mostimportant patron of the arts during his principate.
Virgil (70-19
B.C
) – 
 
The most distinguished poet of the Augustan age. 
 Eclogues-
Virgil’s first poems, a series of pastoral poems inspired by theHellenistic poet, Theocritus of Cos.The pastoral images in these poems are a combination of natural observation and imaginary, idealized landscapes.
Georgics-
his second major work, was a didactic poem on farming modeled after the Greek Hesoid’s Works and Days.- It showed Virgil’s love of the country, but not without pointing tworealities- the potential harshness of nature and the destruction wrought by humans, especially inwartime.- He also extolled Augustus for restoring peace and promised to write aneven greater work in his honor.
 Aeneid-
Epic poems, Virgil’s masterpiece. The character of Aeneas- the son of Anchises of Troy is portrayed in terms that remind us of the ideal Roman- his virtues are duty, piety and faithfulness.

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