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23. The Augustan Age

“A new leader emerged from the years of unrest that followed: Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew and adopted son. His accession to power in 31 B.C. marked the beginning of the Pax Romana, a 200-year period of unprecedented tranquility . . .” (MP, 115)

The Aftermath of Caesar’s Murder
Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. by Brutus, Cassius, and other advocates of a traditional oligarchy Cicero and other traditionalists rejoiced in this “liberation,” but the people and armies, by and large, were upset Mark Antony, Caesar’s chief general, became the initial leader of the Caesarian party


23. The Augustan Age


23. The Augustan Age


Iulius Divi f. The Augustan Age 2 . it posthumously adopted Caesar’s grandnephew. a providential comet appeared The astrum Caesaris or “Star of Caesar” “Look! Behold my father become a god!” Following the legendary example of Romulus. becoming C.10/24/2005 The Rise of Octavian Antony allowed Caesar’s will to go into effect. Caesar was soon declared Divus Iulius Octavian added “son of a god” to his name. The Augustan Age 3 Caesar Deified Octavian celebrated public games to commemorate the victories and glories of Caesar When Antony tried to break the games up. Caesar Octavianus 10/24/2005 23. as his son and heir Octavius thus became C. one Gaius Octavius. Iulius Caesar Octavianus historians refer to him as Octavian most Romans simply called him Caesar Octavian was heir to much of Caesar’s reputation and following as well as to his money and name Octavian and the people honored the memory and legacy of Caesar Antony began to be jealous of Octavian’s popularity 10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 4 23.

C. Antony the East Antony’s affair with Cleopatra.10/24/2005 The Triumvirate Despite the initial tensions between them. 10/24/2005 23. encouraged Octavian to break with him Octavian defeated Antony in 31 B. Antony and Octavian eventually joined together in a political alliance with a third Caesarian leader This “triumvirate” had the stated purpose of avenging Caesar and reorganizing the state Brutus and Cassius were defeated and either were killed or committed suicide at the Battle of Philippi in 42 B. queen of Egypt. The Augustan Age 6 23. The Augustan Age 3 . in a naval battle near Greece called Actium 10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 5 Actium After Philippi.C. Octavian and Antony got rid of their political partner and divided the world between them Octavian took the West.

The Augustan Age 8 23. he needed to abandon the idea of an open monarchy 10/24/2005 23. Octavian had sole control of the Roman world Egypt was added to the empire.10/24/2005 Octavian in Victory After Actium. “Restored” the republic Turned provinces and armies over to the Senate and People of Rome Resigned all extraordinary powers except for the normal authority of the consulship Senate protested. but its great wealth was Octavian’s Octavian controlled all the armies and all the provinces His domination was complete.C. but in order to avoid the fate of Caesar. The Augustan Age 4 . The Augustan Age 7 Constitutional Settlement of 27 B. voted him new honors and powers Returned about half of the provinces to Augustus as his province and granted him proconsular imperium for ten years These provinces contained almost all of the legions Bestowed new honors upon him meant to elevate him above all others in the aristocracy 10/24/2005 23.

10/24/2005 The Roman Empire Under Augustus Augustus’ provinces in darker brown. Italy in purple A New Name: Imperator Caesar Augustus Imperator: originally the title of a victorious general. but there never was a formal position of emperor in Rome Caesar: continued to emphasize his connection with Julius Caesar Modern titles such as Kaiser and Czar (tsar) are derived from this personal name Augustus: roughly meant “holy one” and perhaps “increaser” indicated his favor with the gods and his more than human status 10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 10 23. The Augustan Age 5 . this name stressed his military role Our word “emperor” comes from this name/title. the Senate’s in tan.

