Augustan Age

everything about Augustus' time in power

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  • Created on: 12-04-11 17:42
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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
10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 2
23. The Augustan Age 1

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The Rise of Octavian
Antony allowed Caesar's will to go into effect; it posthumously
adopted Caesar's grandnephew, one Gaius Octavius, as his
son and heir
Octavius thus became C. 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
Antony began to be jealous of Octavian's popularity
10/24/2005 23.…read more

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The Triumvirate
Despite the initial tensions between them, 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.C.
10/24/2005 23.…read more

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Octavian in Victory
After Actium, Octavian had sole control of the Roman world
Egypt was added to the empire, but its great wealth was
Octavian controlled all the armies and all the provinces
His domination was complete, but in order to avoid the fate
of Caesar, he needed to abandon the idea of an open
10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 7
Constitutional Settlement of 27 B.C.…read more

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The Roman Empire Under Augustus
Augustus' provinces in darker brown, the Senate's in tan, Italy in purple
A New Name: Imperator Caesar Augustus
Imperator: originally the title of a victorious general, this
name stressed his military role
Our word "emperor" comes from this name/title, but there never
was a formal position of emperor in Rome
Caesar: continued to emphasize his connection with Julius
Modern titles such as Kaiser and Czar (tsar) are derived from this
personal name
Augustus: roughly meant "holy one" and perhaps…read more

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Old Virtues
Clipeus Virtutis, "Shield of Virtue":
The Senate decreed that a golden
shield listing his virtues be put up in
their chamber
virtus (valor)
pietas (loyalty to family, country,
and the gods)
Additional honors included making
his house the equivalent of a
temple and decorating it with
evergreen bay leaves, indicating
that he was the source of eternal
10/24/2005 23. The Augustan Age 11
The Principate
Declared princeps Senatus in the 28 B.C.…read more

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Suetonius' Life of Augustus
Written much later, under the reign of Hadrian
Suetonius was a Biographer, 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. Aug. 9 = packet, 136)
Ancestry, background, and birth
Early career
Reign, often broken into "good" and "bad" halves
Personal characteristics and family life
Death, will, and reputation
"He twice entertained thoughts of restoring the republic . .…read more

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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, polished, classicizing elegance"
Subjects and execution both reflect propagandistic intent
Revival of mythical imagery
"Golden Age" symbolism
Floral ornamentation, bucrania (ox sculls decorated with
garlands), grain, fruits, children
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Augustus as Priest
Relaxed contrapposto
Serene countenance and expression
Toga worn over head in attitude of
sacrifice and prayer
Probably depicts Augustus as pontifex
Augustus from
Prima Porta, c. A.D.…read more

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Ara Pacis
The Ara Pacis Augustae
a monumental altar to Augustan Peace dedicated in Rome on
January 30, 9 B.C.
commemorated the emperor Augustus' safe return in 13 B.C.…read more


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