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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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

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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. 14
Marble copy of an earlier bronze
Augustus was almost 76,
overweight, bald, and toothless
when he…

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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. from
his third provincial tour (a second visit to Spain and Gaul)
Golden Age imagery of fertility
indicated that Augustus…


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