Augustus was soon known simply as princeps First citizen.C. proconsul in a massive province. census. The Augustan Age 6 . The Augustan Age 12 23. indicating that he was the source of eternal life 10/24/2005 23. and the gods) Additional honors included making his house the equivalent of a temple and decorating it with evergreen bay leaves. princeps “triumphant general. The Augustan Age 11 The Principate Declared princeps Senatus in the 28 B. the first man of Rome” Consul in Rome. the Holy One.10/24/2005 Old Virtues Clipeus Virtutis. “Shield of Virtue”: The Senate decreed that a golden shield listing his virtues be put up in their chamber justice mercy virtus (valor) pietas (loyalty to family. country. Caesar. first in everything! The English word “prince” is derived from princeps This title is the root of the word “principate. bearer of extraordinary honors A “disguised monarchy” 10/24/2005 23. monopolizer of patronage.” which describes the kind of government Augustus established Cumulative position: Imperator Caesar Augustus. commander of virtually all the armies. wealthiest man.

. The Augustan Age 7 . from his youth to the day of his death.” (Suet.” —R. Aug. Syme. The Augustan Age 13 Augustan Program and Image: Harnessing Art and Architecture for a Golden Age “The Princeps. not a historian Standard rubric for each biography—“the account will be more clear and understandable if instead of giving it in chronological order I instead arrange it according to topic” (Suet. . he resolved to keep it in his own hands. and reputation “He twice entertained thoughts of restoring the republic . under the reign of Hadrian Suetonius was a Biographer. . often broken into “good” and “bad” halves Personal characteristics and family life Death.10/24/2005 Suetonius’ Life of Augustus Written much later. . background. now a monopolist of the means of influencing opinion. 458. both in peace and war.” (Suet. will. 137) “Having thus given an account of the manner in which he filled his public offices both civil and military and his conduct in the government of the empire. Roman Revolution. 61 = packet. 9 = packet. I shall now describe private and domestic life. But reflecting at the same time that it would be both hazardous to himself to return to the condition of a private person. his habits at home and among his friends and dependents . and birth Early career Reign. 138) 10/24/2005 23. Aug. 136) Ancestry. Aug. 28 = packet. 23. and might be dangerous to the public to have the government placed again under the control of the people. used all his arts to persuade men to accept the Principate and its programme.

Pollitt An official portrait type was devised at Rome of the emperor and of many members of his family. hard-bitten.J. polished. children 10/24/2005 23.10/24/2005 Augustan Sculpture Constituted the third phase of Roman sculpture followed the Early (funerary) style and the Late Republican (realistic) style Reverted to the idealism of Classical Greece Augustan Classicism Returned to Greek Classical models to elevate subjects “Crisp. The Augustan Age 16 23. classicizing elegance” Subjects and execution both reflect propagandistic intent Revival of mythical imagery “Golden Age” symbolism Floral ornamentation. and occasionally tormented look of late Republican portraiture was replaced by smooth. of Augustus and his family and associates” —J. fruits. The Augustan Age 8 . The Augustan Age 15 Imperial Portraiture “The wrinkled. bucrania (ox sculls decorated with garlands). These were disseminated throughout the empire 10/24/2005 23. seemingly impervious to age. grain. imperturbable visages.

including a great diplomatic success (the return of Roman standards by the Parthians) The small Cupid serves as a reminder of the Julian claim of descent from Venus through Aeneas 23. 14 Marble copy of an earlier bronze original Augustus was almost 76.10/24/2005 Augustus as Priest Relaxed contrapposto Serene countenance and expression Toga worn over head in attitude of sacrifice and prayer Probably depicts Augustus as pontifex maximus Augustus from Prima Porta. is how the empire continued to see him Depicted in military dress as the victorious imperator Breastplate represents mythical and historical events. overweight. The Augustan Age 9 . and toothless when he died! This.D. however. c. bald. A.

from his third provincial tour (a second visit to Spain and Gaul) Golden Age imagery of fertility indicated that Augustus brought both the blessings of peace and posterity Both images of Augustus and his family and mythical scenes combine to suggest that Peace depends upon the imperial family A Family Affair The first regular depiction of women and children The altar was connected not only with Augustus’ return. 20 January. The Augustan Age 19 Ara Pacis 23.C. when his stepson Tiberius was consul Dedicated in 9 B. 9 B. when his stepson Drusus was consul Day of dedication. but also with dates associated with close family members Announced in 13 B.C.C. commemorated the emperor Augustus’ safe return in 13 B.10/24/2005 Ara Pacis The Ara Pacis Augustae a monumental altar to Augustan Peace dedicated in Rome on January 30. The Augustan Age 10 . was his wife Livia’s birthday 10/24/2005 23.C.

The Augustan Age 11 . Gatti) Positions and themes of Ara Pacis relief panels 23.10/24/2005 Cross section sketch of altar (drawing by G.

grain. Italy. 23. fruit. or even Augustus’ wife. Ceres. which include young children. poppies. Livia Note symbols of fertility and plenty. Peace. animals. etc.10/24/2005 Aeneas sacrificing before the Penates paired with Romulus. as in the Forum Augusti Tellus detail Buxom female figure could represent the Earth. The Augustan Age 12 .

Augustus’ wife Livia. 23. The Augustan Age 13 . The altar was dedicated on her birthday.10/24/2005 Sketch of processional reliefs in panels above vegetative motifs (left) and a close up of the acanthus leaf and grape vine carving 10/24/2005 23. Processional Relief details Left. The Augustan Age 25 Note the prominence of women and children in these reliefs. which include members of Augustus’ family portrayed prominently among the procession of Roman senators and priests.

28 Forum of Augustus with its temple of Mars the Avenger Theater of Marcellus His own house on the Palatine was relatively “modest” Temples.” Suet. Aug. The Augustan Age 28 23. and other public works throughout Rome 10/24/2005 23. 10/24/2005 23. markets. On Augustus’ birthday the shadow pointed to the Ara Pacis. the dial of which was an ancient Egyptian obelisk. The Augustan Age 27 Augustus’ Building Program “I found Rome built of bricks. indicating that his birth had ushered peace into the world. The Augustan Age 14 . I leave her clothed in marble.10/24/2005 Cosmic Imagery: The Ara Pacis and Augustus’ Horologium The altar was positioned alongside a carefully laid out sun clock.

The Augustan Age 29 Forum of Augustus 10/24/2005 23. Venus. and Divus Iulius Connect this forum with the Forum Iulium and the divinities with Augustus 10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 30 23.10/24/2005 Forum of Augustus Colonnades Exedrae or apses Statues of ancient kings and heroes all connect with Augustus Note Aeneas and Romulus as in Ara Pacis relief Cult statues include Mars Ultor. The Augustan Age 15 .

459) 10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 16 . .” (R. 142 books only 1-10 and 21-45 survive Style Avoided Sallust’s “contorted Thucydideanism” The literary critic Quintillian speaks of Livy’s lactea ubertas.10/24/2005 Augustan Literature “When the rule of Augustus is established. 17 Good personal terms with Augustus Recognized the regime as necessary but perhaps short-term Ab urbe condita libri.D. . a class whose habit it had been to attack the dominant individual or faction. The Augustan Age 32 23. – A. Syme.C. “Books from the Foundation of the City” Origins until 9 B. “milky richness” 10/24/2005 23. appear to have been fervently on the side of the government. men of letters.C. Roman Revolution. . The Augustan Age 31 Livy 59 B. It does not follow that that the poets and historians who lent their talent to the glorification of the new order were merely the paid and compliant apologists of despotism.

90) Horatii and their sister (packet 101-104) Horatius Cocles on the bridge (packet. empire was established and enlarged” “with the gradual relaxation of discipline. 104-105) Mucius Scaevola and Cloelia (packet. from these you may choose for yourself and for your own state what to imitate.10/24/2005 Livy and Moralizing History Prologue (packet. The Augustan Age 33 23. in peace and in war. morals sank lower and lower…to the present time. from these mark for avoidance what is shameful in the conception and shameful in the result. 105-107) Cincinnatus (packet. The Augustan Age 17 . 107-108) 10/24/2005 23. when we can endure neither our vices nor their cure” — the moralizing tendency of Roman historians again! Exempla: models of good and bad behavior “[in history] you behold the lessons of every kind of experience set forth as on a conspicuous monument.” (packet. 89-90) Compare with the prologue of Sallust “what life and morals were like. through what men and by what policies.